The informal Olympics creed of “Not to win, but to take part” is exactly what Caspian-Sea energy power Azerbaijan wants out of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
All four of Azerbaijan’s Olympic team members – alpine skiers Gaia Bassani Antivari and Patrick Brachner, and ice-dancing pair Alexei Sitnikov and Yulia Zlobina -- are naturalized foreigners; the only such team in the Games.
None, as National Olympics Committee (NOC) Senior Vice-President Chingiz Huseynzade admitted to EurasiaNet.org, are expected to win a medal or post noteworthy results. But that does not disconcert NOC officials.
“Here, we proceed with ‘the main thing is to take part’ principle,” Huseynzade said
It’s a principle on which Azerbaijan has been counting since 1998, when it took part in its first Winter Olympics, at Nagano, with four Russian-born figure skaters. Each winter team since has been made up only of foreign-born athletes.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku.