Winter comes early to London
At today’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in London, the future hosts of the Olympic Winter Games – Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 – both made presentations outlining the development of their projects.
Led by their Organising Committee Presidents, Dmitry Chernyshenko and Jin Sun Kim, respectively, the two delegations showed Olympic projects at very different stages of development, with Sochi 562 days away, while PyeongChang’s Organising Committee was founded less than a year ago.
The Sochi experience
The Sochi 2014 presentation looked at a number of different areas of progress. They showed some impressive images of the advances being made in venue preparation, with events already taking place in the mountain cluster, and the coastal venues already well on their way to completion. Sochi will host 22 sports events this coming winter in order to make sure that all venues are fully tested before the Games in 2014, where 98 medal events will be held. Sochi 2014 is also focusing on the less tangible aspects of the Games, with many volunteers signing up for the Games, a small number of whom will be in London to gain experience; a very successful Cultural Olympiad, which is expected to reach one million people this year; live sites set up in 15 cities for London 2012; an Olympic Torch Relay plan that will reach all the regions of Russia and cover nine time zones; and Russia.Sochi.Park, where the Sochi delegation will help interested visitors learn about its project.
IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy also spoke about the changes taking place on the Black Sea coast, when he said: “The metamorphosis of Sochi and its region continues. Progress is considerable and we can only be impressed by the developments made over the last 12 months. This year alone, the building sites linked to the organisation of the Games have provided work to up to 55,000 people per day! Most of the venues should be delivered on schedule, and we can say, with confidence, that the competition venues that will host the athletes participating in the Sochi Games will be extraordinary.”
One year on
Having been founded only in October last year, the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG) presented the efforts that had been made in its first year of existence in order to give the 2018 project the best base possible from which to build. Despite the short time frame, POCOG has already created the structure for the Organising Committee; seen a special act established for the Games by the government; seen work start on a high-speed train track that will link Seoul and the host city; and the first steps have been taken to start building and designing the Olympic venues.
Commenting on PyeongChang’s project, Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg underlined the unity behind the 2018 project: “POCOG will be able to rely on very strong support from central and regional governments, including a large number of secondees. The unity between all key stakeholders shown during the candidature has clearly materialised on the ground over the last 12 months and this is a very positive signal for PyeongChang’s Olympic project.” She concluded by congratulating POCOG for its work: “Congratulations, POCOG, on the initial steps taken over the past year - we are glad to witness the materialisation of very promising and inspiring new horizons ahead of us and ahead of you!”