January 28 - Sochi 2014 will hold three international test events at the Winter Olympic venues in the mountain and coastal clusters this weekend.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) Cross Country Skiing World Cup, FIS Nordic Combined World Cup and the Samsung International Skating Union (ISU) Short Track World Cup, which will take place on February 1-3, will be used to test the facilities ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics in just over a year's time.
The Nordic combined tournament will attract 71 athletes from 15 countries to put the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre's track and K-125 Olympic ski jump (pictured top) to the test for the first time, ahead of it hosting the ski jumping and Nordic combined events at the Winter Olympics, which get underway on February 7 and run through to February 23 next year.
"Russia has a long and impressive tradition in the Nordic ski sports and has already organized several, highly successful FIS World Cups in Cross-Country Skiing in Kavgolovo, Rybinsk and Moscow," Gian Franco Kasper, President of the FIS, said.
"However, this weekend will also see a premiere as this will be the very first time that the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup is staged in Russia."
Meanwhile, the Short Track World Cup will see 181 competitors from 27 countries compete at the "portable" Iceberg Skating Palace, the venue where short track and figure skating will take place during the Olympics.
The venue, where Russia achieved their best ever result at the European Championships last month, will be adapted to host the competition and will host some of the nation's top athletes in the sport, including favourites Viktor Ahn, a naturalised Russian and triple Olympic champion at Turin 2006 (competing for South Korea), and Vladimir Grigoriev, the first Russian to hold the short track world record over 500 metres.
More than 170 staff members from Sochi 2014 will be present during the events.
ISU vice-president Jan Dijkema welcomed the announcement and explained how it will help to ignite the Olympic spirit.
"All skaters are looking forward to skating in the brand new Skating Palace 'Iceberg' and to feeling the pre-Olympic spirit," he said.
"The stadium and all its facilities are really magnificent.
"Therefore the ISU is very much looking forward to this major ISU event in Sochi with exciting races and excellent results.
"I am sure this will be an outstanding ISU event and a highlight for the pre-Olympic short track speed skating season."
These latest test events come after two of the Olympic venues underwent testing when the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final took place in December 2012.
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