Attention turns to Sochi 2014 legacies
Following the conclusion of Sochi 2014, attention has now turned to the long-term legacies that the Winter Games have created, with the benefits set to be felt far beyond the host city.
The preparations and development needed to stage the Games have already seen many positive changes in the Krasnodar Region and in Russia as a whole.
In addition to the modern sports venues that have been built, upgrades have also been made to transport, engineering and telecommunication infrastructures across the city and the wider region.
In total, more than 367km of roads and bridges, 200km of railway and 690km of utilities were built ahead of the Games, while 40 new hotels were also constructed and 15 were re-modelled, with a total capacity of 26,000 rooms.
These developments have helped transform Sochi into a year-round tourism destination, with an increased number of overseas visitors already noticeable today. In the 2013 winter holiday season, for instance, overseas visitors increased by 13% compared to the previous year, totalling 500,000 people.
Many of the Sochi 2014 sport venues will also provide a tourism boost for the region, with the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre, the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park and the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Centre all set to be turned into resort destinations, while also being used as elite level training and competition facilities.
Other venues will also provide lasting legacies, with the Fisht Olympic Stadium set to be used as a training centre for the Russian national football team, while also hosting matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as well as concerts and various other sporting and entertainment events.
The Bolshoi Ice Dome, meanwhile, will be transformed into a multifunctional sports centre capable of hosting national and international competitions in ice hockey, figure skating and short track speed skating, while the Sanki Sliding Centre and the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Centre will both be used for competitions and training.
Elsewhere in the Olympic Park, the Iceberg Skating Palace and Ice Cube Curling Centre will both serve as sports and entertainment complexes, the Adler Arena will be converted into an international exhibition space and the Shayba Arena will become a national children's health and leisure centre.
Other legacies of the Games include the development of a "green construction" industry in Russia, involving the use of ecological building materials and renewable energy sources, reduction, reuse and recycling of waste, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and an efficient use of water and energy.
The Games also set new “barrier free” standards for urban planning and construction in Russia, with all of the sports venues and infrastructure built with the needs of disabled people in mind.
Another important element of the legacy of the Games in Sochi has been the creation of the volunteer movement in Russia.In 14 regions of Russia, 26 volunteer centers where created to select and train volunteers for the Games. By the end of 2012, around 2,800 projects involving the Sochi 2014 volunteers had been successfully implemented across the country, while Russia has also risen to eighth place in the World Giving Index 2012, which measures the number of people involved in voluntary work.
“The Olympic legacy is one of the main reasons we chose to host the Games,” says Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee. “In the course of several years, we have seen enormous changes in the region which would have taken decades without the Olympic Games. The best practices that have been developed in Sochi will be spread across the whole of Russia and I am confident that the elements of the Sochi 2014 legacy will serve many generations of Russians."