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Sochi Organizers Guarantee Snow for 2014 Games

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Russia is marking the one-year countdown to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi with celebrations and worries about the exploding costs, that could make them the most expensive games in history. (Feb. 7)

AS RUSSIA MARKS THE ONE-YEAR COUNTDOWN TO THE 2014 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES IN SOCHI--PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN IS DEMANDING A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE BE FIRED.

THIS MOVE COMES ONE DAY AFTER PUTIN TOURED THE FACILITIES AND SCOLDED OFFICIALS THERE OVER DELAYS AND HUGE COST OVERRUNS. THE PRICE TAG FOR THE SOCHI GAMES IS EXPECTED TO TOP $51 BILLION-- MAKING THEM THE MOST EXPENSIVE IN OLYMPIC HISTORY...

(NATS OF (Russian) Dmitry Kozak, deputy prime minister responsible for Olympic Games construction)

RUSSIAN OFFICIALS SAY IT'S UNFAIR TO COMPARE SOCHI'S BUDGET TO THAT OF PREVIOUS GAMES BECAUSE ORGANIZERS HAD TO BUILD MOST OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE FROM SCRATCH...EVERYTHING FROM NEW ROADS AND RAILWAYS TO TUNNELS AND GAS PIPELINES.

AND THERE HAVE BEEN CONCERNS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THERE WILL BE ENOUGH SNOW FOR THE GAMES.

(SOUNDBITE (English) Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of Sochi 2014 Olympic Committee:)

"We are using the special snow producing planes, high performance, that they can produce the snow in an emergency, when we need it locally... with the high performance machine, with the temperature up to plus 15."

SOCHI BOASTS ONE OF EUROPE'S LARGEST SNOW-MAKING SYSTEMS--AS WELL AS TECHNOLOGIES FOR STORING SNOW THROUGHOUT SUMMER--AND PROTECTING SLOPES AND TRACKS FROM RAIN AND FOG.

(SOUNDBITE (English) Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of Sochi 2014 Olympic Committee:)

"We are using logistical measures and the special covering materials, provided by partners of International Olympic Committee Dow Chemical, which will help us to cover and protect the slopes and the field of play from the rains and from the fogs and other extreme weather influential condition.

TICKETS FOR THE GAMES WENT ON SALE ONLINE THURSDAY WITH PRICES RANGING FROM $17-DOLLARS TO $17-HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR THE PRICIER VENUES...BUT OFFICIALS SAY ABOUT FORTY PERCENT OF THE TICKETS WILL BE PRICED UNDER $100-DOLLARS.

SIGOUT - Name/Associated Press

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