Sochi 2014 Space Trip Still Planned; Rio Mayor Reelected; Incheon 2014 Update

(ATR) Sochi 2014 tells Around the Rings a torch relay visit to the International Space Station has not been scrapped ... Eduardo Paes wins reelection in landslide ... Lessons learned for Asian Games ... More inside this Olympic Newsdesk ...

(ATR) Despite no mention of Sochi 2014’s ambitions to take the Olympic flame into space at a Sunday press conference on the torch relay route, Winter Games organizers tell Around the Ringsthe trip is still planned.

Sochi 2014 chiefs maintain that the planned journey to the International Space Station – which made global headlines when first announced last October – has not been scrapped.

"There are plans to send the torch to Baykal – the world's deepest lake. To Elbrus – Europe's highest mountain. And even into space," a Sochi spokeswoman tells ATR.

"The full route and the full torch relay project is being worked out and further details will be revealed in due course."

According to NASA, there are service flights to the ISS scheduled for Oct. 16, Nov. 25, Dec. 11 and Dec. 24 of 2013.

Marking one year before the Oct. 7, 2013 start of the Sochi 2014 torch relay, organizing committee president Dmitry Chernyshenko presented the route Sunday. The 123-day relay will be the longest in Olympic history, covering more than 65,000 km and visiting 2,900 cities, towns and villages across all 83 Russian regions.

A total of 14,000 torchbearers and 30,000 volunteers will be involved.

After being lit in Olympia, Greece, the flame will be transported to Moscow before embarking on a mammoth trek to Sochi that will include stops at many important historical and cultural places, including Yasnaya Polyana, the Russian part of the Curonian Spit, the Avachinskiy Volcanoes and the Kizhi Museum Reserve.

Sochi 2014 said the torch would travel by plane, train, car, foot and even on a "troika" – a traditional Russian sleigh pulled by horses or reindeer.

The route is designed to ensure that 90 percent of Russia's population will be within an hour of the relay at some stage, allowing about 130 million people to participate in the event.

Chernyshenko underlined the importance of the Olympic torch relay as "one of the most important and magical Olympic occasions".

"It continues the build-up of excitement ahead of the Games and as well as spreading the Olympic values to the whole country, we will be creating, as a nation, an important part of Russian history," he said.

"The Sochi 2014 relay will bring the entire country together, highlighting the diversity and beauty of Russia, particularly, for the people of Russia themselves."

Paes Holds Mayor Job for Rio 2016

Eduardo Paes was reelected mayor of Rio de Janeiro with an overwhelming majority Sunday.

This means that Paes of the centrist Democratic Movement Party will be mayor through the 2016 Olympics. He will also be running Rio when the city hosts matches of the FIFA 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup.

Paes garnered 64.6 percent of the vote, comfortably seeing off the challenge of leftist rival Marcelo Freixo, who got just 28.1 percent.

In an interview with Around the Rings on the sidelines of the London Games, Paes admitted that the 2016 organizing committee faces tight deadlines to deliver on its promises to the IOC – but promised the city would not disappoint.

"We’ve tight dates. It’s not easy with such a huge project that we’re going to be delivering in Rio. But the good thing is we are on time. It’s a great transformation… huge, huge things being done," he said.

Paes will have his work cut out to ensure construction is accelerated on Olympic and World Cup stadia and infrastructure projects.

IOC Coordination Commission chair Nawal El Moutawakel warned Rio 2016 that they were falling behind schedule in an address to the IOC Session in July. She called for "very vigorous coordination" between stakeholders to keep the Olympic project on track.

Update on Incheon 2014

Incheon Asian Games organizing committee president Kim Young Soo says his team has learned a great deal from observation visits to the London 2012 Games and 3rd Asian Beach Games in Haiyang, China.

Speaking at the 5th OCA Coordination Committee meeting for the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, he said: "We have learned lessons from London, Haiyang and from previous Asian Games, and we will use this experience to prepare efficiently and economically.

"The 17th Asian Games will integrate sport, culture and information technology. It will be a festival and display the harmony of four billion Asians."

Incheon Games secretary general Kwon Kyung Sang outlined the major developments in preparations, including the signing of Korean Air as a major sponsor.

The 17th Asian Games is to feature 437 events in 36 sports. Organizers will use 49 competition venues, 23 of which will be new. Of those, 17 are under construction and six are under design. The main stadium, capacity 61,074, is due to be completed by April 2014.

Ticket prices for the 2014 Asian Games will range from $5 to $900 for a seat at the opening ceremony, organizers announced.

Reported by Mark Bisson

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