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. Missy Franklin overcomes back injury to qualify for Pan Pacs final

    Aug 20, 2014, 11:59 PM EDT

    Missy Franklin Getty Images

    U.S. star first suffered back spasms at Tuesday practice.

  2. Simone Biles a tall favorite at P&G Championships; women’s preview

    Aug 20, 2014, 5:44 PM EDT

    Simone Biles Getty Images

    Defending champion feels no added pressure despite seeing her face all around Pittsburgh.

  3. Jennie Finch, Lisa Fernandez weigh in on Mo’ne Davis

    Aug 20, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT

    Jennie Finch Getty Images

    Would Davis excel in softball if she tried it?

  4. France, Australia win first Youth Olympic rugby titles

    Aug 20, 2014, 9:23 AM EDT

    Rugby Getty Images

    First medals awarded on an Olympic stage in rugby since 1924.

  5. London Olympian wins historic bronze at Youth Olympics (video)

    Aug 20, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT

    Lily Zhang Getty Images

    Lily Zhang scored a breakthrough for U.S. table tennis.

  6. U.S. Youth Olympic swimmers teammates now, college roommates later (video)

    Aug 20, 2014, 8:28 AM EDT

    Hannah Moore Getty Images

    Gold medalists Hannah Moore and Clara Smiddy will go from Nanjing to Ann Arbor.

  7. Pan Pacific Championships men’s events preview

    Aug 20, 2014, 8:04 AM EDT

    Nathan Adrian, James Magnussen Getty Images

    U.S. vs. Australia in sprint head to head; outlook for Phelps and Lochte.

  8. Michael Phelps scratches first two events of Pan Pacs

    Aug 20, 2014, 5:34 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Phelps’ debut in Australia pushed back to Friday.

  9. Missy Franklin (back) in doubt for Pan Pacific Championships

    Aug 20, 2014, 5:08 AM EDT

    Missy Franklin Getty Images

    Video of Franklin being gingerly helped away from the pool.

  10. Michael Phelps takes on vocal leader role in Australia

    Aug 19, 2014, 3:06 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Phelps also reflects on his first Olympics, also in Australia.

  11. U.S. gymnast Alec Yoder wins all-around bronze at Youth Olympics

    Aug 19, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT

    Alec Yoder Getty Images

    More medals could be in Indy native’s future in Nanjing.

  12. Can David Wilson, ex-NFL RB, make the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team?

    Aug 19, 2014, 10:40 AM EDT

    David Wilson AP

    Former Giant must shoot for a specific distance in the triple jump.

  13. Lolo Jones ends track and field season early

    Aug 19, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

    Lolo Jones AP

    Summer and Winter Olympian said she has taken no breaks more than two days in the last two years.

  14. Golf debuts at Youth Olympics with hole-in-one (video)

    Aug 19, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT

    Youth Olympics Golf

    Canadian makes Olympic history with first career hole-in-one.

  15. Yogging a hit at Youth Olympic Games (video)

    Aug 19, 2014, 9:04 AM EDT

    Yogging

    Athletes gaining social media friends via interesting device in Nanjing.

  16. Step right up: the Nanjing 2014 Video Booth

    Aug 18, 2014, 10:21 PM EDT

    Youth Olympics - Opening Ceremony Getty Images

    Watch what happens when the world’s best teenage athletes interview themselves.

  17. Usain Bolt wins his first 100m of 2014

    Aug 18, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt Usain Bolt

    The Jamaican sprinter finishes in 10.06 on Copcabana beach, nearly half a second off his world-record pace.

  18. American Sabrina Massialas wins fencing gold at Youth Olympics

    Aug 17, 2014, 10:21 PM EDT

    IAAF World Junior Championships - Day 3 Getty Images

    Team USA won its first three medals at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing Sunday.