Jean-Claude Killy On Sochi 2014
From 12 to 14 October, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Coordination Commission for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games was in the Russian Black Sea resort to check-up on progress. Olympic.org caught up with the Commission’s Chairman, French Olympian Jean-Claude Killy, to see how preparations are advancing.
Olympic.org: As Sochi reaches the half-way point in its preparations, how is the project looking overall?
Jean-Claude Killy: We have been very pleased with the amount of energy and work that the Sochi 2014 organisers and their partners have committed to the Games over the past three years. We are now at almost exactly the half-way point in the preparation period, and they are precisely where they need to be with the project. This is no small feat given the amount of work that needs to be completed. However, as I’ve said since our first meeting here, the entire Sochi team needs to keep up this pace and not lose its concentration because we still have a lot to do before we can welcome the world’s best athletes to the Games in 2014. I am confident though that our Russian colleagues will deliver great Games.
Olympic.org: What do you think will make these Games stand out from previous Winter Olympics?
Jean-Claude Killy: I think that one of the key differences will be the contrast of having a city with palm trees hosting the ice events and then only 40 minutes away the mountains with the snow and sliding venues. We had a taste of something similar in Vancouver but here in Sochi the change is even more remarkable. I believe that the main stand out though will be the welcome of the people. Since I’ve started to visit Sochi and the Krasnodar region, I can safely say that I’ve received one of the warmest and friendliest welcomes that I’ve ever been given. The Russian people have a real sense of hospitality and I hope that this will shine through during the Games in 2014.
Olympic.org: As an Olympian, how do you think the athletes of 2014 will like the Games here in Sochi?
Jean-Claude Killy: I believe that the Olympic generation of 2014 will be delighted with their Sochi experience. The local organisers and their partners are doing everything that they can to make these Games truly exceptional. The athletes will be able to compete in state-of-the-art venues, live in close proximity to their competition venues, and discover a culture that for many of them will be relatively unknown. It will also be an historic event in which to participate, as the Olympic Winter Games come to Russia for the first time, and its winter sports mad public will finally be able to come out and show their support for the world’s best winter athletes. The Olympians of 2014 will, I am sure, not be disappointed.
Sochi was elected as the host city for the XXII Olympic Winter Games at the 119th IOC Session in Guatemala City on 4 July 2007. Sochi won the vote against the cities of Salzburg (Austria) and PyeongChang (Republic of Korea) in the second round of voting. The Russian city edged out PyeongChang 51 votes to 47, with Salzburg having been eliminated in round one. The Sochi Games will play host to the seven Olympic Winter sports currently on the Olympic programme and will run from 7 to 23 February 2014.