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  • On the Scene in Lausanne - "No Big Issues" for Sochi, Says Co Comm Chair


    03/15/12

    (ATR) Jean-Claude Killy says Sochi 2014 presents “no big issues” of concern for his Coordination Commission with a little less than two years to go until the Games.
    Jean-Claude Killy prepares to brief the Executive Board early Wednesday. (ATR)

    That's why the IOC member from France traveled to Lausanne on Wednesday to brief the IOC Executive Board while Sochi CEO and president Dmitry Chernyshenko joined via video link from Moscow.

    “A lot of times we do it like this,” Killy told a small group of reporters as he left IOC headquarters after delivering a report in his capacity as Co Comm chair.

    “Every once in a while, Dmitry comes himself, but there are no big issues, so there is no need to fly four people from Russia just for 15 minutes. It wouldn't make sense.”

    Asked by Around the Rings about last month's FIS Alpine World Cups as well as last week's bobsleigh and skeleton test events, Killy said he was “very pleased” with the venues, especially the sliding center.
    "Sanki" Sliding Center. (SC Olympstroy/Sochi 2014)

    “To build a bobsled and luge run is very difficult,” he said. “They were on time, and that's very commendable.”

    Killy added that the track in Sochi is “noticeably slower for luge and bobsleigh” than the one in Whistler, where Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died during a training run hours before the opening of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

    Alpine athletes, sliders and ski jumpers are all satisfied so far with the stages on which they'll compete in 2014, according to the winter sports legend.

    “That's very unusual,” he admitted with a laugh. “But they said it in the press, so I'm not making it up.”

    Rosa Khutor received many rave reviews among top skiers interviewed at the time by ATR, but some racers did express concerns that the downhill track sported too many twists and turns, thus slowing speeds down.

    “I have a good explanation for that,” Killy said Tuesday.

    “Every time you use a downhill for the first time, from top to bottom you have to be very careful because you do not know what's going to happen. So Bernhard Russi, who is the designer, decided to slow it on purpose. It was not explained properly because we didn't know it was going to be an issue, but [he did it] on purpose in order to stay on the safe side.”
    View from the start of Sochi's downhill course. (ATR)

    According to Killy, a triple gold medalist at the 1968 Winter Olympics, it's just a matter of changing three gates in order to speed up the course.

    “After what we have learned from the test, we will be able to make the official downhill for the Games faster,” he confirmed.

    In the meantime, Killy said Sochi 2014 is focused on construction progress, security planning, transport and accommodation, the chief areas on which he briefed the EB members Tuesday.

    Reported in Lausanne by Matthew Grayson

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