Sochi Locals Proud to Host Olympics, But Legacy Uncertain

    Sochi Locals Proud to Host Olympics, But Legacy Uncertaini
    X
    February 16, 2014 11:39 PM
    People in Sochi faced huge disruptions in the years running up to the Winter Olympics, with the construction of brand new venues in the space of just seven years. So how do they feel about it now that the Games are underway? Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from Sochi.
    Henry Ridgwell
    People in Sochi faced huge disruptions in the years running up to the Winter Olympics, with the construction of brand new venues in the space of just seven years. So how do they feel about it now that the Games are underway?

    The futuristic Olympic stadium and ice domes are a striking presence on the shoreline of Sochi.  The $51 billion price tag has delivered facilities generally praised by athletes and spectators.

    But what about the people who live here? Early skepticism appears to have been largely replaced by pride.

    Anastasia Vodoloyev, a young mother who lives in Sochi, admits that initally she had misgivings.

    “I was very disappointed when we found out the Olympic Games would be in Sochi,” she says, “because it caused so many problems for local people."  But now that everything is finished, she says they are happy and proud.

    Strolling through the tree-lined park in the city center, Vladimir Malegin agrees. Sochi is much improved, he says. Pointing to a new park, he says that all there used to be was a road. Now he’s happy because he can walk his dog there.

    Sochi residents point to new road and rail projects they say have rid the city of traffic gridlock.

    But the spruce up and construction have had an environmental cost. Since 2007, local residents have endured Europe’s biggest construction site on their doorstep. Many complain of waste being dumped in the countryside. Among them is Vladimir Kimaev from the group Northern Caucasus Environmental Watch.

    “It's a very distressing situation for the residents of local villages,” he says, “because they are situated close to the waste dumps." He says, "there is construction waste and municipal waste, the whole range of garbage produced in Sochi,” says Kimaev.

    Villages in the mountains behind Sochi have been transformed for some of the events. A new train puts the coast within 40 minutes.

    Edouard Baturin, who lives in a small house in Krasnaya Polyana, says things are very different now.

    “Before, everyone had chickens and pigs.  Many people had cows, and we lived a village life,” he says. “Now because of the Olympics, all of this is gone and it is very hard for us to adapt.”

    But Baturin is being won over by Olympic spirit. He says because they are hosting the Olympics, he is filled with pride.

    Russian organizers say the huge cost will be repaid by the millions of tourists they predict will come to Sochi after the Games.

    But there are doubts over whether visitors will arrive in such big numbers.  A report by the credit rating agency Moody’s warns that the high cost of the event and other negative publicity limit the potential benefit to post-Olympic Sochi.

    For now, people in Sochi appear proud to have the eyes of the world on their once quiet seaside city. The coming years will reveal if it was worth the price.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora