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SBD Global/October 14, 2013/Olympics

Sochi's Fisht Olympic Stadium Unfinished Four Months Ahead Of Opening Ceremony

At first, Sochi's Fisht Olympic Stadium "was meant to resemble a giant snowflake," according to Ivan Nechepurenko of the MOSCOW TIMES. Then, the design "morphed into two parallel mounds of snow." But a roof had to be added for the Opening Ceremonies, "turning the stadium into something looking more like a ski slope." With less than four months before the Sochi Olympics, "Fisht is not any of those things yet." The stadium consists largely of a mammoth white frame that juts out toward the sea, "standing in stark contrast to the five other finished venues that now dominate the landscape of the Imeretinskaya Valley." It "is the only major Olympic facility still under construction." Blogsochi.ru editor Alexander Valov said, "They haven't even started to paint the walls inside or lay floors on the concrete staircases." Started in '09, Fisht "was supposed to be finished by this summer." But the completion date has now been pushed back to the end of the year "due to safety-driven alterations in the design and a desire to produce an exceptional opening show Feb. 7." The stadium's building contractors also face blame for the delays, "with a government agency last year accusing them of intentionally impeding progress to create leverage in negotiating prices for their work." Over the four years since planning began, "the stadium's cost has reportedly more than doubled," to over $750M, while one observer says it now costs more than $1B (MOSCOW TIMES, 10/10).

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