POSTED: November 5th 2010
InDepth

Local pride pays as Chernyshenko brings Sochi 2014's 'crazy' concept to life

Dmitry Chernyshenko: the man and his home-pride project / lake images
Dmitry Chernyshenko: the man and his home-pride project / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: No wonder the boss of Sochi 2014 brings a boyish enthusiasm to the job: Dmitry Chernyshenko is a local lad who started skiing on the slopes above the elasticated Black Sea city when he was 11 . . . before the first ski-lift was installed, never mind Olympic Games paraphernalia.

That umbilical connection gives the former marketing specialis a particular sense of pride in a project confirmed when the charismatic intevention of Vladimir Putin swung the IOC vote in Guatemala City three years ago.

However, it also increases the personal pressure. Chernyshenko is both president and ceo but feels a triple responsibility. He has to succeed for the sake of his friends and his parents, who still live in Sochi. further, he owes his present job to the fact that he ran a successful bid.

“Now,” as he says, “I have to deliver what we invented together. I suppose it serves me right!” More seriously he adds quickly: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any individual to be involved in such a project so I’m grateful to Mr Putin who gave me this opportunity.”

Seven-year timeline

Sochi sits at the centre of the seven-year timeline between the bid success and the Opening Ceremony in February 2014. Chernyshenko says: “Our aim is to deliver not just nice Games but the most innovative-ever Games, mostly through sustainable positive changes. We want to demonstrate that our country is changing a lot and such a project can showcase the new Russia.

“Our success will inspire the world to see how Sochi as a model of how a region can be redeveloped - using the Games as a catalyst to accelerate all the processes.”

This is a theme favoured by politicians in cities and countries of all the so-called “emerging markets” because it means that potential can win a bid ahead of proven capacity.

Russia’s bid to host football’s World Cup in 2018 leans heavily on that message. As Chernyshenko sees it: “Sochi could be considered a good example of how Russia can deliver; indeed, it’s also evident that this is both a great benefit for the regions and a great legacy.

Economic boosts

"Russia can extend our positive experience to other cities for the World Cup. You can imagine the economic and development boosts if Russia could host, for the first ever, the World Cup in 2018.”

Chernyshenko was reviewing his role during a break at the Global Sports Industry congress in London. This was also the city where, coincidentally and maybe appropriately in Olympic terms, he first learned to his own initial disbelief of Sochi’s 2014 bid.

He says: “Actually, I was at a conference at Chelsea in 2005 when someone told me the idea. I said: ‘What? Are you crazy? What are you talking about? My city to host the winter Games?’ Then I met some people who I trust and we talked about it and I realised that this was a project with unique advantages. In fact, it was not the first time Sochi had bid but, in the Olympics, you need to be persistent.”

Persistence, indeed, is paying off.

PARTS TWO and THREE OF THIS INTERVIEW TO FOLLOW


Keywords · Sochi 2014 · IOC · Chernyshenko · 2018 World Cup · Russia · Putin


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