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  • Anniversary Marks Change in Momentum for Sochi Olympics


    07/05/08

    July 4 2007: Dmitry Chernyshenko reacts to hearing Sochi named the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics. (Getty)
    (ATR) As Sochi celebrates the one-year anniversary of winning the 2014 Winter Games, the head of the organizing committee tells Around the Rings that the key milestones are being hit and the Olympic project is on schedule.

    "It is one thing to win the Games and another to organize them," says SOCOG president Dmitry Chernyshenko.

    "We are making very good progress against the objectives we set ourselves at the start of the year."

    Chernyshenko says the biggest achievement since Sochi was awarded the Games at the IOC Session in Guatemala last July are the "very strong, open and transparent" relationships established with the IOC and other Olympic stakeholders.

    He also highlights the strong and flexible system of management behind Games preparations in the Black Sea resort aided by the unequivocal support of the government and in particular Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

    Putin's high level of influence on preparations was laid bare this week when he held meetings with Jean-Claude Killy, head of the IOC coordination commission for Sochi, and Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli to ratify new venue plans.

    The Olympic sliding center, mountain sub-village and the biathlon venue are being relocated. Putin had ordered Sochi 2014 organizers to make the changes following months of environmental controversy over previous plans.

    "We are looking forward to seeing him in Beijing and we hope he can take part in a day dedicated to the Sochi Olympics and Paralympics in Russia House," Chernyshenko says.

    Rumours have been circulating that Russia's Olympic organizers will set up an ice rink in the searing heat of Beijing but Chernyshenko will only admit that "something interesting" is planned.

    About 26
    Vladimir Putin, now prime minister of Russia, will play a leading role in decision-making for the Sochi Olympics. (ATR)
    members of SOCOG will participate in the Beijing Olympics observer program. Other Sochi 2014 officials are seconded to work with BOCOG during the Games.

    Before the Games open, Chernyshenko is scheduled to report to the IOC Session Aug. 6.

    By this time the venue masterplan for the Games will be finalized with the IOC, he says.

    With less than four years until the first test events, Sochi 2014 is facing a challenging construction timetable that will be closely scrutinized by the IOC coordination commission.

    Chernyshenko insists the massive building job overseen by state corporation Olympstroy iskeeping pace with the IOC's master schedule.

    Work is already underway on a series of projects, including construction of the road linking the coastal resort and the Krasnaya Polyana mountain cluster.

    "In the
    Transformation of this land along the Black Sea into an Olympic Park is the biggest construction project ahead for Sochi. (ATR)
    next six months we should finalize all the designs of venues and the transportation infrastructure," he says. Tenders for construction projects are due to be finalized early next year.

    Chernyshenko admits the new roads and railway line connecting Sochi's Olympic Park and the mountain venues are "really challenging projects."

    More details on Sochi's transport plans are set to emerge after the Beijing Games. Sochi 2014 leaders will hold a seminar on transport issues with IOC officials in September.

    SOCOG's commercial sponsorship program to raise revenues towards its operating budget will also see developments after Beijing.

    Chernyshenko says that once the IOC closes its TOP sponsorship program, Sochi will unveil its commercial categories. SOCOG's first partner will be announced at the end of September, he predicts.

    With reporting from Mark Bisson.

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