Author Topic: Putin warns Sochi organisers over 2014 Winter Olympics delays  (Read 2522 times)

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Russia cannot afford any delays if it is to meet the huge logistical challenges of hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

Russia received a massive boost to national pride when it won the right to host the Games but now faces the headache of building venues and infrastructure almost from scratch in a Black Sea resort better known as a summer vacation spot.

"I want to remind you that any delays in preparations for the Olympic Games are inadmissible," Putin talk government and sports officials in Sochi, which will host the Games. "Time is precious."

Russia has been rocked by the steepest stock market fall in a decade and last month fought a war with Georgia, which lies just a few kilometres from Sochi.

Some observers have speculated Western states could boycott the Games to punish Russia over the conflict, in which Georgia attempted to retake a separatist region, prompting a massive counter-attack by Russian troops.

Putin, a keen skier who, as then president, played a central role in lobbying for the Games to be awarded to Russia, made no mention of the Georgian conflict or the financial turmoil as he addressed his officials.

Dmitry Chernyshenko, chairman of the organising committee for the 2014 Olympics, said Russia was committed to "conducting the Olympic Games at the highest technical level".