Bobsled athletes enjoy the vibe at FIBT World Cup Finale in Sochi

The final round of the 2014/2015 FIBT World Cup was held on 14 and 15 February at the Sanki Sliding Centre in Krasnaya Polyana - the site of the bobsled, skeleton and luge competitions at last year’s Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014. According to some of America’s best sliders, the area was full of tourists, spectators, and even some friendly volunteers back to help out after assisting at last year’s Games.

Speaking to Around the Rings, Steven Holcomb, three-time Olympian and double bronze medallist in Sochi, spoke about his return to the Caucasus, “Rosa Khutor [the mountain village close to the sliding centre] was hopping. There were a lot of people. I had read some clippings that this place was desolate, no one is here, that it looks bad for the Russians. We got there and there were a lot of people. In fact, the few times we went out, it seemed that there were more people this time than last time. It was kind of fun to see.”

Sochi Silver medallist and this year’s World Cup title winner, US athlete Elana Meyers Taylor, also speaking to Around the Rings, backed up Holcomb’s comments: “Rosa Khutor was a lot busier than I thought it would be. Our hotel was pretty much full, all the restaurants were open, and people were shopping. It was actually kind of surprising because I heard all these reports that it was empty.” She continued: “It was far from empty. Gondolas were running and people were skiing, so it’s kind of cool to see that the city is maintaining some level of tourism.”

This atmosphere also extended to the World Cup itself, where the turnout was better than expected. “There were a lot of people there. Most of them were there for skiing, but there were definitely fans there,” Holcomb said.

“There actually were a lot of the same volunteers as the Olympics and they recognised me and said ‘welcome back and congratulations’, so it was cool to see,” Meyers Taylor said.

The FIBT, along with its luge counterpart, the FIL, have both undertaken efforts to ensure that their sports continue to be practised at all the Olympic tracks around the world. This has seen both bobsled and skeleton competitions at the track this year and an FIL World Cup event take place last weekend. In 2017, Sanki will host the FIBT World Championships.