Sochi prepares to host Olympics

BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:02 PM ET

SOCHI, Russia - “Vancouver passes to Sochi,” says the sign on the baggage carousel at Adler Airport.

On-again, off-again construction on the main terminal began in 1989 and finally finished in 2007, thanks to Sochi being chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The “Vancouver passes to Sochi” slogan is repeated on billboards along the two-lane, undivided highway from the Black Sea coast to the Caucasus mountains. Rail and road bridges in various stages of construction criss-cross the Mzymta River. It is those spanners that are key to making the next Winter Games work.

For now, traffic on the old highway often comes to a halt because it can’t pass the slow-moving cement trucks and heavy machinery heading to Olympic construction sites.

VANOC sent 45 executives and managers to impart their Games experience to 200 members of the Russian organizing committee during the June 3-11 knowledge transfer conference hosted by Sochi 2014 in the Krasnaya Polyana mountain resort. The Russians will have their ears open, but they’re also using the occasion to appease the International Olympic Committee and gain international exposure. IOC President Jacques Rogge will be shown a Persian snow leopard Monday and will meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The foundation stone for a Russian Olympic university will be laid. On Tuesday, an Olympic museum will open.

Vancouver didn’t leave a university or museum as its Olympic legacy, but these are going to be different Olympics: Putin’s Games to show the world Russia means business again.


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