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IOC Praises Russia's Sochi Games Preparations

An employee arranges medals for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games during a presentation for the public at a jewellery shop in St. Petersburg September 19, 2013.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) praised Russia's preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Thursday, saying the sporting venues were ready and the Games would be a "fabulous experience."

The IOC said in a statement its Coordination Commission, or inspection team, had given the organizers positive feedback in their final visit to the Black Sea city before the Games start in February.

"We often say that there is no time to waste as the clock ticks down to the opening ceremony, and this still stands true," said Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy.

"But to see how far the local organizers have come over the last six years is quite simply remarkable — the competition venues are ready; the spirit of the Games is awakening here; and the athletes, spectators and all others who visit next February can expect a fabulous experience."

The statement did not contain any criticism and did not refer to the threat of protests over a new Russian law banning the spread of "anti-gay propaganda" among minors. It also did not refer to flooding which prompted the regional authorities to declare a state of emergency in the area this week.

President Vladimir Putin has promised "brilliant" Games that will showcase how far Russia has come since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.