The Black Sea resort city of Sochi will be sprawling with sports enthusiasts in exactly 500 days as Russia hosts the Winter Olympics for the first time. Preparations are nearly 70 percent complete and the whole country is celebrating.
Various sports and music events were held in 17 cities to mark the 500 day milestone and thousands of volunteers participated in flash mobs and relay races.
At squares, stadiums and sports complexes, flash mobs demonstrated a total of 22 giant Olympic pictograms, symbolizing all of the winter sports. Each pictogram was made using square blue-white shields that the volunteers held above their heads, turning around and combining them on the command of the event director. (Click here to watch the video!)
The relay races represented the winter sports as well. In Moscow, in an imitation of ice hockey, participants completed the relay in hockey helmets on roller blades. In Sochi, they demonstrated "snowboarding," covering a set distance on skateboards and passing each other the relay baton. In Volgograd, speed skating was imitated on roller skates; and in Novocherkassk, "bobsled" team members completed an obstacle course using cones on a longboard.
Organizers also unveiled the official slogan: "Hot. Cool. Yours." "Russia in many ways is a country of contrasts and we wanted to emphasise that in the slogan," said the organizing committee president, Dmitry Chernyshenko. "The climate is cold but the hospitality is warm. The Olympics are winter but Sochi is a southern city, and you could list many other contrasts here, so we picked this slogan."
In Russian, the slogan reads slightly differently: "Hot. Wintry. Yours."
The Games begin February 7th, 2014.
Source: Sochi 2014