(ATR) The president and CEO of Sochi 2014 is close to the finishing line but the final weeks before and during the Games will be the toughest of his life.
The cheerful face of the first Russian Winter Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko has worked hard to deliver a memorable Games and to raise the profile of the Black Sea resort since leading the bid seven years ago. The Sochi native with the sports marketing background has benefited from a strong working relationship with the IOC’s Sochi watchdog chief Jean-Claude Killy and Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli.
But the past few months have been hugely challenging – and it won’t get easier. Preparations for the Games, the longest torch relay in Olympic history, and attempts to promote the 12 winter sports events making their debut in Sochi have been overshadowed by the global outcry over Russia’s anti-gay law. As Chernyshenko mobilizes his organizing committee for Games-time operations, he can do little but hope that the backlash doesn’t ruin the Games.
Russia’s Olympics tsar, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, has assisted Chernyshenko in keeping the Sochi 2014 project on timetable. No one really knows how many billions Russia has spent. But the Olympic Park venues and transport infrastructure projects so critical to the success of the Games are complete. In partnership with Chernyshenko, Kozak’s job now is to ensure the cogs of the Sochi Olympic machine work smoothly for the Olympic Family, athletes and spectators.
Russian Olympic Committee president and IOC member Alexander Zhukov is the other member of this Sochi triumvirate. He will play a role in the international relations between Sochi and his colleagues on the IOC. In addition, he will be a figurehead for the most important Winter Olympic team ever assembled under the Russian flag. A confidante of Vladimir Putin, Zhukov’s counsel to the Russian leader will help shape reaction to controversies as well as triumphs.
2013 ranking: 3
Reported by Mark Bisson
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