On 14th November at the Sliding Center "Sanki" in Sochi, the first International Training Week in luge has come to an end. The event has helped to mark the start of the 2012-2013 world season and preceded the World Cup event which will be held at the Sochi track in February 2013. During the event, which brought together more than 130 athletes fr om 26 different countries, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee team successfully tested the services at the Olympic sliding track.
The International Training Week was held in a free, non-competitive format, and was open to all athletes wishing to try out the Sochi luge center. Such weeks are established in the international format by organizers of the Olympic Games. This time, it was decided that the duration of the event would be increased to 10 days, so that athletes and staff could get acquainted with all characteristics of the track.
According to the regulations of the International Training Week, in the first two days of testing, the lugers gradually make a systematic climb beginning at lower points. Fr om 7th November, many athletes were already starting their race from the highest position on the track, which is the Olympic starting point.
Over the ten days in Sochi, the Test Events Division Center coordinated centralized services for participants during the International Training Week, such as arrival and departure, transportation, food, communications, and weather information. The team consisted of members of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, representatives of the State Corporation "Olympstroy", Krasnodar Region and Sochi Administrations, and the Russian Luge Federation, as well as experts in the fields of medicine, transportation and security. This integrated process allows for implementation of joint work of all organizations and functions involved. Also at the venue, for the first time the Tetra multichannel communication system from the Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation was tested.
On 18-24 February 2013, world leading lugers will again gather in Sochi to participate in the World Cup, including the Nations Cup and World Cup Relay. In November 2013, the second International Pre-Olympic Training Week will take place.
Georg Hackl (Germany), 3-time Olympic champion and coach of the German national team: "It's clear that a lot of work has been done on the track in Sochi, and for that reason the state of the ice and its quality are in good condition. The test events were held not only to let lugers go through some trial runs, but also to allow the organizers and volunteers to fully assess the state the venue is in. Another important aspect is the fact that a sufficient number of safety measures have already been implemented, and safety staff brought in, and all this is going to be put to the test on several more occasions, and further perfected should the need arise."
Armin Zoggeler (Italy), 2-time Olympic champion: "It was nice for me to come to Sochi again, and see that this time a large number of lugers from all over the world have come here for the first time. The track here is really good, and so is the food, the accommodation and the way it has been organized in general. Moreover, it is a really beautiful place."
Felix Loch (Germany), Olympic champion in 2010: "All the services worked wonderfully on the track, and all the right conditions were created for successful races. There is a lot of space in the finish area, with enough space not just for the teams but for the athletes' sleighs as well. The hotel we were staying in was pretty big, partly so that it could accommodate all our equipment as well, and for that reason we haven't had any difficulties. I'm sure that after the Olympics the track will become a site wh ere World Cup events can be held on an annual basis, and, perhaps, once every two or three years, the World Championships. The sliders like it here and we're probably going to be coming back here again and again."
Chris Mazdzer (USA): "I've already been here before, in March, so this is the second time I've tried out the track here in Sochi. The track itself is really good – it's not as fast as the one in Whistler, Canada, but that doesn't make it any less difficult. I like Sochi – it's a really modern city wh ere there are a lot of interesting things going on."
Shiva Keshavan (India): "You can see straight away how much work has been done here. It's plain to see – some serious preparations have gone into this event. It's important that the final result should be positive. And I'm sure that the organizers are on the right path."
Guide to the venue
The Sliding Center "Sanki" is the first track in Russia for international level competitions, and the only track in the world that has three negative slopes. There are no more than 20 tracks of this kind throughout the world. The Olympic track winds its way across the northern slope of the Aibga Ridge, protected from the sun's rays, in the village of Krasnaya Polyana. The overall length of the track is 1814 meters, 314 meters of which is taken up by the braking area. The maximum speed is 135 km/h. The track replicates the existing relief in the local area to the greatest possible extent, with its highest point being located at 836 meters above sea level and its lowest point at 704 meters. The athletes' security is ensured by a radius of turns and three negative slopes, which slow them down.