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The Sochi 2014 Winter Games have moved a step closer in recent weeks, with the Alpine skiing courses at Rosa Khutor playing host to both men’s and women’s World Cup events. The International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup stages for men were held at the resort in the Krasnaya Polyana mountain range from 8-12 February, while the women’s competition was held in the following week. And the world’s leading skiers were quick to praise the new course, which will host the Alpine skiing events during the 2014 Winter Games.
"The venue, the mountain, is world class,” said American Bode Miller, who won the Super Combined gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Games in 2010. "It's as nice as any of the places we ever go. I think it's going to be amazing to host the Olympic Games here.”
Women’s downhill world champion Elisabeth Goergl, of Austria, was also impressed by the Rosa Khutor course: "It's got everything in it – really steep parts and jumps and nice, steep turns and flat parts and rolls – so it's an interesting track," she said. "It's definitely Olympic worth."
The World Cup events saw Switzerland’s Beat Feuz win the men’s downhill, while Croatia's Ivica Kostelić claimed the men’s super combined crown and Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch won the women’s downhill title.
And the success of the event led to praise by the men's World Cup director, Günter Hujara.
"We could already have the Olympic Alpine events next week here with this organising structure," he said. “The hill is ready.”
The World Cup events also coincided with the seventh visit of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, with IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy describing the Alpine venue as “one of the most spectacular downhill courses on the World Cup circuit”.
Killy added: “The Sochi 2014 venues and operations will be tested, re-tested and tested again over the next two years. We have now seen two of the most difficult sports events to stage on the winter Olympic programme take place on these new Olympic courses. The fact that the venues have been so well-received is a credit to the five years of hard work undertaken by the local organisers and their partners, their teamwork and their ability to deliver.”