The President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach has accused world leaders of using the Winter Olympics in Sochi as a political platform "on the backs of the athletes" and snubbing the Games without even being invited.
In a hard-hitting speech, Bach called out politicians for using the Olympics to make an "ostentatious gesture" serving their own agendas.
His comments appeared to be directed at US President Barack Obama and European politicians who have taken stands against Russia's law banning gay "propaganda" among minors.
The Olympics should not be "used as a stage for political dissent or for trying to score points in internal or external political contests," Bach said.
"Have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful direct political dialogue and not on the backs of the athletes," he said at a ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia's "anti-gay" laws will be in the spotlight today with human rights groups holding a global day of action before the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Protests against the country's gay rights record will be held in London, Sochi, Moscow and Rio de Janeiro, just a day before events get underway and only 48 hours ahead of the opening ceremony.
There will be a rally outside Downing Street today by group All Out, who will be calling on Olympic sponsors to speak out against homophobia in Russia.
Activists sat on toilets along Rio de Janeiro's famed Ipanema beach to protest against the lack of basic sanitation in the Brazilian city.
The protest organisers, Meu Rio (My Rio), said the toilets represented the thousands of litres of untreated sewage that ends up into the sea waters of Rio everyday.
Activists carved out silhouettes of bacteria and other micro-organisms, carried to the beach in sewage, on the sand.
These beaches are set to host several of Rio's events at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.
Rio's state government has pledged that the city's waterways will be clean in time for the 2016 Olympics.
The city's Olympic committee has promised that pollution will also be reduced.
A four-year target of raising £11 billion worth of economic benefit from the London Olympics has been met in 12 months, the Government has announced.
The country has benefited from new foreign investment, additional sales and firms winning contracts since last summer's events, according to a report.
The total includes £130 million of contracts won by UK companies for next year's soccer World Cup in Brazil, and the next Olympic Games, in Rio in 2016.
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The flame for the 2014 Winter Olympics has arrived safely in Moscow, despite the need for a lighter to keep the torch burning.
The flame arrived in Moscow earlier today, a week after being ceremonially lit in Greece.
Neil Connery reports:
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who carried the Olympic flame in a lantern as part of a ceremony ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, said Russia's Olympics planning had unified the country.
"Today is a symbolic day for all of us which quite possibly may turn out to become a historic date. After 30 years, Russia is again meeting the Olympic flame which was lit in the homeland of the Olympic Games, in the ancient Olympia", said Kozak.
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed the Olympic flame to the country today in a spectacular ceremony in the capital's Red Square.
Putin championed the work of Olympic planners, volunteers and supporters and said: "It is quite logical that Russians love sports so much and appreciate everything that is connected with it.
"Without such active and engaged support by the public, citizens of Russia, it would have been impossible to implement gigantic sports projects. The Sochi Olympics has really become our common dream which is becoming a reality".