BEIJING, April 25 -- Russian city Sochi has gained some Chinese support for its efforts to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the bid committee announced yesterday at the 5th Sport Accord convention in Beijing.
Chinese women's figure staking world champion Chen Lu and her Russian husband Denis Petrov are among the ambassadors.
"It's a great honor for me to be an ambassador of Sochi 2014 bidding committee. Before I went to Sochi, I just knew that it's a coastal city. But when I visited there, I was surprised by its beautiful scenery - just 40 minutes away from the beach, we can see the snowy mountains," said Chen.
"If Sochi wins the bid, it will be an ideal place for athletes to compete. I'm convinced that Sochi would hold the best Winter Olympic Games ever."
Chen was bronze medalist at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, and world champion the following year. Pairs skater Petrov won the silver medal at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France.
Other big names backing the bid include Svetlana Zhurova, women's 500m speed skating gold medalist at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games, and Alexei Nemov, a Russian gymnastics legend with four Olympic gold medals.
"During my gymnastics career I was fortunate to compete at a major championships in my home country, at the Goodwill Games in 1994, but sadly I had no opportunity to compete at a home Olympic Games," said Nemov.
"I would have loved to strive for a gold medal in front of our passionate fans, who embody the Olympic Movement. I am backing Sochi's bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2014 because it will leave a lasting legacy for athletes and the Russian people."
With only three months to go before the International Olympic Committee picks the hosting city for 2014, Sochi's bid committee is growing in confidence.
"Our bid is going very successfully. We hope that we will win. We have a great chance," said Elena Anikina, chairwoman of the Board of the Sochi 2014 Bid Committee.
"We have strong team and we have great support from President Vladimir Putin. Our people have a great desire. We are a winter country and we have never had a winter Olympic Games. Sochi itself is a unique place, where we have a lot of sun and we have a lot of places for all ice skating competitions and we have great mountains. I think we are the best and strongest bid."
Located between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, Sochi is the largest resort region of Russia.
This is the second time it has bid for the Winter Olympics, after missing out on the 2002 Games which went to Salt Lake City. This time around it faces competition from South Korea's Pyeongchang and Salzburg, Austria.
The Sport Accord convention gathers representatives from sports federations, the IOC, sponsors, bidding and host cities to discuss the key issues facing the sports industry.
(Source: China Daily)