July 7, 2008

Russia Relocating Two Sochi Venues

Russia Monday agreed to relocate the sites for the bobsled and luge tracks for the 2014 Winter Olympics, U.N. environmental officials said Monday.

The U.N. Environment Program had recommended the relocation because the proposed sites for the two sports at the Sochi games were on the edge of a fragile nature preserve.

The decision to move the Sochi Olympic venues away from the Caucasus reserve is a significant step forward on the road to green the Games in 2014, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement.

The reserve is recognized as a Western Caucus World Heritage Site and is one of the only European mountain areas virtually untouched by human activity, the statement said. It is also home to some rare and endangered species, such as the West Caucasian tur, a mountain dwelling goat antelope found only in the western half of the Caucasus Mountain range.