Gennady Fedorov, a sports journalist from the Reuters agency in Moscow, spoke to RT about the International Olympic Committee's vote on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Guatemala.
Russia Today: As a senior sports correspondent you travel the world covering major sporting events. What do you make of Russian chances, of Sochi's chances to get the final vote?
Gennady Fedorov: I feel it is going to be a two horse race. I think it will be either Sochi or South Korea's Pyeongchang. Actually I do not see how the IOC, a very conservative body, will give the Games to Salzburg after the doping scandal we had from last year's Games. And obviously in such a way I do not see that they will give the Games to Salzburg. As a matter of fact, this would be a kind of after-punishment for them. Giving the Games to them would be a surprise.
RT: So you feel that perhaps this is more of a two horse race between Sochi and Pyeongchang. A lot has been made, a lot has been said about Sochi having a lot of backing from the Russian government and that it has been seen as a plus. What do you make of that?
G.F.: Actually yes. It is not a secret any more. I mean they obviously say that this is their major card that President Putin will be campaigning there for a couple of days and I view this as a big help for them. He is a powerful leader in the world and his presence will probably help.
RT: Do you feel that having the backing of the Russian government could be a decisive factor in the IOC vote?
G.F.: I believe that in this case yes, I mean especially with the President's backing. He is there himself and I think what they are trying, sort of, a repeat former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who, two years ago, went to Singapore and campaigned there personally and London bid's out favoured Paris so I think this strategy will work once again for Sochi.
RT: Of course, we are only a few hours away from the crucial vote. If Sochi gets it, it is going to have to build a lot of facilities. They are on the blueprint stage at the moment. They are going to have to build sporting facilities. Is there a plus in the sense once they are built they are going to be state-of-the-art or is it a negative because there is a lot of work ahead?
G.F.: No, I think that it is a plus. I mean, as you have said, one day they will be built as state-of-the art facilities of the 21st century. And with all the money available and government backing I am sure they will be able to build those facilities on time and it is definitely a plus having all new facilities there. So I also see that with government guarantees they will be able to do it. I think that is one of the points in their favour.
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