August 11 - Alexander Zhukov, President of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), claimed he has been largely impressed by the organisation of the London 2012 Olympic Games and said that his country have been learning valuable lessons from which they can draw upon in order to enhance the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
Following the conclusion of London 2012, eyes will turn towards Sochi as the Black Sea coast resort gears up to host the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in just under two years' time.
The majority of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee has been in London for the Games and Zhukov (pictured top) said they have been looking closely at everything at the Olympics – good and bad – in order to improve their own Games.
"On the whole, London has been organised very well and I have been very impressed with what I have seen here," the ROC President said at a press conference here.
"But there are a few things we have seen here that we think we can improve on at Sochi 2014.
"First of all, we would like transport logistics and the accessibility of facilities to be better in Sochi than it is here in London.
"I think that we will manage to do it because speaking objectively, it is probably simpler to do it in Sochi as we have a more compact location of Olympic facilities.
"That gives us an opportunity to move from one object to another rather quickly and thus have time to watch as much competitions as possible.
"This is probably the major lesson from London.
"Another lesson is a more serious training of volunteers because here, the volunteers do not always possess full information and are not always able to help or explain what is requested of them.
"As regards to information we are going to prepare our volunteers better.
"These are, perhaps, two main things we will take back to help Sochi 2014."
Zhukov also admitted that he has been slightly disappointed with Russia's medal haul at the Olympics.
Russia currently have 16 gold medals and look set to finish in fourth place on the medal table behind hosts Britain - who are currently third - after they won 23 golds at Beijing 2008 to finish third in the Chinese capital, one place ahead of Britain.
"I would say, we have had a silver rain at these Games," said Zhukov, referring to the 21 silver medals Russia has won at London 2012.
"Of course, more gold medals are preferable, but it's sport.
"We can see that if only we had a little bit of luck in many sports, then instead of a silver medal we could have got a gold medal and perhaps a bronze medal instead of the fourth place.
"We have fallen behind the likes of China at the Olympics but I can say that the state policy of supporting sports and children's sports very much resembles the old Soviet system we dominated.
"They have actually copied the Soviet system of children's training and so on.
"It is rather difficult for us to return to the Soviet system now and besides; it is doubtful whether it is reasonable in this day and age."
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