Rubble and dust mask Games splendour, Sochi on track

SOCHI, Russia Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:47pm IST

Snow guns are seen near a track in Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort at the Aibga Ridge, part of the complex of facilities to be used for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

Snow guns are seen near a track in Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort at the Aibga Ridge, part of the complex of facilities to be used for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, November 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Amid the dust and the rubble, and the rumbling, wheezing construction vehicles, it takes a fair stretch of imagination to picture Sochi's Winter Olympic playground in its pomp.

But ignore the landscape of lorries and cement mixers hauling materials up and down the sometimes unmade roads.

Ignore the gangs of workers in concrete-encrusted boots work on embryonic scaffold-clad buildings.

Ignore too the main stadium which sits mid-construction, its yawning innards bared to the skies. Because most other venues are complete, or near completion, and organisers say they are bang on schedule.

With 15 months to go before the February 7 Opening Ceremony, although the venues nestle in a Black Sea resort mostly resembling a building site, nothing suggests any concern over readiness.

Construction will be completed by August 2013, organisers say. At that stage work will be halted on some commercial properties to begin the much-needed beautification of the area. The commercial buildings will then be finished once the Olympic party has left town.

"We have to postpone finishing the commercial properties in the city because we want the city to look good," Sochi native and organising committee president Dmitry Chernyshenko told reporters in Sochi this week.

"Those who won't be able to finish by August will have to wait not to harm the environment because we will clean and purify the city to prepare for the Games, and then it will continue after the Games."

Certainly scruffy buildings will have no place on the canvas for a Russia hoping to use the Sochi Winter Olympics to showcase itself much the same way China used the 2008 Beijing Games.

"Beijing was presenting to the world the Chinese can-do," International Olympic Committee member Kevan Gosper said.

"Russia, as Russia, is now making a new presentation of itself to the world, following the long history of the Tsarist and Soviet times," the Australian added.

"You can see at first hand the can-do attitude which is now known as the new Russia, 23 years after the break-up of the Soviet Union. The 2014 Games will mark the new Russia's 25th anniversary."

The 2014 Winter Games will take place in two centres, the Coastal Cluster along the Black Sea shore in the Imeretinskaya Valley and the Mountain Cluster in Krasnaya Polyana.

Between those two Olympic clusters, 98 events in 15 winter sports will be held during the Feb 7-23 extravaganza.

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Reuters Showcase

Markets Weekahead

Markets Weekahead

Column - Caution advised in a trader’s market  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

RBI seen holding rates steady on Tuesday, minority of analysts expect cut  Full Article 

GDP Revised

GDP Revised

Economic growth revised up by almost 50 percent  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Hingis wins Australian Open mixed doubles title with Paes   Full Article 

Houston's Daughter

Houston's Daughter

Bobbi Kristina Brown revived after found unresponsive in tub  Full Article 

India Art Fair

India Art Fair

Art fair turns India's capital into art hub.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Rahasya" is an ode to Agatha Christie.  Full Article 

Review: Hawaizaada

Review: Hawaizaada

Movie Review: Hawaizaada  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage