The Winter Paralympics are due to commence this weekend but already that word all Local Olympic Committees hate has arisen, ‘Legacy.’
The Winter Games in Sochi cost over USD$51 billion and have given the city of Sochi located on the Black Sea, six World Class stadia, as well as a massive new snow resort and tens of thousands of hotel rooms. When Russia won the right to host the games President Vladimir Putin promised “a new World Class resort for the new Russia.” Now Russia has all the modern facilities it could have ever wanted.
The price quoted as being the cost of the games – incidentally the most expensive games ever – is believed to not just have covered the facilities but also a revamp of the region including new roads and train lines. In fact conservationists say that the whole development has wreaked havoc on the environment.
Questions are now being asked as to what will happen to everything once the Paralympics finish. According to deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak “Not a single object will be thrown away.”
Sochi will for starters host Russia’s first Formula One Grand Prix later this year, it will also be a host city when the Football World Cup heads to Russia in 2018. That is great news for the city, but with a room capacity of 26,000 in the 40 new hotels and 15 that were remodelled, the city will need more regular traffic to keep theses businesses alive. A recent report claimed that the city would need to double its flow of visitors to five million in order to keep the hotels full.
Some of the facilities used at the Games have already been designated for alternative use. The Fisht Stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies were held will become a training centre for the Russian football team as well as a venue for concerts.
The Ice Hockey venue, The Bolshoi Dome will become home to a new Ice Hockey team in the region. The Iceberg Skating Palace which hosted the figure skating will become a multi purpose sports and entertainment complex for events, including the one it was built for, ice skating.
The Adler Arena where the speed skating was held is to become an Exhibition Centre. The Shayba Arena which was another ice hockey venue will become a leisure centre for children, while the “Ice Cube” will become yet another multi-purpose sports and entertainment complex!
In the mountains the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre which is capable of hosting 10,000 people a day organisers have insisted that post games this will be a commercially viable resort.
Some people are not convinced. Valeria Mozganova a property expert with Business FM radio station has said “In Sochi there could be a miracle or a disaster. For now, the forecasts are not optimistic.”
Only time will tell if Sochi rues the day it hosted the Games.