Whenever its time for the Olympic Games, one of the main topics of conversation is what happens to the venues after the games leave town. In the case of Sochi Olympic Park, it was transformed into a purpose-built Formula One circuit.
Russia’s Sochi Autodrom, a 3.63-mile track that snakes its way through the Olympic Park, has served as the location for the Russian Grand Prix since its opening in 2014 — the same year the campus played host to the winter games. The quick turnaround was possible solely because the track wasn’t an afterthought.
Promoters and the Russian government inked a deal with F1’s ownership in 2010 to host a Grand Prix at the circuit, which at the time was just a vision. That level of foresight was in stark contrast to what we’ve seen from some host countries, such as Greece and China.
After hosting the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics in Athens and Beijing, respectively, neither country had much use for large stadiums for sports with small followings that have high operating costs. As a result, these countries’ Olympic Villages now look more like places you’d see on an episode of “Ghost Hunters” than they do world-class athletic facilities.
Photo via Mercedes-AMG Petronas
Although Salt Lake City still uses its arenas from the 2002 Winter Olympics, and Vancouver has since turned its Olympic Village from the 2010 games into a condo complex, Sochi is one of the only places to invest more money in its park to turn it into an entirely new type of sports complex. It did so extremely well, too.
Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Racing