(AP) IOC President Thomas Bach has criticized politicians for attacking the Sochi Olympics "on the backs of the athletes."
Bach has also slammed politicians who publicly snubbed the games even though they had not even been invited.
The International Olympic Committee leader spoke in a hard-hitting speech Tuesday, three days before the opening of Russia's first Winter Games.
The buildup to Sochi has been overshadowed by Western criticism of Russia's record on human rights and the law against gay "propaganda" among minors.
Bach says sports should not be "used as a stage for political dissent or for trying to score points in internal or external political contests."
President Barack Obama and key European leaders are shunning the games. Obama, in a key message against the anti-gay laws, has sent a delegation made up of three openly gay athletes. The presidents of France and Germany also won't be coming.