Skip to content

Sochi Organizing Committee chief addresses Olympic issues on TODAY (video)

Nov 7, 2013, 8:10 AM EDT

Dmitry Chernyshenko Getty Images

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.

Photos: Olympic torch blasts off into space aboard Russian rocket

Latest Posts
  1. Debbie Phelps texted Michael Phelps about Rio 2016 years ago (video)

    Apr 17, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Debbie Phelps Getty Images

    “I’m like, Michael, 2016, Rio, 50 free, 100 free, just a relay.”

  2. Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky tie in 400m freestyle

    Apr 17, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    The finals are at 9 p.m. ET on Universal Sports.

  3. Yevgeny Plushenko to return to figure skating competition

    Apr 17, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT

    Evgeni Plushenko AP

    Plushenko wants to compete in a fifth Olympics in 2018.

  4. St. Louis Marathon disqualifies woman who crossed finish line first

    Apr 17, 2015, 10:29 AM EDT

    St. Louis Marathon

    It took organizers about 20 minutes to figure out what happened Sunday.

  5. Michael Phelps back with ‘OK’ victory in Mesa

    Apr 17, 2015, 8:42 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Phelps outdueled Ryan Lochte, but he was slower than last year.

  6. Michael Phelps could be offered World Championships spot by FINA

    Apr 16, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT

    AP AP

    If Phelps is added by FINA, the U.S. might be able to try for podium sweeps at the World Championships.

  7. Michael Phelps fastest in first race since August

    Apr 16, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Phelps and Ryan Lochte appear headed for a showdown Thursday night.

  8. Andrew Wiggins to play for Canada in Olympic qualifying

    Apr 16, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    Andrew Wiggins Getty Images

    Canada has a shot to qualify for its first Olympics since 2000.

  9. Aaron Cook, top-ranked taekwondo fighter, switches from Great Britain to Moldova

    Apr 16, 2015, 11:04 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    “There is no legitimate case for nationality change,” a British official said.

  10. Eugene gets 2021 World Track and Field Championships

    Apr 16, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Prefontaine Classic Getty Images

    See Eugene’s bid video for 2019 that failed to get a taste of what Worlds will be like in the U.S.

  11. Michael Phelps accepts missing World Championships, eyes Rio Olympics

    Apr 15, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Phelps discussed his time away from swimming during his suspension.

  12. Watch Rio Olympic park construction progress video

    Apr 15, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT

    Rio Olympic Park

    The video states that the swimming stadium is 58 percent complete.

  13. Kristin Armstrong ends cycling retirement

    Apr 14, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT

    Kristin Armstrong Getty Images

    Armstrong explained her comeback on social media.

  14. Four storylines to watch at Pro Swim Series at Mesa

    Apr 14, 2015, 3:26 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte Getty Images

    There’s Michael Phelps, but also much more.

  15. Tokyo airport terminal designed like running track

    Apr 14, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT

    Narita Airport track Getty Images

    The blue track is for departures, and the red for arrivals.

  16. Who is the most dominant U.S. woman on road to Rio Olympics?

    Apr 13, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT

    Katie Ledecky, Claressa Shields, Gwen Jorgensen, Simone Biles Getty Images

    A swimmer, a boxer, a triathlete and a gymnast all look unbeatable.

  17. Gracie Gold to start work on triple Axel, quad Salchow

    Apr 13, 2015, 11:58 AM EDT

    Gracie Gold Getty Images

    Only one woman is currently doing a triple Axel, and none are doing quads.