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Twitter / SophieCo_RT: #Olympics oath says 'sport

#Olympics oath says 'sport with no doping or drugs'. Sir Craig Reedie makes sure that's more than words. #IOC #doping http://rt.com/shows/sophieco/ioc-vice-president-craig-reedie-314/

IOC VP Sir Craig Reedie: 'Anti-doping agency has own intelligence, Interpol helps track drug trafficking' ― RT SophieCo

SS: To another topic you can ponder on. Do you think the Olympic Games is just an extension of politics?


CR: No, I don’t. The International Olympic Committee is a sports organization. The Olympic Games brings athletes of the world together in an atmosphere of friendship, of tolerance, of respect, and I think that can do nothing but good. The IOC is certainly aware that in practically everything they do, there could be a political reaction, or there could be a political observation of what we do, but we try to stay away from politics in a political sense. We are a sports organization, and we do much good. For example, sport came out of the London Olympic Games in a strong and good position, as it has been for many, many years, and that is a very good example of what we want sport to be, what we sporting events to be, and I hope that people will leave Sochi after the upcoming Winter Games with exactly the same feeling.


SS: What I’m saying is that a lot of people think that historically it is inter-related with politics; for example – the Black Power Salute, Hitler’s Games in Munich. All the boycotts, like the Apartheid boycott. What is that all about if not politics?


CR: Of course it was. The IOC now has a rule which says “Athletes may not make political gestures during Games,” perhaps caused by the Black Power example that you gave. The Munich issue is for me very sad, because my very first night at the Olympic Games was in Munich, all these years ago. This is a dangerous and difficult world in which we live. The IOC takes security of the Games to be a very, very vital part of organizing committees duties, and when there are increased dangers in the world, we have to react to that. And we are aware that our host governments will make sure that the Games are safe. If that’s politics, then OK, we have to live with politics. I think it is a sensible organization of a sports event. The issue is that the Olympic Games do so much good, and are regarded as doing so much good, that clearly people believe [think] they are potential target. Again, I’m pleased to say that in London in 2012, we were well aware of the security risks; security in London, I think, was slightly different from international security than it is in Sochi, but I am pleased to say that nothing happened.Since Munich, there has been one small event in Atlanta in 1996. That was one small bomb that went off in the Olympic Park. Since then, the Olympic Games have actually been very safe.


SS: You know that many have accused Russia of being overprotective when it comes to insuring athletes’ and visitors’ safety at the Sochi Olympics. Is there such thing as too much security?


CR: I speak from some of my experience, having spent seven years on an organizing committee, it’s very difficult to win any argument with the security people in the country, because the security people will say, “Well, it might happen” and you cannot prove that they are wrong. Security is paramount as far as the country is concerned, and it is very important as far as the IOC is concerned. What I hope will happen – I’m confident, absolutely confident, that the Sochi Games will be secure – what I hope will happen, is that once it becomes clear that they are safe, the organizing committee will be able to control the amount of security and control the attitudes of these services and people who are doing the security, to create a very happy ambiance of the Games. That’s a very narrow balance, and a difficult balance to get right, but it can be done.


SS: Why do you think some world leaders are refusing to come to Sochi, citing political reasons, while they have no problems, for example, going to Beijing?


CR: I’ve always believed that the Games are a hugely attractive event in world sport. I think it’s always been the policy of the host organizing committee and host country to welcome the athletes of the world, the whole of the Olympic family, and in fact anybody else who wants to come. If people decide not to come, in many cases it is their personal decision. That is perhaps domestic policies rather than anything else, and the IOC stays well away from that.


SS: Well, the IOC stays away from that, but viewers get the sense that these Games may be politicized. Do you think politics involved in the Games make them more entertaining to watch? Or does it hurt the spectators?


CR: My experience has been that if there is a political argument in the build-up to the Games, it stops about five minutes after the first sports competition starts. After that, the stories are all about sport. The stories before the Games frequently can have some form of political aspect, whether it is international politics, or, in many cases, domestic politics - you know, how much money has been spent, is the organizing committee good, bad, or indifferent, that kind of thing. As soon as the Games start, all of that stops and it’s all sport. IOC is used to it, we’ve experienced it before and I don’t think that politics and media stories in the build-up to the Games make them more interesting or less interesting. Ithink the sport takes over, and the Olympic sport is outstanding, and wonderfully attractive, as can be seen from the huge television audiences that we had in London and a huge television audiences we will have in Sochi.

SS: Why do you think cities everywhere are seeking to host the Olympics when most of them can’t really afford it and their budgets suffer? The financial consequences can be quite harsh; I’m thinking Montreal, it took them like 40 years to pay off its debt…


CR: It is part of the sort of folklore of Olympic movement that Montreal lost a fortune. The Games in Montreal actually broke even. What didn’t break even was the capital construction that went into Montreal to build the facilities, which has lasted and has been a benefit to the people of Montreal for every day of the 40 years since then. People should understand that there are two budgets involved here. One is the budget of the organizing committee to put on the Games, and the second is the budget of either the host city or the host country to provide the facilities. There is no reason why the IOC should build ice rinks for people in Russia; that can be done at any time. What happens is that countries and cities use the fact that they are running the Games as a catalyst to build new sports facilities. That was very true in London. If you look at the London experience, I think there were only two 50-meter pools for swimming in a city with a population of 7.5 million people. Now there are more; there were another two built in the Olympic Park. So the Games are used as a catalyst for development and the development and the facilities last for the next 40-50 years. We cannot have that cost added simply to the Olympic budget.

SS: And just really quickly, there seems to be a trend in Olympics that the current Games always feel like they are better than the previous ones. What do you think makes these Olympics better than Salt Lake, Vancouver, and Nagano?


CR: Well, I can answer that on the 23rd of February when I head for home. Looking at the build-up, I can’t remember a Winter Games where there was such a concentration of the ice sports in the one place, as there is in the coastal region in Sochi. It’s an absolutely outstanding effort and the facilities are world-class by anybody’s standards, and I’m not sure that that has happened in quite the same scale in previous Winter Games. If you go up to Krasnaya Polyana, then you’re building effectively a completely new snow sports resort up there, so certainly the investment that has been made will be of huge advantage to winter sport in Russia for many years to come, and some of the facilities which will be moved from the ice rinks to be exhibition centers or whatever will be a terrific asset to the people of that region around the Black Sea.

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