Welcome to Sochi

A geo-guide to the unlikeliest Winter Olympic site in history
February 03, 2014

Awarding the Winter Olympics to a city with a subtropical climate, scant winter sports facilities, proximity to restive ethnic republics and a global recognition factor of zero was, if nothing else, a bold move. Vladimir Putin's assurances of a compact Games (mountain and coastal venues 30 minutes apart), ample snow and all-new facilities swayed the IOC. Now comes the test. Few visitors may opt to sightsee in a city under terrorist threat, but the IOC can still hope that Sochi's famed Friendship Tree, a grafting experiment that produces 45 types of citrus fruit, can yet become the unlikely symbol of these improbable Olympics.

COAST

FISHT OLYMPIC STADIUM | The $600 million, 40,000-seat roofed arena (named for a mountain in the Caucasus) will host ceremonies and anchor the Olympic Park cluster in Adler; in 2018 it will serve as a World Cup soccer venue.

BOLSHOI ICE DOME | NHLers and 38,000 colored LED roof lights will light up the site of the hockey finals.

ICEBERG PALACE | Icy blue glass panels give this figure skating and short-track speedskating venue its name.

CITY

PROTEST ZONE | No critical placards or gatherings are allowed except in a designated park in isolated Khosta. A Russian government permit also will be required.

MOSQUITO FISH STATUE | Tribute to a tiny species introduced in the 1920s to eat mosquito larvae and end the then-swampy city's rampant malaria.

WAX STALIN | Figure can be viewed at the 5'4" dictator's favorite dacha, open to tourists.

MOUNTAINS

SANKI SLIDING CENTER | To avoid a repeat of the 2010 Games, when Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili suffered a fatal crash, the track has two uphill sections to slow sledders.

RUSSKI GORKI SKI JUMP | Women's event will debut at a venue plagued by mudslides and construction problems.

ROSA KHUTOR | Ten Alpine gold medals will be won on the Bernhard Russi-designed courses (top altitude: 7,600 feet) at this $2.2 billion resort; extreme sports will be held nearby.

[The following text appears within 2 maps. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual maps.]

UKRAINE

MOLDOVA

ROMANIA

BULGARIA

BLACK SEA

GEORGIA

TURKEY

SOCHI

MOUNTAIN CLUSTER

CITY

MATSESTA

KHOSTA

KUDEPSTA

COASTAL CLUSTER

ADLER

TWO PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONSPHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY LYNNE CARTY (MAPS) PHOTOERICK W. RASCO/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (BOLSHOI ICE DOME) PHOTOERICK W. RASCO/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MOSQUITO FISH) PHOTONATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (STALIN) PHOTOBOB MARTIN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (RUSSIA GORKI)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)