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The Boston Globe


Sochi’s Olympic task: transform summer to winter

Construction, climate among steep challenges

With just under a year to go before Sochi hosts the XXIInd Winter Games — or are the they Ist Spring Games? — the summer resort city between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains still is a hyperactive hard-hat zone filled with cranes, scaffolding, trucks, cement mixers, earth movers, jackhammers, and 70,000 laborers as Russia prepares to stage the most expensive Games ever.

The grand scale of the undertaking, which President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman likened to the reconstruction of the nation’s cities after World War II, is unprecedented in Olympic history. As opposed to rebuilding Stalingrad out of rubble, putting on the Winter Games in the first subtropical setting has meant transforming a down-at-the-heels Soviet summer getaway where Stalin came for sun, sand, and salt water into a winter playground tucked between unstable regions of the country.

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