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Sochi parties through the night after win

Lavish fireworks lit the night-time sky above a central square in Sochi after 3 am (2300 GMT) when IOC President Jacques Rogge proclaimed Sochi the winner.
Reuters | By Olesya Dmitracova, Sochi (russia)
UPDATED ON JUL 05, 2007 03:38 PM IST

Thousands of hands were thrust in the air and deafening cheers filled the skies above Sochi on Wednesday as news broke that the Russian resort had won the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The Black Sea resort beat South Korea's Pyeongchang in the second round of voting at the 119th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Guatemala after another contender, Salzburg in Austria, had been eliminated in the first round.

Lavish fireworks lit the night-time sky above a central square in Sochi shortly after 3 am (2300 GMT) when, in a live videolink with Guatemala, IOC President Jacques Rogge proclaimed Sochi the winner.

"We needed this victory," said Pavel Ostrovsky, one of at least 15,000 people of all ages gathered in front of the grand portico of Sochi's Winter Theatre to hear the announcement.

"For the whole country, this is a great resurgence," Ostrovsky said as he wound down from dancing and cheering alongside a friend.

Some Sochi supporters looked moved to tears while others kept hugging and some couples kissed.

Balloons flew up and glittering confetti whirled over the square where Russia's biggest pop stars and foreign musicians warmed up the crowd through the night.

Champagne celebration

"I am very happy that we have won. Russia and Sochi are worthy of this," said Natalia Ostapenko from Moscow.

Supporters came from far-flung parts of Russia as well as from Germany and Kyrgyzstan among other countries.

Outside the square, groups sat on the grass, some celebrating Sochi's victory with vodka out of plastic cups. For the organisers of a four-day festival in Sochi in anticipation of the Olympic decision, champagne was on the menu.

The heavily publicised festival, culminating in the concert on the night of July 4, was part of Russia's slick campaign to drum up support for Sochi at home and abroad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin went to Guatemala to lobby for the bid. His polished performance, in English, French and Spanish, wooed IOC members who awarded the Games to Sochi by just four votes.

Neither Russia nor the Soviet Union have ever hosted the Winter Games despite strong results in winter sports.

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