From London to Sochi

The International Olympic Committee has granted the U.K. the honour of hosting the Olympic Games in London in 2012, and Russia the honour of hosting the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014. This provides our countries with a major opportunity to work in partnership to share experiences, and to maximise the economic and legacy benefits from the games.

The U.K. and Russia are working hard to showcase business expertise and build business partnerships for each other's games. U.K. Trade & Investment (UKTI) is actively raising awareness of British expertise in Russia. Sport has become big business globally -- nowhere more so than the U.K. The British passion for sport, and the U.K.'s hosting of various world sport championships has enabled the U.K. to develop outstanding capabilities in planning, development, construction, design and management of major sporting events.

From March 2 to 7, 2009, we will be hosting a mission of leading British companies in construction, engineering and event management to Moscow and Sochi. This follows Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak's successful visit to the U.K. in December 2008 to see the Olympic sites in London. The programme of the mission includes a conference on the Russia -- U.K. Olympic partnership with keynote speeches from top Russian officials involved in the Olympic games, plus round table discussions with industry experts focusing on sharing British expertise to bring practical solutions.

I am sure that the Olympic partnership between the U.K. and Russia will not only pay dividends for the host nations themselves, but enhance the Olympic experience for the world.