IOC regrets Sochi 2014 decision

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) regrets for selecting Sochi as the venue for the 2014 winter games, according to former IOC member Els van Breda Vriesman. The 72-year-old was the head of the International Hockey Federation, and an IOC member when the committee chose Sochi, Russia, as the site for the 2014 Olympics.

Sochi 2014 - Mascots /

In 2007, a total of 115 IOC members voted to select a venue for the winter games in 2014. The IOC had three choices for the 2014 winter games: Salzburg in Austria; Pyeongchang in South Korea; and Sochi in Russia.

Van Breda Vriesman said no one was able to predict the problems that arose seven years later. In an interview with NOS, the Enschede-born woman talked about the lack of international support for Russia, cost overruns nearing €38 billion, and the surprisingly dismissive attitude regarding environmental impact.

Many countries, including Germany, France, Belgium, Britain and the United States, have decided not to send their political heads of state to attend the games in protest of Russia’s law that bans "propaganda" of nontraditional sexual relationships.

She thinks if the vote were to be cast today, many of the 115 voters previously in favor of Sochi would choose otherwise because, "Nobody wants to [attend] games where [there is] such a fuss," she said.

She believes a visit to the IOC by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who gave a speech in English to the committee, had a big impact on the selection. He said there would be no traffic jams when the Games take place, and told the committee Russia would financially guarantee the costs related to the games, estimated then at €12 billion. That amount has swelled to €50 billion, NOS says.

Van Breda Vriesman said that no member at that time was able to predict all the problems that have taken place since.


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