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Scalping tickets at 2014 Sochi Olympics could lead to $30,000 fine

MOSCOW – The upper house of Russia's parliament has passed a bill calling for fines of up to $30,000 for anyone scalping tickets to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The bill, passed Wednesday by the Federation Council, now needs to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

For low-level scalping by individuals, the fine would be five to 10 times the ticket's face value, but penalties will be heavier for scalping done as a business.

Russian Olympic Committee head Alexander Zhukov told a news conference that "we as Olympic organizers have an obligation under our contract with the International Olympic Committee to prevent speculative price hikes for hotels and Olympic tickets."

Zhukov says there will be price limits for rooms in each hotel category.



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Putin orders Sochi check after earthquakes

(AFP) – 3 hours ago

MOSCOW — Russia's President Vladimir Putin ordered the emergencies ministry to check the 2014 Olympic sites in the southern city of Sochi following a string of earthquakes, his spokesman said.

"The President ordered the emergencies ministry to pay close attention to the shocks in Sochi and other cities," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, Interfax reported.

"He asked that special attention is paid to construction sites to make sure they suffer no damage," Peskov added.

Three earthquakes were felt in Sochi since December 10. Authorities said they caused no damage, but paid special concern to the Black Sea resort city due to ongoing construction of the 2014 Olympic Games venues.

A quake of 5.5 magnitude hit the future Olympic host city early Wednesday, according to the Krasnodar region branch of the emergency ministry. A quake of the same magnitude affected Sochi on Sunday.

On December 10, Sochi residents also felt the 4.8 magnitude earthquake that struck near Novorossiysk, the port city over 100 kilometres northwest from Sochi.

On Tuesday, rumours of a stronger earthquake in the city became so prevalent that Sochi's administration issued a special statement urging residents "not to succumb to panic" and threatened police action against people who spread earthquake rumours.

Olympic developers in Sochi are managing two giant construction sites, in the mountains and by the Black Sea, connected by a road, which is also unfinished.

Although some sport events are already hosted by the city, much of the supporting infrastructure is still unfinished, while residents

complain of constant power and water outages.


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Exclusive: Fasel confident NHL players will compete at Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

Tuesday, 01 January 2013

By Tom Degun


January 1 - International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) President René Fasel claims he is still confident that the world's top National Hockey League (NHL) players will compete at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics despite scheduling problems.

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place from February 7 until 23 which means a direct clash with the middle of the NHL season, where the majority of top players are based.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has not yet committed to altering the NHL season to accommodate for the Olympics despite the fact that there was a break in the 2009-2010 season for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

This is because Vancouver 2010 proved a major success in exposing hockey to a wider audience but the NHL fear that most games at Sochi 2014 will occur at times that are not ideal for a North American audience.

But Fasel, who is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member, remains confident that the NHL players to attend the Games in Russia.

"As I have always said, we want the NHL players at the Sochi 2014 Olympics and we are working on a schedule where we are expecting them to compete," Fasel told insidethegames.

"It will be very difficult to adjust the playing schedule in the last minute so we are preparing things early.

"We are on track, we are looking good and we have two great arenas [the Bolshoi Ice Dome and the Shayba Arena] in place for ice hockey at Sochi 2014.

"It is unbelievable actually because it is walking distance for the athletes in the Village.

"It has everything the athletes could want and we also know that the Olympics are the biggest competition in the world.

"So I think the NHL players will want to attend for many reasons and we are expecting them to attend."

The Bolshoi Ice Dome is one of two venues that will host ice hockey at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics alongside the Shayba Arena

Fasal, a Swiss dentist by profession who has been IIHF President since 1994, added that even if the NHL players are not released, it would not mean a total disaster as he said there will be a fantastic ice hockey competition at Sochi 2014 whoever is competing.

"Ice hockey is such a great game that whatever level you play, it is always exciting," he said.

"That is what makes are sport so interesting and I'm 100 per cent sure that even if the NHL players don't come, we will have a great, great hockey tournament."


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Hockey legend Vyacheslav Fetisov's take on NHLers participating in Sochi:


Even if a new collective bargaining agreement prohibits NHLers from playing in the Olympics, I still cannot see the Russian NHL stars missing this tournament. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next month or two, because the IIHF and Sochi wants and needs to know now.

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Hockey legend Vyacheslav Fetisov's take on NHLers participating in Sochi:


Even if a new collective bargaining agreement prohibits NHLers from playing in the Olympics, I still cannot see the Russian NHL stars missing this tournament. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out over the next month or two, because the IIHF and Sochi wants and needs to know now.

Its the owners that don't want it to happen. If the players want to go they must be fighting for it in the new CBA

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"Those hoping to see their favourite NHL players make the trip to the 2014 Sochi Olympics may have to wait a while to find out. Friedman tweeted that their participation will be negotiated separately, while he says re-alignment also remains unsettled."


Well if they agree for 2014 then 2018 is likely as well

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According to the Russian newspaper The Sport Express, this intention is written in the preliminary collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the trade union of hockey-players.

If this decision passes lawyers’ test and if the club owners vote for it, the season for the NHL may start on the 19th of January.

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Sochi Olympic Park Tickets Run for $6

MOSCOW, January 16 (R-Sport) - Sports fans will be able to buy tickets for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Park for 200 rubles ($6.60), a fraction of the price charged at London 2012, organizing committee head Dmitry Chernyshenko said Wednesday.

In London, adult Olympic Park tickets cost £10 ($16), although some later tickets were sold at half price. Tickets give no access to venues within the park.

“You won’t be able to get into the Olympic Park without accreditation or a ticket,” Chernyshenko said.

“We’re not trying to make a business out of this, but we have to regulate the number of people. About 75,000 people will feel comfortable there. A ticket like that for the park will cost 200 rubles.”

The Olympic Park is a coastal collection of arenas for the skating and curling events, and will provide the stage for the medal ceremonies.

Tickets have yet to go on sale, and as with London 2012, will only be available to those paying with a certain credit card for sponsorship reasons.

Ticket touts face fines of up to $33,000, under a law signed by President Vladimir Putin earlier this month.

Russia’s first Winter Olympics run from February 7 to 23 next year.


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January 15, 2013 05:00 ET

Comba Telecom Supplies Wireless Solutions for 2014 Sochi Winter Games Venues

Enables 2G and 3G Wireless Communications With Multi-Band DAS Network Infrastructure Equipment at Bolshoy Ice Dome and Iceberg Skating Palace Stadiums

MOSCOW and HONG KONG--(Marketwire - Jan 15, 2013) - Comba Telecom Systems Holdings Limited ("Comba Telecom" or "the Group") (HKSE: 2342), a leading global wireless enhancement solutions provider, announced it has completed the first phase of a multi-stage project to supply wireless enhancement solutions at venues hosting the 2014 Winter Games events to be held in Sochi, Russia.

In the initial phase of the project, Comba Telecom worked with the official mobile partner to the Games and supplied multi-system, multi-band (2G/3G) distributed antenna system (DAS) in addition to installation, commissioning, training and maintenance services.

In addition, the DAS supplied is upgradeable to 4G LTE and scalable to the mobile partner requirements. Comba Telecom's equipment has been deployed at a number of venues located in the heart of the games center including the Bolshoy Ice Dome and the Iceberg Skating Palace hosting the ice hockey and figure skating events, respectively.

As the project moves forward, Comba Telecom will be expanding the scope of solutions and the number of venues hosting the Games.

Comba Telecom's DAS is a point-to-multipoint, RF-over-fiber solution that expands wireless network coverage and capacity by extending mobile services from existing base stations for large venues, thus enabling a common system that can be shared across multiple operators.

Therefore, the DAS helps operators to realize efficiencies in CAPEX and OPEX for new and additional networks without the need for replacing existing fiber and antenna systems.

The modular feature of the DAS enables easy expansion of capacity and coverage by installing multiple DAS instead of deploying additional base stations.

Mr. Brian Donohue, Vice President of Comba Telecom Systems International Limited and General Manager of the Group's European operations said, "The worldwide prestige of the Winter Games in Sochi requires a global solution provider that focuses on the operators' current and future needs and we are honored to be selected as one of the providers.

Through our solution, wireless network operators in Russia will be able to seamlessly manage the increased demand in network traffic during the events, ensuring that spectators, journalists and athletes alike enjoy uninterrupted coverage as they move throughout the facilities."

Mr. Donohue added, "We are especially pleased to be implementing this project and this marks a new milestone for Comba Telecom's operations in Russia.

In fact, we have recently expanded our project portfolio in this region with a successful win for implementing a solution at the Moscow Domodeovo Airport in Russia which is currently underway at this moment in time.

Overall, Comba Telecom has a wealth of experience that gives us an edge in these projects, including the Summer Games 2008 in Beijing, Metrô Rio de Janeiro, Singapore Marina Costal Expressway, Galaxy Macau resort and casino complex, Beijing-Tianjin High Speed Railway, Taiwan Kaohsiung Metro, Armenia's Yerevan Subway amongst many others."


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No London was for both Ceremonies GBP 81 million = USD 132 million !!!!! (Source : IOC - London 2012 Debrief)

That figure is about right. I had it at $128 million in my book, But a few million difference is caused by exchange fluctuations...plus WHEN the conversions are actually computed. I computed my figures based on when the expenditures were made: i.e., for Athens, I converted Athens' figures over the 4 years' of ATHOC Ceremonies' existence (starting with the spending for the Handover show in Sydney).

I had Can$50 mil for Vancouver total. And per Sochi's bid books, they had put down US$46,000,000. A $6 million increase is not earth-shaking. The Sochi budget can easily absorb that.

Rio had a US$125 mil Ceremonial budget item in their bid book. Since London's came out to be about US$130 mil, Rio's might eventually come out to at least $135 mil...altho Ric Birch is known to stay within budget.

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Violinist Vanessa-Mae switches her bow for ski poles as she puts music on ice to compete in Winter Olympics

Violinist Vanessa-Mae has put music on hold for a year and is rehearsing for a new role - skiing for Thailand at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014.

Vanessa-Mae, 34, is in training with the aim of competing in at least five internationally recognised events to qualify for the giant slalom and possibly the slalom at the Sochi Olympics.

"People are surprised when they see me skiing - a classical violinist, Oriental, who has lived in the city all her life," Vanessa-Mae told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"But it has been my dream to be a ski bum since I was 14. This is something I am determined to do."

The violinist is a British citizen but she also holds a Thai passport. She was born in Singapore to a Chinese mother and a Thai father but she was brought up in England when her mother remarried a Briton.

Vanessa-Mae, whose full name is Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson, would be only the second Thai to compete at a Winter Olympics if she qualified. Academic Prawat Nagvajara represented Thailand in cross-country skiing at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.

"I wanted to compete for Thailand because there is a part of me which I have never celebrated - being Thai," said Vanessa-Mae. "My father, like most Thais, has never skied but he's really excited about me doing this as is the Thai Olympic Committee."

Vanessa-Mae started skiing at the age of 4 but music has always been her priority. She made her international professional debut aged 10 and made her mark on the world stage when she broke from tradition and became known for her sexy, glamorous style and for mixing classical music with pop.

Her first techno pop-style album, "The Violin Player," was released in 1995 and reached No. 11 in the UK albums chart and she has not stop touring since, although she has not released a new album since 2004.

Vanessa-Mae said she had always wanted to spend more time on her other passion, skiing, so moved to the Swiss alpine resort of Zermatt in 2009 where she is now in training for the Olympics. She hopes to compete in her first event by April.

International Ski Federation spokeswoman Riikka Rakic said Vanessa-Mae was one of five actively registered Thai athletes so she has a license to compete for Thailand but she needs a minimum of five starts in FIS (Federation Internationale de Ski) competitions and certain points to qualify for the Olympics.

"She has a full year to quality and there are many events so there are plenty of options still," said Rakic.

A National Olympic Committee of Thailand spokesman said Vanessa-Mae would be welcome to race for Thailand if she qualified. So far no Thai athlete has qualified for Sochi.

Vanessa-Mae said she knew it would be tough to make the Olympics but she had given herself a year sabbatical from music to do this - and always worked better with a deadline.

"When it comes to music I am a perfectionist but when it is skiing, I have no delusions about a podium or even being in the top 100 in the world," she said.

"Of course there is a risk that I could break something but life is short and you have to go for it. Just to qualify for the Olympics in my hobby would be a dream come true for me."

Once Sochi is over, she intends to return to music.

"It's time for a new album but doing this will give me a new perspective. Living my dream of being a ski bum is great but the best job in the world is being on stage, making music," she said.

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Russia able to win 15 golds in Sochi – Olympic boss
Published: 29 January, 2013, 14:33
President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov)
Russia will be aiming to win 15 gold medals at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, says the country's Olympic Committee President Aleksandr Zhukov, which should be enough to finish top of the medal table.
The Russian Olympians are traditionally strong in winter sports and will try to make amends for their Vancouver 2010 ‘blunder’, where they managed to earn just three gold medals and finished at a historically low 11th place in the medal table.
"It is possible to perform well and take first place in the team table at the Sochi Olympics," the R-Sport agency quotes Zhukov as saying.
"At the Games about 15 golds will be needed, that should be enough."
According to Zhukov, if positive dynamics in winter sports results continue then Russia could count on “40 to 45 medals in total and 14 to 15 gold”.
The final target will be set in the spring after the winter season concludes.
Three years ago host nation Canada topped the medal table with 14 gold medals leaving main rivals Germany and the United States far behind.


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Sochi is definitely the Winter edition of Beijing:

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will spend more than $50 billion (31 billion pounds) on preparation and staging the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said on Friday.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will spend more than $50 billion (31 billion pounds) on preparation and staging the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said on Friday.

As of January 1, 2013, Russia had already spent nearly 1.136 trillion roubles ($37.85 billion), Kozak told reporters following a meeting of the state commission on Sochi in the government headquarters in Moscow.

"Of that sum, 737 billion roubles ($24.55 billion) had come from private investors and the rest from the federal budget," Kozak, appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to head the Sochi preparations, said.

The total expenditure will be 1.526 trillion roubles ($51.08 billion), he added.

The latest figure is almost five time more than the original estimate, which was done shortly after the Black Sea resort was awarded the 2014 Games in July 2007 as Sochi needed to build most of the sports venues and infrastructure from scratch.

(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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^^^ here is the article :

Most expensive Olympics in history: Sochi 2014 Games to cost over $50 billion
Published: 04 February, 2013, 18:34
The Bolshoi ice palace under construction in Imereti Valley, Sochi (RIA Novosti / Mikhail Mokrushin)
The Sochi Winter Olympics will cost Russia over $50 billion, five times more than original estimates, according to an Olympics preparation commission.
By 2013, Russia completed 70 percent of the needed facilitates, spending $36.7 billion in total.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Games are turning out to be the most expensive Olympics ever.
The Sochi Games are estimated to cost even more than the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, which cost $40 billion, believed to be the most expensive in history.
That total was more than double the cost of the London 2012 Games, which were estimated at $19 billion.
Some explain the expensive price tag over the fact that the city of Sochi did not have most of the needed infrastructure.
Jean-Claude Killy, chair of the International Olympic Committee's coordination commission for the Sochi Games, said that 85 percent of the infrastructure had to be built from scratch.
Igor Nikolaev, director of the Strategic Analysis Department at FBK, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the lack of infrastructure was one of the reasons for the huge expense: "There was really a lot that needed to be built in order to prepare for the Olympics, including infrastructure.”
He added that the huge estimates cannot be taken literally, since they were artificially inflated by the Olympics' private sponsors.
So far, sponsors have spent $24.6 billion, and costs are expected to increase to $33 billion.
Many of Russia’s largest companies are Olympic sponsors, and are seeking to have as much of their expenses as possible qualify as Olympic expenditures.
However, not all of their work will qualify as such, Nikolaev explained.
"For example, a company building or renovating its corporate hotel, tries to qualify the expenditure as part of the Olympics’ cost.
That helps them to strengthen their bargaining position. You can be sure that then they will ask something in return [such as preferential tariffs, tax breaks, etc.],” Nikolai said.
The $50 billion sum is not a final estimate, and total costs could approach $66.7 billion, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, the head of the Olympic preparatory commission, has proposed that Krasnodar region Governor Aleksandr Tkachev offers tax breaks for companies involved in Olympic construction.
The Olympics preparatory commission, established in mid-January by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is tasked with supervising all work on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
A question of cost
Legal experts have claimed that individual tax breaks are excluded from Russian tax legislation; if tax breaks were introduced, they must therefore be applicable to all Olympic investors.
Evgeny Timofeev, partner and head of tax firm Goltsblat BLP, has proposed that the Krasnodar region's 2.2-percent property tax rate be applied to the Olympics – if a company spends $230 million on the construction of a building, it would receive $5 million in tax breaks, he explained.
In total, 378 federal facilities and 46 regional are being built for the Sochi Olympics. Of these, only 13 are sport-related; the others are related to infrastructure and accommodation.
Of the main Olympic facilities, only six have been completed – the preparatory commission has reported a shortage of over 22,000 workers at construction sites.
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CBC just had a piece on News Network that said Russia has just annouced that Games tickets will act as your visa to enter Russia.

Unfortunately, Russia has a bad habit of (1) announcing visa reforms, (2) giving delayed and conflicting information on how the reformed system will work in practice, (3) once everybody figures out the new rules, realizing that the reformed system is even more expensive and corrupt than the previous system.

I'd love to be proven wrong here. But without clear details, I'm skeptical.

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IOC head Jacques Rogge defends high costs for Soch

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- With the Winter Olympics a year away, IOC President Jacques Rogge praised Sochi organizers on Wednesday and defended the $51 billion price tag.

Speaking in an interview with The Associated Press in the Black Sea resort, Rogge said he was impressed by the preparations for Russia's first Winter Olympics.

"The site is very compact, it's high quality and is situated in beautiful surroundings," Rogge said.

Rogge is touring the Olympic venues ahead of the one-year countdown, which will be marked with a dazzling ice show on Thursday. Most of the venues have already been completed, while thousands of workers are still finishing up some Olympic facilities.

Russian authorities last week announced the latest costs related to the games, saying total spending would come to about $51 billion, which would make Sochi the most expensive Olympics in history.

Rogge said a great deal of the money is going to infrastructure projects, including new roads and railways, which will serve the development of the entire region for decades to come.

"You have to put it into proportion," Rogge said. "The organization of the games is not going to cost a lot of money. But the government ... wished to develop the whole area. You cannot just take the cost of the train and the tunnels and the road into the cost of the games because this tunnel and the train and the road are not meant for two weeks of competition, they are meant for generations to last."

Rogge also dismissed any concerns about the weather, saying organizers had contingency plans in place in case of adverse conditions. Warm temperatures and rain disrupted some of the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

"I think that the organizers have taken all the precautions to cope with the weather," Rogge said. "The weather in the mountains is always unpredictable. There can be too much snow or too little snow, we have seen it in the previous games. But, you know, if there is such a circumstance then the organizers will react with the plan B."

Rogge won't be the IOC president at the time of the Sochi Games. He steps down in September at the end of his 12-year term.



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Russian Olympic Official Fired After Putin Censure

MOSCOW, February 7 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Olympic Committee’s Vice President Akhmed Bilalov has been fired after President Vladimir Putin yesterday criticized delays and cost-overruns in construction of ski jumps for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

"The orders have been issued, [bilalov] will be relieved from his posts," Dmitry Kozak, the Deputy Prime Minister overseeing the Olympics preparations, said on Thursday. Bilalov will also dismissed from his post as board chairman of the North Caucasus Resorts company, which is working on a multi-billion dollar ski resort cluster in a nearby part of the country's turbulent North Caucasus region.

“People who don’t fulfil their obligations on such a scale cannot manage the Olympic movement in our country,” Kozak added.

Putin toured one of the Olympic venues, Roza Khutor, on Wednesday and scolded state officials over the unfinished ski jump facility, construction of which was formerly overseen by Bilalov. Kozak said the facility was originally supposed to be finished back in 2011, but is now due to be completed this summer.

Sberbank, Russia's main state-controlled lender, took over the Krasnaya Polyana construction company in May, after costs rose from $40 million to $265 million, Kozak explained to Putin.

“Well done! You are doing a good job,” Putin said with clear sarcasm in reports on state-run Channel One television.

Bilalov, who was's present during Putin's tour, was not available for comment on the issue.

Test events planned at the RusSki Gorki jump facility last year were cancelled due to the construction delays, but the site has hosted World Cup ski jumping and Nordic combined this season, R-Sport reported.

The dismissal announcement came after Putin met an International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation in Sochi on Wednesday, including Jean-Claude Killy, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the games.

Eighty percent of construction work for the Sochi Olympics has been completed so far, Killy said.

Russia began a one-year countdown on Thursday to the opening of the Games, which will cost over $50 billion, according to Kozak - the most expensive winter games ever.


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