TODAY

TODAY   |  February 04, 2014

‘Putin World’ theme park not ready for Olympics

Sochi Park, a $371 million theme park that locals call “Putin World” due to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s heavy involvement with its creation, will not be open in time for the Olympics. Matt Lauer reports from Russia.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> meantime, let's find matt, about 5,000 miles to our east in sochi , russia , getting ready for the olympic winter games which are t-minus two days away.

>> reporter: that's right. savannah, al and tamron. and as soon as i'm done with the show, i'm going to walk into that building, the olympic stadium behind me for a complete dress rehearsal of friday night's opening ceremony . the second time i see the show. and i'll fill you a little in later on. that kind of odd architectural feature is not just for show. what lies under that strip of the roof is key to the opening ceremony . i'll tell you more about that, savann savannah, as well.

>> you're going to have to let us in on putin 's world. have you been in putin 's world? what can you tell us about it?

>> we're all living in putin 's world. but i have not been in putin 's world. i've gotten a lot of tweets and e-mails about the building over there, the beige one with the red roof. people want to know what it is. so i listened and went to find out. the official name of it is sochi park. it's a hotel and amusement park development that was supposed to be done in time for the olympics. but around here they call it putin world. when it's finished, it'll provide a fantasy tour of 1,000 years of russian history . they tried to rush it and get it done for the olympics, it didn't happen. they say this is the first theme park in all of russia . it's being designed and built by a company that's designed major theme parks in places like dubai. the hotel in the background lights up at night. they say it's fully occupied. although, who's staying there is somewhat of a mystery. rumors have it it could be the dutch and sri lankan royal families . the price tag $370 million, or about 13 billion rubels. the story, when the bolts designed to attach the roller coasters arrived here in russia , they were misplaced at customs. russian officials tracked down the guys who misplaced them and convinced them to return them. but one local high-ranking businessman who i won't identify told me, he doesn't think he'll be the first person on them to test them. and by the way, sochi park has a facebook page with 481 likes. and guess what, guys, they sent me tickets for the opening. unfortunately, not enough for everyone. so i'm volunteering not to go. these are for you.

>> oh, matt. what a giver. a giver. let's get a check of the day's top stories. you still there, matt?