All About Sochi, Russia
Russia will get the honor of hosting their first Winter Olympics when they host the Games in Sochi beginning on Feb. 7. Sochi was chosen as the host city of the 22nd Winter Olympics in July of 2007 after narrowly beating out bids from Salzburg, Austria and Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Although Sochi will be known for hosting the Winter Olympics to the world, most Russians view Sochi as the “Summer Capital” of Russia. This large resort city is located on the coast of the Black Sea and attracts more than four million tourists annually to visit their beaches, mountains and nightlife.
Construction for the Olympic arenas began shortly after the bid for the games was approved. Eleven venues were built, costing around $500 million total. The venues were constructed into two “clusters”, the Sochi Olympic Park and the Krasnaya Polyana.
The torch relay for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games broke the record for the longest torch relay in the history of the Winter Olympics when it began on Sept. 29, 2013 in Ancient Olympia. The route was over 40,000 miles long and even traveled to the North Pole.
Eighty-eight countries have had one athlete qualify for the games and Timor Leste, Togo, Tonga, and Zimbabwe are all expected to make their Winter Olympic debut. Also new at the game are eight new Olympics events: Ice Skating Team, Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle Snowboard, Men’s and Women’s Parallel Slalom Snowboard, Men’s and Women’s Ski Slopestyle, Men’s and Women’s Ski Halfpipe, Women’s Ski Jump, Luge Team Relay and Biathlon Mixed Relay.
Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin promises full security, tourists, athletes and U.S. congressmen and congresswomen have been expressing concern over the safety of the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi. Throughout Russia, there have been threats of suicide bombers and terrorist attacks. Most recently, a video was released of two men taking credit of the suicide bombers in the Russian city of Volgograd that caused 34 deaths. The video continued with the men threatening to carry out more attacks, especially if the Games are held. The video added that, “for the tourists who come, there will be a present too”.
That has not been the only attack Russia has had recently. Altogether there have been three terrorist attacks carried out through suicide bombers. One was in October while two were near the end of December.
Congressman Mike McCaul, a Republican House member from Texas, stated his concern of the Russian security while on the ABC show “This Week”. McCaul believes that there will be an attack during the Olympics, although not in Sochi, but in the surrounding areas or at transportation. It is guessed that 15,000 Americans will travel to see the Olympics.
President Putin has been stating the importance of security for the Games throughout the week and said that any additional security brought by athletes is welcome as long as they worked with Russian authorities. Putin has been working hard to make sure that not only is Sochi secured, but cities all over Russia are safe.
Athlete to Watch
Maggie Voisin will be representing the United States not only as a member of the ski slopestyle team, but also as the youngest athlete, at 15 years old, at the Games. Voisin began skiing with her twin brother when she was two in her hometown in Whitefish, Mont. She entered the skiing world when she placed high at the U.S. Revolution Tour, the USSA Junior Nationals and USASA Nationals. Soon, she was ranked 10th overall in women’s slopestyle ranking when she was only 14.
Voisin is expected to unveil new tricks that no female has ever done before. She will begin skiing on Feb. 6.