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MOSCOW, January 27 (R-Sport) - The Olympic legacy of Sochi 2014 could include a near-abandoned resort and elite cross-country skiers forced to live in temporary builders' accommodation due to costs, a senior official said Sunday.
Organizers say Sochi will become the heart of Russian winter sport after the games, with the mountain resorts attracting elite skiers and tourists alike, but Russia's cross-country ski federation president said tourists were unlikely to travel to the resort and athletes would be priced out of the new hotel complex.
“At the moment, there’s no accommodation we can afford. If it’s like that in the future, then it’ll be a luxury even for the national team to spend that sort of money,” Elena Valbe said.
“There should be an Olympic legacy, or otherwise who will need these runs? Tourists won’t be coming here to ski.”
Olympic cross-country skiing and biathlon will take place at the Gazprom-built "Laura" complex on a plateau of the Psekhako Ridge near Krasnaya Polyana.
The complex is equipped to host up to 8,000 spectators.
Initial plans were for a transformation into a hotel and year-round training facility after the Games.
Valbe said her federation and the Russian Biathlon Union were in talks with the government to keep a temporary accommodation block used by builders as a place for athletes to live after the games.
“If they come to a compromise with us, that complex will be a good place for training camps,” she said.
Building work could prevent Russia’s cross-country skiers enjoying much home advantage next year by reducing their opportunities to train, Valbe added.
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News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.