Foreign experts: Russia held one of most successful Winter Olympics in history

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March 4, 2014 - PRLog -- Representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) praised the organization of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi that ended in a historic triumph for the host country, which won the first place in the medal count. Jean-Claude Killy, the IOC’s chief supervisor of the 2014 Olympics and three-time Olympic champion, expressed confidence that the Games allowed the international community to see the positive side of Russia.

“I do not know anyone who was dissatisfied with the Games. This is perhaps the most successful Winter Olympics in history. They completely changed our perception about the level of preparation for the Games in Russia,” he said in an interview with French TV channel BFM.

In turn, Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, stated that Russia delivered all what it had promised.

“I never doubted that Russia would fulfill all the promises, and Russia did it. Sochi had it all: positive atmosphere, friendly volunteers; and it was clear that the competition would be held without any problems. You even surpassed my expectations,” he said.

Thomas Bach also noted that foreign journalists’ criticism was replaced by positive reviews after the success of the Games.

“People got the opportunity to see everything with their own eyes. I already talked about it during my first press conference. I said to all the skeptics: “Come and see. And only after that judge; and do not judge when you saw nothing.” Now they have seen everything, took an open-minded view, saw the success of the Olympic Games, experienced Russian hospitality, and realized that there were the best conditions for the athletes here. That is why you should first come and have a look, and only then – judge, and not vice versa,” the IOC President added.

According to observers, the Olympic Games in Sochi were accompanied by information war even before the start. In particular, foreign media reported about rusty water coming from the pipes of Sochi hotels, mass killing of stray dogs, wolf roaming halls of athletes’ dorm and terrible roads condition.

However, later it came out that the picture of rusty water was earlier used to illustrate the news about poor quality of drinking water in Ukraine, mass dogs killing occurred in 2012 in Ukrainian Donetsk, the wolf video was a hoax shot at Los Angeles studio, and the photo of a walkway leading to the media center was taken in Vienna.

Speaking about criticism towards Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that it was different.

“We have been always working in the conditions of critics, and first of all, it was very friendly and constructive criticism from the International Olympic Committee representatives. However, there was a cohort of critics that are far from sport, they are engaged in a competitive struggle in international politics. They used this Olympic project to achieve their own objectives in the field of anti-Russian propaganda,” he said in an interview with Russian journalists.

At the same time, the majority of foreign athletes and fans praised the level of organization of Sochi Olympics. For example, Nick Cunningham from the US Olympic bobsled team was surprised with the negative comments about the Games.

“C’mon America, stop being ignorant. Get off the negative bandwagon. It’s crazy to me that 98% of the people bad-mouthing the Olympics are people that are not even here,” the athlete wrote in his microblog Twitter.

In turn, Alex Diebold, the US bronze medalist in snowboard cross, pointed out a good quality of ski slopes.

“The course is long and difficult, but I enjoyed it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kjetil Jansrud of Norway, who won Olympic gold in the super-G at Rosa Khutor, praised the staff involved in the Games.

“Yet again, all the people, all the volunteers working up there, they’ve done a great job,” he said after descending the track.

Commenting on the results of the Olympics, Edward Lozansky, President and Founder of the American University in Moscow, called the event a great holiday of sports and human spirit.

“Taking into account all the hysteria in the media regarding the inevitability of terrorist attacks, it was not an easy decision to go to Sochi, but people do not regret visiting the city, because it was an unforgettable experience,” he said in an interview with news agency “PenzaNews.”

In his opinion, the organization of any events of this scale is associated with some problems.

“However, according to the athletes and visitors, in Sochi these problems were minor and most of them were solved quickly. But those, who came to discredit games, tried to do everything possible to achieve their goal making a big deal out of minor shortcomings descending to falsehood,” the expert said.

From his point of view, only those who went to Russia without preconceived prejudice and judged by the realities that were on top could see Russia in a new light after the Olympic Games.

“Those who dreamt of disrupting the Olympics or of at least some serious cataclysms were left disappointed,” Edward Lozansky said.

Eric Zillmer, neuropsychologist and director of athletics at Drexel University in Philadelphia, called the XXII Winter Olympic Games held in Sochi a categorical success. According to him, the 2014 Winter Olympics appeared well organized, the performances by the athletes were superb, and the television coverage was a feast for the eyes.

“Besides the Olympic Games there were also the “perception games.” The motivation of an Olympics host country is always to prove, on an international stage, that it is capable, modern and wealthy. In this sense, I believe the Sochi Olympics may have changed and influenced some younger Americans about the “new” Russia. For the majority of Americans, especially the baby-boomer generation, however, the perception of Russia is probably colored by the past Cold War and they are more likely to view Russia as a natural adversary,” the expert said.

In his opinion, the criticism about the Sochi Olympics was very unfair and biased.

“Even before the Games had actually started criticism was leveled towards organizers about the security and preparedness. For some groups in the media and in politics, they obviously did not want Sochi to have its 17 days in the sun,” the analyst suggested.

He also noted that from a historical perspective the Olympics Games always had a political presence as well.

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