Killy on Putin:
|"When he plays sad tunes on the piano at the end of an evening with 10 ministers singing along, that's not hum-drum."|
"Putin has staked his reputation on the smooth hosting of the winter games. Based on the planning, it either speaks to how little he values his reputation, or more likely, that beneath the steely glare and martial arts muscles, he’s being exposed as little more than a thuggish front man for a kleptocracy.
According to a detailed report issued by Russian opposition leaders in May, businessmen and various consiglieres of Putin have stolen up to $30 billion from funds intended for Olympic preparations. This has pushed the cost of the winter games, historically far less expensive than their summer counterpart to over $50 billion, more than four times the original estimate. That $50 billion price tag would make them the most expensive games in history, more costly than the previous twenty-one winter games combined. It’s a price tag higher than even than the 2008 pre–global recession summer spectacle in Beijing."
Dave Zirin in The Nation
An interview in the French weekly Journal du Dimance the head of the Coordination Commission for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, former alpine skiing star Jean-Claude Killy says something about the cosy relationship between the IOC and Vladimir Putin's mafia state:
Former alpine skiing star Jean-Claude Killy said Sunday he enjoys "a very interesting relationship" with Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian president does not deserve the criticism levelled at him.
"I've developed a very interesting relationship with him," the triple Olympic champion said in an interview with French weekly Journal du Dimanche.
"I've worked with him for seven years, which has given me an opinion that is a little different from the one that is widely circulated," said Killy, head of the Coordination Commission for the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Killy, 70, said "everything is going marvellously well" in his dealings with the Russian strongman. "You can get ahold of him in a minute just by calling his chief of staff."
"The Putin I know is not the one described in the newspapers, where you see real 'Putin-bashing'," he told the paper.
"I have no reason to follow the crowd; I trust what I see. When he calls me from Moscow at three in the morning his time to wish me a happy birthday, I find that nice."
He added: "When he plays sad tunes on the piano at the end of an evening with 10 ministers singing along, that's not hum-drum."
The run-up to the Winter Games to be held in Sochi from February 7 to 23 has been marred by controversy, notably over a law against "gay propaganda" that Putin signed in June.
Killy's praise for the dictator does not come as a surprise. Already in September this extraordinarily naïve and subservient man gave his stamp of approval to Russia's controversial law banning gay propaganda and the preparations for the games:
THE International Olympic Committee has dismissed concerns over Russia's law banning gay propaganda, saying it doesn't violate the Olympic charter.
Jean-Claude Killy, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, gave his stamp of approval during a news conference on Thursday at the conclusion of the commission's 10th and final visit to Sochi before the 2014 Winter Games, which begin on February 7
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights organisation in the US, condemned the IOC's assessment of the Russian law.
"If this law doesn't violate the IOC's charter, then the charter is completely meaningless," HRC president Chad Griffin said in a statement. "The safety of millions of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Russians and international travellers is at risk, and by all accounts the IOC has completed neglected its responsibility to Olympic athletes, sponsors and fans from around the world."
He noted that Mr Killy spoke a day after gay rights activists were arrested outside the Moscow headquarters of the Sochi Olympics organising committee for protesting the law.
Mr Killy said the IOC commission was pleased with the ongoing construction ahead of the games, which with a total cost of $51 billion will be the most expensive Olympics in history.
Killy began kowtowing to Putin already in 2008. Here is a transcript from Putin's (then Prime Minister) webpage:
Jean-Claude Killy (in translation): Thank you very much for the invitation and the meeting.
It is indeed a great honour and a great pleasure for me to work on this exciting project on behalf of the International Olympic Committee.
You told your counterparts that it was perhaps the chance of a lifetime to do a job like that. But for us, the International Olympic Committee, it is also a unique opportunity.
Vladimir Putin: I know you have made some remarks about document and information scheduling. We discussed them yesterday.
My colleagues must have informed you that we have prepared a special computer programme to follow progress on each facility. The programme will also give an overall view of the whole project, enabling us, the International Olympic Committee, and you as its representative to monitor the general picture and particular activities daily and even hourly.
Jean-Claude Killy: I am glad, because I think it is the utmost in organisation.
Vladimir Putin: It will be a success, I am sure.
Jean-Claude Killy: We are also absolutely sure.
No wonder Killy and the IOC do not see anything wrong with the planning of the Sochi Olympics. They quite obviously rely on the "hourly" information from Putin's "special computer programme" - "the utmost in organisation".
(image by Wikipedia)