Sochi Olympic builders secure share of luck for Russian team

Putting a giant gold-plated hockey puck into cement, Sochi’s construction workers have left a message for future generations – and a good-luck charm for the Russian Olympic team.

When Sochi began its bid to host the Winter Olympics back in 2007, there were many skeptics in Russia and abroad.

It took an enormous effort by athletes, sports fans, and politicians, including Vladimir Putin, to convince the International Olympic Committee that Russia would be capable of staging the event.

Now, with the city of Sochi having Olympic status, the outlines of the future Olympic park can already be seen.

The latest technology is being used to build the venues in the Imereti lowland. And while some of them will remain there in Sochi after the Games, other facilities will serve the sporting fraternity in other regions.

“I’ve been working in construction for more than 30 years. But for the first time we’ve had to deal with the fact that a huge ice arena with a capacity of 7,000 spectators has to comply with strict Olympic standards, and yet it should be capable of being easily relocated, keeping all of its exceptional qualities,” said Sergey Erypalov, deputy director of UMMC Holding, a Sochi contractor.

The official Olympic handover ceremony in Vancouver in February marked yet another period in Sochi’s preparations.

In June this year, the Canadian team, alongside members of the IOC, visited to see for themselves the progress being made on the city’s venues.

“The geography here is stunning, beautiful and I can’t even begin to imagine how beautiful Olympic venues will look against this backdrop,” said John Furlong, Vancouver-2010 CEO.

With three years of preparations behind them, Sochi still has a lot of work ahead. And that stage could be the hard part.

But for most locals, who already associate their city with the Olympic movement, there is no doubt that this work will be done on time, giving the chance for thousands of sports fans to enjoy the 2014 Winter Games fully.