These amazing photographs of Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics, have just emerged, showing the Olympic site six months on.
Taken by Russian snapper Alexander Belenkiy, the images show the city desolate and deserted. It’s a far reach from the scenes of flag waving, medal ceremonies, and overall Olympic joy we remember.
Back in February, Britain fell in love with freestyle snowboarding and skiing, thanks to the Sochi Winter Olympics. Prior to the Games, not many people outside of Russia had heard of Sochi. Now, just the mention of the place brings memories flooding back.
From Henrik Harlaut and his pet octopus; Billy Morgan’s killer slopestyle run (that surely would have won gold if he’d have put it down in the finals); Ed and Tim’s commentary going down in Olympic folk law, and of course, Jenny Jones picking up slopestyle bronze – Britain’s first ever Olympic medal on snow.
The games were controversial for numerous reasons, not least the location of the host city. Sochi is traditionally regarded as a sub-tropical seaside resort.
While it nestles near the Caucasus mountains where snow falls in winter, the organisers still had to ship in tonnes of snow to cover the bare hectors of land in order for the Games to go ahead.
These latest pictures suggest the multi-billion pound project has left the Russian city somewhat in limbo, and suffering from an identity crisis.
While these photos from Sochi take the edge off our fond memories of the Games, it does make us grateful that the London 2012 Olympic facilities are still in use.
With Brazil hosting the next summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero and South Korea taking on the next winter ones, let’s hope they take note…