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Sochi Counts Down to 2014 Winter Olympics

With just one year to go before the opening ceremony on February 7, 2014, organizers of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have expressed their confidence that the city will be ready to welcome athletes and spectators to the event. As the country's largest resort city, the residents of Sochi are no doubt accustomed to large numbers of holidaymakers, and the Olympics is set to bring unprecedented numbers of visitors to the city. Construction work that will change the face of the city is well underway, with a number of new sports venues being built from scratch.

New venues include the 40,000 seat Fisht Olympic Stadium 12,000-seat Bolshoi Ice Dome; the 7,000-seat Shayba Arena; the 8,000-seat Adler Arena Skating Center; the 12,000-seat Iceberg Skating Palace; and the 3,000-seat Ice Cube Curling Center. Named after Mount Fisht, the Olympic Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and Paralympics. With the stadium walls and roof designed as a continuous glass surface the opening to the north offers a spectacular view of the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains, while the opening to the south offers a view of the Black Sea – two of the region's most beautiful natural attractions. Following the games, the stadium will be the home venue for the Russian Football National Team and is one of the eleven arenas set to host 2018 FIFA World Cup matches.

The Bolshoi Ice Dome and Shayba Arena will host ice hockey matches, and will be put to use in April 2013 when it hosts the Under-18 Ice Hockey World Championship. Located just 300m from the Bolshoi Ice Dome, the Shayba Arena (Shayba being the Russian word for a hockey puck) will also host the ice sledge hockey events on the 2014 Winter Paralympics program.

The Adler Arena Skating Center is set to host the 2013 World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in March 2013 and the speed skating events at the Olympics. Plans are to turn the venue into an exhibition center after the Olympics. The Iceberg Skating Palace will also be turned into an exhibition hall following the Olympics, during which it will host short track speed skating and figure skating events. The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics venues will be grouped around a lake and in walking distance from one another, with the Medals Plaza being the center attraction.

More than 160,000 people have applied to volunteer at the games, and it is likely that number will rise by the closing date for volunteer registrations on March 1, 2013. Will you be there?


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