The Sochi 2014 volunteer team has been at the heart of the Games, drawing praise from athletes and fans for providing a warm welcome and spreading the Olympic spirit as they completed a total of 76,000 shifts by the half way stage of the Games. Volunteers are involved in 17 areas of activity, from meeting delegations at the airport to helping manage the Games Closing Ceremony. In addition to Russian nationals, volunteers from 66 countries are a part of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, predominantly coming from Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the United States.
There are a total of 25,000 volunteers playing their important role in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Among them, there are 13,000 general support volunteers, 8,000 professional volunteers with specialized knowledge and skills - such as in medicine, translation - and 4,000 sports volunteers. There will be up to 8,000 volunteers at the Paralympic Games in Sochi, with a further 4,000 Sochi city-trained volunteers, who are going to work at venues and sites across the city during the Games.
During Sochi 2014, volunteers are provided with everything they need to help them have the best Games experience and opportunity to contribute to the running of the great Games. 15,000 non-resident volunteers at the Games in Sochi are accommodated in apartments, while volunteers also enjoy the offer of a variety of leisure activities ranging from educational programs to large-scale concerts, including the best projects of the Sochi 2014 Cultural Olympiad.
You cannot miss the volunteers at the Games, with 25,000 Bosco Sport uniform kits having been provided to them. Those in the Mountain Cluster have been issued salopettes, mountain caps, warm hats and gloves, fleece jackets, polo shirts, scarves and backpacks. The volunteers of the Coastal cluster received light-weight jackets, trousers, hats and gloves.
To help provide plenty of energy for their tasks, volunteers are provided with three meals a day.
During the Games, the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee is running a special "Olympic Days Off" program for volunteers. As a thank you and encouragement for their commitment and immeasurable constitution to the Games, the volunteers have the opportunity to watch the Olympic Games competitions in their spare time.
The majority of the Sochi 2014 volunteer team is young volunteers (82% are 18–30 years). 14% are those ranging from 31 to 54 years and 3% of volunteers are in the 55+ age group. Many volunteers arrived in Sochi with families, which even a family of 7all volunteering for the Games. The most popular foreign language of the volunteers is English. The range of languages spoken ranges to Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Afrikaans and Catalan. The Sochi 2014 volunteer team has representatives from all regions of Russia and 66 countries internationally, which makes up 7% of the total volunteers force.
VOLUNTEERS ON THE GAMES IN SOCHI
Tatiana Taramzhenina, a 72-year-old resident of St. Petersburg:
"The most magnificent event I was lucky to take part at was the opening of the Mountain Village. There I had an opportunity to talk to a legendary speed skater Svetlana Zhurova, a mayor of the village, and to a four-time Olympic champion in gymnastics Alexei Nemov. I also had a chance to see many of the volunteers who I last saw four years ago, when they were coming back from the Olympics in Vancouver. Here everybody is really positive, the people are having a truly great time and are walking around the Olympic Park, enjoying the nice weather and the atmosphere of the brilliant victories of the world’s top athletes. The feeling of seeing tears in the champions’ eyes when they receive their medals is hard to express in words!"
Oksana Shulzhenko, 20 years old, Kharkov, Ukraine:
"Even before you set your foot inside a sports venue, you really feel that the air is filled with the Olympic spirit! It is truly inspiring, it gives you an incredible energy, and now, as we reach half way through the Games, I feel that I will come home a different person."
Scott Winter, 47 years old, USA:
"As a person responsible for volunteers' leisure time, I want them to gain as much as possible. Most of all, I like to organize relaxation time so everyone can laugh and have fun with jokes!"
The Concept of a "Games Volunteer"
Olympic volunteers were first mentioned in a speech of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch at the Barcelona Games. Since then every Olympic Games concludes with obligatory, but very sincere, words of gratitude to the volunteers.
In Russia, the definition of a "Games volunteer" was confirmed in law in connection with the preparation of the Games in Sochi in the Federal Law of December 1, 2007. Thus, the Olympic Volunteer Movement in Russia received official status and support at the state level for the first time.