Sochi Hotels Still Incomplete, IOC Urges Response
Published: February 3, 2014 (Issue # 1795)
SOCHI — The IOC is urging Russian Olympic organizers to move quickly to resolve the issue of accommodations that are not ready for accredited media personnel in the mountains outside Sochi.
According to the Sochi organizing committee, only six of the nine media hotels in the mountain area are fully operational.
Some media have arrived and found they had no place to stay, and thousands more journalists are expected to arrive Monday.
The matter was examined Sunday at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee executive board.
"There are still some issues to be solved as always just before the games," IOC President Thomas Bach said. "We are in contact with the organizing committee and we hope that the situation will be solved in the next couple of days."
The Russian government has spent $51 billion on the Olympics in the hopes of turning the Black Sea summer resort into a year-round tourism destination.
While pre-games attention has focused on cost overruns, threats of terrorist attacks and the Russian law banning gay "propaganda" among minors, the hotel situation could become an embarrassment for local organizers.
Organizers estimate that up to 6,000 media will be arriving in Sochi on Monday. About 11,000 media overall are expected to be covering Russia's first Winter Games.
IOC vice president John Coates of Australia said he was expecting an update on the situation from Sochi organizers. "It's obviously very important," he said.
IOC press commission chairman Kevan Gosper took the issue to the executive board and was working with Gilbert Felli, the executive director of the Olympic Games, in discussions with Sochi organizers.
"We've alerted them that a lot of people are coming in and particularly of the difficulty still in the mountains," Gosper said. "They are aware it's a serious issue."
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