Spirit of Sport Newsletter – Winter 2013-2014
As Russia’s largest resort city and the self-proclaimed longest city in Europe, the city of Sochi stretches 90 miles between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea.
A fashionable vacation destination, the city will be the warmest to ever host a Winter Olympics and Paralympics. Average winter temperatures range from 52 °F during the day to 39 °F at night from December to March, and organizers have been creating and stockpiling snow at the tops of mountains in case of a shortage when the Games
begin in February.
To prepare for the influx of visitors, the city has been constructing a new light rail metro system as well as building or modernizing four thermal power plants and four hydroelectric plants.
In addition to being the warmest setting for a Winter Games, Sochi will also lay claim to being the most-tested Winter Olympics, as well.
About 2,500 doping tests are planned for the Winter Olympics, up immensely from the 2,149 tests conducted in Vancouver 2010. Overseeing those tests will be a staff of 570 (Vancouver had 500), working at 13 different doping control stations at the competition facilities and Olympic Villages.
Even before winning the bid for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in 2007, Sochi has boasted a proud sporting history. Two multi-Grand Slam winning and former world no. 1 ranked tennis players, Maria Sharapova and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, began their careers at a local tennis academy.
The area’s future will continue to be prosperous even after the Games—the Olympic Stadium will also be used as a host stadium for the 2018 World Cup, and a deal was recently reached for Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix to take place there in 2014.
The city of 350,000 also has plenty of attractions outside of sporting venues. On the Western edge of the city sits the Friendship Tree, a citrus tree grown from buds planted by representatives from all around the world as an experiment to try and grow a new type of fruit. The tree is contained within the Friendship Tree Garden Museum, which is home to plants, fruit, and flowers from over 80 different botanical families.