INNSBRUCK, Austria – The head of the organizing committee for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics has "no doubts" that all construction work will be finished on time despite delays at more than 70 projects.
"It has nothing to do with a real delay that could harm the games," Dmitry Chernyshenko said Monday while visiting the Winter Youth Olympics. "We are well on track — 87 percent of the infrastructure has been done already."
Chernyshenko said slowed construction works in the region would not affect the games because less than 15 percent of all building projects are directly related to the event.
"The majority of the work has nothing to do with the success of the games," he said. "All the competition and noncompetition venues for the games are well on track. No doubts that we deliver that."
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak acknowledged the delays Sunday but denied the Olympics would be affected.
"We have 393 construction projects with a thousand subprojects," Chernyshenko said. "Among them, some paperwork for handover of the land of some permission still needs to be done. ... The games' delivery is well on track and this is always confirmed by the watchdog from the IOC."
Sochi will host its first World Cup Alpine skiing races from Feb. 8-12, and Chernyshenko said the city is ready for the test event.
According to Chernyshenko, Russia is using the Olympics as an accelerator for a major development of the Sochi and Krasnodar region.
"Sochi wasn't developed since the middle of last century," he said. "It was a smart solution to use the Olympic Games as an unmovable deadline to redevelop ... the region."
"The amount of work that we are doing to create an all-year-round resort and a winter sports destination, it's really huge."
Two years ago, the International Olympic Committee urged Russian officials to speed construction because delays could threaten plans for the 2014 Games, which included building all new facilities. The IOC's coordination commission for Sochi has since said venue construction quickened significantly.