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  • On the Scene -- Rogge Meets Putin, Ends Sochi Visit


    Putin and Rogge met for a media photo opportunity at the prime minister's Sochi residence. (ATR)
    Putin, Rogge Meet in Sochi

    IOC President Jacques Rogge spent time Monday with the number-one booster of the Sochi Olympics, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

    The two men have met a number of times during Rogge’s presidency, starting during Putin’s term as president of Russia, when Sochi was bidding for the Games. Putin’s support of the bid for Sochi is believed to have swayed enough IOC votes for the Black Sea resort to win the bid in 2007.

    “I believe the Olympics in Sochi will be responsible for the economic development of the south region of Russia,” Putin told Rogge via an interpreter.

    Rogge told Putin that based on what he has seen during this visit to Sochi, “the 2014 Games will deliver a strong sporting legacy”.

    It’s his second visit since Sochi won the Games, but his first since the construction started. Rogge will leave Sochi Tuesday afternoon.

    Sunday, Rogge visited the coastal venue cluster 30km south of Sochi, near the airport. Monday he saw the new resort of Rosa Khutor which will host cross country as well as alpine events. Rogge also got to peek inside one of the giant tunnels being bored to make way for a rail line and freeway from the coast to the mountain venues.

    For their meeting Monday afternoon, Putin hosted Rogge at his Sochi mansion overlooking the Black Sea. Fellow IOC member Jean Claude Killy, chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Sochi accompanied Rogge, as did Gilbert Felli, IOC Olympic Games Executive Director.
    The IOC leaders are in Sochi to attend the debrief of the Vancouver Olympics which lasts through Thursday.

    Sochi Olympic University Launch

    In the meeting with Putin, Rogge gave his blessings to the Russian International
    A rendering of the Russian International Olympic Museum to be buily in Sochi. (ATR)
    Olympic University in Sochi, to be in operation before the 2014 Games.

    “It is important for Russia, but also important for world sport, because more than 200 national Olympic committees will want to send representatives to study here,” he said.

    Rogge and his entourage then went with Putin to a ceremony for the museum, for which construction is supposed to go start this month
    Putin says the student body will number 500 with 100 faculty members. Two sleek 15 story buildings are planned, the first one set to open in 2012. The buildings will encompass about 112,000 square meters.

    IOC members at the university event: Nawsl El Moutawakel, Rene Fasel, Gunilla Lindberg and Carlos Nuzman. (ATR)
    project is being developed by Interros, the same firm building Rosa Khutor. The development company is chaired by Vladimir Potanin, a close friend of Putin who was on hand for the launch of the project.

    Both Putin and Rogge were mercifully short with their remarks to the small crowd. The event was held on a under a blazing late afternoon sun in the center of Sochi.

    The event drew all the Russian Olympic brass: deputy prime minister Dimitry Kozak, who oversees Olympic preparations, along with another deputy pm, Alexander Zhukov, who now holds the post of president for the Russian Olympic Committee.

    IOC members on hand included Russians Vitaly Smirnov and Alexander Popov, Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco, Brazil’s Carlos Nuzman, Gunilla Lindberg of Sweden and Rene Fasel of Switzerland.

    Olympic Museum Dedicated

    Before leaving Vancouver Tuesday, Rogge took part in the dedication of an Olympic Museum founded in Sochi. The new museum is meant to collect artifacts such as the pen which was used to sign the Sochi 2014 contract with the IOC and objects such as a a bobsleigh used by the bronze medal Russian team in Turin. 
    Written by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.

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