Leveraging Legacies from Sports Mega-Events: Concepts and Cases
Focusing on the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, we discuss the relationships between sports mega-events and the new spatial politics in Russia. We argue that mega-events have become a dominant regional development strategy for the Russian government. Such events are associated with massive investment, whose implications have both an external dimension (showcasing Russia as a re-emerging state) and an internal dimension (offering quick regeneration of the host cities). Both dimensions are closely interlinked as they are part of Russia's new political project of the spatial re-constitution of itself, where certain city-regions are promoted as growth poles and positioned strategically to represent Russia versus the global political, social and economic exchanges. However, concentrating efforts on a few politically appointed “growth poles” intensifies uneven development across the country and also have asymmetric effects on different social groups.