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SBD Global/March 4, 2013/Olympics

With One Year To Go, Sochi Is Behind On Construction For 2014 Winter Games

The estimated $50B being spent to prepare the Russian Black Sea resort to host the 2014 Winter Games, makes the $40B spent in readying Beijing to host the 2008 Summer Games look "positively restrained," according to Nicole Jeffery of the AUSTRALIAN. Of that "extravagant total," it is estimated that $265M has been spent on the ski jump venue alone, and it has yet to be finished, "primarily because of an inadequate geological survey, which has left the construction company charged with building the structure struggling to stop it sliding down the mountainside on which it perches above the Mzymta River." Jeffery added that "even travelling through the pre-dawn darkness after arriving on the 4am flight from Istanbul, the destination of most of those billions is obvious." Every one of the 40km between the sea-level Olympic Park and the hub of the mountain venues at Rosa Khutor Resort, "is a construction zone." Russia hopes to use the Winter Games to "reinvigorate the Sochi region and turn it into an all-weather international tourist playground, creating a series of new ski resorts to complement its coastal attractions." Jeffery opined, "There is still much to be done in the year before Sochi welcomes the world's snow and ice athletes, but no one seems to doubt that it will be done." When the rail link to the mountains is completed this year, it "is expected to take just 30 minutes to travel by fast train from the coastal cluster to the Esto-Sadok train station, nestled below the ski jump." That "problematic venue aside, the rest of the mountain venues are all but complete, at least as far as they can be without the co-operation of the weather in providing adequate snow cover" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/4).

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