2014 Winter Olympics

Sochi: the Host City

The port city and subtropical resort was established in 1902

Sochi, Russia, seaport

Sochi Seaport

Related Links

The city of Sochi lies on the east coast of the Black Sea, nestled between the mountains and the sea. Considered the pearl of the “Russian Riviera,” Sochi is a resort town in need of a facelift, and hosting the Games provides a perfect opportunity for such renovations. Even with the highest price tag of any Olympics (and actually exceeding the combined cost of all previous Winter Games), the improvements have been somewhat haphazard. Sochi’s sanitariums, which once housed recuperating workers under Stalin, are a perfect example. While some have been repurposed as boutique hotels, others are left to decay, their neoclassical forms a stark contrast to the shiny new construction.

President Vladimir Putin fought hard to win the Olympics for Sochi, dramatically outbidding the two other finalists. The Russian Federation beat out Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang, South Korea, for the honor of host city. As a result, the population of Sochi is expected to increase from 400,000 (comparable to Oakland, Calif.) to 4.4 million during the Games.

Transformation for the Games

The key word for these Olympics is accessibility, both small- and large-scale. Because the venues will be used for both the Olympics and the Paralympics, they were constructed with consciousness of access and are being touted as “barrier free.” Visitors and athletes alike should find it easy to navigate both within and between the individual venues. The 11 athletic venues are divided between a mountain and a coastal cluster, with travel time between the two promised to be 30 minutes via brand-new railway—the shortest commute of any Games. Within each cluster, travel time to venues shouldn’t exceed 15 minutes.

Coastal Cluster

The narrow flatland that is the Imeretinskaya Valley is the setting for the Sochi Olympic Park, which houses all the ice venues—within walking distance of each other—including the Bolshoi Ice Palace, the Maly Ice Palace, the Olympic Oval, the Sochi Olympic Skating Center, and the Olympic Curling Center. The main Olympic Village forms the connecting hub of these venues and makes for a convenient five minute commute time. The capacity of the Olympic Park is 70,000 visitors.

Mountain Cluster

The Krasnaya Polyana mountains will be home to the skiing and sliding sports and include Biathlon and Ski Complexes, a Bobsleigh Track, a Ski Center, a Ski Jump Complex, and a Snowboard Park, and Freestyle Center. Another Olympic Village will be the starting point for navigating the mountain cluster, with a projected travel time of less than 15 minutes to each competition venue.

They Built It and They Will Come

At the heftiest price tag yet, Sochi’s $50 billion Olympic facelift should provide a stunning backdrop to the world’s favorite sporting event. But the one thing that organizer’s can’t control is the weather. That’s not to say they aren’t trying. Remember, Sochi is the Russian Federation’s summer playground. With last year’s winter temperatures in the 60s, there is precedent for concern. Organizers have stockpiled 16 million cubic feet of snow under thermal blankets, installed state-of-the-art snowmaking machines, have on hand specialized snow salt used to delay melting, and set up snow gutters to transport snow from the upper elevations just in case Jack Frost decides to boycott these Olympics.

—Catherine McNiff


More about the 2014 Winter Olympics

Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

Did you know?
The first official national flag, also known as the Stars and Stripes, or Old Glory, was approved by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Top 10 Group Halloween Costumes for Families
These store-bought and Pinterest-inspired Halloween costume ideas for groups are the perfect way to show off your creative side at your Halloween party or while trick-or-treating.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

12 Spine-Tingling Halloween Movies for Teens
Are you looking for a movie with just a little bit of spook-factor for your teen? Check out these 12 spine-tingling Halloween movies!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!