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Critics Question Russia’s Ability to Host 2014 Winter Olympic Games

1. March 2010 by Christy 0 Comments

Now that the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games have come to a close, the pressure is on for Russia to successfully host the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Though Olympic officials are happy with Sochi’s progress to date, some observers are skeptical about Russia’s ability to host the next Games.

One major concern is the Olympic facilities. Sochi must build all of the facilities from scratch at a cost of around $7 billion. Critics wonder if there will be enough money to support the massive construction projects and if workers can finish the projects on time. Senior Canadian IOC member Dick Pound says yes.

"It's so important for Russians that they will not allow it to fail,” he said. “Whatever has to be done will be done."

Sochi mayor Anatoly Pakhomov agrees. "This is a historic event for Sochi," he said. "We understand it is a huge responsibility for Sochi and for Russia and we can't let anyone down.”

To date, the city has raised $1 billion in sponsorship revenues, a record, and foresees no budget shortage.  Approximately 16,000 workers are working seven days a week to construct the facilities which Sochi promises will be ready two years in advance.

Another concern is safety. Sochi is in a volatile region, just north of the separatist Abkhazia region in neighboring Georgia. However, Sochi organizing chief Dmitry Chernyshenko says there is no reason to worry.

"Sochi has been the safest city in the country, the summer residence for the president and prime minister," he said. "This is a rather calm city. The government is doing everything to protect this region from any risk."

Sochi is a summer resort town in Russia's Krasdonar region and is home to approximately 500,000 people. 2014 will be the first time Russia hosts the Winter Olympic Games.


Source: Seattle Times