It’s about that time. You know what I’m talking about. The XXII Winter Olympic Games! Can I get some applause please? Only 207 days to go, but still so much to do.
This year the Olympics will be held in Sochi Russia, and not only do the athletes have to be prepared, but the city as well. Sochi (population of roughly 343,000) has been planning for this since the announcement in July of 2007 that they would be acting as host city. They won a majority of the IOC, International Olympic Committee, votes. But even before the voting, Sochi was required to fill out questionnaires, give presentations, and prove to the IOC that they would make a superb host city. Just as the athletes must train for the Olympics, so must the cities fighting to become the world’s next host city, and so get to sign that Host City Contract.
Sochi will never be the same again. It will be bombarded with people, and in preparation for the influx, hotels are being built, the coastline is being modernized, roads are being fixed, and the energy capacity is rising. It’s mind-boggling just to imagine. To actually be there and experience this change would be absolutely incredible. This is a huge investment for the entire world.
It takes a lot of work to prepare for the Olympics. With eleven venues being built in two locations, Mountain Cluster and Coastal Cluster, and one railway to take people the 30 miles between the two clusters, this will be a rare circumstance where all sporting events will actually be close to one another. The skiing and snowboarding will mainly take place in the Mountain Cluster. Among the athletes, members of the media, spectators, and others, will be 37,000 police officers milling about to protect the games, not to mention, other nations’ special services who will step in to help Russia’s agencies. A comforting fact, considering that only 300 miles east of Sochi lays Dagestan, which is the central hub for almost daily acts of violence by Islamist rebels.
From raising money, to finding volunteers, to cheering on the home team, it should be a very interesting next few months for Sochi and the watching world.