Work on the venues that will be used during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games is progressing well, with the Olympic Park on schedule for completion next year.
During the 2014 Games, events will be focused around two different areas – a coastal cluster in Sochi consisting of the Olympic Park and ice venues, and a mountain cluster in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains, which will host the skiing and sliding events.
The Olympic Park will be the main focus of the coastal cluster and will be home to the Central Stadium, the Bolshoi Ice Palace, the Maly Ice Palace, the Sochi Curling Centre, the Figure Skating and Short-Track Centre and the Speed Skating Centre.
It will be the first time in Olympic history that all the ice venues are within walking distance of one another, creating a centralised Olympic Park that will be able to accommodate around 75,000 fans when full.
The Olympic Park, which is being built by the Black Sea coast in the Imeretin Valley, will also house the Main Olympic Village, the International Broadcasting Centre and the Main Press Centre. All the venues and facilities will be newly built.
“We are impressed by the speed that Sochi is changing,” said IOC Coordination Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy. “The first test event held in February this year is proof of their progress and the government is committed to the Games.”
According to Sochi organisers, developments are well on schedule: “The plan is to finish the mountain and coastal venues two seasons before the start of the Games. All of the infrastructure will be done by 2012 for the Olympic Park.”
After the Games, the Central Stadium will become a football stadium to be used by the Russian national team and as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Speed Skating Centre will be turned into a trade and exhibition centre, while the Bolshoi Ice Palace will serve as an ultra-modern, world-class multi-purpose sports and entertainment centre.
The Maly Ice Palace, the Sochi Curling Centre and the Figure Skating and Short-Track Centre are all temporary venues, which will be dismantled and transported for post-Games use in other Russian cities.
Irelland hope to qualify a small team of athletes from snowboarding , ice skating, and alpine skiing.