It's the most expensive Olympics ever. Perhaps the most controversial Olympics ever. And, for many, in the lead-up to the 2014 Games, might be the most dangerous, given all the terror threats.
But in the face of this, and just nine days away from the start of the games, Sochi organizing committee chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said Wednesday his site is safe and he has the utmost confidence in a "gentle and smooth" two weeks. This via a report from the Associated Press.
"History will be made," he said of Russia's first Winter Games.
With Sochi facing threats of terrorist attacks from insurgents from the North Caucasus, Chernyshenko said the city is the "most secure venue at the moment on the planet" and promised that tight security measures will not detract from the atmosphere of the games.
"I can assure you that Sochi will be among the most security-friendly games and all the procedures will be very gentle and smooth," he said in a conference call with reporters. "You will see thousands of (security) people around but it's important to understand that the Olympics is a global event and the security is also a global multi-national event and state authorities are doing (their) utmost to deliver Sochi as safest for everyone."
That is what most are hoping for, but these promises have become a wait-and-see deal. After all, the tenor around these games is really anything but relaxed. The government will be monitoring human activity both on the ground and via electronic tracking of cell phones.
Chernyshenko also assured reporters that, despite Russian law against "gay propaganda," there will be no enforcement from law officials against "anyone at the Olympics on the basis of sexual orientation."
Sochi, which is a resort town that sits on the Black Sea, and something of a quasi-tropical vacation spot for Russians, has been completely overhauled for the games. Stadiums, roads, hotels, the area was completely altered in an effort to impress the world for Russia's biggest global sports moment ever.
"We're fully ready," Chernyshenko said on the conference call, accordin to the AP. "We're in a great shape. Everything is in place. The only thing remaining is for the athletes to come and shine at the venues. Everything so far is perfect."
Plenty would argue otherwise. With all this change, concern still exists about how secure the so-called "Ring of Steel" will hold up against threats from multiple terrorist groups. The Winter Games begin on Feb. 6.