Georgia and the Olympics
16 October 2012
16 October 2012
The organisers of the Russian House hospitality centre in London will have to entertain Olympics guests minus vodka at every event where Russian athletes are present. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Kozak, who’s the head of the Russian delegation to London, made the decision at an official meeting. The government decree concerns events run by the Russian Olympic Committee, the Sochi-2014 Organisation Committee, the all-Russia Summer Sports Association, and Bosco di Ciliegi, the company that provides Team Russia’s sports kits. Kozak’s spokesman Ilya Dzhus confirmed the new rules to Kommersant, saying, “Olympic values are incompatible with drinking alcohol”.
Four Russian hospitality houses will be open in London. The Russian Olympics Committee and Sochi-2014 will be in Russia’s Sochi Park opposite Royal Albert Hall close to Hyde Park. The Russian Olympics Committee will toast Russian winners at their headquarters in Sochi Park, but the committee doesn’t plan on buying an alcohol license for the headquarters, a spokesman told Kommersant. The Sochi-2014 Organisation Committee’s venue will host presentations of Sochi as Winter Olympics Capital, and they won’t sell any alcohol either. Bosco di Ciliegi will be working with Russia’s Sochi Park, and no one knows yet whether they’ll sell liquor at events where there are no athletes present. Sources said told us that the all-Russia Summer Sports Association, headed by Novolipetsk Steel owner Vladimir Lisin, could set up camp at 50 St James Street, one of London’s most luxurious restaurants.
However, one of the federal officials who took part in Dmitri Kozak’s meeting argued that Russian House organisers could hold parties with alcohol for corporate sponsors, but without the participation of athletes and members of official delegations. The Sport Ministry develops a set of rules for athletes and coaches before every Olympics, and usually there’s a directive about abstaining from night-time parties and alcohol. An unnamed source at the Ministry told Kommersant, “The athletes themselves are keen on this, but sometimes there are sponsors that insist that the athletes follow their conditions to the letter, including being present at parties with alcohol”.
The authorities took this on-the-wagon approach after Russia received much criticism at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, where its failure in the competition was framed by reports of loud parties in the Russian House hospitality centre. At that competition, Russia won a total of 15 medals instead of expected 30-50, and the head of the Russian Olympics Committee, Leonid Tyagachyov, was fired after then-prime minister Vladimir Putin demanded that measures be taken. For example, Rosneft’s parties had two mock gas pumps dispensing vodka and whiskey. In Vancouver, Russian Standard vodka was available to all the guests, participants and organisers of the Olympics in the Russian House, the company’s press-release said at the time. Russian House at the Vancouver Olympics attracted long queues, and the Prince of Monaco and “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky visited it. At the time, The Wall Street Journal reported, “Where else in Vancouver can you go to see a human jump-rope, taste-test five varieties of Ukrainian vodka, and schmooze with the Prince of Monaco?”
21 May 2012
The Moscow News
“Dry” and “Russian”… one of these things is NOT like the other… none of these things is kinda the same! The WORD came down from above, and like all good Russians, they’re all QUITE obedient to the Centre. However… if they can get away with it… we’re talkin’ about the original artful dodgers (The Inspector General and Ostap Bender, anyone?)… there’s going to be some creative “manipulation” and “interpretation” of the rules when VVP ain’t around. Trust me, VVP IS going to go to London, and he’s going to be the host at some of the events. No doubt, they’ll be “dry” (at least officially and publicly) when he’s present. As for the other times, “Russians aren’t Germans”… need I say more?
On Monday, 7 February 2011, the Winter Olympics organisers submitted a shortlist of 10 mascots for the 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games to the public. Russians will vote by telephone and text message to select the winners on 26 February. By the way, my Nicky is all for Mascot #1, the Polar Bear. I favour Mascot #8, the Snowflake (with the Bullfinch as a strong Second).
Which one is your choice? Perspirin’ minds wanna know!
Mascot #1: Polar Bear
Mascot #2: Brown Bear… Nicky thinks that he “looks like a ragamuffin” compared to the Polar Bear…
Mascot #3: Ded Moroz
Mascot #4: Dolphin
Mascot #5: Snow Leopard
Mascot #6: Fire Boy
Mascot #7: Bullfinch
Mascot #8: The Snowflake
Mascot #9: The Sun
Mascot #10: The Rabbit
The last entrant, the Matroshki Dolls, aren’t officially in the contest… apparently, they’re already a part of the PR for the coming event.