Putin factor gives Sochi historic win | india | Hindustan Times
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Putin factor gives Sochi historic win

india Updated: Jul 06, 2007 02:36 IST
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Russian President Vladimir Putin inspired Sochi to become the first Russian venue to host the Winter Olympics when it was declared the winner of the contest to host the 2014 Winter Games in Guatemala on Wednesday.

The Russian President - who was named 'captain' of the team - had led the presentation and stunned observers as he spoke for the first time live in English - his efforts replicating those of then British Prime Minister Tony Blair wen he lobbied so effectively for London's bid for the 2012 Summer Games two years ago.

Sochi defeated runner-up Pyeongchang - who also finished second for the 2010 race behind Vancouver - in final voting after Austrian city Salzburg was knocked out of the race earlier in the day.

Sochi won by 51 votes to 47 - with one abstention - while Pyeongchang had led after the first round with 36 votes to Sochi's 34 and Salzburg's 25.

Putin's press officer Dmitri Peskov said that the Russian President - who has a dacha in Sochi - had been informed of the result.

"He was very happy like the whole lot of us," said Peskov.

"He knows there's a lot of work to do.

"The role of the president in our victory should not be underestimated.

"He did everything and more to make it happen."

Other members of the team were understandably ecstatic.

"This is a great day for Russia and we are really happy," said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, a main driving force behind the candidature.

Sochi had battled hard to overcome the impression of being a virtual reality bid with no venues, but the final ace was the arrival of President Putin.