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IOC praises Sochi 2014 for successful first week
February 14, 2014 10:54 AM
SBJ's Tripp Mickle and Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch assess the first week of the Sochi Olympics.
“From day one when they turned the key to start last Thursday, we have been only happy with what did happen with the organization and fluidity of the operations,” said Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s executive director of the Olympic Games. “We have been able also to see that where little issues didn’t work fully as expected at the beginning, it has been corrected very quickly. … We are pleased.”
Felli said that transportation has been “on time, precise” and easy to navigate; the atmosphere in venues is “great;” and the weather, which has been sunny and in the 60s, is “beautiful,” which makes operations easier.
Sochi 2104 has sold 1 million tickets for competition so far and transported 1.3 million spectators (see chart). As of Thursday morning local time, it had completed 79 events and awarded 37 of the 98 medals that will be given out for the Olympics.
Sochi has not been without its critics. Norwegian IOC member and marketing commission chair Gerhard Heiberg told the Associated Press that he was disappointed by the lack of atmosphere in the venues.
“The TV pictures are wonderful, the competitions are wonderful, the venues are great, but I feel a bit the lack of enthusiasm and the joy of sports,” Heiberg said this week.
Felli acknowledged concerns before the Games about the atmosphere but said the IOC had been pleased with the enthusiasm of the spectators.
“The two or three first days of the Games people are looking at each other trying to understand what has happened and then they start to mix, to go together, and then the atmosphere starts to create, so that’s in every Games a bit the same,” Felli said.