On February 1-3, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee will hold three international Test Events at Olympic venues in the Mountain and Coastal Clusters. In addition to the FIS Cross-Country Skiing World Cup, Sochi will be welcoming both participants and spectators to the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup and a stage of the Samsung ISU Short Track World Cup. The Nordic Combined event at the "RusSki Gorki" Jumping Center is going to be the first tournament at which the Nordic Combined track and the K-125 Olympic Ski Jump will be put to the test. As for the short track competitions in the "Iceberg" Skating Palace, they will be of particular interest to the public in light of what took place at the European Championships in January 2013, when the Russian team achieved its best ever results.
There will be 71 athletes from 15 countries taking part in the stage of the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup at "RusSki Gorki", whilst the stage of the Samsung ISU World Cup Short Track will attract 181 competitors from 27 countries to the "Iceberg". There will be more than 170 members of staff present from the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, making sure these two representative Test Events run smoothly.
All of the Functional Areas and services involved have already been tested by the Games organizers at two of the Olympic venues, in December 2012, during the stages of the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup and the final of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. This time round, some of the world's greatest proponents of Nordic Combined will get their first chance to test out the K-125 ski jump and the Nordic Combined track in winter conditions, at "RusSki Gorki". It is here that the Olympic ski jumping and Nordic Combined competitions are going to take place in 2014.
For its part, the ice-rink at the "Iceberg" Skating Palace is going to be adapted in order to host the short track events, which are bound to attract a lot of interest among Russian viewers thanks to the national team's triumphant performance at the European Championships, which took place in January 2013. Among the favorites for the forthcoming events are Victor Ahn - a naturalized Russian citizen and triple Olympic champion in 2006 (competing for South Korea) - and Vladimir Grigoriev, the first Russian to hold the short track world record over 500 m.
On February 1, qualification rounds will take place at the "Iceberg" in all the short-track disciplines, and then on February 2-3 all of the medals will be contested. The Nordic Combined program will begin at "RusSki Gorki" on February 2 in the individual event, whilst the team events will take place on February 3.
Gian Franco Kasper, President of the International Skiing Federation (FIS):
"Russia has a long and impressive tradition in the Nordic ski sports and has already organized several, highly successful FIS World Cups in Cross-Country Skiing in Kavgolovo, Rybinsk and Moscow. However, this weekend will also see a premiere as this will be the very first time that the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup is staged in Russia."
Jan Dijkema, Vice President of the International Skating Union (ISU):
"All skaters are looking forward to skating in the brand new Skating Palace 'Iceberg' and to feeling the pre-Olympic spirit. The stadium and all its facilities are really magnificent. Therefore the ISU is very much looking forward to this major ISU event in Sochi with exciting races and excellent results. I am sure this will be an outstanding ISU event and a highlight for the pre-Olympic short track speed skating season."
Notes to the editor
The "Iceberg" Skating Palace is a portable venue that can be dismantled and taken to a different site for reconstruction, for use during the post-Olympic period as an Ice Arena in a different city in the Russian Federation. During the Olympics, the "Iceberg" is going to be used for short-track and figure-skating.
The "RusSki Gorki" Jumping Center is situated on the northern slope of the Aibga Ridge, next to the Esto-Sadok railway station. The complex consists of the ultra-modern Olympic K-95 and K-125 ski jumps. The site for the Complex, at the juncture of two ridges, was specially chosen by international experts, so that the ski jumps would be in keeping with the surrounding landscape, and so that the jumpers would be afforded protection against gusting side-winds.
What is unique about a Nordic Combined venue is that it combines a ski jump in-run with a stadium containing a Nordic Combined track, relieving spectators and competitors of the need to move to a different stadium.