ROSA KHUTOR, Russia — The prodigal son received a warm welcome back into the Olympic family on Sunday. And not just because of the spring-like temperatures in Sochi.
The Indian Olympic Association had its 14-month ban for internal corruption lifted five days ago. More than a week after the Games started, the saffron-white-green flag could finally be raised at the athletes' village in the mountains above Sochi.
After the ceremony, the three Indian athletes and all team officials received a present from the IOC: a pair of gloves from the Sochi Olympics merchandise range.
"Let these gloves keep you warm in all conditions," said master of ceremony Svetlana Zhurova, a 2006 Olympic speedskating champion who is now the village's mayor.
Luger Shiva Keshavan was the only one who put them on right away and showed around the knitted accessory — white, with the color of the fingers corresponding to the five Olympic rings.
Cross-country skier Nadeem Iqbal seemed more reluctant while Alpine skier Thakur Himanshu preferred to keep his hands in his pockets.
And what about the newly elected president of the Indian Olympic Association, Narayna Ramachandran? He was carrying his multicolored present in his left hand, which he was hiding behind his back.
When asked about the gift, he took a quick look at it, and started smiling. "Haha, yes, it's... nice," he said, before hiding the gloves again. "It's the best present you can get."
— By Eric Willemsen — Twitter http://twitter.com/eWilmedia