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Sochi to be 'best Olympics ever'

The Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 stands a good chance of being the best games of all time. That's the upbeat assessment of Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov and top IOC official Jean-Claude Killly.

The two men held high-level talks at the Black Sea resort, focusing on Russia's preparations for the Games

Killy, who's heading the Olympic Committee delegation, said he had full confidence in Russia's strategy for the games. He said he admired the management approach, including the commitment shown by Russia's head of state.

Russia has never hosted the Olympics as an independent country before. The closest it came was during the Communist era, when Moscow held the Summer Games in 1980.

But the country's strong track record in winter sports makes it a natural to host the Olympics.

Private participation

Following the triumph in Guatemala, the city of Sochi has kicked off a new working stage to prepare for the Games. The government has pledged US$ 12 billion to transform Sochi and the surrounding area with private companies footing some of the bill.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to co-operate closely with private investors, including foreign ones.

“When choosing contractors, no difference should be made according to so-called national characteristics. Cost and quality are the key factors here,” Putin said.

The project includes eleven up-to-date Olympic facilities, highways, hotels and hospitals. Russia thinks seven years is enough time to realise the plans.

Winter sports boost

The main focus of the building effort will be the ski resort of Krasnaya Polyana, which is to be connected to Sochi by a subway line.

The government says all this funding is not only for the Olympics, but also for the region’s inhabitants. They want to turn the Black Sea resort into a world-class sporting venue.

The country still doesn't have mountain sports facilities and Sochi’s victory will help to construct them, boosting winter sports in Russia.