Killy: Progress in Sochi but much to be done

March 13, 2013

Jean-Claude Killy and IOC inspectors gave their approval of the progress in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games after a two-day visit.

Killy, the head of an International Olympic Committee inspection group, said Wednesday that recent tests at 10 of the Olympic venues have gone well and ''the feedback from sports federations has been mostly positive.''

The IOC inspectors have seen ''a great deal of progress, but there is still a lot to be done,'' Killy said. ''We are completely sure of the professionalism and expertise of the people here.''

Concerns about Sochi's preparations were underlined last month when President Vladimir Putin ordered the firing of the deputy head of the Russian Olympic Committee over delays and huge cost overruns in building the ski jump.

The games begin in 11 months.

Cost estimates for the Sochi Olympics and related development of the region - which Russia hopes to transform from a little-known resort area into an international visitor magnet - have reached almost $50 billion, making them the most expensive games.

Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, the top government official overseeing preparations, appeared eager to deflect questions about the expenditures, stating at the news conference that the core operational costs of the Sochi Olympics would be similar to other Olympics, factoring in inflation.

Kozak also said the government was investigating what legal options it has to cap costs of airline and railroad tickets to Sochi during the games.