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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 13:26 UK

Beijing 2008: A Russian perspective

Russian hockey star Alexander Ovechkin with the Vancouver-2010 mascot
Russian hockey star Alexander Ovechkin with the Vancouver-2010 mascot

Dmitry Chernyshenko, who heads the organising committee for the Winter Olympics in Russia's Sochi in 2014, is writing for the BBC from Beijing.

It's been a busy few days for Sochi 2014. Since I last updated you all, a lot has happened.

We've been watching closely the news from South Ossetia and it's not been easy. However, we understand that our job as an organizing committee is to focus on preparations for the 2014 Winter Games.

Let me tell you what we've been doing in Beijing.

I've given our first presentation as an organising committee to the IOC session, enjoyed a spectacular opening ceremony, been taken on a tour of the athletes' village and last night co-hosted a first at the Games: an important joint event with our fellow organisers from Vancouver 2010, who we're looking to learn from as our preparations progress.

The last time I stood in front of the full IOC session was in Guatemala just over a year ago, where we were bidding to win Russia's first ever Winter Games.

This time I updated the IOC on our progress as an organising committee and I'm pleased to say we have been making good ground. There is a lot more to do and we're working hard to justify the IOC's trust in Sochi.

Then on Friday, we agreed to the formation of the world's first Olympic university, which will be built in the Sochi Olympic Park as another example of the tangible legacy our Winter Games will leave behind.

In a few years' time, the Russian International Olympic University will welcome people from anywhere in the world to study for careers in the Olympic Movement.

That evening, the Beijing sky turned red for the incredible opening ceremony. No doubt you were watching, along with more than four billion other people.

What was also incredible was the heat in the stands! When I asked a group of Olympians in the athletes' village on Saturday what it was like to be in the centre of the stadium for so long, they actually said it was OK and that they were just caught up by the experience of it all.

I've already heard London 2012 say it's set them a real hard task to follow in four years' time. I'm sure they will do a great job.

What the Chinese did was unique to them and I think that has to be the key. But whatever we do in Sochi, I'm pretty sure I'll leave the flying to somebody else!

The Olympic stadium being built in Sochi will actually be right on the coastline, where we have miles of beaches and palm trees.

The amazing thing about my home city is that you can be skiing in pristine snow and then within 40 minutes, you can be at our beautiful mild seaside. This will be unique for an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The morning after the opening ceremony, we had a tour of the Olympic Village. It was good to see the facilities first hand and as Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, said a few days ago, they look first-class. We spoke to a lot of Olympians, and they all said the accommodation for athletes is excellent. Again, we're taking notes for Sochi.

Now, I write this the morning after a very successful evening with our friends from the organizing committee for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games. The event saw Canadians and Russians come together in friendship to share knowledge and cement our good relations.

We had Winter Olympians, many members of the IOC, special guests and even a Russian-Canadian jazz session to bring a bit of 'winter cool' to the Beijing summer.

It's important to work with Vancouver 2010 as the Winter Games before ours. They have already been through the things we have coming up and I hope we can help them with some of our ideas too. Special thanks to my good friend and counterpart at Vancouver 2010, John Furlong, for helping to make the event such a success.

The most important thing about the Games - the competition - has at last begun and it's great to see some Russian athletes winning medals. Congratulations to all the medallists at Beijing 2008 so far. I wish them, and all of you, a great Games until my next update.


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