Interview with Vyacheslav Fetisov

Vyacheslav Fetisov, the chairman of the Russian Federal Agency for Sport and a renowned ice hockey player, spoke to RT minutes after Sochi won the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Russia Today: Congratulations, first of all, it's been a long journey. How does it feel to have finally crossed the finish line?

Vyacheslav Fetisov: It's an unbelievable feeling. When it came to the presentation and the announcement and Jacques Rogge said “Sochi!”, wow, it was unbelievable!

RT: What were those final few moments like, I saw the team linking hands on the front row, nervous they've been, the worst you've ever experienced, I imagine?

V.F.: But we've been feeling like a team from the beginning. We started this race more than 18 months ago and have been slowly building up confidence in each other, and today the presentation of Sochi by the President of our country gave us even more confidence, and we feel we did everything we could to promote Russia and we want to invite the Olympic family to Sochi, to the showcase the new country, new people, new hospitality. At the same time all this is based on big old tradition of hospitality, in sports and in our culture in general, especially with those who live and work in Sochi.

RT: Several times today in your presentation you referred to 'new Russia'. Russia has changed a lot over the years. Everybody who comes now and who maybe visited it 10 years ago can see a very different country. Do you think it's a chance to show to the world what Russia is like now?

V.F.: Definitely. Sports is probably a showcase of the possibilities of the country which hosts the Olympic Games. It was a tough race, the competitors were very strong, but again it's the leadership of our President and credit to him. Maybe it is not possible to calculate what outcome the Olympic Games will bring but it is an important region for Russia. I've been to six Olympics, three times as a sportsman, once as a coach and twice as a minister, and I feel that we can make the best Olympics in the history of the movement. We are going to work hard.

RT: Russia has already been the most successful sporting nation in winter sports without the facilities. What kind of level can now Russia achieve, with all this support going in?

V.F.: We've got a big heart and a big soul, this is what we were trying to present to the IOC members. We are a pretty competitive nation, and we have shown it within the last 50 years since we began to participate in winter sports. Our country has won more medals than any other one in the course of these 50 years. We want to be competitive, we want to host different competitions, we initiated the Kids Eurasian Games, kids from all the Eurasia came to the Russian city of Irkutsk and had a great time there competing with each other. We want to announce that in our country sport is a peacekeeper, that it truly unites people, not only in the country but in the whole world.