Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President Chernyshenko Says Security Is Top Priority
The requirement of obtaining a spectator pass in order to enter Olympic events and the Olympic Park at next year's Sochi 2014 Winter Games has raised some concern, but Organizing Committee President & CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko told SBD Global the process is similar to buying an airplane ticket. He said, "The process is very simple and straightforward -- ticket holders will be asked to provide similar data to what is requested when buying tickets for a flight, for example." In order to acquire such a spectator pass, ticket holders will have to provide personal data such as their passport information, address, photo, potentially banking information, etc. Asked if the data to obtain a spectator pass might invade a person's privacy, Chernyshenko said, "The state is responsible for ensuring the safe hosting of the Games, and it is its top priority." He added, "The spectator pass will be necessary to all ticket holders in order to gain entry to sporting events, Games ceremonies and the Olympic Park. The spectator pass will help to ensure the secure, hospitable and friendly atmosphere of the Games in Sochi." The organizing committee tested the spectator pass issuing system during test events in Sochi such as the biathlon World Cup and the World Junior Hockey Championship. The tests were a success as a total of 40,000 spectator passes were issued. Chernyshenko said, "I personally passed the whole procedure to get my spectator pass and tested it at the biathlon World Cup this March. As for the Games, [the] spectator pass will be a memorable souvenir and will allow all spectators at the Games to enjoy their visit to the sporting and cultural events in maximum comfort."
HOT TICKET: Should the spectator pass not discourage some from attending the Sochi Games, the hefty ticket prices could do the trick, especially for int'l visitors. The Moscow News reported recently that "it could cost you up to $10,000 -- or even more depending on the kind of package you end up getting." However, despite this news, Chernyshenko said he is "extremely pleased with the results" of the ticket sales. The ticket sales for Sochi 2014 began on Feb. 7 via the Games' official website, www.sochi2014.com. Chernyshenko said, "In the first week since the start of ticket sales for the 2014 Games, the demand for them has exceeded expectations. For example, the website for ticketing during this period reported more than half a million unique visitors. In the first hours after the start of ticket sales, up to 7,000 applications were processed every minute." He added, "Ticket sales are already active all over the world, including the U.S., Great Britain and Germany." Tickets for Sochi 2014 are on sale in 89 countries, and so far 30% of ticket sales have been int'l. The most popular events of int'l buyers are hockey, speed skating, alpine skiing, biathlon and cross-country skiing. The distribution of seats at the venue sites began on June 1 for all tickets purchased during the period from Feb. 7-May 31. As of August, fans will be able to buy tickets with the respective places. Main ticket centers will open in Moscow and Sochi in the fall.