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Olympic officials give thumbs-up to Sochi

September 26, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Workers brave strong wind and snowfall in Sochi.
Workers brave strong wind and snowfall in Sochi. (Mikhail Mordasov / Getty…)

With the Olympic torch relay set to begin this weekend, the International Olympic Committee has given a final vote of approval to Sochi, the host of the upcoming Winter Games.

IOC officials made their last inspection of the Black Sea resort this week, visiting the coastal facilities and the venues in the mountains.

“We often say that there is no time to waste as the clock ticks down to the opening ceremony, and this still stands true,” said Jean-Claude Killy, the former skier who now serves as IOC coordination commission chairman. “But to see how far the local organizers have come over the last six years is quite simply remarkable."

Preparations for these Olympics have been accompanied by reports of delays and cost overruns. With Russian President Vladimir Putin closely involved, the total tab is estimated at a record-setting $50 billion.

The IOC said in a statement that test events have been successfully held at all the competition sites. The Games are scheduled to begin on Feb. 7.

"With 134 days to go until the opening ceremony, we have demonstrated to the IOC that Russia is ready for the Games and only the final touches of our preparations remain," said Dmitry Chernyshenko, Sochi 2014 president and CEO.

The Olympic flame will be lighted at the Temple of Hera in Greece on Sunday and is scheduled to arrive in Moscow on Oct. 6. From there, it will begin the longest relay journey in Games history, with 14,000 bearers helping to carry the torch some 40,000 miles in 123 days.

The route has been designed to try and ensure that 90% of Russia's population will be within an hour of the relay at some stage.

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