The IOC is putting up $22.3M to fight doping and match-fixing -- "considered the two biggest threats to the credibility of the Games," according to the AP. IOC President Thomas Bach announced the funding projects on Saturday following an unprecedented four-day "brainstorming session" with his exec board. Bach moved to set his own course for the IOC and push what he calls the "Olympic Agenda 2020." The German said that the board agreed to create a $11.15M fund "to pay for research into developing improved techniques for catching drug cheats." Meanwhile, Bach said that the IOC was also setting up a $11.15M fund "to protect the clean athlete from any kind of manipulation or related corruption," a reference to match-fixing and illegal betting. The move "comes amid increasing scrutiny over the high costs associated with staging the Olympics" -- including the record $50B price tag for the coming 2014 Sochi Games (AP, 12/16).
Russian Meteorological Office Dir Roman Vilfand said that Sochi "will have enough snow for the Winter Olympics in February." Organizers worked out a Plan B, "which included storing 450,000 cubic meters of last year's snow on the slopes through summer and installing what they described as Europe's biggest snow-making system." Vilfand said that "the organizers will probably not need the extra snow because data shows that Sochi will have enough natural snow" (AP, 12/14). ... French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday said that "neither President Francois Hollande nor any top French official will attend the 2014 Winter Olympics" in Sochi. Fabius "offered no explanation for the move." Referring to Hollande and himself, Fabius said, "There are no plans to attend. Top French officials have no plans to be there" (REUTERS, 12/15).