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Errors Aside, Sochi Seen as a Success

Published: February 26, 2014 (Issue # 1799)



  • Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, spoke about the unifying power of the Games at the closing ceremony on Feb. 7.
    Photo: Ramil Sitdikov / RIA NOVOSTI

SOCHI As President Vladimir Putin declared the 2014 Winter Olympics closed on Sunday, the International Olympic Committees president said the Sochi Games had proven critics wrong and praised the Russian presidents handling of the event.

We saw excellent Games and what counts most is the opinions of the athletes, and they were enormously satisfied, Thomas Bach said.

Concerns over possible terrorist attacks, botched facilities, unfinished hotels and human rights seemed all but forgotten as soon as the Games kicked off with a lavish opening ceremony and proceeded smoothly, with athletes unanimously expressing satisfaction.

But by the end of the Olympics, several incidents threatened to put Russias newly polished image to the test, with political turmoil in neighboring Ukraine and an embarrassing video of security officers beating Pussy Riot members in Sochi at risk of overshadowing the Games success.

Just as Russia achieved the impressive feat of topping the Olympic total and gold medal count showing the best result the country has had during all Winter Olympics Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted amid violence and chaos in nearby Kiev. The images of a nervous and confused Yanukovych addressing the nation in a video in which he refused to recognize the parliament that had just voted to impeach him stood in stark contrast with the image of him cheerfully waving the Ukrainian flag weeks earlier at the opening ceremony in Sochi.

The turbulent power reshuffle in Ukraine prompted speculation about how it would reflect on Russia, with some saying Yanukovychs removal could prove embarrassing for Moscow.

Russia faced a sporting disappointment earlier on, when the national mens hockey team failed to win, continuing the losing streak that has plagued Russias signature sport for decades.

Three-time Olympic champion and legendary goaltender Vladislav Tretiak said he was sad the Olympics were wrapping up, but he did not think the hockey defeat was the end of the world.

I hope that after the end of the Games, all sports facilities in Sochi will be used and will serve our people, and we can still win in hockey one day in the future, he said, walking along the seaside in central Sochi.

Visitors to the Games seemed equally wistful that the festivities were over, but most said it was an experience that they would not forget any time soon.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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