Preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games are continuing, with work expected to be completed on many of the mountain venues by the end of this year. During the 2014 Games, events will be focused around two different areas – a coastal cluster of venues in Sochi for ice events, and a mountain cluster in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains.
The mountain cluster will be home to all the skiing and sliding sports and will include a Biathlon and Ski Complex, a Bobsleigh Track, a Ski Centre and a Ski Jump Complex, as well as a Snowboard Park and Freestyle Centre.
Many of the venues are due to host international events at the beginning of 2012, in preparation for the 2014 Games, and IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy was confident that the athletes would be impressed following a recent visit to Sochi. "I am confident that the world’s winter athletes will be impressed when they arrive in Sochi for the up-coming sports events and the Games in 2014", said Killy. He continued, "The entire Sochi 2014 team deserves great praise for their achievements over the past six months".
The Biathlon and Ski Complex, located on the crest and slopes of the Psekhako Ridge, will host both the FIS Cup and the IBU Cup in January next year, while the Alpine Centre, on the Aibga Ridge, will host the Alpine FIS World Cup in February.
The Ski Jumping Complex, which is located in Esto-Sadok village on the northern slope of the Aibga Ridge, will stage the FIS Ski Jumping Cup in February, while the Snowboard Park and Freestyle Centre, to the West of the Rosa Khutor plateau, will host both the Freestyle FIS European Cup and the Snowboard FIS European Cup in March.
The Olympic Park will be the main focus of the coastal cluster and will be home to the Central Stadium, the Bolshoi Ice Palace, the Maly Ice Palace, the Sochi Curling Centre, the Figure Skating and Short-Track Centre and the Speed Skating Centre. It will be the first time in Olympic history that all the ice venues are within walking distance of one another, creating a centralised Olympic Park that will be able to accommodate around 75,000 fans when full.
The Olympic Park, which is being built by the Black Sea coast in the Imeretin Valley, will also house the Main Olympic Village, the International Broadcasting Centre and the Main Press Centre. All the venues and facilities will be newly built. "We are impressed by the speed that Sochi is changing", said IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy. "The first test event held in February this year is proof of their progress and the government is committed to the Games".
According to Sochi organisers, developments are well on schedule: "The plan is to finish the mountain and coastal venues two seasons before the start of the Games. All of the infrastructure will be done by 2012 for the Olympic Park".
After the Games, the Central Stadium will become a football stadium to be used by the Russian national team and as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Speed Skating Centre will be turned into a trade and exhibition centre, while the Bolshoi Ice Palace will serve as an ultra-modern, world-class multi-purpose sports and entertainment centre.
The Maly Ice Palace, the Sochi Curling Centre and the Figure Skating and Short-Track Centre are all temporary venues, which will be dismantled and transported for post-Games use in other Russian cities.
The VIth visit of the IOC Coordination Committee for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be held from September 12-14. On Wednesday, September 14, IOC Coordination Commission Chairman, Jean-Claude Killy, and IOC Executive Director, Gilbert Felli, will host an official press-conference to provide an update on their assessment of Sochi 2014's progress.