Putin Calls for Success in Sochi

SOCHI, Krasnodar Region -- President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged officials to make a success of hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2014, an event supporters say will form a crucial part of his legacy.

"Our task is to build new-generation sports venues that will be competitive in decades to come," Putin told members of his advisory sports and Olympic council in Sochi.

The government has allocated more than 300 billion rubles ($12.27 billion) to build Olympic facilities and turn Sochi into a top-class international resort.

"About a million participants and guests will attend the Games, and we need to provide them with comfort, security, fast communications and other services on levels higher than the existing international standards," Putin said.

Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak said the Sochi project, which includes the construction of more than 200 sites including roads and infrastructure, would create 200,000 new jobs.

Putin said preparations for the Olympic Games were one element in a government plan to promote sports and fitness for ordinary people.

"By building new sports and recreation sites in the Sochi area, we are thinking about the long-term interests of Russia and its citizens," Putin said.

"When building new stadiums for the so-called elite sports we need to keep one more goal in sight -- the creation of new, better-quality conditions for sports activities, recreation and health care for the whole nation," he added.

Putin spearheaded the bid to host the Games in this Black Sea resort, bringing the Olympics back to Russia for the first time since the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow.

The 1980 Games were blighted after several Western states staged a boycott in protest of the Soviet Union's military intervention in Afghanistan.