Jubilant Sochi begins Olympic work

The victorious Winter Olympics bid team has arrived back in Russia to begin the real work of building venues. Sochi has to construct, from the scratch, the majority of the 11 sporting complexes needed for the games.

In order to keep a close eye on progress, organisers are providing live online monitoring of all the Olympic construction sites. In this way, IOC members will be assured that preparations will be complete by 2014.

Sochi's bid was dubbed the 'Gateway to the Future', and now it's officially open.

The Russian government has vowed to invest billions of dollars in Sochi's infrastructure to hold what it says will be ‘the best Winter Olympics in history’.

The International Olympic Committee handed Russia the games in the second round of voting at their 119th IOC session in Guatemala. During the first round of voting Sochi received 34 votes, South Korea's Peyongchang got 36 votes and 25 votes went to Austria's Salzburg. The city with the least amount of votes was excluded. Sochi then beat Peyongchang to the finishing line, by gaining 51 votes to 47.

President Vladimir Putin personally presented the candidacy, making an exception to speak English publicly.

Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee, says Sochi won because it was better “in persuading the members that they can rely on three essential issues: well-known quality of Russian sport, in the top three in the world; total commitment of the Russian government and President Putin and the legacy this project is going to leave for the city and the region.”

Into the early hours thousands of Sochi residents celebrated what is seen there as the biggest victory. And today is an official day off in the city.

The bordering countries, Georgia and the republics of North Ossetia and Abkhazia said that Sochi's win is a major breakthrough and it will develop the southern Russia and the neighbouring countries, which certainly do whatever they can to assist Sochi in preparing the Olympic Games 2014.  

And after arriving back in Moscow from Guatemala, the Russia's leader expressed his delight at the decision.

“I congratulate all sports fans in Russia, actually all Russian people, on this happy and important occasion. Our city of Sochi has been chosen to host the Winter Olympics in 2014. This means not only that Russia's prominent standing in sports has been recognised, but also that Russia itself has been recognised as a country. With its economic growth and social programs, it has gained approval from one of the most influential and independent international organisations, namely the International Olympic Committee. Preparation for the Olympic Games in Sochi will surely stimulate further development of the South of Russia,” Mr Putin said.

Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber has also welcomed Sochi's victory, congratulating Vladimir Putin during his three day visit to Moscow.

“I want to congratulate you on this victory to host the 2014 Winter Olympic bid in Sochi.  I've noticed that it is now topic number one in Russia. I congratulate Russia and you personally with this victory,” he said.

Even before the results were announced, it was said by Russian officials that in any case, new sports venues will be built in Sochi. Along with a number of changes that will be seen here within the following years, a new Olympic stadium, new skating-rinks will appear on the Black Sea coast.

Figure skating World Champion Maria Butyrskaya says Russia will benefit from the games not only by attracting tourists from around the world, but also by boosting youth sport.

“The country will gain a lot. First, besides my beloved city of Moscow there will be another city, a resort where tourists from different countries may come – it means big money. Many countries literally live on revenues from tourism. For me as for a sportswoman, most important is that children will watch the competitions, will choose their idols and kinds of sports and will try and achieve their goals. The more material, the easier the choice and an opportunity to bring up champions. As a coach, I am convinced about this,” Maria said.

In addition, according to the officials, the transportation system in the city will change. Sochi has a huge problem with traffic and during the high season, which lasts here from May to September, the whole city gets stuck in traffic jams because of narrow streets. And as it has been promised, the roads will be expanded, bypasses will be built.

It is also expected that realty prices will rise and a lot of elite houses will be built in Sochi. Even today the land prices are higher than they were yesterday, before the results were announced.

Moreover, Sochi's victory will mean a lot of investments into the region within the next 5-7 years, which is something local residents are looking forward to.  

Eric DePoy, from Russia's Alfa-Bank, says all sectors of economy, but especially construction business, in Sochi will benefit from hosting the Olympics.

“What is construction? There is road building, there is cement producers, companies that make cables for electric networks. But it touches very much other sectors: you have consumer and retail, for example, telecommunications, Comstar, for example, Golden Telecom. I mean it really will touch broad range of sectors and companies, the deeper you go the more opportunities there are,” Mr DePoy believes.

And other experts are pretty sure about the success of Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“I think they are going to succeed. Most people in the country are in favor of Russia putting on the Games. I don’t think that any body would want a failure in Sochi in 2014. So they will spend the money. They’ll bring in the people they need to build it. And it will be done,”Malcolm Gray, a journalist from the Maclean's News Magazine commented.

“Russia deserves this. It is a country which is coming out on the world stage, it is coming over a long period of historical development. Joining the world community and opening up, a challenge like this to get ready, to bring in all those events and all those people – I think that's just the thing for Russia and that it will have a real positive effect on Russia and the world,” added another journalist, Fred Weir from the Christian Science Monitor.

Earlier, RT voter revealed our website visitors' sympathies for Sochi. 72% of those who have voted on RT website thought that Sochi would be chosen to host 2014 Winter Olympics.