Fresh Sochi Plans for London Olympics
Sochi 2014 president and CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko. (ATR)
(ATR) Sochi 2014 president and CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko tells Around the Rings
he is confident of winning planning approval for an ice skating rink and pavilions to promote the Winter Games during London 2012.
Russia’s plans for an ice rink and temporary arts and culture pavilion promoting Sochi 2014 at Marble Arch courted controversy and were rejected by Westminster City Council in October.
Expected to attract 8,150 visitors per day, the plans drew opposition from police and transport authorities over traffic congestion, security and environmental concerns. Planners said the venue would be vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
Speaking to Around the Rings
on the sidelines of the ATR
Newsmaker Breakfast in Moscow on Monday, Chernyshenko said his team had submitted revised plans to Westminster Council that included building a ice skating rink in Hyde Park in central London.
Explaining that the plans were similar in scale to previously submitted plans, the Sochi 2014 chief said he hoped to reveal the full scope of the concept next month. "We just moved it to a less busy location. We respect the concerns of the council and police.
"We will still have some presence at Marble Arch."
"We will still have some presence at Marble Arch," Chernyshenko said of the London landmark. (Getty Images)
Chernyshenko said the ice skating rink would offer twice daily performances, including shows such as Russian ballet on ice and Sleeping Beauty.
"It is part of our contribution to the London Cultural Olympiad," he added.
Lessons from London 2012
Chernyshenko said Sochi 2014 organizers were playing the younger brother to London 2012 until the summer was over, listening and learning from LOCOG leaders as they prepare to host Russia's first Winter Olympics in 22 months time.
"Russia is running its own race but we can be inspired by best practices in the market. Obviously, London is the blueprint to follow on all positive things," he said.
The venue for Russia and Sochi 2014 in Vancouver. (Getty Images)
With security issues one of the ongoing concerns around the London Games, Chernyshenko admitted that the Russian government and 2014 Olympic stakeholders were also paying very close attention to the issue.
"We are not in a vacuum. It is the environment of our time," he said.
"Sochi used to be the most peaceful place in the country because it was the residence of our state leaders. But nobody is protected from terrorist attacks."
He added: "Russia is doing everything to create a safe environment in Sochi. Believe me everybody understands the responsibility and challenges. The efforts are outstanding to prepare for a fun and safe environment."
Reported by Mark Bisson
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