The Alpine skiing legend, who is Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Sochi 2014, has witnessed first-hand the power of the Games to transform a host city, having been Co-Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville in 1992.
Since hosting the Games, Albertville and the Savoie region of France have enjoyed a number of legacies, including new sports venues, roads, railway links and hotels, as well as the modernising of existing facilities.
“Today, if you drive past Albertville on the highway, you still see the five Olympic rings on the road,” explains Killy. “They are an integral part of the highway and it’s our way in Savoie of saying ‘thank you’ to the Olympic Games for everything they brought us.
“You can see the benefits everywhere, such as the snowmaking equipment, lifts, roads, the railway, the venues and the fibre optics that are used every year, and even the capacity we discovered after the Games to work together throughout the Savoie valley – all of this still persists today and is recognised as coming from the legacy of the Games.
“Together, Savoie and Haute-Savoie is the biggest ski territory in the world and it’s all thanks to the Games that it is recognised as such.”
Having witnessed the preparations for the 2014 Winter Games in close proximity, Killy knows that Sochi can enjoy similar long-term benefits in the coming years.
“Sochi will be the same,” he says. “I am sure they will be as totally positive in the years succeeding the Games.
“If you look at Rosa Khutor, it will link with all the other ski resorts in the area. You will be able to ski to all of them and that will be a legacy of the Games. They have also applied for World Cups and World Championships and the Olympic Park will likewise host a number of major sporting events in the coming years. This is a way of developing sport in the region and that will be seen in Sochi after the Games.
“This is very exciting, especially for people like me, because we are able to leave something behind thanks to the power of the Olympic Games and the dedication of the organisers.”