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Putin cancels New Year holidays for officials responsible for Winter Games

November 29, 2013, 12:44 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Krasnova

MOSCOW, November 29. /ITAR-TASS/. On Thursday, exactly 70 days before opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia’s president inspected the sports facilities and said almost all of them were practically ready for the Games, the work had been done well. Experts say: Sochi-2014 is an important image project for Russia, which explains a close attention from the head of the state to the preparations.

The Olympic Games’ 297 facilities are ready fully. They include a Mountain Carousel sports-tourism complex, which is a key Alpine skiing facility of the Games. Other 89 facilities are ready by 90-95 percent. Russia has spent about 50 billion dollars for construction of the Olympic facilities in Sochi.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who supervises the Olympic construction, stresses all the facilities should be put operational before 2014. By the end of the year, all the construction equipment should be removed from the sites, and the workers should receive all due payments.

One of the topics the winter athletes are discussing is whether there will be snow in Sochi in February, as the city ashore the Black Sea is in the sub-tropical climate zone. This week, pouring rains continue along the shore. The forecast says about a possible thunderstorm on Friday. The president and his retinue inspected the Olympic facilities from under umbrellas.

Director General of the Krasnaya Polyana mountainous facility Vitaly Tkachenko assured athletes and fans: there are three variants to ensure snow at the facilities. For example, for the Russian Hills ski jumping complex the organisers have reserved 30,000 cubic metres of snow at a special storage, which is at the height of two thousand metres. The facility has a system for making snow. Besides, there is a system of making artificial snow of water: the system is using two reservoirs of 5,000 cubic metres of water each.

Sochi’s another problem is periodic failures of electricity supplies. Thus head of the Sochi-2014 organising committee Dmitry Chernyshenko told the media electricity would come to the Olympic facilities from two independent sources: “So, even if an impossible happens - the electricity goes off - the broadcasts would not stop.”

The Olympic Games will be broadcasted by 90 television companies to 123 countries, where the television audience is several billion. The broadcasters will use most up-to-date equipment, and even dirigibles and helicopters to get best foreshortenings of the Olympic competitions. It will be for the first time that recording of the Olympic Games will be made in the Super High Vision format, Chernyshenko said: “It means resolution twice higher than that used in cinema houses, the signal is by 16 times clearer than in the well-known HD format.”

The Games’ curators pay special attention to ticket prices. “Tickets to the Games in Sochi should be affordable for people with different levels of income,” Vladimir Putin said.

Officials reported to the president that 75 percent of the tickets to competitions would be sold to Russian citizens. Over 65 percent are sold out already, and traditionally 15 percent of the tickets will be on sale during the Games. Ticket holders will use the public transport for free on the day of competition.

The city of Sochi will freeze for the term of the Games the accommodation prices. The hotel, which Vladimir Putin inspected in Sochi, will charge 65 dollars a night, breakfast included.

At the same time, Vladimir Putin warned the officials against euphoria, stressing the final stage was most responsible. The president made an unpleasant surprise to the officials saying their New Year 2014 would begin on March 18, as the Paralympic Games were over in Sochi. “Everyone involved in implementation of this large-scale, grand project should realise it,” the president said.

“For any country, hosting the Olympic Games is the means to raise trust to the country, means to attract bigger tourist flows. This is a global PR exercise. For example, the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing last year became a triumphant demonstration of China’s new economic trend,” Andrei Kortunov of the Russian Council on International Affairs told Itar-Tass.

“The Olympic Games is a major event for most people in the world. By having gained for Russia the right to host the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Vladimir Putin implements the interests of most Russian and foreign fans of sports. Besides, the Olympic Games always raise a mass information outburst, interest to the hosting country, which is of great importance for Russia’s image,” Aleksey Podberyozkin of the Moscow Institute of Foreign Relations stressed in an interview with Itar-Tass.


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