Russian President Vladimir Putin has staked his personal and
political prestige on hosting a successful Games and turning the
Black Sea resort into a more attractive tourism destination.
Ratings agency Moody's said in a report on Wednesday that the Sochi
Games, which have cost a reported $50 billion, were unlikely to
provide much of a boost to the Russian economy.
The IOC, who picked Sochi in 2007 despite it having virtually no
venues in place, said it was time to take another look at the cost,
size and bidding process for the Games.
Several cities have already pulled out of the race to host the 2022
Winter Games amid concerns about rising costs.
Protests in Brazil ahead of this year's World Cup and the 2016 Rio
Olympics have further highlighted the problems associated with
hosting mega sports events.
"We believe we should do more to support better bid cities in their
engagement," IOC Vice President John Coates said at the start of the
IOC session on Wednesday.
"Are we not asking too much too soon (from bid cities)? Should the
bidding procedure be more an invitation of potential bidders rather
than a tender for a franchise? The cost of the bids concerns us
all," the Australian said.
The discussions, part of the IOC's Olympic Agenda 2020 launched by
President Thomas Bach, comes as athletes arrive en mass at the Black
While organizers continue to deal with teething problems including
accommodation issues and an outcry over the fate of stray animals
being rounded up in Sochi, teams were already hitting the training
[to top of second column]
For one new Olympic event, friendship will outlast the competition.
American slopestyle snowboarder Sage Kostenburg told Reuters he
hoped the sense of friendship with his fellow competitors would not
melt away when qualifying begins on Thursday in the new event aimed
at attracting a younger audience.
"I really hope not, we're all pretty good friends and we get on
well, so it would be a shame if all that was to change and everyone
turned up tomorrow all serious," the 20-year-old said, grinning.
"Obviously I would be so stoked to win an Olympic medal, but just
the fact that slopestyle is in the Olympics for the first time is so
sick. Not many people get to do this, you know?"
For some snowboarders, however, the focus is on the Olympic course
that has already claimed one victim.
Norwegian slopestyler Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone on Monday
and the course has since been modified after athletes expressed
"The big jumps are very big, especially for the girls," Russia's
Sarka Pancochova told reporters after Wednesday's practice runs.
"We are very little, we have 30 kilograms difference to the guys.
It's hard to get the speed you need. It's just a game, we have to
figure it out."
(Additional reporting by Alan Baldwin and Philip O'Connor;
by Peter Rutherford)
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