"We realize what a difficult decision this was to hold the games in a city that barely had 10 to 15 percent of the necessary infrastructure," he said. "You believed in us, you believed in the Russian character which can overcome all difficulties."
"In the space of five years," Putin added, "we built world-class sports venues and city infrastructure that normally takes decades to build."
Associated Press Writer Leonid Chizhov contributed to this report.
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