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.
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.
Oct 20, 2014, 2:52 PM EDT
A look back at the greatest head-to-head duel in track and field history.
Oct 20, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT
Olympic champion hasn’t retired from Nordic combined, either.
Oct 20, 2014, 11:06 AM EDT
“Morning joggers helped us and also guided us to the nearest metro station.”
Oct 20, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT
How fast would they have to traverse the Bernabeu to have Olympic 100m final speed?
Oct 20, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT
Olympic downhill champion told German magazine she has good days and bad days.
Oct 20, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Ohno said he went into “full warrior mode” in Hawaii.
Oct 20, 2014, 9:06 AM EDT
Two-time Olympian held U.S. mile record until 2007.
Oct 20, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT
U.S. Embassy scale had air pollution level at “hazardous.”
Oct 20, 2014, 8:37 AM EDT
Shamil Tarpischev, Russian tennis president, is also a longtime IOC member.
Oct 19, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
How top Americans, Austrian going for history will be affected this World Cup season.
Oct 17, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT
Two-time Olympic halfpipe champion won’t be competing, though.
Oct 17, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT
Top U.S. skaters are incorporating new rule into their programs this season.
Oct 17, 2014, 9:41 AM EDT
Runner faces up to 15 years in prison.
Oct 17, 2014, 6:48 AM EDT
Gatlin’s inclusion on previous 10-man nomination list drew criticism.
Oct 16, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT
Olympic silver medalist has an interesting post-skeleton bucket list.
Oct 16, 2014, 11:24 AM EDT
Biles recalls bee tale, talks of specific vault upgrade, uneven bars hatred.
Oct 16, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT
Three-time Olympic medalist previously said he was taking a break.
Oct 15, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT
Biles talks about the bee and what’s next.
Oct 15, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT
Erik Nieman, 15, flew from Arkansas to Charlotte for a special training session.
Oct 15, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT
U.S. champion makes her Grand Prix season debut at Skate America next week.
- The jump for the ages: Mike Powell, Bob Beamon and a revered world record 0
- Apolo Ohno on Ironman: A milestone among my 8 Olympic medals 1
- Beijing Marathon run through smog (video, photos) 0
- Aksel Lund Svindal injured playing soccer, likely out most of season 0
- Justin Gatlin not among IAAF Athlete of the Year award finalists 0
- Noelle Pikus-Pace: I already miss skeleton, but happily retired 0
- Simone Biles still buzzing after World Championships whirlwind 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (60)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (39)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)