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IOC prez says Sochi Olympic preparations on track

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November 24, 2011 12:30 PM EST | AP

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SOCHI, Russia — The president of the IOC has praised Russian organizers for making significant progress in preparations for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Jacque Rogge is in the Black Sea resort for meetings of the European Olympic Committees. The IOC head was taken on a tour of the venues Thursday by Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of Sochi's local organizing committee.

Rogge said he witnessed remarkable changes since his previous visit to Sochi 18 months ago.

Jean-Claude Killy, head of the IOC's coordination commission for Sochi, said the preparations were on schedule and the Sochi Olympics will be a "grandiose event."

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said construction of all facilities of Sochi's mountain cluster will be completed this year and they will host international ski, freestyle and biathlon events next February and March.

"These national and international competitions will allow us to taste the greatness of the future grandiose event and at the same time test the personnel and main Olympic facilities," he said.

Kozak said the government may consider subsidizing loan rates for some private investors involved in Sochi construction projects. He added it wouldn't entail any significant increase in costs.