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.
More top news
Toys R Us has scrapped its four collectible dolls based on the characters of the hit TV series Breaking Bad after a campaign by a US mother
Late actress Lynda Bellingham shared how she planned to spend Christmas during a moving final interview on Loose Women to be broadcast later