Sochi hotel delays not affecting athlete families, friends: IOC official
Published Monday, February 3, 2014 11:43AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 3, 2014 3:13PM EST
Construction workers in Sochi, Russia are scrambling to finish work on accommodations for the thousands of international visitors expected to arrive in the city this week, raising concerns that some people could be left without a place to stay.
But while weekend reports of crews still working on hotel rooms provoked embarrassment for local organizers, Olympics Games executive director Gilbert Felli said rooms "will all be delivered" by the end of Wednesday, two days before Friday’s opening ceremonies.
"We are not yet discover(ing) any problems from families," he said, adding that several hundred of the 41,000 available rooms at the Games were either not finished, not cleaned or were missing telephones and televisions.
"It does not mean that it's a catastrophe, that people do not have a room. People have not been put outside."
Russia's Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Kozak, weighed in on Monday, saying problems would be solved by some "final cleaning."
"All the hotels in Sochi which will be hosting guests of the Olympic Games are built and ready," Kozak said Monday at a public meeting.
Crews were seen Sunday still working in Gorki Plaza, intended to be the major transport and accommodation hub, ripping up and replacing paving stones, while others were still painting and fitting cabinets and kitchens in some apartments.
Local organizers said Sunday that only six of the nine media hotels clustered in a nearby mountain area were completely finished, but added that “97 per cent of these rooms are already welcoming guests and the remainder are currently undergoing final testing before being available for visitors before the games starts."
Adding to the uncertainly on Monday was a broken water main in the Adler district of Sochi, a boardwalk area where many hotels are located.
A CTV news team in Sochi said that their hotel had been without water since 10 a.m. local time and water still hadn’t returned until by 6 p.m. They said the water main is deep below ground, and crews were forced to do a substantial amount of excavating to reach the break.
The Russian government has spent $51 billion on the Olympics with the hopes of turning Sochi, long known as summer resort, into a year-round tourism destination.