With just one day to go before the end of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee has held a record 200 events, with an incredible 7000 athletes participating. Sochi 2014 volunteers have worked a total of 200,000 shifts to make sure all visitors and athletes have a great experience. The Games Opening Ceremony was viewed by more than half a billion people around the world. The Games have been covered by 90 television and radio companies from 159 countries, and about 70 of those television companies have been working here in Sochi.
The Games in Sochi has almost been one of the most gender balanced in the entire history of the Winter Games. A record number of female athletes participated – approximately 1200, or 45% of the total number of participants, and ladies’ ski jumping was included in the Games program for the first time in Sochi.
The Organizers of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have declared they believe the benefits will be felt far beyond the host city of Sochi. The preparations and development needed for the Sochi Games they say will be a catalyst for many positive changes in the Krasnodar Region and in Russia as a whole. Modern sports venues have been erected along with updates to transport, engineering, and telecommunication infrastructures of the city and the wider region. Changing society's attitude towards people with disabilities, the revival of the volunteer movement, the development of "green" construction standards, and training of Russian specialists in the management of mega- projects and sports events are among the key elements shaping the intangible legacy of the Games are.
In January 2014, following seven years of preparation for the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a report "Sochi 2014: The Legacy" has been produced. Its content focuses on the aspects of tangible and intangible legacy, promoting further development in sports, cultural, ecological and socio-economic spheres, both in the Krasnodar Region and in the whole of Russia.
Read the full report on the official Sochi 2014 website by following the link http://gtcdn.sochi2014.com/uplcontent/k4-PUY/legacyITOG.pdf.
Sochi - Center of Sports and Tourism on an international level
During the preparation for the Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Games, the regional summer resort turned into a multifunctional center for winter sports with modern ski and bobsleigh runs, ski jumps and associated infrastructure.
Sochi has constructed more than 700 sports grounds, 47 transport infrastructure facilities, over 367 kilometers of roads and bridges, more than 200 kilometers of railway, more than 690 kilometers of utilities, 40 new hotels have been built and 15 were remodeled with a total capacity of 26,000 rooms. The Olympic project has supported the Russian economy by creating more than 690,000 jobs across the country.
For the Games, 15 sports venues were built, including 2 training ice arenas. Once the Games are over, use of these venues will be maximized in terms of efficiency and social output. Indeed, this brand new sports infrastructure will remain long after the Sochi 2014 XXII Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
First of all, after the Games, the Fisht Olympic Stadium will be used as a sports training center for the Russian national football team; the stadium will host football matches, including the 2018 World Cup, as well as concerts and various sporting and entertainment events.
The Bolshoy Ice Dome will be transformed into a multifunctional sports center. Back in April 2013, the building already hosted the World Junior Hockey Championship. In December of that year, it also hosted the Channel One Cup with teams from Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Russia. After the Games, the arena will be handed over to the administration of the Krasnodar region, who plan to put together a Continental Hockey League team. In addition to the CHL games, the Bolshoy Ice Dome will be used for national and international competitions in figure skating and short track speed skating.
The Iceberg Skating Palace will serve as a multipurpose sports and entertainment complex. It will host sports competitions in figure skating and short track speed skating, as well as various entertainment shows.
The Adler Arena will be converted into a center for regional, national and international exhibitions and will be one of the largest exhibition centers in Russia. The building will be redeveloped thanks to advanced building technologies, architectural solutions and the latest eco-friendly building materials. Once the venue will have been converted, it will be handed over to the Krasnodar region who will use it to hold both small- and large-scale events.
Where the ice hockey and figure skating training center Shayba Arena stands, an all-Russian Children's health and leisure center will be built. The center will operate all year round with shifts of up to 30 days. It will take up to 350 children per shift, over 12 yearly shifts. The center will focus on the organization and implementation of athletic training, implementation of programs in primary and secondary education, medical treatment, rehabilitation and recreation of children during their stay in the center, organization and conducting of physical education, sports and other activities.
The Ice Cube Curling Center will be used as a multipurpose sports and entertainment complex.
The Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center will be turned into a tourist destination and venue for training and competitions. After the 2014 Olympic Games, the venue will be part of the JSC "Gazprom" alpine tourist center.
The Rosa Khutor Alpine Center and Rosa Khutor Extreme Park will also be turned into tourist destinations and venues for training and competitions. The Rosa Khutor skiing courses will host competitions in all 10 skiing disciplines, making this a unique venue in Russia. This is the place where the European Cup and World Cup Alpine skiing series were held for the first time in Russian history. Unique snow conditions at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for snowboard and freestyle, along with specialized tracks for cross-country skiing, aerials, moguls, snowboard cross and half-pipe, will allow for training activities and competitions at the highest level.
The Sanki Sliding Center and fly-over track for luge and bobsleighwill be used for competitions and training in bobsleigh, skeleton and luge. The European Championship and World Cup in luge will be held at the Olympic bobsleigh track in Sochi in February 2015, and the bobsleigh World Championship in 2017. After the 2014 Olympic Games, the venue will be handed over to the Russian Ministry of Sport who will use it for competitions and as a training ground for the Russian national team.
The RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Center will become a competition venue for ski jumping and Nordic combined. The center includes the very latest Olympic K-95 and K-125 ski jumps with their special surface that allows them to be used all year round. Before the Olympic Games in Sochi, three Russian national competitions and four international competitions, including three competitions during the summer, had already been held. After the Olympics, Russian national teams will train there.
In order to help Russian athletes train at the Mountain Cluster’s Olympic venues, the decision was made to create an Olympic Training Center for Russian national sports teams in Krasnaya Polyana.
The increase in the number of foreign tourists in Sochi is already noticeable today. The influx of tourists to Sochi during the winter holiday season of 2013, has increased by 13% compared to the previous year, totaling 500,000 people. The number of foreign tourists in Sochi in 2011-2012 has increased 2.5 fold.
A whole range of fundamental programs, initiatives and standards, are designed to spread across the country thanks to preparations for the Games. It is hoped that the Games will become a catalyst for the development of a "green construction" industry in Russia, involving the use of ecological building materials and renewable energy sources, reduction, reuse and recycling of waste, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and an efficient use of water and energy. The key Olympic sites are also undergoing certification for compliance with the BREEAM "green" construction standard. The RIOU Administrative building, the Hotel in the Mountain Olympic Village and the "Olympic Park" railway station, are the first venues to have received the BREEAM certificates with one of the highest levels assigned. In March 2013, the first national standard for environmental construction GOST R 54694-2012 "Conformity assessment Environmental requirements for real estate" came into force in Russia. It was created following the joint efforts of SC "Olympstroy", the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, and the Russian Ministry of Regional Development. The standard is part of the core corporate green building standard at SC "Olympstroy" and will be tested out at a range of Olympic venues. The "Russian Seasons" Hotel in the Imeretinskaya Valley is the first venue to undergo certification for compliance with this standard. Now, the construction of facilities across the country should be conducted in accordance with strict environmental requirements aimed at reducing the consumption of energy resources and reducing harmful effects on the environment.
The most important legacy of the Games in the region was the creation of a unique ecological corridor - the largest Russian complex of protected areas with an area of over 670 hectares.
The creation of such a corridor is key to success in the implementation of the Program of reintroduction of the Persian leopard in the Caucasus. Currently, in the Breeding and Rehabilitation Center of the Persian leopard in the territory of Sochi National Park, there are six adult Persian leopards (three males and three females) and four cubs born from the leopards. According to experts, within 10-15 years, it is hoped it be will be possible to create a sustainable population of Persian leopards in Russia.
In order to preserve biological diversity in the Imeretinskaya valley, an Ornithological Park with an area of about 300 hectares was created, which in 2012 received the status of a protected area. This should enabled the unique flora and fauna of the area to be preserved, and has created an environment for studying birds and conducting regular scientific observations.
The waste management system in Sochi is being modernized. Both landfills in the Adler and Lazarevsky districts of Sochi have been closed, the modern complex in Sochi waste recycling complex in the Khostinsky district is in full operation.
During the years of preparation for the Games, more than 500 measures to compensate for the negative impact of construction on the environment have been implemented: nearly 1.5 million trees and shrubs have been planted, about 3 million fish spawn have been released into the Mzymta river and its tributaries. The implementation of the activities will continue after the Games with the hope of improving the ecological environment in the Games' region for generations.
A Barrier-free Environment
The Games in Sochi were designed to set new standards for urban planning and construction. All of the sports venues and infrastructure were therefore built taking into consideration the needs of people with disabilities. Almost 1,800 buildings and facilities are included in the list of priority venues for the creation of a barrier free environment, which was created by the Sochi city administration. About 200 Russian cities have adopted Sochi's experience in creating a barrier free environment.
In preparation for the Games, the innovative Accessibility Map project was successfully implemented, which allows people with disabilities to find a place within walking distance, where they can engage in Paralympic sports, as well as information about nearby barrier-free environment facilities. Sochi 2014 Volunteer Centers from 16 Russian regions are actively working on the "Accessibility Map". To date, the map shows more than 14,500 facilities, each person can contribute to the content of the map and send information about sports clubs for people with disabilities and facilities with a barrier-free environment placed on the map.
The Volunteer Movement
Another important element of the legacy of the Games in Sochi has become the renaissance of the Volunteer Movement in Russia. In 14 regions of Russia, 26 volunteer centers where created and where the selection and training of volunteers for the Games took place. By the end of 2012, around 2,800 projects involving the Sochi 2014 volunteers have been successfully implemented in the regions of Russia. According to recent assessments, Russia has risen to 8th in the World Giving Index 2012, which measures the number of people involved in voluntary work (21 million people). The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee hopes that the action it has taken to enable the movement to involve 25 million Russians in volunteering.
Center-stage for the largest competitions
Thanks to the Games in 2014, Russia has entered the top three most influential sports powers in 2012 and received the status of the leader of the sports world for the period 2013-2018, according to influential Olympic portal Sportcal. Russia will stage the largest sporting events in the near future: the 2015 FIL European Luge Championships, the 2016 IIHF World Championship, the 2017 FIBT World Championships, the 2018 FIFA World Cup.