Nightly News   |  February 06, 2013

Mild winter could impact site of Winter Olympics

The Russian city of Sochi, on the Black Sea, is prepping for the 2014 Winter Olympics – and so far it has already become the most expensive winter games in Olympic history. NBC’s Jim Maceda reports.

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>>> ah, the trumpets. you'll hear those trumpets exactly one year from tomorrow night, the beginning of the next winter olympics , now exactly a year off. we'll be in sochi , russia , a place nobody really knows anything about. so we get a scouting report tonight from nbc's jim maceda in sochi .

>> reporter: welcome to sochi , host of the 2014 winter olympics . with temperatures in the mild 50s, citizens of this black sea resort known more for its spas and palm trees wonder why it was picked at all. i think it's pure show for putin on the international stage, she says.

>> sochi is going to become a new world-class resort for the new russia and the whole world.

>> reporter: russian president vladimir putin has kept that pledge, surprisingly made in english, six years ago. and has turned this into an olympic park . running it like a ceo every step of the way. today, the ice rinks are completed and hosting international events. while in the mountains, just 30 miles away , sochi 's ski jump and other alpine runs are primed. putin , an avid skier himself, is pleased. so are u.s. competitors here.

>> i think it's going to be an amazing olympics.

>> reporter: it's already the most expensive games in olympic history. sochi had only one main road and no winter resort . the overall cost, $51 billion, split between the state and putin 's rich friends.

>> putin is a believer that we can do it, we can deliver the result, we can be the best place.

>> reporter: but ordinary russians, like retired neighbors aren't feeling the glory. in their village near the olympic park , there's no gas or plumbing, little power or heat. we are worth nothing in our own land, he says. and then there is sochi 's location. beyond these mountains just behind me is chechnya, a hot bed of islamic militants who have threatened to strike during the games. but putin 's biggest enemy could be another mild winter. with so much of his and russia 's prestige on the line, he has ordered mountains of snow stockpiled, just in case. jim maceda, nbc news, sochi .