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28 Jun, 2007 18:07

Most Russians believe Sochi will get 2014 Olympics

With less than a week to go before the decision is made on which city will host the Winter Olympics in 2014, preparations in Sochi, a popular resort in southern Russia, are in full swing. The latest polls suggest two-thirds of the Russian population are c

Russian President Vladimir Putin also believes Sochi has every chance of winning. Speaking at a meeting with representatives of the ‘United Russia’ party at his residence in Novo-Ogarevo, he said the party had a part to play in promoting and implementing strategic reforms for the area.

“One of our ambitions is to develop the south of the country. And winning the bid to host the Olympic Games in Sochi would be a good impetus.  But irrespective of whether we win or not, although I believe we have every chance to do so, we will continue with our programme. The money has already been allocated – it’s $US 12 BLN. And half of that is private investment, which will bring returns. The other $US 6 BLN is to rebuild the infrastructure,” Vladimir Putin said.

German Gref, the Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade, highlighted the city's advantages.

“We are building a large number of sports facilities from scratch, which means world renowned architects are able to share their experience. This means these facilities will be the world's most modern. We have rolled up our sleeves and are working every day to meet the highest standards. Every day we work to prove to the organising Committee that we are the best,” Mr Gref said.

With a passion to win in the air, Sochi attracts some extraordinary characters.  The Gipsy Kings, who have seduced the world with their music and dance, have travelled all the way from the South of France to support the  bid.

“We have travelled the world and we ourselves live in Marseilles, but this place is incredibly sunny. And the people here are great. If we were to compose a song about Sochi it would be a Gipsy-Russian one, and we would dedicate it to the Olympics,” the band’s lead singer says.

Security has been heightened and hundreds of policemen continue to arrive in Sochi as the tourist season gets underway.

Olympic fever has spread to the younger generation as well. And in the lead-up to the vote in Guatemala every voice counts, however young it might be. From the kids to the Government, preparations for the bid are seen as a challenge that has united the country.

The results of the vote in Guatemala will be announced at 3pm local time on July 4 and festivities are set to continue deep into the night.

Depending on whether Sochi wins or not, the organisers have two plans for how the evening will pan out – the ‘Yes’ plan and the ‘No’ plan.

But in Sochi they believe in the ‘Yes’ plan.