Nov 7, 2013, 8:10 AM EDT
Dmitry Chernyshenko, the head of the Sochi Olympic Organizing Committee, discussed the city’s readiness to host the Games, security and Russia’s anti-gay law among other topics in a TODAY interview Thursday.
“Of course we are ready,” Chernyshenko, 45, told Matt Lauer. “We already successfully tested all our competition venues during the most extensive test event season last winter. It was 22 international level World Cup sports championships, and the athletes were all happy with what they’ve seen.”
Some U.S. athletes have been in Sochi this week for more venue testing and have seen the power go out multiple times.
Power is still out here in Sochi…might as well go back to sleep—
Elana Meyers (@eamslider24) November 07, 2013
Of Russia’s anti-gay law, Chernyshenko said athletes will not be arrested if they march with a rainbow pin or speak in a press conference about gay rights.
“What else can I add? My president already several times expressed the guarantees on behalf of the state leaders that there will be no discrimination, whether by race, religion or sexual orientation,” Chernyshenko said. “We organizers keep social inclusivity a key for our Games. Moreover, the rainbow color is not exclusively belongs to someone. For example, our official uniforms for Games organizers is full of rainbow color.”
Protests or rallies, banned around Games time by Russian president Vladimir Putin in August, are a different matter.
“In accordance to Olympic Charter, rule No. 50, any propaganda or any demonstrations is prohibited during the Games,” Chernyshenko said.
The Sochi organizing president repeated that these will be “the safest Games ever.”
“Because we understand from the very beginning of our successful campaign that the safety is a key priority of the organizers,” he said. “Terrorism, it’s a global threat. Take Boston for example. This is an illustration that terrorism has no boundaries.”
Chernyshenko also repeated that U.S. and Russian officials have collaborated on security plans and that military security will not be dressed in standard uniforms but with a more festive look.
As for the Games themselves, Chernyshenko looked forward to one potential matchup in men’s hockey.
“The most desirable scenario in Russia we are looking for is Russia and USA in the final, and Russia win,” Chernyshenko said, adding a thank you to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman for NHL players returning to the Olympics for a fifth straight time.
The U.S. and Russia are scheduled to play on the second Saturday of the Olympics but could also meet in the playoff round if both advance.
Finally, Lauer asked Chernyshenko how to pronounce the name of the host city.
“So-chee,” not So-she, he said.
Apr 15, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT
Survivors, first responders, those affected by attack take part in tribute.
Apr 15, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT
Teams’ tweets sent at same time Tuesday morning.
Apr 15, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT
World’s fastest man might not race again until June.
Apr 15, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT
What is the competition like in Phelps’ potential events?
Apr 15, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT
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Apr 15, 2014, 8:16 AM EDT
Ceremony, moment of silence to honor, remember last year’s tragedy.
Apr 14, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT
‘World’s Strongest Man’ talks about nude photo shoot, pro wrestling career, meeting Andre the Giant.
Apr 14, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT
Phelps announced as headliner for meet next week, ending two-year break.
Apr 14, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT
22-time Olympic medalist expected to come out of retirement next week.
Apr 14, 2014, 12:08 PM EDT
Woman who finished 20th found day after disappearing.
Apr 14, 2014, 10:34 AM EDT
It’s too early to draw conclusions on Sochi, FIS official says.
Apr 14, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT
Pistorius hugged by woman as he enters court, signs autograph after Monday’s session.
Apr 13, 2014, 8:13 AM EDT
Ski and snowboard slopestyle’s injury rates highest among Sochi sports.
Apr 13, 2014, 7:56 AM EDT
More checkpoints, police officers along Boylston Street to the finish.
Apr 13, 2014, 7:23 AM EDT
Farah asked if he will continue marathon running after disappointing finish.
Apr 12, 2014, 8:04 AM EDT
U.S. men’s, women’s teams combined for 3-15 record in Sochi.
Apr 11, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT
Six-time Olympic medalist commented while attending the Masters.
Apr 11, 2014, 1:57 PM EDT
Silver medalist hasn’t been back to Albertville since 1992 Olympics.
Apr 11, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT
Greene ran anchor on U.S. 4x100m relay teams at 2000, 2004 Olympics.
Apr 11, 2014, 9:38 AM EDT
2010 Olympic champion chooses different music for final portion, though.
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