03/02/2014, by CLAS

Пусть начнутся Игры!

On February 7 the 2014 XXII Winter Olympic Games begin in Sochi in southern Russia with alpine events to be held in the Mountain Cluster of venues in the resort of Krasnaya Polyana some 50 kilometres from the Coastal Cluster where six spectacular stadia have been constructed at massive expense. This is the most prestigious international sporting event to be held in Russia since the 1980 Summer Olympics held in Moscow in what was then the Soviet Union.

Ninety-eight events in fifteen winter sports will be held over the course of the Games the cost of which is now estimated to exceed 50 billion dollars making this the 2014 XXII Winter Olympic Games the most expensive Olympic Games of all times. Both the 2014 Olympics and 2014 Winter Paralympics have been organized by the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC) and responsible for overseeing the design and construction of the Games has been the state corporation Olympstroj.

Construction and preparation for the Games has involved building new venues and the modernization the telecommunications, electric power, and transportation systems within the area. Such infrastructure improvements have included the construction of a new Olympic Park along the coast of the Black Sea in the Imeretinsky Valley, the so-called Coastal Cluster. Preparations in the run-up for the Games have however met with controversy, primarily concerning the displacement of residents, the high level of corruption, environmental pollution and the mistreatment of the LGBT community – a fact which led to Stephen Fry’s call for the Games to be boycotted.

Ahead of the Games, the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay is set to become the longest in Winter Olympic history. Having begun its domestic journey in Moscow on 7 October, approximately 14,000 torchbearers will have carried the flame over 65,000 kilometres, through 83 regions of Russia, before the cauldron is lit at the Opening Ceremony in the Fisht Olympic stadium on 7 February in Sochi. Along its 123-day journey, the nearly one-metre tall, 1.8kg chrome torch – which is adorned with red detail – will travel by car, train, plane, reindeer sleigh and Russian troika, passing through around 2,900 towns and cities. The torch descended to the bottom of Lake Baikal, rose to the top of Mount Elbrus, visited the North Pole and even flew into space.

The Sochi Winter Olympic Games of 2014 will be held in two purpose-built facilities in and around the resort of Sochi. Half of the facilities are located in the mountains near Sochi (the Mountain Cluster) the other near the Black Sea (the Coastal Cluster). The distance between them is around 50 kilometres.

Sochi’s Coastal Cluster is comprised of five purpose-built sports arenas and the splendid 40,000-capacity Fisht Olympic Stadium, where the Opening and Closing ceremonies will be held. The stadium is named after Mount Fisht.

This visually stunning stadium is the first large-scale structure in Russia with a translucent polycarbonate roof, with the unique design of the venue allowing many spectators to enjoy views of both the Caucasus Mountains in the north and the Black Sea to the south while in their seats. After the Games the stadium will be used for international football matches and will host representative matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

To celebrate this event the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies together with the Widening Participation Section, Nottingham University will be providing daily facts and information on the Games and aspects of Russian life, including food, drink and language instruction. This is a multimedia presentation with video links covering all aspects of Russian life, culture and music which it is hoped will stimulate interest in Russian throughout schools and community at large. There will also be a quiz aimed at schoolchildren based on the information within the daily fact sheets.

The presentations are designed for everyone. Please feel free to visit the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies on C Floor, Trent Building.

David Denton, Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies

Posted in Russian and Slavonic Studies