POSTED: January 31st 2009

IOC gives Sochi the green light

IOC Coordination Commission meeting / Image: Govt. Russian Federation
IOC Coordination Commission meeting / Image: Govt. Russian Federation

Jean-Claude Killy ended the visit on a high note by saying he was ‘deeply impressed’ with the work

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA, Jan. 31: The IOC Coordination Commission has given Sochi a green light on work in progress for the 2014 Winter Games and sees no great hurdles arising in the hosting plans.

The group, led by commission chairman Jean-Claude Killy, met Sochi officials and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and issued positive statements on the state of affairs.

Putin said: "This work is among our top priorities not only because it is preparation for Olympics but also because it is a comprehensive plan for the development of Southern Russia, so Olympic and developmental goals fully coincide in this sense.

“This is the fifth time IOC experts have visited Sochi to see how the work is progressing. This outside professional opinion is essential for us to make necessary corrections in due time.”

He insisted that the Sochi team was closely monitoring all the work and would meet every deadline. Construction and assembly starts this year on all projects without exception.

Putin also confirmed that at least 20 projects were under way and would be ready for test competitions by 2012.

He added: "We finished the initial start-up complex of the railway freight yard last year to accept up to 5m tonnes a year of construction materials and equipment. Another start-up complex, for an annual 14m tonnes, will be ready this year.

“Soon we will start work at the Sochi cargo seaport, which means we will be ready with practically the entire logistic infrastructure for mass-scale construction.

"A combined railway and highway system are among the principal infrastructural projects. We intend to start building the first tunnel in spring. The initial stage of a settlement for building construction workers is being completed and 17 out of the 19 houses to accommodate 3,000 are ready. Hotel construction and expansion is also going on."

Putin also stated that the organisers were "paying special attention to human rights in the context of our Olympic efforts."

He explained: "Proprietors are entitled to compensation for their land in keeping with market prices. We have determined to offer them a choice between ready housing, new land plots, or monetary compensation, and have amended the Olympic Law accordingly.

“You know how considerate we are of the environment. Our Olympic blueprints are ecologically sound. The Russian Government has adopted an ad hoc programme for the environmental aspects of preparations for the 2014 Olympics.

"On expert insistence, we have shifted the sites of three key Olympic projects from the buffer zone of the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve. Everything has been coordinated on the whole, as far as I know. We are meeting all deadlines, too. Together with the World Wildlife Fund we have established a public environmental council representing relevant government agencies and environmental organisations.”

“I want to stress that, despite global financial and economic problems that are also affecting Russia, whatever concerns the Olympic project in the broad sense is protected by relevant budget items with guaranteed funding. None of the Russian and foreign investors-we have foreign investors, too-have given up initial intentions, mainly due to the high investment potential of the Russian South, particularly the Krasnodar Territory.”

“Federal budget allocations to related purposes amounted to 113 billion roubles in 2008, plus an additional 127 billion in 2009. As you know, we have adopted a three-year budget and necessary sums are earmarked for every subsequent period.”

“This work is among our top priorities not only because it is preparation for Olympics but also because it is a comprehensive plan for the development of Southern Russia, so Olympic and developmental goals fully coincide in this sense.”

“I want to thank you for your cooperation and I look forward to more detailed discussions today and in the future to see what should be done and how to step up our team efforts.”

IOC coordination commission chairman, Jean-Claude Killy said: “I have no objections to what Mr Putin has said, as our experts have confirmed it all today. They have worked here for a week and received a very warm reception. Both parties have displayed the utmost confidence and transparency.

"The people engaged in the many fields of this work are also excellent - in particular the expert geologists who have the reputation of being among the best in the world.

“The Preparatory Committee has organised a presentation for us to shed light on issues of shared interest-by this, I am referring to environment protection. I find the project perfectly feasible despite its difficulty. It will demand great efforts to protect flora and fauna and dispose of waste, but I think the project can be implemented. Experts have made certain suggestions, but they are unessential, even marginal. We can discuss them later.”

“The city is changing beyond recognition, a fact that is evident even from the air; one can see the construction of the cargo seaport and approach railway tracks-really a gratifying sight.”

“The main idea is still what we have mentioned-to create an unprecedented Olympics, especially because you have determined not to go any farther into the valley. Olympics have never been held along a railway line. As I told Mr Kozak today, there are no obstacles to hosting the Olympics that would make the world gasp.”

“We have also talked about blueprints for a loop road around the city. It is a beautiful project, and we are eager to visit the site. We are deeply impressed, I must say.”

The IOC Coordination Commission is comprised of the following members: Rémy Charmetant, Ottavio Cinquanta, Philippe Drevon, René Fasel, Gian-Franco Kasper, Gunilla Lindberg, HRH the Prince of  Orange, Miguel Sagarra, Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr, Rebecca Scott, Tsunekazu Takeda, Cesare Vaciago, and Gilbert Felli on behalf of the IOC.

Image: Jean-Claude Killy & Vladimir Putin / Government of the Russian Federation 

Keywords · Vladimir Putin · Jean Claude Killy · IOC · Sochi 2014

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