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Sochi: Racing the Olympic clock - will they be ready?

9:08 PM, Jul 29, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - In the heart of downtown Denver, Kevin O'Grady and the staff at Populous are watching their version of a nail biting of Olympic event: Russia's race against the clock to build the 2014 Olympic Park in Sochi before the Winter Games.

"It is exciting to see the final push; it's coming to the finish line," O'Grady said.

In Sochi, there is a lot work being done on a project Populous designers and architects have envisioned for years. They have created venues for at least 12 Olympic Games, including the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics.

"It's interesting to see it come to life after investing eight years of our collective lives on this," O'Grady said.

Populous, which has an office in Denver, helped come up with the design of the Olympic Stadium along with an idea never tried before in a Winter Games - build an Olympic Park in Sochi with ice-skating venues, hotels, athletes villages and roads all from scratch.

"The master plan concept for the Olympic Park was a revolutionary concept for the Winter Games," O'Grady said.

On top of all of that - 47 kilometers away in the mountains - the Russians are doing even more building for the alpine events with around 214 different projects in the Sochi area that need to be done by February. It's a massive construction project, but O'Grady says, overall, Russia's Olympic preparations are looking good.

"It looks pretty close to where London was with the Olympic stadium we designed in London," O'Grady said. 

In fact, Russia is in a much better place than Greece - which was behind schedule all the way up to the games. Sochi's Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov says there's a lot of work to still be done, but that he's confident they can do it.

"We are ready to hold the Olympic event now ... because a lot of things have been done for this. We have held a tremendous amount of test events. This is the largest amount of test events held anywhere in the world before the games," Pakhomov said.

It's one reason O'Grady is excited to see how it all turns out.

"I have a lot of confidence that the Russians throwing as much manpower and labor at it to make it happen as they need to. I don't think they will hold back one bit. I think it will be a very impressive Winter Olympic Games," O'Grady said.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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