rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » IOC boss terms Sochi Olympics as 'excellent'; proved critics wrong

IOC boss terms Sochi Olympics as 'excellent'; proved critics wrong

February 23, 2014 19:35 IST

IOC boss terms Sochi Olympics as 'excellent'; proved critics wrong

     Next

Next

The Sochi Winter Games set records in competitor numbers, medals awarded and quality of venues, keeping athletes happy and proving critics wrong, said International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters hours before the Games closing ceremony, Bach, who presided over his first Olympics after taking over as IOC chief last September, said Russian government support and President Vladimir Putin's personal involvement had contributed to the success.

"We saw excellent Games and what counts most is the opinions of the athletes and they were enormously satisfied," he added.


Image: International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
Photographs: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

     Next

IOC boss terms Sochi Olympics as 'excellent'; proved critics wrong

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The Games had more than 2,800 athletes from 88 countries -- both records -- and featured 12 new events to attract younger fans and more broadcasters than ever before.

However, the Games also saw five doping cases, four more than at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, though Bach it was proof the system worked.

"The number of cases for me is not really relevant. What is important is that we see that the system works."

"It shows that the IOC is serious with zero tolerance because the athletes have been disqualified from the Games."


Image: From left, Russia's Adelina Sotnikova celebrates in first place, Korea's Yuna Kim stands in second place and Italy's Carolina Kostner stands in third place on the podium.
Photographs: Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters
Tags: IOC

Prev     Next

IOC boss terms Sochi Olympics as 'excellent'; proved critics wrong

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

He also said critics who had doubted Russia could pull off hosting such an event would now be convinced.

"You have to ask all those who criticised whether they change their opinions now," Bach said when asked what he would tell critics following the end of the Olympics.

Sochi had undergone an "amazing transformation" from somewhere that looked more like a "Stalinist-style sanatorium city" in the mid-1990s to an Olympic host city with state-of-the-art venues.

"It was terrible then. Seeing it 20 years after this transformation is amazing."

Sochi had launched an unsuccessful bid in the mid-90s for the 2002 Winter Games.


Image: France's gold medalist Martin Fourcade (left) celebrates with brother Simon Fourcade (centre) at the finish area after the men's 12.5 km Pursuit at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Photographs: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Tags:

Prev     Next

IOC boss terms Sochi Olympics as 'excellent'; proved critics wrong

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Before the Games Russia came in for criticism over the country's human rights record and an anti-gay propaganda law passed by Putin's government last year.

There were also claims of corruption after the cost of getting Sochi ready to host the Games spiralled to some $50 billion, while security topped the agenda with Islamist militant from the North Caucasus threatening to attack Russia's first Winter Olympics.

Bach said the involvement of Putin, who had staked a lot of political currency on the successful hosting of the Olympics, had been crucial to push preparations forward. Sochi had none of the venues in place when it was awarded the Olympics in 2007.

Putin watched several competitions, dropped in on the U.S. Olympic team, took photos with volunteers and seemed to relish the spotlight as his nation topped the medals table.


Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Olympic Village Mayor Elena Isinbaeva.
Photographs: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Prev     Next

IOC boss terms Sochi Olympics as 'excellent'; proved critics wrong

Prev     More
Prev

More

"In all big events, a country, also the political leadership, hopefully benefits from the success of the event," said Bach. "This is a legitimate interest.

"Mr Putin had been playing an important role in the preparation of these Games. If that would not have been the case we would have been sitting here in a very different mood."

He said fears that Putin would use the Games to push his personal or political agenda had been unfounded.

"Mr Putin always respected the (Olympic) charter during these Games and I do not remember any kind of action by him where he would step over the border, making gestures or undertaking steps which would not be legitimate."


Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin walks through the arena after the Flower Ceremony for the Team Figure Skating.
Photographs: Darren Cummings/Getty Images

Prev     More
Source:
© Copyright 2014 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.