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The 2014 Winter Olympics will be the first Winter Olympics hosted by the Russian Federation, and the country is well on its way to getting the 2014 Olympics venues ready for action. Located in the town of Sochi on the coast of the Black Sea, construction on the new Sochi Olympic Park is, impressively, right on schedule. Almost all of the 2014 Olympics venues had to be built from scratch, but already construction on many of the structures is nearing its final stage, in time for test competitions starting in 2012.
The 2014 Olympic events will take place in two clusters: one in Sochi Olympic Park in Sochi itself, and another area in the Krasnaya Polyana mountain range, just 30 minutes' drive away.
Bolshoi Ice Palace
The Bolshoi Ice Palace will be a massive ice stadium and will host the ice hockey finals. It will have a capacity of 12,000 seats, and will be designed as a modern silver and glass dome that is meant to look like a frozen drop of water. After only two years of construction, the Bolshoi Ice Palace is nearing completion. When the 2014 Olympics are over, it will be used as a multi-purpose sports and entertainment center.
Sochi Olympic Stadium
The Sochi Olympic Stadium will be the single most impressive structure at the Sochi Olympic Park. This enormous stadium will seat 40,000 guests, and has an innovative design that will become a Russian landmark in the future. The roof will be made of two continuous domes of transparent polycarbonate, shaped like two mountain peaks, which will be beautifully lit at night. From within the transparent domes, visitors will be able to see both the mountains and the sea. The Sochi Olympic Stadium will be the site for the opening and closing ceremonies as well as other events.
Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort
The Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort will be the site for the alpine skiing events. Located in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains, it will be part of the mountain cluster of the 2014 Olympics venues. The location will take advantage of the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains' powdery snow, and will have more than 5.5 miles of skiing routes. It will be able to accommodate up to 18,000 guests, and is slated to open in November 2011 for test runs.
Krasnaya Polyana Venues
Another venue being built in the Krasnaya Polyana area is the Russian National Sliding Center for the luge, bobsleigh, and skeleton events. For safety, it will be built slower than the track in Whistler during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, which was the scene of a luge fatality in the practice runs before the games officially opened.
In addition, two Olympic jumps will be built at the Russian National Ski Jumping Center, as well as several training hills. The Sochi Freestyle Skiing Center and Snowboard Park will host the freestyle ski and snowboard events, and the Sochi Biathlon and Ski Complex will host cross-country skiing and the Nordic combined events.
The Maly Ice Palace will be used to supplement the Bolshoi Ice Palace in hosting ice hockey events. The 7,000-seat stadium will be a movable venue that can be dismantled and moved to serve in another city after the 2014 Olympics. The speed skating events will be held at the Sochi Olympic Oval, which is designed to look like an iceberg. The Sochi Olympic Skating Center will be located in the heart of the Olympic Park, and will host the figure skating events. It is also designed to be a movable venue, and can be transported elsewhere after the Games.
Image: Sochi 2014 Winter Games (flickr)