From 2005 to 2007, the Sochi 2014 bid team was determined to show to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that we had what it takes to deliver an unparalleled Olympic experience. When we heard the IOC President Rogge announce "Sochi 2014," we were overwhelmed by that we got the chance to play our part in bringing Olympic values to life, working to achieve the Olympic Movement's key goal to "build a better world through sport."
PyeongChang's "New Horizons," Munich's "Festival of Friendship" and Annecy's "Snow, Ice and You," each in their own way held the promise to "build a better world through sport." Outside the technical qualities of the bids, this is a key reason why they would all be fantastic Host Cities. Indeed, the highest technical standards are essential, but it is the vision that brings life to the project - how the Games will enhance their region and the Olympic movement.
The atmosphere during the events and the relationship developed between the hosts, athletes, fans, volunteers and Olympic family, are all close to the IOC members' hearts when they vote. Even at the bid stage, it's vital that the IOC members get a sense of what the atmosphere would be during the celebrations: of what kind of experience the Games provide for the visitors and hosts.
Experience is indeed what the Olympic Games are all about: sports, emotion and brands lie at the heart of the Olympic Games. As each Games impacts the Olympic brand - the IOC's most precious possession - the bidding cities need to tell how they will nurture the brand and make it richer. This is why telling the story of how it will offer the world an unprecedented experience is the way to win the IOC members' hearts, their trust and their vote.
Today, four years after our victory in Guatemala, we can see the huge progress in reaching our legacy goals. We are developing a barriers-free environment across Russia, raising environmental awareness and promoting Olympic and Paralympic values, developing a volunteer movement for the first time in the country's history. Our efforts are designed to make Sochi a real "Gateway to the Future." These were our ambitious plans back in 2007, and we were delighted it won the hearts of the IOC Members.
Now, with the choice of PyeongChang, the IOC has just confirmed that it's willing to take the Olympic Movement to a "New Horizon." Together we will take the power of Olympism to new territories.
Dmitry Chernyshenko is the president & CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee.