2014 Winter Olympics

The 2014 Sochi Olympics have ended as of February 23. The Rio Olympics will be held in 2016; read about where to buy Olympics tickets for the upcoming games.

The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, a resort town on the Black Sea, which is located about 420 miles south of Volgograd. The largest resort town in Russia, Sochi has a mild subtropical climate, and it’s a popular place among summer travelers, who come to visit the sandy beaches. As such, it would seem to be an unlikely site for the 2014 Winter Olympics. However, Sochi is unique in that the close proximity of the Krasnaya Polyana Mountain Range allows ski and snowboard events to take place on the snowy slopes overlooking the Black Sea.

The Sochi 2014 Olympics, the first ever Winter Olympics to be located in a city with a subtropical climate, will take place in two locations, which have been dubbed two the separate clusters. In Sochi proper, a new Olympic Park will be constructed practically from the ground up, with several Olympic venues that will host the indoor ice events, such as skating and hockey. New Olympic venues that are under construction include the impressive Sochi Olympic Stadium, which will be a modern structure with two gigantic transparent domes, through which guests can see both the mountains and the ocean. The Bolshoi Ice Palace also promises to be a unique sight, and is designed to look like a frozen drop of water.

Just 30 minutes' drive away, the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains are the site for the mountain cluster, which will host the snow and mountain events such as ski, snowboard, luge, and Nordic combined events of the Sochi 2014 Olympics. New ski slopes, runs and jumps are being built for the Games. Krasnaya Polyana backs up against the Caucasus Mountains, and it’s been a prestigious ski vacation destination among Russian travelers for decades.

There has been huge investment in the infrastructure of Sochi, as the government and private investors pour money into building large deluxe Olympic hotels, such as a new Swissôtel and a new Radisson, to accommodate international guests for the 2014 Winter Olympics. There will also be a new metro line that will connect the Sochi cluster with the mountain cluster area, a renovated regional railroad, improvements to the airport as well as to the power and sewage systems, and a new offshore cruise terminal. Local government and international investors hope that after the Sochi 2014 Olympics, the improved infrastructure will make Sochi an international resort destination.

In addition to the building of stadiums and hotels, the three Olympics mascots for the 2014 Olympics have been chosen. The sporty snow leopard, pudgy polar bear, and cuddly hare were chosen among thousands of entries by the Russian public through a television ballot. Although they have seen their share of controversy (the polar bear resembles a previous Russian Olympic mascot and the snow leopard is said to have jumped in the voting because it was the favorite of Vladimir Putin), the three cartoon characters will be making their way onto all sorts of Olympic merchandise.

Tickets for the 2014 Winter Olympics are not yet available—prospective attendees should start looking for ticket availability in 2012 to 2013. Some travel agencies and tour operators are pre-booking ticket packages that bundle guaranteed Olympics tickets along with a hotel stay or a guided tour of the Sochi area. If you are interested in 2014 Olympics tickets, you may wish to pre-book or join a mailing list so that you will be notified as soon as tickets are for sale.

Image: Sochi 2014 Winter Games (flickr)
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