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7 Whistler Related Facts About Sochi 2014

Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Have Just Finished


And we thought it might be fun to wrap things up with seven facts about the winter olympics in Sochi that are somehow related to Whistler. In 2010, Whistler and Vancouver held the olympic games, and things changed here forever. The investment was arguably a good one for Whistler, as the resort was ready for the games, and has absorbed the influx of visitors very well, keeping its spirit and adding to it. Other cities have perhaps not fared as well. Lake Placid, for example, has turned its Olympic Village into a prison. Who knows what the future will hold for Sochi, whether it will successfully become a thriving winter tourist destination. Interestingly, though, here are seven facts about those olympics that have roots right here in Whislter.

1. Both Vancouver/Whistler and Sochi are located in the warmest areas of their respective countries

Actually, Sochi is the warmest city to ever host the winter olympic games. In fact, before the winter olympic bid, Sochi was a thriving summer resort. You may have seen palm trees in images of Sochi, and noticed that it borders the Black Sea. The resort, before the olympic bid, had 40,000 hotel rooms but was empty in the winter.

Sochi held the skiing events in nearby Krasnaya Polyana, in the same way that Vancouver held its skiing (and other) events in Whistler.

2. The luge track in Sochi went uphill...because of the tragedy in Vancouver/Whistler in 2010

Tragically, the Vancouver 2010 games saw the death of 21-year-old Georgian luge athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili during a practice run. Because of this, luge is one sport that is purposefully slowing down. The luge in Sochi actually had three uphill sections to ensure the safety of the lugers.

3. Yuki Tsubota and Marielle Thompson grew up here

Yuki Tsubota grew up in Whistler, but only started skiing when she was 10 years old. One night, while eating sushi with her mother, she began to talk to Tavish Sutherland, a coach at the Blackcomb freestyle club. He encouraged her to try out the new sport, and she has never looked back. Yuki, only 20 years old, represented Canada for women's slopestyle skiing this year in Sochi. 

Marielle Thompson competed in ski cross, the same sport that fellow Whistlerite Ashleigh McIvor competed in during the Whistler Olympic Games in 2010. And just like Ashleigh, Marielle brought home the gold, which means that Canadians, in fact Whistlerites, have earned every gold medal so far in this sport. 

4. Marielle Thompson and Ashleigh McIvor are both from Whistler...

And they are both the only women to earn gold medals in ski cross. So the only gold medals in ski cross have been earned by Whistlerites. Pretty amazing, right?

5. Alex Beaulieu Marchand wanted to come to Whistler when he was 12. So he paid his own way...

Alex Beaulieu-Marchand is from Quebec City and made the national slopestyle ski team in 2012. When he was 12 years old, he wanted to train at the summer camp here in Whistler. His parents said that would be fine, but that he would have to pay for it himself.

His sister's friend knit hats to earn money. He learned to knit, and sold hats at school. Soon he had raised the $1000 he needed to get to Whistler, and he never looked back. 

6. Local company Ecosign and owner Paul Matthews helped build Sochi.

In 2000, Paul Matthews began working for the Russian government to develop tourism in the Caucasus. In 2005, he was hired to come up with the idea for the bid for the 2014 Sochi games venue.

7. Local Chris Turpin coached the Russian ski team

Chris immersed himself in Russian culture so much that he is now known as a Russian local. He did a great job of teaching the Russians the technical skills they needed to compete. Another local victory.

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