Sochi’s leap into the future

As Russia’s city of Sochi prepares to host the 2014 Winter Games, several key Olympic venues will be ready for testing by the end of 2011: two ski trampolines, the alpine ski resort of Rosa Khutor, a snowboarding park and a freestyle center.

With two major parts to the Olympic project – the coastal, and the mountain cluster – alpine venues are the first to be tested next year. In 2012 the facilities will be used for 19 smaller sporting events, giving the venues a thorough dry run before the big event. Among scheduled events is Russia’s ski jumping cup and biathlon competitions.

Some venues, like the two ski trampolines in Krasnaya Polyana are being built at altitudes over 1,000 meters above sea level. Such operations require support from the skies – cargo helicopters are routinely used in Sochi to deliver raw materials and equipment to these construction sites.

Currently the project employs 48,000 workers, and the number will rise to 70,000 by the end of this year.

Since Sochi won the Olympic bid four years ago, the construction of the venues changed the face of the small Black Sea resort completely. Besides winter sports areas, the plan includes new hospitals, schools and hotels, as well as roads, and high-speed railway lines.

Athletes and visitors will be able to move between the coastal and mountain stations by train, with traveling times of about 10 to 15 minutes.

In just a few weeks, the IOC co-ordination commission will once again inspect most venues. The whole project has to comply with strict environmental and safety guidelines.

So with less than 900 days left until the Sochi Olympics, it seems that every minute counts for organizers, who aim at making the event an unforgettable experience for all winter sports fans.

Denis Bolotsky, RT

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