Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Australian Sports Commission wishes to acknowledge the contribution of the following people and organisations to the development and production of this resource:
- The National Athlete Career and Eduction (NACE) program
- The NSW Institute of Sport Athlete Career and Eduction (ACE) program
- Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).
The Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are fast approaching, with around 3000 athletes from all over the world expected to compete in 15 disciplines within seven Olympic sports and six disciplines within five Paralympic sports.
Expectations for teams competing in Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are high, with Australia’s Winning Edge setting a target of top 15 Winter Olympic and Paralympic medal tally finish.
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) will send a team of around 56 athletes to the Games, accompanied by 56 support personnel.
The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) will select a team of six or seven athletes, with total team size of approximately 16 (inclusive of support staff).
The AOC and APC recognise the importance of an effective support structure to athletes. This can improve their ability to gain selection to an Australian Olympic or Paralympic team and compete successfully on the international stage.
Australian athletes are surrounded by the very best coaching, sports science, sports medicine, career and education personnel. Their greatest supporters, however, are families and friends — many of whom have been with them since the start of their sporting journey.
This information booklet is designed to enhance the support that families and friends provide to Olympic and Paralympic team athletes.
Families and friends ... welcome to the team!
Friends and family of athletes are responsible for coordinating their own tickets and accommodation. It is not the responsibility of athletes or coaches.
The AOC does not have event tickets available for sale. The APC will purchase tickets only for own use including the NPC Family (athlete family and supporters).
Sochi Organising Committee has indicated an Athlete Family and Friends ticket program will be implemented for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Details of the program will be released by the Organising Committee in mid-2013.
Tickets to the Games are limited so purchase them early to avoid disappointment. Ticketing agents will try to support requests, but this may not always be possible.
Olympic Games: 7–23 February 2014
CoSport Australia is the Sochi Organising Committee for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) and the official ticket provider in Australia.
Paralympic Games: 7–16 March 2014
The APC will manage the sale of tickets in Australia for athletes, family and supporters. The APC is working closely with the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee to ensure that Australian team supporters have the best access to tickets.
Accommodation options close to the mountain village are limited, however a high- speed train is planned to connect the mountain venues to Sochi city centre where more accommodation will be available.
CoSport can provide assistance with accommodation arrangements, or family and friends can make their own arrangements online. Check the Cosport website for information.
Accomodation requirements for family and friends of athletes need to be communicated by email.
Family and friends will require a visa to enter Russia. Please provide sufficient time to apply for the visa (approximately 10 business days) and follow the detailed instructions carefully.
Documents required include:
- application form
- passport that is valid for at least six months
- passport-sized photo
- tourist confirmation and a tour voucher from a hosting Russian travel agency or hotel (the confirmation carries a reference number)
- copy of your itinerary.
Further information is available at the Embassy of Russia in Australia.
|There may be other family members or friends from an athlete’s sport, or the broader Australian team, who would be keen to share the cost of room hire, food or even form a cheer squad.|
Many athletes have not been nominated or selected in the Olympic or Paralympic teams yet. It is important that family and friends are sensitive to their situation to ensure undue pressure and expectations are not placed on them. However, it may be wise to make plans independent of athlete selection.
For information on selection, visit:
Communicating with athletes during the Games can be difficult. It is recommended that communication ‘rules of engagement’ are established before the Games start.
Topics that should be discussed and agreed with athletes include:
- nominating one family member or friend as a point of contact
- determining a process for leaving messages
- agreeing on the timing and duration of calls.
Other considerations that may affect communication during the Games include:
- limited phone accessibility in the athlete village
- athlete mobiles may be turned off at certain times
- minimise communication with athletes via social media
- limited email access
- different time zones.
The Olympics and Paralympics can be stressful for family and friends. It is recommended a support network independent of athletes is planned to avoid placing additional pressure on athletes during the Games. Parents and friends of other athletes can be a good source of support.
|Tips for communicating|
Communicating family-related issues
It is important to establish a plan for dealing with and communicating, family- related issues with athletes during the Games. This should be included in the communication ‘rules of engagement’ plan. It is recommended that family members discuss their athlete’s preferences, the nature or importance of the issues they wish to be notified of and the appropriate procedure for doing so.
- Some examples of issues that might arise include:
major family-related issues, such as the death of a family member or illness
- concerns relating to the event, such as misplaced tickets or unfavourable seating arrangements.
The AOC and APC will distribute a list of important numbers (such as emergency contacts) closer to the Games. Athletes are encouraged to share these with family and friends.
While the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be an exciting time for family and friends, it is advisable that they minimise distractions for athletes.
Sometimes family and friends can have an unintended negative effect on an athlete’s performance by ‘over-involving’ themselves or inadvertently distracting athletes from their task.
Distractions can be caused by:
- requesting athletes or coaches to obtain event tickets
- interrupting an athlete’s optimal performance focus or routine
- requesting an athlete to ‘spend time with the family’
- requesting access to team housing ‘just to visit’
- late-night phone calls
- stress about family and friends’ accommodation and/or travel issues
- not understanding athlete commitments to the Olympic or Paralympic team.
It is important to know that in some cases family may not see their athletes at all during the competition period.
The AOC and APC have various policies regarding communication, such as mobile phones and village visits. Family and friends are asked to take these policies into consideration when making plans or arrangements with athletes.
Team receptions and events
Families and friends are encouraged to stay in close contact with the AOC and
APC regarding team receptions and events in Sochi before and during the Games.
The AOC plans to host the 2014 Australian Olympic Winter Team Reception on Thursday 6 February 2014, on the eve of the Opening Ceremony. The highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the 2014 Australian Olympic Winter Team and the announcement of the Australian flag bearer. Guests will include representatives from the IOC, AOC, Australian Government, sponsors and the media.
Depending on the venue capacity the AOC will endeavour to invite family and friends to the reception.
Information regarding the APC team reception and other events will be circulated to athletes in mid-2013.
The Opening Ceremony for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be held on 7 February 2014. The Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony will be held on 7 March 2014.
Athletes may choose not to participate depending on their individual preparation needs. Many sports also place restrictions on marching in ceremonies — for example, if athletes are competing in the first three days of the Games.
Athletes who miss the Opening Ceremony still enjoy participating in the Closing Ceremony.
The APC will discuss Ceremony attendance with individual athletes and their coaching and support staff.
The AOC is planning to celebrate all medals that are won in Sochi 2014 with
‘medal parties’. These will take place following the official medal presentations in the coastal cluster.
Depending on the venue capacity (and other possible factors), the AOC will endeavour to invite family and friends to medal parties.
While some family and friends will be veteran spectators of Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games, others will be first-timers. Whichever the case, it is useful to plan your travel well ahead of time. What normally may be a short trip could take longer during the Games, so be prepared.
Plan to arrive early and enjoy the atmosphere of the Games.
Allow time for security checks on the way into venues.
Arrive in time for the commencement of the match or event.
Expect large crowds.
The AOC, APC and the Australian Government will be working together with the Sochi Organising Committee for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games to ensure the Australian team remains safe and secure.
Family and friends are encouraged to register their details in advance of their departure at Smart Traveller.
During the Games, there will be three Olympic and Paralympic villages: Coastal Olympic Village, Mountain Olympic Village and Endurance Olympic Village. The sport disciplines located at each village are:
|Coastal Olympic village||Mountain Olympic village||Endurance Olympic village|
Short track speed skating
The villages will include a plaza area where athletes may be able to meet with family and friends when competition and recovery plans allow.
Under both the AOC and APC Team Membership Agreements, an athlete is not allowed to stay outside the village, even after competing, without permission from the Chef de Mission.
As athletes must stay in the village, they may at times feel confined by these restrictions. It is important that family and friends encourage the athlete and support them in adhering to team requirements. Village life is an important part of the Olympic or Paralympic Games experience and allows the athlete to meet other competitors and watch their performances. Friends and family can support them to enjoy this incredible experience.
Guest passes to the village are extremely limited and are beyond the control of athletes. Family and friends who receive a guest pass must be booked in by an athlete before the visit (usually by noon the day before). Visitors must complete application forms, including their passport details. It is recommended that visitors allow plenty of time for the entry process and take their passport for identification.
Family members and friends must stay with an athlete in the village at all times. They may be able to purchase tickets to enjoy a meal at the dining hall, one of the highlights of a village visit.
Guest passes can be issued for access to the village from 9am to 9pm. However, some sports limit the time family and friends can visit the village — if they allow it at all. It all depends on the preparation needs of each sport.
For information on visiting restrictions, contact the relevant national sporting organisation (NSO), or in the case of the Paralympic Games, the APC.
Following their event, athletes may be required to participate in sponsor appearances and team events during the remainder of the Games.
After the Games, the AOC and APC are planning to host a joint function to
‘Welcome Home’ all Olympians and Paralympians from Sochi 2014. This will likely take place in Sydney in early May 2014. As with previous ‘Welcome Home’ events, the AOC and APC will endeavour to fly in all Olympians and Paralympians for this special event.
After the natural high of competition at the Games, there is typically a letdown period. Returning to everyday activities after the excitement of the Olympic or Paralympic Games may be difficult. It is normal for athletes to feel this way. Any concerns friends or family members have regarding an athlete’s behaviour can be raised with their coach or support staff. The National Athlete Career and Education (NACE) network and sport psychologists across the country are available to assist athletes through this process.
Preparing for and coping with the unique challenges of training, being selected and participating in an Olympic or Paralympic Games can be a test for even seasoned elite athletes.
To ensure athletes are supported on their journey to and beyond the Games, the Australian Government has committed additional funding to provide an extended network of psychological, career and education support to all AOC or APC shadow squad athletes. This is in addition to the support services already offered by NACE and sport psychology networks that athletes may be accessing within their home institute or academy of sport, or through the team psychologist appointed by their NSO.
Athletes can arrange a referral by contacting their home institute or academy of sport psychologist, their ACE consultant or their NSO-appointed team psychologist, who will assist them to identify their area/s of need and the most suitable support service consultant to address those needs.
Drugs in sport is a serious issue and one that all elite athletes must understand. Anti-doping procedures in place for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi will be in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Anti Doping Rules.
Athletes must be aware of policies and agreements by which they must abide. Family and friends are asked to assist with this process. If there is ever a question about the status of a substance, contact the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA). In addition, athletes must comply with Athlete Whereabouts requirements. If they are experiencing any difficulties with compliance, they should speak to their NSO, or check the ASADA or World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) websites.
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
Email: Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA)
Website: Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA)
Hotline: 13-000-ASADA; (13-000-23732)
Anti-Doping Administration and Management System login
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
For most athletes, the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games provides an opportunity to realise an important personal dream. Family and friends, as their support network, have a vital role to play. Some tips to provide the best level of support for athletes include:
- Organise tickets and accommodation early, remembering it is not the athlete’s responsibility.
- Develop and agree on communication ‘rules of engagement’.
- Nominate a single contact person for each athlete.
- Establish a plan for dealing with, and communicating, family-related issues with athletes during the Games.
During the Games
- Establish a support system outside of the athletes.
- Keep to established routines as much as possible.
- Treat the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games experience the same as any other international tournament.
- Accept that athletes may need to say ‘no’ due to the pressure of performance or other Games commitments.
- Families and friends may be contacted by members of the media. Only discuss topics that are familiar. If assistance is required, the media liaison officers working with the Australian Olympic and Paralympic teams may be able to assist.
- Remember not to place too much pressure on athletes regarding performance expectations.
- Most importantly, enjoy the experience of the Games and be proud of the athlete/s you are supporting.
- National Athlete Career and Education (ACE) network contacts
- Australian Olympic Committee
- Australian Paralympic Committee
- Sochi organising Committee for the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games:
- International Olympic Committee
- International Paralympic Committee
- Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
- World Anti-Doping Agency:
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Lonely Planet information for Sochi
- Currency information