Sochi 2014 moves into Games-delivery phase
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission paid its fifth visit to Sochi, Russia, this week and confirmed today that preparations for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games are moving quickly into the Games-delivery phase.
Sochi organisers are now fully focused on bringing the Games operations to life after the successful conclusion of the first sports events — international Alpine skiing competitions — here last month.
The Coordination Commission, chaired by Jean-Claude Killy and supported by IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli, held meetings from 21 to 23 March, which provided members with a full update on the progress of preparations for the next edition of the Winter Games.
Speaking after the event, Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy said: “Once again, we’ve seen great progress during our visit to Sochi. I was privileged to be able to attend the very impressive first test event held here last month. It allowed the Games organisers to learn many lessons for the future, and we can see these already being integrated into their planning.
“On the construction front, the initial vision for the transformation of the region is starting to materialise, with infrastructure and venues rapidly rising from the ground. The mascots have been selected, and planning is reaching a new level of detail. Sochi 2014 is starting to bring its Games vision to life, and is delivering on the legacy of improving the living conditions in the region through bringing infrastructural and environmental improvements.”
During the visit, the Commission was able to see first-hand the advances being made on the sites of the Alpine skiing slopes and the sliding track.
Following the site visit, Killy said: “It is with great satisfaction that we saw how compact these Games will be, thanks to the efforts that have been made to scale them down and bring all the venues into a very condensed area in the mountain cluster. This has helped from a financial standpoint, and will also facilitate the operations for athletes and spectators alike. The Games are fundamentally about sport, but they are also about construction, transformation and legacy, and those four elements are starting to take shape quite nicely now. I have no doubt that Sochi 2014 will deliver a fantastic Olympic experience for all those attending the Games.”
The Commission identified four priorities that the organisers must continue to focus on over the coming weeks and months:
— Identifying, recruiting and training the workforce for the Games will require a nationwide effort, and providing accommodation for that workforce and visitors to the Games remains a top priority.
— A precise staff relocation plan was presented to the Commission, outlining the large numbers of people who will soon be moving from Moscow to Sochi. This is an important and symbolic step in making the Games even more of a reality for the local population.
— Olympic-related transport infrastructure will be of the highest quality, but the planning to ensure a top-level client experience within the transport system is crucial to the success of the Games.
— Finally, the great ambition of the local authorities to create a year-round centre for tourism is becoming a reality. It is the entire hospitality industry that must be mobilised.
The President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, said: “We have made significant steps forward across all areas, including construction, environmental, legacy and commercial aspects in our preparations for the Games. I am delighted to be able to say that, with just under three years to go until the Games, 40% of the planned construction work on the Sochi 2014 venues is complete.
“I am convinced that Sochi 2014 will leave an incredible legacy for tomorrow and is already delivering a legacy today, benefitting the Olympic movement, the Russian people and the wider world. Much of that legacy is to be found in our commitment to innovation across all Sochi 2014 activity. For example, new, innovative construction standards are being implemented in Sochi now and we are already setting new standards in environmental protection.
“Sochi 2014 is also acting as a catalyst for the development of a barrier-free environment and will change the attitude of our society towards people with a disability. The Games is already a catalyst for pioneering the development of a volunteering culture in Russia. Our country is already experiencing this legacy as a direct result of the Sochi 2014 Volunteer Programme”.
The Commission also received updates on a variety of topics, including venues and infrastructure, product and experience, International Federations and sport, National Olympic Committee and athlete services, media services, the Paralympic Games, marketing and sponsor services, Games operations and services, communications, the environment, culture and education.