POSTED: September 20th 2010

We've learned Sochi lessons, says another Russian with Olympic dream

Writing on the wall . . . outside: St Petersburg's main sports administration / lake images
Writing on the wall . . . outside: St Petersburg's main sports administration / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE in St Petersburg / Sports Features Communications

ST PETERSBURG, Sep 20: St Petersburg city and Olympic sports officials are targeting “the mid 2020s” for an attempt to bring the summer Games back to Russia for only the second time and for the first time since the controversial, boycott-hit staging in Moscow in 1980.

St Petersburg was among bidders for the 2004 Games which were eventually awarded to Athens but sports leaders have conceded that the city was not prepared either to bid successfully or to undertake the work essential to a successful staging.

Any further bid by a Russian city for the summer Games was then pushed deep into the Olympic long grass after the Black Sea resort of Sochi emerged as surprising winner of the 2014 Winter Games.

Sochi’s preparations have not been without controversy, both over allegations of irreversisble ecological damage and over the political, legal and financial fall-out concerning the awards of a number of construction contracts.

However Vyachelav Chasov, Sports Minister of St Petersburg which is taking a leading role in Russia’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup, has issued an assurance that the Sochi project had proved an education.

He said: “We have learned a lot from Sochi including how not to do things, for example in terms of ecological issues. Sochi was not designed for winter Olympics so they had to buy back land from private land owners and there were some issues. Now a lot of that knowledge and expertise can help us with the World Cup bid.”

Concerning St Petersburg’s interest in the summer Games, Chasov added: “We did bid for the Olympics in 2004 against Athens but we were not really prepared and the outcome was correct.

“If Russia had not won the winter Olympics for Sochi in 2014 then St Petersburg would have bid for 2016. So Rio de Janeiro was lucky! Now we are reconsidering when would be an appropriate time to bid again, probably around the mid-2020s.”

Keywords · St Petersburg · Olympic Games · Chasov · Sochi

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