Sunday, January 5th, 2014

2014 Sochi Olympic Media Guide – ABOUT SOCHI

Sochi, which is situated on the coast of the Black Sea, is in the Southern Federal District of Russia. Russia’s largest summer resort, Sochi attracts millions of visitors every year. The development of Sochi as a resort city started in the early 1900s. A city of about 400,000 people, Sochi is in the southwestern corner of Russia near the border of Georgia, and is situated on the same latitude line as Nice, France, and Toronto, Canada.

Sochi will be the fourth coastal city to host a Winter Games (Oslo 1952, Sapporo 1972, Vancouver 2010), and the 19th overall city to host the Olympic Winter Games. At 145 kilometers (approximately 90 miles), Sochi is considered by many to be the longest city in Europe. The highest point of Krasnaya Polyana, where many of the Mountain Cluster venues are located, is Mount Aibga. The highest point in all of Russia — Mount Elbrus, a dormant volcano in the Caucasus Mountains — is located approximately 150 miles east of Sochi.

Leading up to the Games, the host city was hailed as one of the world’s biggest construction sites, which included 11 new Olympic venues. Sochi organizers are calling the event “the most compact Winter Games in the history of the Olympic Movement.” The Games will be divided into two hubs of activity — the Mountain Cluster and the Coastal Cluster — with relatively short travel times between venues within each cluster. A new train service makes the trip between the two clusters less than 30 minutes.

At the coast, where indoor sports such as figure skating, hockey, and curling will be contested, Sochi has a humid subtropical climate—the average high temperature in February is about 50 degrees, with a low of just less than 40 degrees. The Mountain Cluster will host skiing and snowboarding, as well as the Nordic events and all sliding sports. Although it is colder at the higher elevations, organizers will have about 16 million cubic feet of snow stockpiled in case of unseasonably warm weather.

Sochi is known for its tennis school, where four-time Grand Slam singles champion, London Olympic silver medalist and NBC Olympics’ Sochi correspondent Maria Sharapova got her start. Sochi was also named one of the 11 host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in Russia. There is also a Formula 1 circuit being built in Sochi, which should be completed by June 2014 and is expected to host the Russian Grand Prix in October.

  • Nearby Mount Fisht (for which the Fisht Olympic Stadium is named) is one of the tallest mountains in the region. In Greek mythology, it is thought to be the “Caucasian mountain” to which Zeus chained Prometheus as punishment for stealing fire from the gods.
  • Sochi National Park was established in 1983 and is the second oldest national park in the country. The park is home to the Program for Persian Leopard Reintroduction, developed by the World Wildlife Fund and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences in order to revive the Persian leopard population in the Caucasus region, which dropped off in the 20th century due to poaching and habitat loss.