The Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi will leave a lasting legacy which will benefit Russia as a whole for generations to come.
During the International Investment Forum in Sochi, a roundtable was held to discuss development in the region. First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, President of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, IOC Executive Director Gilbert Felli, President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko, Secretary General of the Russian Paralympic Committee Mikhail Terentiev, PwC Russia Advisory Leader and head of PwC's Global Sports Mega-Events Centre of Excellence Robert Gruman, President of PR agency CROS Sergey Zverev, were all in attendance.
Boosting influence in international sports
Preparations for the Games in Sochi have served as a catalyst for change in Krasnodar Region and across Russia and have helped to strengthen Russia's position internationally.
Thanks to the Olympic Winter Games, Russia has recently been ranked by Sportcal top three most influential sports powers in 2012.
There are a number of international sporting events being held in Russia in addition to the Winter Games, including the 2017 IIHF World Championship and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They will all have a significant social and economic impact on Russia, and the 2014 Games in Sochi will be the first among them.
As a direct result of the Games, transport and engineering infrastructure have been put in place. To date more than 200 transport infrastructure, education, health, culture and sports facilities have been built in addition to 1,500 km of new engineering networks, transmission lines and communications cables and 360 km of roads and bridges and 42 new hotels with 27,000 rooms have been created.
Unique sports and recreation venues
Construction of world-class sports facilities in Russia will form the first multifunctional winter sports center. In total, 14 sports venues, including 2 training arenas will be built. For the first time, Russia's athletes will enjoy access to training centers catering for every winter sport. The structure of the Olympic Training Centre for Russian national teams will include the “Bolshoy” Ice Dome, “Shayba” Arena, “Iceberg” Skating Palace, the Figure Skating Training Center, Sliding Center “Sanki”, the Luge and Bobsleigh Training Track and the Nordic Combined Track. In the coming years, Sochi will become the center of the largest sports events worldwide. In 2017 the FIBT Bob & Skeleton World Championships will be staged in Krasnaya Polyana.
Venues which will not be part of the Olympic Training Center such as the “Rosa Khutor” Alpine Center will be used to develop sport and will also be the basis for the main leisure and relaxation center in Sochi, attracting tourists from all over the world. The number of foreign tourists in Sochi in 2011-2012 has increased to 39,000 people a year. The influx of tourists to Sochi during the winter holiday season of 2013 increased by 13% compared to the previous year, totaling 500,000 people.
Thanks to the Games a wide range of programs, initiatives and standards have spread across the country. The Games have also become a catalyst for the development of a “green construction” industry in Russia. The implementation of up-to-date technologies for natural resource management and for ensuring environmental safety as part of Olympic construction has made it possible to create a regulatory and methodological basis for real estate environmental requirements.
In March 2013, the 1st national standard for environmental construction GOST R 54694-2012 “Conformity assessment. Environmental requirements for real estate” came into force in Russia. 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 standard harmonizes the interests and requirements of the construction industry with broad environmental requirements. It is also a first step towards creating a mandatory environmental safety system in Russia for the design, construction and use of real estate.
Barrier free environment
The Games in Sochi has also set new standards for urban planning and construction. All sporting venues and infrastructure are now equipped for account for the needs of people with disabilities. Almost 1,800 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, which will help integrate people with disabilities into Russian society. The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee is making its own contribution with the innovative project “Accessibility Map”. This will allow people with disabilities to find a place nearby where they can take part in Paralympic sports and obtain information on the nearest barrier free environment elements. The Accessibility Map currently already contains over 10 thousand different facilities.
The success of the Sochi 2014 Volunteer Movement in Russia is another example of the legacy of the Games. To date, 26 volunteer centers across 14 regions of Russia have been created. As a direct result of this, Russia is now 8th in the World Giving Index 2012, which measures the number of people involved in voluntary work (21 million people).
By the end of 2012, 2,782 projects with the participation of Sochi 2014 volunteers were successfully implemented in different regions of Russia. The Organizing Committee estimates that the up to 25 million Russians to get involved in volunteering.
The positive change seen in Sochi is proof that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are not just a global sporting event but a an event that impacts the social and economic activity of the host country, leaving a rich legacy for the Olympic host city and serving as a model for the development of other regions.
The President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, noted:
"The Olympic Legacy is one of the main reasons we chose to host the Games. In the course of several years, we have seen enormous changes in the region which would have taken decades without the Olympics. The best practices that have been developed in Sochi will later be spread across the whole of Russia. I am confident that the elements of the Sochi 2014 Legacy will serve many generations of Russians."