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German delegation head to Sochi without President Gauck

German delegation head to Sochi without President Gauck
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Winter Olympic heavyweights German departed for Sochi on Tuesday looking to continue their impressive record at the Games.

Germany, who flew out of Frankfurt, boast a delegation of some 153 athletes.

There will be one major absentee from the German fan club in Sochi as President Joachim Gauck announced in December he will boycott the games.

German media reports suggest his boycott is a response to the Russian government’s violations of human rights and harassment of the opposition.

Head of the German Olympic committee Michael Vesper said that Gauck will greet the athletes on their return on February 24th in Munich.

He added the gesture ‘‘makes it clear to the German public and the entire world that his cancelled participation in Sochi has nothing to do with sports. Rather, (it shows that) he fully supports the athletes and the team.”

Germany were ranked second in Vancouver 2010 with 30 medals – 10 gold, 13 silver and seven bronze.