Sochi 2014 volunteers helping to create “special atmosphere”
Sochi 2014’s team of 25,000 volunteers has been praised for helping to create a “special atmosphere” at the 2014 Games. The volunteers – who work in an array of Games-time areas, from meeting delegations at the airport to helping manage the Closing Ceremony – have travelled from every region of Russia to take part in the Games, with approximately 7% also coming from overseas.
And Marina Pochinok, Workforce Vice-President at Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, has praised the contributions they have made so far.
“The volunteers are the people who bring the beauty and special atmosphere to the Games,” she says. “These are special people who can radiate this atmosphere to their clients and really create a very successful and very friendly Games.”
In addition to Russian nationals, volunteers from 66 countries are participating in the Games, predominantly from Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the United States.
The average age of the volunteers is just 23 (compared with 44 in London and 45 in Vancouver), with approximately 82% of Sochi 2014 volunteers aged between 18 and 30.
In addition to 13,000 general support volunteers, there are 8,000 professional volunteers with specialised knowledge and skills – such as in medicine or translation – as well as 4,000 sports volunteers.
During the Games, volunteers are provided with everything they need to ensure they have the best Games experience possible, including meals, accommodation and a variety of leisure activities, ranging from educational programmes to concerts.
The Sochi 2014 Organising Committee is also running a special "Olympic Days Off" programme for volunteers, giving them the opportunity to watch events in their spare time as a reward for their hard work.
And the volunteers are enjoying their Games experiences toothemselves.
“I am really happy that I'm here,” says Natalia Salmina, a medical volunteer from Ufa. “Of course all of us are very happy to make these Games happen. All of us work very hard and do everything we can to make the competitions you see run smoothly and everything that you see on the TV is made by volunteers. We are all really happy to be part of this great event, the Olympic Games.”
The Sochi 2014 volunteer programme has also led to the development of a volunteer movement in Russia for the very first time, providing a significant legacy from the Games.
In total, 26 volunteer centres have been established in 14 regions of Russia, which helped select and train volunteers for the Games and will continue to operate for the local communities once the Games have finished.
Around 2,800 volunteer projects have already been successfully implemented across the country, with Russia climbing to eighth place in the World Giving Index 2012, which measures the number of people involved in voluntary work.