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The opening ceremony on February 7 gathered more than 40 heads of state and government, as well as the leaders of international organizations. On the whole, the Olympic and Paralympic Games were attended by 60 foreign leaders.
The official opening ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics was held on February 7. The Games will end on February 23. The XI Paralympics are due on March 7 through 16.
Taking part in the Olympic Games are 3,000 athletes and 3,000 delegation members from 88 countries. The Paralympics will gather 700 athletes and 700 official delegates from 40 countries.
The largest team, 230 athletes, arrived from the US. The smallest teams, one athlete in each, came from the Bermudas, the British Virgin Islands, Venezuela, East Timor and Zimbabwe.
The average age of Russian athletes is – 22.5 years. This is the youngest national team ever in the country’s history. Nearly two-thirds of the athletes are new-comers. Figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya, 15, is the youngest, and luger Albert Demchenko, 42, the oldest.
The Russian team consists of 47 honored masters of sports, 99 international class masters of sports, 61 masters of sports, and 15 candidate masters of sports, including three Olympic champions of the 2010 21st Olympic Games in Vancouver and eight world champions in Olympic disciplines.
The Sochi Olympics program consists of seven sports uniting fifteen disciplines: biathlon, bobsleigh (including skeleton and bobsleigh proper), curling, skating (speed skating, figure skating and short track), skiing (Alpine skiing, Nordic combined, ski races, ski jumping, snowboarding and freestyle), luge and ice hockey. The sports program consists of 98 events, twelve more than at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 and 14 more than in Turin in 2006. This is a record expansion of the Olympic program in the history of winter Olympics. Of the 98 events 29 will be held in the coastal cluster, and 69 in the mountain cluster. The Olympic program now includes such new events as women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay race, team figure skating, luge relay race and men’s and women’s half-pipe (freestyle). At the Paralympic Games competitions will be held in five sports: sledge hockey, wheelchair curling, biathlon, ski races and alpine skiing.
A record number of medals — 1,254 — has been coined for the Sochi Olympics: 98 sets of Olympic medals and 72 sets of Paralympic medals. Making the medals required no less than 2.5 kilograms of 999 gold, 490 kilograms of 960 silver and 210 kilograms of bronze. The crystal in the center of each medal is made of extra-firm transparent polycarbonate.
The gold medals of the 2014 Paralympics will be the heaviest in the Olympic and Paralympic history: 686 grams. Silver medals weigh 680 grams, and bronze medals, 585 grams. The face of the medal carries the symbol of the Paralympics – three semi-spheres symbolizing the mind, the body and the unbroken morale. The symbol of the Paralympic Games is called Agitos, meaning “I keep moving” in Latin. The medals also carry Braille inscriptions.
One medal takes eighteen hours to make on the average. In all, the project for making medals for the Sochi Olympics and Paralympics has cost over 10 million dollars.
All precious metals used to make the Olympic awards and symbols were mined in Russia; the sets of medals are products of Russian specialists.
The athletes who win the gold at the Olympics on February 15, the day when a huge meteorite fell near Chelyabinsk a year ago, will get an extra medal with a fragment of the celestial body. Such medals will be awarded at Sochi’s Russia House on February 15.
Russian winners of the Olympic gold will get a cash award of four million rubles. The silver medalists will receive 2.5 million rubles, and bronze medalists, 1.7 million rubles.
The Olympic Games’ staff will number 53,000, and that of Paralympics, 28,000, including 25,000 volunteers, who will be working during the Olympics and Paralympics.
Security at the Olympics will be maintained by 37,000 police, 10,000 Interior Ministry troops and 23,000 specialists invited by the Emergency Situations Ministry. All data from 5,500 CCTV cameras will be transmitted to the situation analysis center. Overall spending on security measures is estimated at 57.8 million rubles.
Over one million spectators will see Olympic events in Sochi, and another three billion will be watching competitions on television. A total of 14,000 media workers will be covering the Games from the main and stand-by media centers. A total of 90 television and radio companies will be telecasting the Olympics to 123 countries.
The proximity of sports facilities has made Sochi the most compact venue in the whole 90-year-long history of the Winter Olympics. The Olympic Park in the Imereti lowlands (coastal cluster) – is the most compact park in the history of Winter Olympics. Touring all sports venues takes no more than 20 minutes. The Olympic village is within a five-minute walk to the sports grounds.
The length of the 3S cableway from the railway station Alpika Service to the skiing and biathlon complex Laura is 383 meters. It is the world’s longest closed loop cableway, capable of carrying 4,500 passengers in one direction over just one hour. To get from the railway to the stadium will take just 11 minutes 25 seconds.
The Olympic torch relay race, which began in Moscow on October 6, 2013 toured the central cities of Russia’s 83 constituent territories from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, going through 2,900 localities. It lasted 123 days, with 14,000 torchbearers taking part. The route was one and a half times the Earth’s equator — over 65,000 kilometers. The Olympic flame was taken to the North Pole, the bed of Lake Baikal, the International Space Station and Mount Elbrus.
More than 5,000 performing artists from 70 regions of Russia and other countries will be involved in cultural and entertainment events at the Olympics and Paralympics.
According to the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, 1.2 million tickets to the Winter Olympics had been sold by January 23. The cheapest tickets were available for 500 rubles a piece, and the most expensive one (A class to the opening ceremony) – for 50,000 rubles. According to the Organizing Committee, the greatest demand was for tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as to the Olympics ice hockey matches, figure skating and biathlon, and to Paralympic sledge hockey matches and Alpine skiing events.
Since 2009 the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee has concluded agreements with 19 companies. Eight of them were granted the status of national partners, and another eight, of official providers. Among the national partners are the Russian airlines Aeroflot, the Russian Railways RZD, oil giant Rosneft, communications holding company Rostelecom, the country’s largest retail savings bank Sberbank, cell phone operator Megafon, Bosco and Volkswagen Group Rus (five are Russian companies co-owned by the state).
A total of 55 contracts have been concluded with the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee in 45 categories with companies licensed to manufacture products bearing the Olympics logo. A total of five thousand titles of licensed products was to be manufactured. The official number of outlets trading in Olympics goods is 4,500. Sales incomes are expected to climb to above 500 million U.S. dollars, and the Organizing Committee’s incomes are estimated at $30 million.
Forty seven types of memorable and investment coins of gold, silver and other metals in a total of 86.7 million copies and a special 100-rouble banknote were issued for the Olympics. Sberbank has introduced a Visa card bearing the images of the mascots of the Games and a special card with a charity program for the Olympic athletes.