SOCHI — International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge praised Russian organizers for making significant progress in preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Rogge, attending meetings of the European Olympic Committee in Sochi last week, was given a tour of the venues 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 coordinating committee 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 at Sochi's mountain cluster will be completed this year and they will host international ski, freestyle, snowboard 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 might consider subsidizing loan rates for some private investors involved in Sochi construction projects. He added that it wouldn't entail any significant increase in costs.