Sochi rallying nation behind Games as Coordination Commission wraps up 6th visit
LAUSANNE, September 15, 2011 - The IOC Coordination Commission for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games today concluded its sixth meeting in Sochi, Russia (12-14 September), noting the good progress being made at all levels, in particular measures to generate interest in the Games across the country.
Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy said: "We have been very impressed with the way the organisers have proactively reached out to people in every corner of the country to make them feel part of the Sochi Games. The 2014 fan club is now well and truly in place across this great nation."
Some examples of this can be seen in Sochi 2014's Cultural Olympiad, which will hold 850 events this year, with an anticipated reach of over one million people, while Sochi's education programme is seeing lessons on the 2014 Games being taught to 140,000 schoolchildren in 30 cities.
On the volunteer front, 26 "hubs" have been set up at universities around Russia, where prospective volunteers are trained and provided information about the Games. Killy and IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli, who met with the rectors of the volunteer hubs during the visit, said the programme will leave a great legacy for the nation and the Olympic Movement in Russia.
The country and city are also benefiting from the catalytic effect of the Games in terms of tourism, elite sporting events, and participation in sport. These trends should continue for the foreseeable future with over 60 test events planned before the 2014 Games.
With 55,000 workers on the ground, all of the Olympic venues are now under construction, and the Commission was impressed with the progress it saw on its tour of the Olympic Park. It also underlined the ongoing importance of ensuring that the focus remains on the timely delivery of Olympic sites, as well as the good work that has been carried out in the field of the environment and sustainability. The Commission noted the importance of the continued cooperation with partners such as UNEP in this field.
Sochi 2014 is now in the operational planning phase of its preparations and the organisers showed a good understanding during the meetings of the task ahead and have developed some innovative tools to help them in their work. The Commission heard reports about services for the athletes, International Federations, National Olympic Committees, media, and the Paralympic Games amongst others. Updates were also received on Sochi's transport plans, accommodation, activities and operations at the Olympic Park, and the spectator experience concept, which will all play an important part in ensuring a great Games experience for visitors in 2014. With only 877 days remaining and given the complexity of the Olympic project, the Commission once again underlined that there is no time to lose.
Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, said: "I am delighted that the IOC Coordination Commission has confirmed the strong progress made by Sochi 2014. There is still plenty to do but it is encouraging that they feel we are in good shape and that they have highlighted the work we are doing to engage people right across the country."