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Russian tycoon gets romantic at Sochi Games

February 14, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, a gold-winning pair on ice and an item off stage, got a Valentine from an unlikely source this year: a Russian tycoon.

After winning gold in figure skating on Wednesday, Volosozhar and Trankov said Friday they plan to stay in Sochi and train a young generation of skaters. Hours after their announcement, tycoon Viktor Vekselberg responded with a Valentine.

“If they decide to stay with us at Azimut, we will give them our best apartment in Sochi as a gift today, on the St. Valentine’s Day,” Vekselberg said in an emailed statement.

The tycoon’s investment vehicle has built a luxury spa hotel just outside the Olympic park that is hosting spectators and journalists during the games. The hotel reportedly cost around $450 million. State-run bank VEB, which loaned money to an array of oligarchs involved in Sochi construction, said in January the investors will not have to worry about the debts until late next year.

Vekselberg said he decided to give the skaters a three-bedroom apartment because his idea of “Sochi’s post-Olympic development seems to coincide with Tanya and Maxim’s vision: Sochi should become a major training base for future Olympic champions.”

There was no immediate reaction form Volosozhar and Trankov to that offer.

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