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13 Aug, 2012 09:06

London Games role model for Sochi 2014

The London Games have been crucial to the Sochi 2014 organizing committee, who say they’ve learnt a number of vital lessons in the British capital.

The London Olympics have come to an end and eyes will now turn to the Russian city of Sochi as the Black Sea resort prepares to host the next Winter Games in just eighteen months.“150 specialists from the Sochi 2014 organizing committee are learning from the experience of the London 2012 organizers,” Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi 2014 organizing committee president, told RT. “And of course the way our colleagues treated the challenges they faced deserve only high marks. This is what we have to bring to Sochi.”

Those challenges included ticketing issues at the start of the Games. There were empty seats at some venues, however the problem was quickly resolved.

Secondly there were concerns about traffic congestion in the center of London, but that didn’t turn out to be a problem.

That was in no small thanks to the thousands of volunteers, who guided people to and from venues.

Sochi organizers have taken comfort from the fact that the development of the Black Sea resort is similar to the development of the Olympic park in London. “Like in Sochi, London renovated the most depressed region of the city into a region with a well-developed infrastructure,” Chernyshenko said. “In Sochi, we are creating a new city in the middle of nowhere which will turn Sochi into a year-round resort and international winter sport destination.”

What to do with the venues after the Olympics is always a key issue. In London, many will be used for years to come and if they are not they will be removed. And that’s also something Sochi organizers want to copy.“It’s not only new roads, airports, power stations, hotels and venues, airports and roads. It’s much more beyond,” the official stressed. “We are going green in construction, we have changed the attitude towards people with disabilities and we created volunteerism as a culture that didn’t exist in the country before.”

According to London Mayor Boris Johnson, once the Queen Elizabeth Park fully reopens after the Olympics it will attract 9 million people a year and will become one of the top 10 must-see sights in the city.

Russia’s Olympic chiefs are eager to repeat the overwhelming success of the British capital.

They leave London believing they now have everything required to make Sochi one of the best Winter Games in history.