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Volume 6 No. 212


Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President & CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko told SBD Global Sochi's hotel situation is meeting all IOC requirements. He said, "It’s worth noting that the IOC has required that 41,467 hotel rooms be available for participants and guests in the Sochi area, and Sochi 2014 is meeting this demand." The hotel situation has led to some worries at the various winter national governing bodies and sponsors as many of them have been unable to secure hotel rooms for next year's Winter Olympics. Sochi, located on the Black Sea coast, is one of the "largest and most famous summer resorts in Russia" with more than 4 million annual visitors. The construction process of turning this summer vacation destination into a winter-sports mecca is well underway, and Chernyshenko said "delegations from National Olympic Committees are guaranteed accommodation."  He added, "Hotels for IOC members, international sports federation members and journalists are in walking distance to the venues." Chernyshenko also mentioned in the mountain cluster, which will host events such as alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh and ski jumping among others, "hotel complexes are being built." He said, "These hotels are operated under well-known international hotel brands: Radisson, Park Inn, Mercure, Heliopark and others. By 2014, room capacity will increase to 5,736 rooms." The city of Sochi, as a popular vacation place, already has a number of hotels operated by int'l hotel chains such as Kempinski, Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott, to mention a few. The transformation of Sochi into a winter-sports destination is taking shape as it welcomed "around 500,000 visitors" during the past winter season.

The Brazilian government "had hoped that a comprehensive overhaul of the public transport system ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics would leave the city with vastly improved services," according to Sarah Murray of the FINANCIAL TIMES. But after countrywide protests triggered by national fare increases this month, there "is scepticism whether even this huge investment will be enough to provide public transport that is both affordable and accessible." The protests forced São Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin and Mayor Fernando Haddad to abandon a rise of nearly 7% in public transport ticket prices, while in Rio, "authorities also reversed an increase in fares." Rio's "planned investments include the extension of subway lines and, with World Bank funding, the upgrading of the urban rail system." At the heart of the Rio scheme "is an innovative transport network that will cover more than 150km." The Bus Rapid Transit system "is based on similar systems pioneered in the Brazilian city of Curitiba and refined in Bogotá, the Colombian capital." However, behind the rapid development of Rio’s BRT "is more than infrastructure investment and transport innovation." Politics "has played a role, with municipal, state and federal governments aligned politically for the first time in decades" -- if only long enough to secure the right to host prestigious int'l sporting events. Brazil Country Dir for the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy Clarisse Linke said, "The Olympics created a huge opportunity for the city to move forward with transport. But we only got the games because of this alignment of political powers." She and others add that "a lack of co-ordination remains a problem, as illustrated by a continuing failure to connect the various parts of Rio’s transport system." Linke said, "There’s a total lack of communication between the secretariats that are planning and implementing each system. What ends up happening is a 'war of modes' -- rather than looking at how all the systems can feed into each other and communicate" (FT, 6/25).

Transport for London's annual report said that it has paid £1.5M ($2.3M) in bonuses to senior staff "for the successful delivery of the Olympics," according to Gwyn Topham of the London GUARDIAN. The transport body, which operates the capital's tube and bus networks, said that it would pay deferred bonuses because record passenger numbers and reliability in '12 meant "excellent management had really delivered." Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy led the way with a £319,000 ($489,000) bonus on top of his £331,000 ($507,456) salary. However, salaries for several directors of Crossrail -- far from operational at the time of the Games -- "rose above inflation." Crossrail CEO Andrew Wolstenholme pocketed more than £600,000 ($919,860), including pension contributions and a £123,000 ($188,325) bonus for eight months service in '11-12. Paralympic champion and TfL remuneration committee Chair Lady Grey-Thompson said, "London's transport network had a record-breaking year, with hugely improved reliability and tremendous support for a successful London 2012 Games under the gaze of the world" (GUARDIAN, 6/26).

According to surveys conducted by the IOC, the Madrid 2020 Olympic bid has 76% popular support in Madrid and 81% in the rest of Spain, figures lower than they were for previous Olympic candidacies. Madrid's 2012 bid had popular support from 93% of the Spanish population, while 96% supported the city's bid to host the Olympics in '16 (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 6/26). ... Some of the world's top athletes, both current and former, will descend on Singapore starting Wednesday to take part in the IOC Athletes' Forum beginning Thursday (STRAITS TIMES, 6/26).