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A Look at Future Olympic Cities

The next three Olympic cities are busy preparing. Each has unique plans to host a memorable Games.


London 2012

Olympics: July 27-Aug. 12

Paralympics: Aug. 29-Sept. 9

Venues: There are three main London venue zones. The Central Zone (volleyball, archery, triathlon, open-water swimming, cycling and beach volleyball); the River Zone (basketball, gymnastics, trampoline, equestrian and modern pentathlon, boxing, judo, fencing, taekwondo, table tennis, weightlifting, wrestling and shooting); and Olympic Park (ceremonies, track, modern pentathlon, swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo, BMX and track cycling, basketball, field hockey and team handball). There are other venues around London and outside the area. Many sites are among the most iconic in sports:

- Lord's Cricket Ground is the venue for archery.

- Wimbledon will host the tennis competition.

- Wembley Stadium is the site for soccer (and also for badminton and rhythmic gymnastics).

- Greenwich Park has the equestrian competition.

- Horse Guards Parade will be used for beach volleyball.

More about the host: London has hosted two previous Summer Games, in 1908 and 1948. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair lobbied the IOC site selectors in person. Olympic Park will be part of an East London revitalization. At bid time, it was estimated the Olympics would cost 4 billion pounds ($6.6 billion). Estimates in 2007 put the cost at 9.325 billion pounds (about $15.5 billion).


Sochi 2014

Olympics: Feb. 7-23

Paralympics: March 7-16

Venues: Sochi is a multicultural city of 400,000 between the Black Sea and the Caucasus mountains on the Russian Riviera. The 11 venues for the Games are divided between Krasnaya Polyana, the mountain district, which will be home to Alpine, freestyle and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, luge, skeleton and bobsled events; and Sochi Olympic Park, the coastal district, which will host all skating events. The two venue clusters are 30 miles apart and will be linked by rail.

- All venues will have to be built.

- The design for the Sochi Olympic Stadium, site of opening and closing ceremonies, was inspired by Faberge eggs, the jeweled masterpieces commissioned by the Russian imperial family. The proposed glass-walled stadium will be open at the north end for a view of the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains. After the Games, it will be home to the national soccer team.

- The design for the curling venue takes its cue from the sport. The walls curve, like a curling stone.

- All the Alpine races are at the Roza Khutor Alpine Resort. Former Olympic skier Bernhard Russi has designed the courses.

More about the host: This is the first time Russia will host a Winter Games. Former Russian president Vladimir Putin lobbied the IOC committee, and Sochi won the Games on July 4, 2007, beating Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Salzburg, Austria. Sochi is on the Silk Road, the famed trade route from Europe to Asia. Mountain snows average 6.5 feet, and palm trees line the city's coast. Modernizing the area's infrastructure could cost $20 billion. The Russian government has committed $12 billion to venue construction.


Rio de Janeiro 2016

Olympics: Aug. 5-21

Paralympics: Sept. 7-18

Venues: Fourteen venues would be within 10 minutes of the Olympic Village and seven venues within 10 to 20 minutes. The four venue zones are the Barra (14 venues), Copacabana (four), Maracana (four) and Deodoro (seven).

- Barra: The Olympic Village will be located there with nearby venues for gymnastics, tennis, swimming and diving and other sports. There are three existing venues built for the 2007 Pan American Games. The IOC noted in its evaluation commission report that the zone requires "considerable infrastructure and accommodation development."

- Copacabana: The iconic beach will host four temporary venues, including beach volleyball.

- Maracana: The track and field stadium will have a capacity of 60,000. The Maracana Stadium (capacity 90,000) will host the opening and closing ceremonies and soccer. Built in 1950 for the World Cup, the stadium will be upgraded for the 2014 World Cup. The plans call for a redevelopment of the Port of Rio de Janeiro.

- Deodoro: This cluster will hold venues for mountain bike, BMX, equestrian and shooting.

More about the host:@ The Olympics have never been held in South America, which has a population of 400 million, including 180 million under age 18. The city of Rio has a population of 6 million. The bid proposed a budget of more than $14 billion. Federal, state and city governments have guaranteed the financing.

Sources: London 2012; Sochi 2014; Rio 2016

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