Saturday, October 25, 2014

President of Russia

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Meeting following the inspection of Olympic facilities

Meeting on the preparations for the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 in Sochi.

1/7 Photo: the Presidential Press and Information Office Full captionFull caption|||Minimise

Following a two-day inspection of the Olympic facilities, Vladimir Putin held a meeting on the preparations for the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 in Sochi.

The meeting participants discussed, in particular, the social, engineering and transport infrastructure that has been built in Sochi, issues pertaining to holding the competitions prior to and during the Olympics, and hosting athletes and guests.

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Speech at meeting on the preparations for the Olympic Games in Sochi

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Good evening, colleagues.

We will talk today very briefly about the state of the readiness of our Olympic facilities. Yesterday, we already spoke in detail about the mountain and coastal clusters. Just now, we inspected the coastal facilities. Yesterday, we toured the ones in the mountains. And naturally, we must acknowledge that one year before the start of the Games – which will begin on February 7, 2014 – we are entering the final stretch of our preparatory work.

Let me stress that sports fans in our country and from around the world will be paying close, intensive attention to more than just the course of these sports competitions. They will also be assessing how well Russia prepared these events. How responsibly we have approached the fulfilment of our obligations which, as you recall, we took on in 2007 in Guatemala, when the Sochi Olympics were just a dream we shared.

Over the last five plus years, we have certainly done a great deal to make this dream a reality. We worked to ensure that today, twelve months ahead of the Games, we can be certain that our Olympic project will be implemented fully and on time, according to the necessary standards.

Today, all the sporting facilities are ready for test competitions to be conducted. I should note that the facilities where test competitions have already taken place received very high assessments from both athletes and international experts. We were just talking to some heads of international federations here in Imeretinka, and their opinions are positive.

"Sports fans in our country and from around the world will be paying close, intensive attention to more than just the course of these sports competitions. They will also be assessing how well Russia prepared these events."

We still have to have about 40 more trial competitions before the start of the Games. I must note that we have already held 38 such test competitions, and we must do 36 more of them.

Half of them are international-level competitions. Incidentally, we are holding two or three times more of these competitions than the previous hosts of the Olympics, thereby setting a certain national record, which generally speaks to the level of our preparations.

Another positive element I would like to point out is the logistics for transporting guests and athletes. We all remember that this was our competitive advantage for the bid. We presented it as such in the Bid Book and I am certain that members of the International Olympic Committee paid attention to this when they made their decision in favour of Sochi. The 2014 Sochi Olympics will be the most compact Olympic Games. It will take only half an hour to get from the coastal cluster to the mountain cluster via the Adler-Krasnaya Polyana railroad or highway. That is four to five times faster than in other Olympic cities.

Granted, this is not about innovations and records. By creating the infrastructure for the upcoming Games, we focused primarily on their legacy for Krasnodar Territory and for all of Russia. As we implemented the Olympic project, we resolved a number of issues that are very important for this part of Russia. Approximately 370 kilometres of roads and bridges are under construction in the region, as well as over 200 kilometres of railroads and nearly 400 kilometres of gas pipelines.

"The 2014 Sochi Olympics will be the most compact Olympic Games. It will take only half an hour to get from the coastal cluster to the mountain cluster via the Adler-Krasnaya Polyana railroad or highway."

By 2014, this area’s energy capacity will grow 2.5-fold, and the generation will take place here, instead of most energy being supplied via high-voltage lines over the mountains, as was the case until recently. The local residents have been regularly experiencing power supplies failures due to broken power lines. I hope that with these power generating plants and transforming stations going into operation (eight stations, power plants, and two gas pipelines laid one on the bottom of the Black Sea and another across the mountains), Sochi’s residents will finally forget about constant winter power outages.

Russian athletes will now have training centres for all winter sports which will be open to both professionals and amateurs.

Overall, Sochi will go from being a summer resort known only within our country to a world-class, year-round business, athletic and tourist centre with an international airport, dozens of comfortable, modern hotels, and recreational and healthcare facilities.

Those are precisely the goals we pursued. It is important that we have just about achieved them. However, in order for our success to be complete, we still have to work intensively, doubling our efforts. Not everything is as great yet as we would like it to be.

"Sochi will go from being a summer resort known only within our country to a world-class, year-round business, athletic and tourist centre with an international airport, dozens of comfortable, modern hotels, and recreational and healthcare facilities."

Yesterday, I met with International Olympic Committee officials. Our colleague and friend, since we have all become friends with him, the person who supervises preparations for the Olympics on behalf of the IOC, Mr Jean-Claude Killy once again reminded us that the last phase is the most critical and most important. I believe he is absolutely right. You know, in the past, he was an outstanding alpine skier. He said, you can pass every gate, but if you allow yourself to make a mistake at the very last one, the result will be a bust. We cannot allow this kind of result under any circumstances. The last phase is the most crucial.

Now our Olympic project has entered the operational readiness stage. The construction phase is nearly complete, so we are entering the phase of resolving organisational problems, challenges pertaining to conducting competitions and receiving participants and guests, to transport, security, and the reliable function of entire municipal infrastructure. We can only solve them through coordinated, proper actions by all participants in this large-scale event, this enormous project.

But as we saw yesterday, the construction in the mountain cluster still requires some work. Not everything is complete and we still have to work hard. This is the final phase but there is no point to panic; even at facilities where we are slightly behind schedule, everything can still be sorted out, but we must make adequate effort and keep working hard.

The State Commission for preparation and holding of Olympic Games was set in January. We did this in order to take coordination of our project to the highest possible state level.

Today, I propose that we hear a report on the readiness of the athletic facilities and the entire Olympic infrastructure overall. We should then discuss all existing issues in detail.

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