After Biathlonrus.com has made sure that the national teams are training hard for the next season, it focuses on the Olympics 2014. In his interview the RBU vice-president Vadim Melikhov tells about the numerous test competitions and the differences between the tracks in Sochi and Vancouver, counsels how to train the Russian biathletes for the home Olympics and reveals when they will try the Olympic track out for the first time.
— The upcoming Olympics 2014 are on everybody's lips. However a common biathlon fan knows little about the large-scale work which is done in Sochi. Let us discuss the complex, where the biathletes will compete for the medals in 2014.
— The combined ski-biathlon complex will be built for the test competitions, World Cups, Olympic Games and post Olympics needs. During the Olympics the cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions will be held at the separate ski tracks. Biathlon competitions will be mainly held in the evening in order to enlarge the TV–audience.
— Could you tell us more about the constructions' schedule?
— Due to the bad weather conditions in May the time frames for the ski tracks were slightly shifted. The machines could not reach their destination. At the moment everything goes according to the schedule. Construction of the main building and the ski tracks are in full swing. In October-November the first part of the complex should be put into operation. We have no doubts that everything will be done in time. We continue discussions on the equipment; it should meet the standards and the competitions rules. But investors have assured us that everything will be perfect.
— Who will own the complex?
— The future owner of the complex is almost determined. It is decided that the complex will belong to one of the «Gazprom's» divisions. Recently we had a meeting with the representatives from this company. We examined the biathlon complex in Ufa to get acquainted with the operating systems and equipment. The issue of the skilled professionals' attraction arises here. We need specialist to operate the biathlon shooting range, the timing system, the preparation of the ski tracks. In September together with the IBU sport director Franz Berger we will visit Krasnaya Polyana. The official technical delegation of the IBU will visit Sochi in October to check the tracks and those parts of the complex that will be operational by the moment.
— How many test events to be held in Sochi before the Olympics?
— Officially we organize the test Russian cup from February 6 to February 11, 2012. We are a little bit behind the planned schedule. Earlier we had planned to organize the continental cup in December 2012. But since the world cup 2013 is rescheduled for early March, we believe that we need to shift the continental cup to the end of January 2013. It will be a dress rehearsal for all the services before the world cup. We will additionally discuss the plans for 2014. I think one more competition in January 2014 is indispensable. This competition should have a Russian level.
— Recently the RBU representatives have visited the Russian Weather Center. Could you tell us the results of the meeting? Can we be calm for the weather forecast in Sochi?
— At this meeting we discussed how we and all competitors will be provided with the information on the weather conditions. It is not just about the weather for one day, but also for the long-term period. We must meet all the requirements of the IOC and the IBU, some of them are related to the information about the weather. The information for the previous and the next years should be available. The requirements are very high. The Weather Center has assured us, they have everything they need for the qualitative information. For example in Vancouver the weather forecast was issued with the time-frame of up to 15 minutes. Because of the mountain range and multidirectional wind this may be difficult in Sochi. But our experts assure us that it is not a big problem for them.
— Could you compare the tracks in Sochi with those that were in previous Olympics?
— The track in Sochi a little bit resembles those in Nagano and Turin. All these tracks are difficult from the technique's perspective. The Vancouver's track was less steep. I can say that track in Sochi will not be flat.
— Life does not end in 2014. Is the Olympic complex important for the entire Russian biathlon?
— This is a key question not only for the biathlon, but for the all Russian sports. We have no training bases in the middle-mountains regions. The complex of Sochi will be located at an attitude of 1450 meters. This is exactly what we need. The sportsmen could train below or slightly above this point. I think that the complex will be in demand not only among skiers and biathletes, but also the representatives of other sports. Moreover, the ski-roller track with the length of 5 km is planned in Sochi. We have always discussed the subject of the post-Olympic objects' usage. It will all depend on the costs of living, conditions of supply — all those factors without which one cannot talk about the year-round usage of the complex.