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Interview with Ed Hula

Ed Hula, the Editor-in-Chief of “Around the Rings”, joined Russia Today to weigh up the chances of Sochi's winning the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Russia Today: How do you consider Sochi's Olympic bid?

Ed Hula: Sochi, I believe, has the strongest bid in terms of the support it has from the government. It has more to build than any of the other cities and that is a weakness for the Sochi bid.  On the other hand, the only way to overcome that kind of an obstacle is if you have the resources, and the Russian government, President Putin, others have made it very clear that the government is backing this bid and will do what's needed financially so that the facilities are there for the Olympic Games.

RT: Were you surprised that the three cities have the same total of 83 out of the possible 110 points?

E.H.: Not at all because, as I say, these cities are running a very close race. In a lot of ways they are comparable, they are equally capable of holding the Olympic Games. But when you start slicing them up there are some areas where one is stronger than the others and when you combine all those figures and come out with a tight score that says “Hmmm, I guess we were right that this is a close race”.

RT: Previous rankings put Salzburg ahead of the game and now, in this ranking, Salzburg has come down and Sochi has come up. How do you account for this?

E.H.: For Salzburg it is in a category that I call “Bid operations” where they highly managed the bid, highly operated the bid and the past few months have not been kind to Salzburg because one of their key partners, the Austrian Olympic Committee, put the bid in hot water over the Turin bljod doping scandal. In the case with Sochi, why it has risen up, I think it has got very good ratings from the IOC Evaluation Commission which visited in February. We considered the comments of the IOC Evaluation Commission in our last index.

RT: In the time that we have been talking I get this feeling from you that the IOC is not going to base its decision simply on technical matters, that there is something more emotional. Would you say that this is the case?

E.H.: When the games are rewarded there is more than just staging the Games, there is more than just organising the venues making sure that all are in an operation. There is the spirit, there is the excitement, there is the passion, it is supposed to come along with the Olympic Games. And the city has to be able to ignite that passion.

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