CBC British Columbia

A day at Sochi House

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a-scienceworld.jpg The Closing Ceremonies are just a few short days away. It seems like only yesterday when the world came together to watch the Olympic cauldron being lit in Vancouver.

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how Russia prepares for a Winter Games of its own in 2014. I made my way down to Sochi House this morning to catch a glimpse of the country's plans for the next Winter Olympics.

My original plan for Sochi House was to see a few exhibits, snap some photos of Russian nationals in their sharp red and white suits and learn about the development plans next Games. Upon arrival, I was surprised to find Russia's Vancouver headquarters in a state of high energy and tight security - Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, was scheduled to attend an official reception on behalf of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee.

Using a combination of charm and journalist-style persistence (which I've conveniently been taught in journalism school), I was able to get my hands on a media pass and direct entry into the building. Knowing that I had only a few minutes before the reception began, I quickly found Rogge's party of IOC officials surrounded by a cloud of international reporters. With camera in hand, I dove in to the madness and followed the president around the exhibits before entering the swanky ballroom for the official reception.

Delegates at the reception spoke of great plans that are in store for Sochi 2014. CEO of the Sochi 2014 Bid Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko discussed the next Winter Olympics, speaking highly of Vancouver's success.

"We learned here that the great atmosphere is crucial for the success of the Games," he said "We must reach [it] in Russia, of course with our own Russian touch, to demonstrate the real Russian hospitality."

Star struck, I left the official reception only to run in to Evgeni Plushenko, figure skating silver-medallist and Russian heartthrob, surrounded by a mob of girls (who turned out to be local figure skaters invited to an autograph session with the Olympian). Unfortunately, Plushenko was not wearing his silver (or platinum) medal, but it was an exciting moment nonetheless.

From the few short hours I spent roaming around Sochi House, I am now convinced that the Russian Olympic Committee will pull all stops to transform its subtropical port city into a place of glam and glory for the 2014 Winter Games.

From the files of CBC intern Niamh Scallan