Russian President Vladimir Putin says the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi will leave what he called "a grandiose imprint."
Speaking on February 4 at a welcoming ceremony for International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials in Sochi, Putin said the Games had already had a big impact on the development of the area, making it "more beautiful, more comfortable."
He said the Sochi region's environmental conditions had improved fourfold since the beginning of preparations for the Olympics.
IOC President Thomas Bach thanked Putin for what he called "an outstanding achievement" in organizing the Games, and praised Putin for his "personal involvement."
The Sochi Olympics, set to begin on February 7, are the most expensive Winter Games in history, with the total cost -- put initially at $12 billion -- reportedly jumping to more than $50 billion, amid allegations of widespread corruption and cronyism.
With reporting by Reuters