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SBD Global/February 6, 2014/Olympics
IOC Eyes Games Revamp; Hotel Owners Strike Back, Claim Facilities Finished
Published February 6, 2014
NEGATIVE REACTION: BUSINESSWEEK's Stephen Wilson reported the possibility of changing the system "drew a mostly negative reaction, with members stressing that the Olympics enjoy a special status of taking place in one city." Canadian member Dick Pound: "One of the unique aspects of the Olympic Games is the unity of time and place. It's not an event made in a television studio. It's what happens on the ground. We should be very careful about destroying that." The view "was echoed by Israeli member Alex Gilady." Gilady: "If we go to a country, we will lose the Olympic Village. The Olympic Village is perhaps the most important uniqueness of the Olympic Games." Two athlete members, Australian rower James Tomkins and swimmer Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, "also opposed any change." Coventry said that athletes "would lose the 'level of competition' they are used to in a single host city" (BUSINESSWEEK, 2/5).
HOTELS FINISHED: REUTERS' David Ljunggren wrote owners of one major complex, "irked by stories of unfinished hotels just days before the Sochi Olympics are due to start," took reporters on a three-hour tour on Wednesday "to prove they were ready for visitors." Even as the tour wound its way around the brand new paved streets and buildings of the Gorky Gorod complex in the mountains, workers "were busily hammering, sanding, soldering wires in lamp posts and installing garbage bins." Russian state lender Sberbank Deputy Chair Stanislav Kuznetsov: "In principle all the work is done ... the hotels are now preparing for the arrival of guests and that's why you see people doing small jobs and cleaning up" (REUTERS, 2/5).
NO ECONOMICAL BOOST: REUTERS' Keith Weir reported ratings agency Moody's said that hosting the Winter Olympics at great cost in Sochi "is unlikely to give the Russian economy a big boost." Moody's: "While the central government can comfortably accommodate its share of the cost, the reputational benefits of hosting the Olympics have been undercut by the high cost of the event and other bad publicity." It rated the Games "a credit nuetral for Russian debt" (REUTERS, 2/5).
SAFER SLOPESTYLE: One of the most prominent critics of the Sochi Olympic slopestyle course said Wednesday that "he had been won over by changes to improve safety." Finnish men’s snowboard medal contender Roope Tonteri said the course was “sketchy,” “not really safe” and no fun for riders. Following training Wednesday on the revised track, Tonteri said the course was now “really good.” He added, “The jumps are perfect, but I didn't do any of my hard tricks yet” (R-SPORT, 2/5).