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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sochi Makes Push for Olympics

BEIJING -- The Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi is one of the world's safest cities and will give the Olympic movement a golden legacy if it is chosen to host the 2014 Winter Games, bid leader Dmitry Chernyshenko said.

Sochi, which is competing with South Korea's Pyeonchang and Austria's Salzburg in the race for the Games, lies on the Russian border with the breakaway region of Abkhazia, a cause of tension between Moscow and Tbilisi.

Chernyshenko said he would not discuss the politics of the situation but, while not over-confident, he was convinced that any concerns over security were misplaced.

"It's one of the safest cities in Russia and all of the world," he said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Forum of Sport.

"Not only because it's the summer residence of our president, but because it's also the home of the training center for all our emergency services.

"It's a very special place that has recently hosted more than 27 international events.

"The whole of Russia is behind this bid, including President Putin. He's the best promoter of our bid because he spends one-third of his time there. It's like Russia's second capital."

While Sochi is considered the outsider in the race, Chernyshenko believes the city's plans offer a great opportunity for a great Olympics and to create a unique winter sports resort.

"We don't consider being in third place as a weakness but a challenge," he said. "We've made huge improvements in 10 months and now we can present really efficient state-of-the-art plans.

"This is why we have called our plan, 'The Gateway to the Future', offering brand-new facilities and venues that will remain as a golden legacy for the Olympic movement and for Russia."

The bid has acted as a catalyst for a $12 billion government-funded development of the region, which Chernyshenko said would further enhance Sochi's considerable natural attraction as a warm sea resort just 40 minutes from a mountain ski area.

"It'll be an all-year-round, multi-season resort," he said. "It will include training facilities both for elite athletes and for the grass roots.

"It's got great potential, in 10 years it will become more popular than some European resorts."

Russia, and before it the Soviet Union, has never hosted the Winter Olympics, and Sochi's previous two bids in 1998 and 2002 fell at the first hurdle.

"In terms of the number of medals won, Russia is one of the most successful countries and so it is our great honor to compete for the right to bring the Winter Olympics to a great winter sports nation," Chernyshenko said.