The FIS President’s perspective on Sochi 2014
In what seems like the blink of an eye, the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi have come and gone. First and foremost, I would like to congratulate the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee on delivering on their promise to host a safe, successful Winter Olympics with first-rate venues.
What the nation of Russia and its citizens accomplished is nothing short of amazing. In a mere span of seven years, an entire ski resort was built from scratch. A transportation network including new roads and rail lines were constructed. In the Costal Cluster, fans and athletes also had a myriad of state-of-the-art arenas for the Games.
The Sochi Organising Committee provided the perfect stage for the world’s top athletes from 88 nations to dazzle the world with their awe-inspiring performances. For FIS disciplines, it was the biggest and best Olympic Games to date.
We awarded 49 gold medals and introduced six new competitions to the Olympic programme. We welcomed news stars like Mikeala Shriffin (Alpine Skiing, USA), Carina Vogt (Ski Jumping, GER) and Iouri Podladtchikov (Snowboard halfpipe, SUI) to the stage. We were reacquainted with such outstanding veterans as Marit Bjoeren (Cross-Country, NOR), Bode Miller (Alpine Skiing, USA ) and Noriaki Kasai (Ski Jumping, JPN). We also had the chance to introduce the world to the excitement of slopestyle skiing and snowboarding, welcome ladies ski jumpers to the Olympics and let skiers take on the halfpipe.
FIS was certainly the talk of the Games. While keeping our core disciplines relevant and fresh for the public, we have also added youthful competitions that have brought skiing and snowboarding an entirely new audience. It is not an easy balance to find, but we can only hope that people will be inspired to give skiing and snowboarding a try thanks to one of the 49 events they witnessed during the Games.
I give all the athletes my heartfelt congratulations. Whether you finished first, last, or somewhere in between, you will always have the honour of being an Olympic athlete as a life experience. I would like to also extend my thanks to the thousands of volunteers that were always friendly and eager to play their role in the Games. Finally, again, I say hats off to the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee. These Games will be remembered for years to come.
Gian Franco Kasper, FIS President