Sochi on track for 2014 Winter Olympics with 1,000 days to go
People are celebrating the 1,000 day countdown all across Russia. In Moscow, inline skaters gathered at one of the biggest parks, flying the flag of Sochi 2014. In the southern city of Pyatigorsk, the flag was planted at the top of one of the highest mountains. Two musical performances are planned to be held in Moscow and in Sochi on Saturday evening. A lot of construction has already been done in Sochi and much is still underway. New road networks, train networks and hotels are to be built as thousands of people from all over the world are expected to visit Sochi to watch the Games.With most of the construction entering its final stages, the site looks set to be crossing the finish line right on time.The Russian Riviera is basking in the developments that the country's most anticipated sporting event has brought with it.A miracle in the making – the construction of Sochi's Bolshoi Ice Palace is entering its final stage.It took less than two years to erect the giant structure. Like most of the venues in Sochi, it is being built on schedule."All facilities here, except maybe for the main Olympic stadium will have to be completed by 2012, so that they can be used during test competitions, says Aleksandr Gornostayev, Olimpstroy Corporation Vice President.A massive construction effort was launched in 2007, when Sochi won the Olympic bid.The Olympic construction sites now consume more than half the region’s cement supplies – over 35,000 tons. More than 8,500 workers are taking part in the project, 300 of them are foreigners.As well as the stadiums and ice rinks, they are building roads, tunnels, and bridges.Together with new schools and hospitals, they will leave a lasting legacy for the subtropical Black Sea resort.So there is great excitement and high hopes in the Southern Russian city resting on the big event."You can see the preparations. New roads are being built, the streets are cleaner,” says one lady from Sochi. "More tourists will come. The Olympics will bring festive mood into town," adds another local. "I think the medals will be ours, and Russia's team will perform better at home," another man hopes. A polar bear, a hare and snow leopard have been recently picked as the Olympic mascots. In less than three years time, this dream team will greet the athletes and visitors of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.One of the greatest sporting spectacles on the planet is now just 1,000 days away. But if the Sochi Olympic vision is going to be as grand as Russia imagines, every minute will count towards completing the mammoth construction effort, on time and within budget.