Chernyshenko hails “truly great Games" as Sochi 2014 reaches halfway point
As the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games reach the halfway stage, Organising Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko has hailed the “truly great Games” that are taking place in the Russian resort.
"As we always believed likely during our preparations, these are proving to be truly great Games,” he says. “The atmosphere at the Games is very friendly, sport fans welcome each other in all sorts of languages and 550,000 people have already visited the Olympic Park to join the festival of sport.
“I’m delighted that the athletes have spoken so highly of the organisation of the Games and thank the fans for their incredible support.”
Athletes praising the Games have included Dutch speed skater Bob de Jong, who said: “The atmosphere is great. The village, the rooms, everything is perfect. And it is all very Russian. I like that.”
IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli has also revealed his pleasure with the Games so far, declaring that feedback from partners, International Federations, National Olympic Committees and athletes had been extremely positive.
“From day one, we have been only happy with what has happened with the organisation and the fluidity of the operations,” he says. “We can only comment on the excellent work done by Dmitry and his team. Really, the feedback we got from many people is excellent.”
So far, more than one million tickets have been sold for the Games, with fans from 124 countries gathering in Sochi to support the athletes and create what Chernyshenko called an “electric” atmosphere. Record television viewing figures have also been witnessed in many markets around the world, while more than five million people have visited the Sochi 2014 website.
Sporting highlights from the first week have included France’s Martin Fourcade winning two biathlon gold medals, Germany sweeping the luge events and Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu breaking the world record score for a figure skating short programme.
With around 60 medal events still to be contested, Chernyshenko is looking forward to further highlights during the second week of the Games.
“As of now, 38 medal sets have been already awarded, but there is surely more incredible sport yet to come,” he says.
“The most exiting part, I think, is ahead and we, as Russians, are all dreaming about the finals, especially in the ice hockey, which could be the most dramatic moment of the Games.”