Russia's Sochi was selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games Wednesday at the 119th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Guatemala, dashing the hopes of Salzburg in Austria and Pyeongchang in South Korea.
Following the opening of the session at 9:00 a.m. local time (3:00 p.m. GMT) Wednesday, each country gave an hour-long presentation of their programs followed by 30-minute news conferences. Russia was the first to give its presentation, followed by Austria and South Korea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was the captain of the Sochi bidding committee, took the audience by surprise, delivering his speech in English and making closing statements in French to honor the two official languages of the IOC. Putin promised sound security for all participants and guests at the Olympics, and snow on Sochi's mountains. “We will do our best to make the games in Sochi secure and pleasant for the athletes, spectators, journalists and guests at the Olympics and Paralympics,” the Russian president said, adding he would make sure that roads around the facilities were not hampered by traffic jams. “Winter sports are very popular in Russia. Our athletes have won many competitions and contributed greatly to the Olympic movement,” Putin said. “But we have never had the honor of hosting the Winter Olympics.”
The president guaranteed that the Olympic facilities would be built on time, and said the government had allocated $12 billion for the purpose. “Particular attention will be paid to environmental issues, infrastructure, and the most modern means of communication,” the Russian leader said. “Seventy percent of participants will be accommodated within five minutes' walking distance from the competition site.” Shortly after the announcement of the bidding results, Russia signed an official contract with the IOC on hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sochi, a resort city on the Black Sea, previously bid for the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, but was rejected mainly due to its poor-quality Soviet-era infrastructure. (rian.ru)