Sporting future – Though better known for its palm-fringed beaches, Sochi's future as a prime sporting events destination is looking pretty good.
Located in southwest Russia on the Black Sea coast near the Georgian border, Sochi is surrounded by the Caucasus Mountains.
In addition to hosing the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014, it will also begin a stint hosting the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix that same year.
In 2018, Sochi will be one of the FIFA World Cup host cities.
Test run – This year, from February 1-3, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee held three international test events at a few of its Olympic venues: the FIS Cross-Country Skiing World Cup, the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup and a stage of the Samsung ISU Short Track World Cup.
Back in 2007, Sochi was chosen by the International Olympic Committee to be the 2014 Winter Olympics host city, beating bids from Salzburg, Austria and Pyeongchang, South Korea. The decision raised a few eyebrows as the area is not a globally well-known winter sports destination.
Russia's first Olympic host city – When the games are over, Sochi will have the honor of being the Russian Federation's first Olympic host city. The 1980 Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow, when Russia was part of the Soviet Union.