I recently did an article about the misconceptions that have been spread about the Sochi Olympics mountain area. Now its time to clear up the misconceptions about the Sochi coastal cluster.
It certainly was an eventful year. Sochi went from being a city nobody outside of Russia heard of to being an internationally recognizable name. And a city that is continually building its reputation both for its beauty and sports.
One of the things that people don’t realize is the Olympic Park is on the Southern edge of Sochi and to the North is the much more populated downtown Sochi area. But for the purpose of this article I am focusing on the Olympic Park area and its sports legacy.
I get a kick out of how Sochi helps to dispel misconceptions with how the Western elite portrays Russia. Most people have been led to believe that Russia is some sort of permanent ice world like the planet Hoth from Star Wars. And then people are introduced to Sochi which has mild year round temperatures and palm trees and a lot couldn’t wrap their head around that. It just goes so against what we have been led to believe.
The propagandists then tried to even rip on that saying “why have a Winter Olympics in a sub tropical climate”. Well, obviously because a half an hour away are mountains with a typical Winter climate and some of the best skiing in the world.
After the Olympics the next big event was hosting a Formula 1 race. Getting the Formula 1 to come to Russia was years in the making and an important step for Sochi in strengthening its sports legacy. The idea of having a race track that goes around the various sports venues was a brilliant long term idea.
The Sochi Formula 1 race was a strong success with over 150,000 people visiting the Olympic park.
I think a lot of the non Russian people who visited Sochi for this event really had no idea what to expect because of the massive propaganda campaign to try to tarnish the Sochi name. Based on the propganda, they probably thought they would be sleeping in huts and not seaside 4 star hotels.
The drivers and racing teams raved about the track, the beauty of the area, and the organization of the events. They were also very pleased with the strong fan response in Russia and have to be feeling very good about breaking into a new big market successfully.
The Sochi Grand Prix was given two awards. The first was being named the “Motorsport Facility of the Year” at the 2014 Professional MotorSport World Expo. They then won “2014 Race Promoters Trophy” at the annual FIA awards. These awards really were well deserved. The Sochi committee went out of their way to make this event feel special down to the most minute of details.
The Sochi racetrack has also hosted some minor races as well as has an auto racing museum. Next year Sochi will once again host a Formula 1 race in October. This also has the added benefit of extending the Summer tourist season.
Lets do a rundown of how the Sochi venues are used now.
The Bolshoy Arena became the home of Sochi’s new KHL pro hockey team the Leopards. Attendance and fan response has been very solid for an expansion team. I personally have watched every one of their games online this season. I think if people here watched games like this their impression of Russians would change. For example in the first break they have a dance cam and play songs like Ricky Martin song Livin La Vida Loca and the camera goes around showing the people dancing. Then in the second break they do a kiss cam. The crowd is very family orientated with a large number of kids.
The Bolshoy Arena also hosted the Channel 1 Cup which is a tournament where the Russian National hockey team plays some other countries national teams. All the tickets for this event were sold out.
Sochi also hosted the KHL All Star game. All the tickets were sold out.
The Iceberg skating palace hosted a long running ice musical type show by the choreographer who did Yulia Lipnitskaya’s programs. The Iceberg also hosted the Russian figure skating Nationals.
The practice skating rink next to the Iceberg has been turned into a figure skating school run by Olympic gold medalists Maxim Trankov and Tatiana Volosozhar.
The curling center is now the curling national team training center. The number of national curling teams has been expanded and should help Russia be much more competive in the sport for the future. It is also hosting various International curling competitions.
The Adler arena which had the speed skating events was made into a tennis academy that has courts with various surfaces such as clay and hard. This gives a great place to develop future tennis talent as well as hold tennis competitions.
Last but not least is Fisht Stadium which held the Olympic ceremonies. It has quite a future in store for it with hosting football games for Confederation Cup in 2017 and World Cup games in 2018.
Right now its undergoing its transformation to football mode. This includes removing the temporary middle roof section and the temporary pavillions. When the various changes are made it will look something more like this.
In 2013 FC Sochi team was created and plays in Russian football’s third division. Hopefully in the future more investment is put into the team and then they get into the second division and play in Fisht Stadium when football mode is complete. And then the ultimate goal of getting them into the top division, the Russian Primiere League. This will then give Sochi a top hockey team and a top football team.
In this article I have just tried to touch on the sports venues in the Olympic park. They have also hosted things such as the World Chess championship and various forums and conventions. Plus there is the theme park Sochi Park which has various rides and events.
There is so much misinformation put out there about Sochi as part of the propaganda war and hopefully this helps put some truth out there. Sochi had an amazing year and can continue building on that success. How many cities in the world will be able to say they hosted an Olympics, Formula 1, and World Cup?