POSTED: October 14th 2008

Kremlin power for Sochi

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA: The Sochi Mayor took home key lessons learned from Sydney 2000 organizers at the IOC Olympic Cities summit in Lausanne - and immediately set them in motion.

Sochi Mayor Vladimir Afanasenkov was listening closely as Michael Knight, former Minister of the Olympic Games for New South Wales, passed on his wisdom about how a high-level government official can ease the way for administrative processes and help streamline preparations.

The Russian President and Prime Minister have just agreed to appoint Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak as Deputy Prime Minister in charge of preparations for the Sochi winter Games in 2014.

"I consider it necessary to introduce an additional deputy prime minister post - to be charged mainly with preparations for the 2014 Olympics," said the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin.

"We have discussed the idea and I consider it logical," added President Dmitri Medvedev.

This will make Kozak Russia’s eighth deputy prime minister after the current two first deputy prime ministers and five deputy prime ministers.

Afanasenkov said: "Sochi has substantial experience of hosting high-profile events, and we understand very clearly what is required for a truly memorable event in 2014. Hence, we have remodelled the organizational structure of the Sochi administration, and this will help us continue to rise to the challenge in the years ahead."

Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi 2014 president and chief executive officer, said: "The appointment of a devoted deputy prime minister demonstrates that the Olympic project  is a national priority and is great news for Sochi 2014 and the governance of the project.

"It is a reflection of the importance of Sochi 2014 to Russia that the government has decided to create a new role exclusively focused on Olympic preparations.

"We look forward to working with the new Deputy Prime Minister and continue the progress made to date. Sochi 2014 is firmly on track and within budget and, particularly in the mountains, we are already seeing resorts really taking shape."

Knight serving a double role in the Australian government and his steering role for the Sydney Games was one of the key factors in its successful organization.

President Medvedev is looking hard at redesigning Russia's preparation model and entire approach to sport. On Tuesday he hosts a visiting conference on the issue of “measures aimed at the further development of physical culture and sports in the Russian federation.”

Keywords · Sochi 2014 · Vladimir Afanasenkov · Vladimir Putin · Dmitri Medvedev · Dmitry Chernyshenko · Michael Knight · Dmitry Kozak

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