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Rubles roll for Sochi Olympics

Rubles roll for Sochi Olympics
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Sochi is getting a face lift for the Winter Olympics in 2014. There’s a lot of construction going on around the subtropical resort city on the Black Sea.

The biggest building sites are for infrastructure. It really needed it because it stretches out for 40 km of coastline. The other major spots are where sport installations are going in.

The Fisht Olympic Stadium is where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held and the medals awarded. There’s still a lot of work to do on it.

Other emplacements are ready, like the Bolshoi Ice Palace for the hockey.

The Iceberg Skating Palace will be for the figure skating. The city will host all the events that are held indoors.

It won the Olympic bid in 2007 partly on the basis of being just 50 km from the Caucasus Mountains.

That’s where President Vladimir Putin went to inspect yesterday – where the outdoor events will happen. The government has spent lavishly on this, providing at least half the money needed.

The Sochi Games will be the most expensive in history so far, costing a projected 36 billion euros, because so much has had to be created from scratch. Vancouver 2010 cost 1.4 billion and Turin in 2006 3.4 billion.

Sochi’s budget has shot to 500 percent of what it meant to spend in the first place. That’s one of the reasons the president has been taking a personal interest.

He is playing this openly, to all appearances, according to a state broadcast conversation with his deputy, Dmitri Kozak…

Putin: “You’re more than two years behind.”

Kozak: “Yes.”

Putin: “Are costs rising?”

Kozak: “Yes, seriously.”

That’s just at the ski jump, which should have been finished two years ago. It’s cost eight times what they thought it would, bringing the price to 200 million euros. The number two man in the Russian Olympic Committee, Akhmed Bilalov, was sacked today.

At least the Sanki bobsleigh and luge run is ready. At more than 1,800 metres long, it has broken a world record.