2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially the XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event being held in Sochi, Russia.

Scheduled for 7–23 February 2014, opening rounds in figure skating, skiing, and snowboard competitions were held on the eve of the Opening Ceremony, 6 February 2014. Both the Olympics and 2014 Winter Paralympics are being organized by the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC). Sochi was selected as the host city in July 2007, during the 119th IOC Session held in Guatemala City. It is the first Olympics in Russia since the breakup of the USSR in 1991. The USSR was the host nation for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

A total of 98 events in 15 winter sport disciplines are being held during the Games. A number of new competitions (a total of 12 accounting for gender) are being held during the Games, including biathlon mixed relay, women’s ski jumping, mixed-team figure skating, mixed-team luge, half-pipe skiing, ski and snowboard slopestyle, and snowboard parallel slalom. The events are being held around two clusters of new venues; an Olympic Park constructed in Sochi’s Imeretinsky Valley on the coast of the Black Sea, with Fisht Olympic Stadium and the Games’ indoor venues located within walking distance, and snow events in the resort settlement of Krasnaya Polyana.

In preparation, organizers focused on modernizing the telecommunications, electric power, and transportation infrastructures of the region. While originally budgeted at US$12 billion, various factors caused the budget to expand to over US$51 billion, surpassing the estimated $44 billion cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as the most expensive Olympics in history.

The lead-up to the 2014 Games was marked by major controversies, including allegations of corruption leading to the aforementioned cost overruns, concerns for the safety and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes and supporters during the Games due to the country’s recent anti-LGBT legislation, which have led to ongoing Olympic-focused protests of anti-gay laws, protests by ethnic Circassian activists over the site of Sochi (the site of what they consider to be a genocide) and various security concerns over threats by jihadist groups tied to the insurgency in the North Caucasus.

Sochi was elected on 4 July 2007 during the 119th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session held in Guatemala City, Guatemala, defeating bids from Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea. This is the first time that the Russian Federation has hosted the Winter Olympics. The Soviet Union was the host of the 1980 Summer Olympics held in and around Moscow. As of October 2013, the estimated combined cost of the 2014 Winter Olympics had topped US$51 billion. This amount includes the 214 billion rubles (US$ 6.5 billion) cost for Olympic games themselves and cost of Sochi infrastructural projects (roads, railroads, power plants). This total, if borne out, would be over four times the initial budget of $12 billion (compared to the $8 billion spent for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver), and would make the Sochi games the most expensive Olympics in history, exceeding the estimated $44 billion cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, which hosted 3 times as many events.

With an average February temperature of 8.3 °C (42.8 °F) and a humid subtropical climate, Sochi is the warmest city to host a Winter Olympic Games. Sochi 2014 is the 12th straight Olympics to outlaw smoking; all Sochi venues, Olympic Park bars and restaurants and public areas are smoke-free during the Games.

Sochi Olympic Park (Coastal Cluster)

The Sochi Olympic Park was built by the Black Sea coast in the Imeretin Valley, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from Russia’s border with Georgia. The venues are clustered around a central water basin on which the Medals Plaza is built, allowing all indoor venues to be within walking distance. The new venues include:

  • Fisht Olympic Stadium – ceremonies (opening/closing) 40,000 spectators
  • Bolshoy Ice Dome – ice hockey (final), 12,000 spectators
  • Shayba Arena – ice hockey, 7,000 spectators
  • Adler Arena Skating Center – speed skating, 8,000 spectators
  • Iceberg Skating Palace – figure skating, short track speed skating, 12,000 spectators
  • Ice Cube Curling Center – curling, 3,000 spectators
  • Main Olympic village
  • International broadcasting center and main press room

Krasnaya Polyana (Mountain Cluster)

  • Laura Biathlon & Ski Complex – Biathlon, Cross-country skiing
  • Rosa Khutor Extreme Park – Freestyle skiing and Snowboarding
  • Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort – Alpine skiing
  • Sliding Center Sanki – Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton
  • RusSki Gorki Jumping Center – Ski jumping and Nordic combined (both ski jumping and cross-country skiing on a 2 km route around the arena)
  • Rosa Khutor Plateau Olympic Village

After the Olympics, a Formula One street circuit is planned for the site. The deal to hold the Russian Grand Prix was signed on 14 October 2010, and runs from 2014 to 2020. The first race will take place after the Closing Ceremony of the Games, and the IOC has announced that the race will be delayed until 2015 if construction of the circuit interferes with preparations for the 2014 Olympics.

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, Russia

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