News

IOC eyes games revamp as Sochi opening nears

IOC eyes games revamp as Sochi opening nears

OLYMPICS: Fireworks are seen over the Olympic Park during the rehearsal of the opening ceremony at the Adler district of Sochi, Feb. 4. Photo: Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk

By Karolos Grohmann

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – While Sochi scrambles to get ready in time for Friday’s opening ceremony, the International Olympic Committee cast its eyes past the most expensive Games ever staged and began to look for ways of revamping the global sporting spectacular.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has staked his personal and political prestige on hosting a successful Games and turning the Black Sea resort into a more attractive tourism destination.

Ratings agency Moody’s said in a report on Wednesday that the Sochi Games, which have cost a reported $50 billion, were unlikely to provide much of a boost to the Russian economy.

SPECIAL SECTION: 2014 Winter Olympics

The IOC, who picked Sochi in 2007 despite it having virtually no venues in place, said it was time to take another look at the cost, size and bidding process for the Games.

Several cities have already pulled out of the race to host the 2022 Winter Games amid concerns about rising costs.

Protests in Brazil ahead of this year’s World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics have further highlighted the problems associated with hosting mega sports events.

“We believe we should do more to support better bid cities in their engagement,” IOC Vice President John Coates said at the start of the IOC session on Wednesday.

“Are we not asking too much too soon (from bid cities)? Should the bidding procedure be more an invitation of potential bidders rather than a tender for a franchise? The cost of the bids concerns us all,” the Australian said.

TEETHING PROBLEMS

The discussions, part of the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 launched by President Thomas Bach, comes as athletes arrive en mass at the Black Sea resort.

While organizers continue to deal with teething problems including accommodation issues and an outcry over the fate of stray animals being rounded up in Sochi, teams were already hitting the training facilities.

For one new Olympic event, friendship will outlast the competition.

American slopestyle snowboarder Sage Kostenburg told Reuters he hoped the sense of friendship with his fellow competitors would not melt away when qualifying begins on Thursday in the new event aimed at attracting a younger audience.

“I really hope not, we’re all pretty good friends and we get on well, so it would be a shame if all that was to change and everyone turned up tomorrow all serious,” the 20-year-old said, grinning.

“Obviously I would be so stoked to win an Olympic medal, but just the fact that slopestyle is in the Olympics for the first time is so sick. Not many people get to do this, you know?”

For some snowboarders, however, the focus is on the Olympic course that has already claimed one victim.

Norwegian slopestyler Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone on Monday and the course has since been modified after athletes expressed concern.

“The big jumps are very big, especially for the girls,” Russia’s Sarka Pancochova told reporters after Wednesday’s practice runs.

“We are very little, we have 30 kilograms difference to the guys. It’s hard to get the speed you need. It’s just a game, we have to figure it out.”

(Additional reporting by Alan Baldwin and Philip O’Connor; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Recent Headlines

31 mins ago in Local

Sheriff’s Department: Gorge rangers will be big help for safety

Fresh
Sheriff-car600

Two new gorge ranger positions were approved by Town of Ithaca officials in a meeting Monday.

44 mins ago in Local

Cortland County woman arrested after assaulting baby

Fresh
cindy petrella

Cindy Petrella of Cortland County is accused of shaking the 4-month-old child and causing a brain injury.

2 hours ago in Local

Despite being “short-changed”, TC3 president hopeful for easier budget talks

TC3

Tompkins, Cortland county lawmakers to consider more than $41 million budget in coming month

4 hours ago in Local

New York AG accuses Domino’s of wage violations

David James serving up some #RockFuel with Domino's Pizza whilst taking a break from presenting for BT Sport at the Isle of Wight Festival

Featuring: David James
Where: Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
When: 12 Jun 2014
Credit: Supplied by WENN.com

**WENN does not claim any ownership including but not limited to Copyright or License in the attached material. Fees charged by WENN are for WENN's services only, and do not, nor are they intended to, convey to the user any ownership of Copyright or License in the material. By publishing this material you expressly agree to indemnify and to hold WENN and its directors, shareholders and employees harmless from any loss, claims, damages, demands, expenses (including legal fees), or any causes of action or allegation against WENN arising out of or connected in any way with publication of the material.**

AG Eric Schneiderman says Domino's franchise stores underpaid workers; company says lawsuit disregards the nature of franchising

5 hours ago in Local

Driver injured after car winds up in ditch in Newfield

sheriff

Accident happened just before 10:30 p.m. Monday night on Connecticut Hill Road