On 9 December in Sochi, two international Test Events were completed at the Olympic venues in the Coastal and Mountain Clusters - "Iceberg" Skating Palace and "RusSki Gorki" Jumping Center. The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and the FIS World Cup stages in ski jumping gathered approximately 200 athletes fr om 20 countries and were held by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee in conjunction with international and national sports federations. All functions and services at the venues were tested in the "Olympic mode" with the participation of over 500 representatives from the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee.
The competition at the "Iceberg" was the first international tournament at this Olympic venue and the World Cup ski jumping stages among men and women were the first in the history of the Russian international competition at this level. The ladies' ski jumping competition will debut at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, so testing the K-95 hill was of particular importance to the ski jumpers.
Participants and guests of the competition were able to assess the efforts of more than 500 representatives of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, which tested all the functions and services at the Olympic venues. In anticipation of the start of ticket sales for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, planned for February 2013, the Organizing Committee has completed the first phase of testing services for the implementation of the Ticketing Program.
Most of the world leaders in figure skating gathered in Sochi at the ISU Grand Prix Final. The Junior Finals ended in the overwhelming victory of the Russian youth: home athletes excelled in all four categories. The performance of the senior members of the Russian school of figure skating can also be considered rather successful: Tatiana Volosozhar/Maxim Trankov and Vera Bazarova/Yuri Larionov won first and second place, respectively, in the pairs. Daisuke Takahashi and Mao Asada of Japan won the competition in the men's and women's singles skating, and Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States were ahead of their main competitors in ice dancing, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.
The FIS Ski Jumping World Cup stages were the debut international tournament wh ere Sochi K-95 hill was tested for the first time by female ski jumpers, along with men. Despite difficult weather conditions, the team of the Games' organizers demonstrated full readiness to hold the competition. In accordance with the "Sochi 2014: Guaranteed Snow" Program, the Organizing Committee used 4600 cubic meters of snow on the ski jump, which was collected by special technology last season in the snow reservoir, located in the immediate vicinity of the venue.
During the ISU Grand Prix Final, the work of a variety of services involved in the complex process of planning, production and sales of tickets was tested successfully. From 6 to 9 December, more than 25,000 spectators visited the newly built "Iceberg" Skating Palace. In the winter of 2012-2013, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee will test the work of ticketing services for another two international pre-Olympic test events: the Biathlon World Cup stage (7, 9, 10 March 2013) and the IIHF World U18 Championships (April 2013).
The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee will hold the following pre-Olympic test events in late January – early February 2013: the FIS World Cup in cross-country skiing and Nordic Combined, and the ISU Short Track World Cup.
The President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, noted:
"The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee together with Russian and international federations have successfully hosted the first major international competitions. We managed to hold test events in "Olympic mode", in difficult weather conditions, and test dozens of different services involved in the preparation and hosting of such large-scale events. Snow in February in Sochi is guaranteed, but in case of warm weather, we have prepared a backup plan: we are storing snow from the previous season to use at the venues. During the World Cup in ski jumping, we successfully tested the system. Also, the first test of the ticketing program successfully took place: a total of 25,000 people visited the ISU Grand Prix Final."
Ottavio Cinquanta, President of the International Skating Union:
"The Grand Prix Final is extremely important for the ISU as it presented us with the excellent opportunity not only to see the events of the best figure skaters in the world, but also to test the arena in light of the upcoming Olympic Games. I would like to say that everything at the "Iceberg" Skating Palace creates a really good impression. The arena has been prepared thoroughly and we can only congratulate our Russian colleagues on a job well done. It deserves respect".
Javier Fernandez (Spain), many-time winner and medalist of international figure skating events: "I myself was surprised to learn that I was the first figure skater to jump three quadruple jumps in the Free Skating Program. It's great that I was able to include such a record in my collection! This is possibly a good sign: I will now try to complete such a combination in the future. And by the Olympics in Sochi, I have already set myself the goal of applying myself 100 percent and demonstrating everything I am capable of".
Meryl Davis (USА), winner of the 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final: "It’s a beautiful arena. We’ve been several times in Moscow but in Sochi it’s the first time we are here. It’s a great honor to be here."
Charlie White (USA), winner of the 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final: "It's a really fantastic atmosphere. First of all the Russian fans, no matter where they are in the country, really appreciate figure skating and ice dance which is tremendous for us. Looking out of my room I have the mountains on the left and the ocean on my right. It just gives you the sense of grandeur and I feel like you kind of take that to the ice."
Tessa Virtue (Canada), 2010 Olympic Champion in figure skating: "It is great to be here today at this venue. Hopefully, we will be here for the Olympic Games in a year and a half. So far we are quite happy with everything. The arena is great, the ice is fantastic."
Yuri Larionov (Russia), silver medalist of the 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final: "It’s the first time we compete at this arena, the conditions here are very good, and the ice is at the best level. We’ve really liked the competition’s organization. It’s very nice that many other competitions will take place there, including Olympic Games."
Elena Radionova (Russia), winner of the 2012 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Junior Final: "It’s a big honor to be leading but at the same time you have more responsibility. The rink is just great, and it’s worth remembering that not everybody has the opportunity to compete on an Olympic ice rink. When you compete in Russia you get huge support from the crowd, but you also need to have confidence in yourself as well."
Sarah Hendrickson (USA), 2011-2012 Ski Jumping World Cup winner: "I enjoyed jumping this hill, it is great to win on the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games venue."
Gregor Schlierenzauer (Austria), 2010 Olympic Ski Jumping Champion in the team event: "The level is very high on this World Cup. Here in Russia, the hill is very interesting, it is always good to experience the Olympic hill."