Saturday July 7, 2007
If we are still living in Russia in the year 2014, the winter olympics would be in our neck of the woods... Sochi is a beach city located about 2 hours drive from our city, Krasnodar.
It's Sochi 2014: Russia lands its first Winter Olympics
GUATEMALA CITY - Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi was awarded the 2014 Olympics yesterday, rewarding President Vladimir Putin and taking the Winter Games to his country for the first time.
Sochi defeated the South Korean city of Pyeongchang, 51-47, in the final round of voting by the International Olympic Committee.
The Austrian resort of Salzburg was eliminated in the first round of the secret ballot, setting up the decisive head-to-head contest between Sochi and Pyeongchang.
Pyeongchang led the first round with 36 votes, followed by Sochi with 34 and Salzburg with 25. Sochi picked up 17 votes in the second round to secure the victory.
The result was a triumph for Putin, who put his international prestige on the line by coming to Guatemala to lobby IOC members and lead Sochi's final formal presentation to the assembly. Putin had left by the time the result was announced.
IOC president Jacques Rogge opened a sealed envelope and read the words the Russians longed to hear:
"The International Olympic Committee has the honor of announcing the 22nd Olympic Winter Games in 2014 are awarded to the city of Sochi."
Russian delegates in the hall erupted in cheers, jumped to their feet and hugged each other. They unfurled a Russian flag and chanted, "Sochi! Sochi!" Korean delegates bowed their heads, some in tears.
"It was a historic decision for all countries," Sochi bid chief Dmitry Chernychenko said. "Russia will become even more open, more democratic."
In Sochi, cheers erupted from the crowd of more than 15,000 that had gathered for a pop concert and the announcement in a main square. "We did it all together. We won," the concert's announcer said from the stage as fireworks flashed and boomed.
People hugged and waved their hands in the air. Some appeared to have tears in their eyes.
"It is great. I've never been so happy in my life," said Marina Matveyeva, 23, who works in a bank. "It means that Russia has reached the level of Europe, and we can be proud of our country."
Russia, an Olympic power that has won 293 Winter Games medals, has never hosted the Winter Games. That was a strong point in Sochi's favor with the IOC, which likes to spread the Olympics to new host countries. Moscow hosted the 1980 Summer Games, which were hit by the U.S.-led boycott following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The Sochi bid won out over the appeals of its rivals - Salzburg, presenting itself as a safe, no-risk winter sports mecca at the heart of Europe with world-class venues already in place; and Pyeongchang, offering the potential for peace and reconciliation on the divided Korean peninsula and promoting winter sports in Asia.