As the start of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games gets ever closer in Russia, St. Petersburg is determined not to play second fiddle – the Mayor having expressed a keen desire in hosting the Summer Olympics sometime soon. Mayor Georgy Poltavchenko said last October, during the ceremony marking the arrival of the Olympic torch in St. Petersburg, that the city would likely make a bid for the Summer Olympics.
Saint Pite’s bid for the 2004 Olympics but failed to get through early rounds of voting. With Brazil hosting the 2016 Summer olympics and Japan having bid for the 2020 games successfully, the next available slot is the 2024 Summer Olympics, for which a decision will be made in 2017. The likely success of St. Petersburg’s bid will rest on how well the Sochi Games go, with a close eye on international politics, safety, and infrastructure in Russia.
Sochi Scandal and Slopestyle
The Sochi Games have been dubbed ‘Putin’s Games’ and are the most expensive winter games in Olympic history, involving massive numbers of laborers and no small amount of scandal. Many Russians are, of course, looking forward to welcoming all visitors to their country and showing off their Russian heritage and traditions. Naturally, once the games start, the attention will turn from political tensions to the ski half-pipe and snowboard slopestyle (two new events this year), as well as other competitions.
St. Petersburg could be a great place from which to watch the games as this city has boasted multilingual information booths and maps for many years, these only just having been established in Moscow. If you happen to be in St. Petersburg during the Sochi games then there are plenty of sports bars where you might want to catch the action of the Olympics and it’s also common to head to the international hostels or expat community centers to sport your home team’s colours.
Sochi Merchandise in St. Petersburg
And, if you’re interested in getting hold of some official Sochi Games merchandise in St. Petersburg then you might want to check out Sportmaster and Bosco (pick up the official mascot bear and leopard!). A Bosco store can be found at Bolshoi Prospect Petrogradskoi Storony (m. Sportivnaya), near the Hermitage o Nevsky Prospekt, and there are numerous Sportmaster locations around the city, as well as one near the train station in central Moscow. And hockey jerseys can be found at the KHL’s SKA store.
Ask Ulko Tours about the best places to watch all the Sochi action during your shore excursion or city tour of St. Petersburg!