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Courtesy of Joe Tompkins
The Paralympic Games will go on in Sochi, Russia, amid political strife, and Juneau's Joe Tompkins will compete. He arrived in Sochi on Sunday.

Tompkins ready to race amid Russian political tensions

Posted: March 3, 2014 - 1:06pm  |  Updated: March 4, 2014 - 1:07am

Juneau’s Joe Tompkins arrived in Sochi, Russia, yesterday and is comfortably accommodated.

“We are in the Olympic Village,” Tompkins said. “It is pretty nice. We are just relaxing.”

With a charged political atmosphere between Russia and the Ukraine, Tompkins stated that all was well in the village.

“We were met at the airport and people were nice,” Tompkins said. “It was pretty cool. The only problem is all our bags didn’t arrive with us. Other than that it is pretty good.”

According to an Associated Press release, the White House has decided not to send the United States presidential delegation to the Paralympic Games in Sochi. Britain has also decided not to send ministers to the games, which start Friday. The release stated it is in retaliation to Russia’s military advances in Ukraine.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said President Barack Obama still supports the U.S. athletes participating and wishes them success, according to the release.

The U.S. and its allies are weighing sanctions and other potential consequences to persuade Russia to reverse course in Ukraine.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke Monday to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The White House said Biden urged Russia to pull back its forces and made clear that Russia raises increasing political and economic isolation if the situation isn’t resolved, the release stated.

Tompkins said he has not been informed of any pullout by the United States Paralympic Team.

“If I would have had my stuff, I would have been practicing tomorrow,” Tompkins said. “I have my mono-ski and my bag, but my ski gear hasn’t arrived.”

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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