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  • First Challenges for Sochi 2014 Ahead in 2008


    Dmitry Chernyshenko is looking forward to the OCOG move to his native Sochi: “I will be meeting with my parents more often”. (ATR)  
    (ATR) Sochi 2014 chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko tells Around the Rings he is “really satisfied” with the progress Sochi is making after winning the 2014 Olympics in July and that he is looking forward to the challenges ahead in 2008.

    Chernyshenko said that the bid team had gone from a transition committee to a complete organizing committee and that the much of the personnel from the bidding process is on board with the organizing committee. There have been several staff additions taking Sochi 2014 from “nothing to something”.

    The newly-minted organizing committee has only a few months to begin making progress on the master schedule for 2008. The first IOC Coordination Commission meeting for Sochi will take place April 22–24.

    Environmental consultations in January will be the first major project for Sochi 2014 in the new year. Governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations will meet to discuss plans for the Olympics. Chernyshenko said that Sochi 2014 has “no illusions” about the work involved to ensure environmental integrity in their construction and said “all projects are underway”.

    One of the key issues will be plans for the proposed bobsleigh course, which are under attack by environmentalists for crossing protected lands.

    Chernyshenko said the course is “a major discussion at this stage” and that they are in discussion with International Bobsleigh Federation and International Luge Federation, the two federations which will use the course. Chernyshenko says Sochi “must consider all the alternatives” as it deals with questions over the venue. He says the site chosen was the most convenient and the only one fitting federation requirements.

    Despite expected changes in the Russian federal government, Chernyshenko said he is not concerned about a shift in support for the Olympics. Russian president Vladimir Putin steps down in March and has been a key proponent for the Games in Sochi. He said that Sochi 2014 is still
    The Sochi 2014 headquarters in Moscow. A move is planned to a larger space this year. (ATR)  
    a national point of pride and his meetings with governmental officials have all been positive.

    There is speculation that Putin could become prime minister, which could place him at the center of Olympic preparations. According to the make up of the Sochi 2014 Presidential Council, the PM effectively controls the organization.

    Chernyshenko said he could not comment on Putin’s future involvement with organizing the games.

    Chernyshenko said that SOCOG is now in the “very challenging process” of acquiring specialists who will delivery the goals Sochi has in the master schedule and in ensuring a high quality games. According to Chernyshenko, the IOC has
    In keeping with the Russian Christmas season, Sochi 2014 offices are closed from Dec. 31 to Jan. 8. (ATR)  
    recommended that these specialists focus on game time success, not just preparations for the Olympics.

    He says the IOC wants to avoid people who have “fallen in love with the process of preparations” and are not ready for the Games themselves.

    Chernyshenko said the challenge with finding specialists is due to the fact that the goals of Sochi 2014 will change three times in the OCOG’s “life cycle”.

    Assisting the specialists will be the newly appointed Senior Vice President and vice presidents of finance; legal affairs; delivery; strategic development; and marketing.

    Chernyshenko also said that he expects to have enough sponsorship funding that they will not have to rely on governmental guarantees. “We hope we won’t let down the Olympic family,” he says.

    Headquarters moves, two of them, lie in the future of Sochi 2014. The first will occur in the new year to Moscow City, a region of the capital that is being rapidly redeveloped into a booming commercial district. Chernyshenko said he is “really proud” that the OCOG will be located in the “most beautiful and attractive place in Moscow”. Staffers are anticipating the move to a larger office with some saying the current office was big enough for the bid committee but now has become cramped.

    In Sochi, Chernyshenko says the first building to be built in the Sochi Olympic Park will be an office building for the OCOG. He says staff will relocate to the building no later than 2012.

    Written by Ed Hula III.

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