Putin spoke at last week’s meeting marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Olympic Committee that was attended by IOC President Jacques Rogge and other international sports officials.
Putin thanked Rogge for a “fruitful” cooperation and promised that guests coming to the Sochi Olympics and other events will see a new Russia, a “country with a millenium-long history, which is developing steadily and is aimed toward the future.”
Rogge said at a separate meeting that organizers of the Sochi Olympics were doing “excellent” work and that the preparations for the games are on schedule.
Rogge is in the Black Sea resort for meetings of the European Olympic Committees. The IOC head was taken on a tour of the venues Thursday by Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of Sochi’s local organizing committee.
Rogge said he witnessed remarkable changes since his previous visit to Sochi 18 months ago.
Jean-Claude Killy, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for Sochi, said the preparations were on schedule and the Sochi Olympics will be a “grandiose event.”
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said construction of all facilities of Sochi’s mountain cluster will be completed this year.
He said they will play host to international ski, freestyle and biathlon events next February and March.
“These national and international competitions will allow us to taste the greatness of the future grandiose event and at the same time test the personnel and main Olympic facilities,” he said.
Kozak said the government may consider subsidizing loan rates for some private investors involved in Sochi construction projects. He added it wouldn’t entail any significant increase in costs.
SUDDEN STAR: Jordyn Wieber’s days of being able to blend in with the crowd are over.
The world gymnastics champion still takes two classes a day at DeWitt (Mich.) High School, allowing her some semblance of a “normal” teenage life. Her friends at school aren’t gymnasts, and most people outside her social circle have little idea of what she’s doing when she disappears for days at a time.
But Wieber’s cover was blown when she returned from the world championships in Tokyo, where she won the all-around gold and helped the Americans to the team title.
“Right when I walked in to school, everyone was lined up in this long hallway,” Wieber said.
“It was a little bit different because usually I try to blend in at school.”
PRIZE MONEY: Canada’s Olympic medalists won’t be the only ones getting a bonus.
Medalists’ coaches will now get cash from the Canadian Olympic Committee, beginning with next summer’s London Games. A gold medal will be worth $10,000, a silver $7,500, and a bronze will bring $5,000; the medalists receive twice that.