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Sochi Olympics energizes economic growth, say Russian experts

September 27, 2013, 23:22 UTC+3

Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko also pointed out the favorable tendencies stimulated by the Sochi Games

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SOCHI, September 27 (Itar-Tass) - Large international events can wield influence on the economic development of a country and its separate regions as much as the general economic processes, experts said Friday at the Sochi’2013 investment forum.

As an instance of this influence, they cited the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, preparations for which have catalyzed many encouraging changes in Russia’s southern Krasnodar territory and boosted its positions in the international arena.

Sport Minister Vitaly Mutko also pointed out the favorable tendencies stimulated by the Sochi Games.

“Whatever the sports event, it isn’t a goal in itself for us,” he said. “We can definitely state today an increase of people’s engagement in sports.”

“A person doing sports at least three times a week stays on sick leaves four days less than those who don’t do it,” Mutko went on. “We can speak today about a hike of people’s engagement in mass sports. And this means an economic effect of 35 billion rubles /slightly over a billion U.S. dollars - Itar-Tass/ nationwide.”

As of the moment preparations for the Sochi Games were kicked off the number of people doing winter sports has grown noticeably. Mountain skiing alone attracts almost 500,000 fans.

Alexander Zhukov, the President of Russia’s Olympic Committee believes that the Sochi OIympics have given an impetus to reconsidering many environmental issues, to the introduction of the first state standard for environment-friendly construction works, and to the implementation of numerous programs aimed at maintaining the unique environment of the Sochi area.

“Our main goal was to make Sochi a resort for holidaymaking all year round and we definitely managed to do it,” Zhukov said.

The Olympic project has made it possible to build quite a number of high-class facilities - more than 200 components of transport infrastructure, educational institutions, hospitals, cultural and sports facilities, more than 1,500 km of new engineering supply lines and electricity transmission lines, more 360 km or roads and bridges, and 42 new hotels with a total of 27,000 rooms.

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