Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Personality of the Week: Valery Shantsev

Deputy Mayor of Moscow is President of the Olympic bid

Valery Shantsev is the human face of Moscow's Olympic bid to stage the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. His leadership of his team has resulted in the positive atmosphere last week during the visit of the International Olympic Committee's Assessment visit to Moscow.

This visit was an opportunity for Moscow to open itself as a showcase to the rest of the world, revealing the tremendous potential that this great city has to offer. The bid is centred around the river which gives its name to Moscow, the Moskva, which will bear the brunt of the transportation between venues, to be staged near both its banks.

The fact that Moscow presents an excellent option as regards security (if the bid is successful, a special department with 79.000 security and emergency services personnel will be set up seven years before the event and the river reduces practically to zero a security threat against large numbers of intra-city travellers) and that the city itself and Russia have vast experience in organizing sports events are already well known.

However Valery Shantsev has also provided a bid which will not only bring added value to Moscow, providing the foundations for a lasting and sustained development of the city's physical and social structures, but also a profitable one. Under Shantsev's plan, the budget of the Olympic Organizing Committee will show a surplus of between 160 and 200 million USD.

The event will also provide a stimulus for Russian companies and the Federation's entrepreneurial sector, for there are a great number of Russian companies willing to invest in the event. A detailed plan of everything which needs to be done (while 65% of structures are already built) was presented to the IOC last week and it was revealed that by 2012, Moscow will have built an additional 17,400 hotel rooms.

This event will bring Moscow into the principal tourist circuits, benefiting not only this jewel yet to be discovered by so many but also stimulating businesses worldwide as the citizens of the world discover that Moscow and Russia are only a flight's distance away.

Under Shantsev's leadership, the team preparing Moscow's Olympic bid has performed an admirable job, proving that Russia and Moscow lack nothing in comparative terms in the area of organization, readiness, promotion and professionalism. This, with the added bonus that the Moscow bid is safer, more secure, cheaper and structurally more advanced that the bids from the other four candidates.

Valery Shantsev, his team and Moscow deserve to be given their turn to host the first full Olympics in the city's history, due to the fact that for political reasons the 1980 Games were boycotted by a number of countries and athletes and due to the fact that the other four candidates have been awarded major sports events since then.

It is a question not only of rewarding Moscow for the considerable amount of organization that has been done but also of respect for the fundamental principle of fairness. Valery Shantsev has provided Moscow with the possibility to be chosen on an equal footing with London, Paris, New York and Madrid.