Ten years after Sochi Games: The Olympic legacy

A few months ago, many cities in Russia held celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the Sochi Olympics. In 2014, Russia’s Black Sea resort hosted the 22nd Olympic and 11th Paralympic Games with great success and triumph. The event was truly Hot.Cool.Yours, and it is safe to say that the legacy of those Games has been working for 10 years. The Sochi Olympics has undoubtedly influenced the development of Sochi, the Krasnodar Territory and the entire country, as well as the Russian sports industry. Below are just 10 cases of the Olympic legacy being successfully put to use.

Ekaterina Lyzlova / RIA Novosti

1. Anyone who has visited Sochi before the Olympics would agree that a whole new city with excellent and convenient infrastructure was built in 2014. The facilities were built in record time and actually from scratch, including transport and energy infrastructure, an international airport, a railway station, new hotels, and telecoms systems. All these assets are being used daily by Sochi residents and numerous tourists.

2. The beautiful and high-quality sports infrastructure, including the Olympic Park and the mountain cluster, meets the most stringent international requirements and standards. In 2014, the Olympic Park hosted five different events, and all the venues were easily accessible, convenient and comfortable for spectators. On one of the Olympic days, I personally managed to consecutively attend four different competitions, each within a few minutes’ walk. Today, almost every Olympic venue in Sochi is used for various sports. In addition, there are a few unusual examples of Sochi Olympics legacy influencing society: the Sochi soccer team was revived after the event, and a hockey club was created, something Sochi had never had.

3. In Sochi, the Paralympic Games marked a historic milestone by introducing an accessible, barrier-free environment, a first in Russian history. Initially designed for Paralympic athletes, these facilities are now utilized by people with disabilities. This shift is gradually establishing a new standard of inclusivity in both sports and daily life for Russians. Today, we have a national standard for constructing facilities that prioritize a barrier-free environment.

4. Over nearly 7 years of preparation for the Games, the development of sports management emerged as a distinct and new profession in Russia. Staff members of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee gained invaluable experience and practical skills in coordinating major events. Following the conclusion of the Sochi Games, these management competencies and marketing strategies were applied across various sports organizations in Russia. Consequently, the Games in Sochi significantly enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of sports management, paving the way for its continued growth and advancement.

5. In the years leading up to and following the Sochi Games, Russia adeptly hosted numerous major mega-events across several cities and regions. These included the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, the World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, the World Hockey Championships in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Sochi, the FIFA World Cup, the World Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, and many more. The Olympic legacy of Sochi has indeed extended its influence to various parts of Russia, leaving a lasting impact on the nation’s sporting landscape.

6. It’s essential to highlight the remarkable volunteer program associated with the Sochi Games, both for its significance and the sheer number of participants, totaling around 25,000 people. Sochi’s volunteers embody emotions, celebration, joy, and the spirit of the Games. Following the event, the volunteer movement in Russia experienced a significant revival and underwent new development, now considered a standard part of our country’s life. Interestingly, Synergy University contributed over 1,500 volunteers to the Sochi Games.

7. As part of the educational legacy, we can highlight the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) and the federal territory Sirius. RIOU has been effectively nurturing sports managers for over a decade. Meanwhile, Sirius provides an outstanding environment for gifted youth aspiring to excel in science, art, culture, and, naturally, sports.

8. The Sochi Games had a profound impact on fostering patriotism and national pride among Russian citizens, not only for their country but also for their sports stars and idols. All Russian athletes received tremendous support, irrespective of their ranking. Post-Sochi, Russian fans swiftly adapted to a standard of enthusiasm: every sporting event should be engaging, comfortable, and safe. Since 2014, many fans have recognized the significance of attending competitions clad in the merchandise of their favorite teams.

9. Following the Games, Sochi experienced a tourism surge, evolving into more than just a winter resort. It has become a hub for event tourism, hosting numerous forums, exhibitions, festivals, and concerts. Since 2014, tourist numbers have surged, marking just the beginning of Sochi’s growth as a tourist destination.

10. In 2024, a decade after the Olympics, Russia continues to leverage its Olympic legacy, hosting a series of significant sporting events with the expertise accumulated. In February-March, the Games of the Future took place in Kazan, followed by the upcoming BRICS Games and the World Friendship Games.

In April, the Faculty of Sports Industry at Synergy University organized the conference titled The Legacy of the Olympic Games in Sochi: 10 Years of Evolution and Development. The event offered a platform to observe and deliberate on the enduring Olympic legacy of Sochi. The consensus was clear: the Games’ legacy offers a pathway for advancing the Russian sports industry.

By Vladimir Lednev, Vice President of Moscow Financial and Industrial University Synergy, Scientific Director, Faculty of Sports Industry, Head of the Department of Sports Management, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Professor

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