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Sochi 2014: Seven Years of Preparation

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When the International Olympic Committee selected Sochi, Russia, as the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics in 2007, the small seaside resort town had no major venues, minimal housing, and few transportation options. Seven years and $51 billion later, the city has built dozens of large facilities, created thousands of housing units, added new rail systems, and toughened security. Now, less than 24 hours before the Opening Ceremony, we take a look back at some of the construction and preparation in Sochi over the years, leading up to athletes making their final practice runs today. [30 photos]

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Shelly Gotlieb, Stefi Luxton, Christy Prior and Rebecca Torr, snowboarders from New Zealand, pose for a picture in the Olympic Rings at the Athletes Village ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, on February 4, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Shelly Gotlieb, Stefi Luxton, Christy Prior and Rebecca Torr, snowboarders from New Zealand, pose for a picture in the Olympic Rings at the Athletes Village ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, on February 4, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Mud and debris, pictured in front of a Sochi sign near the village of Esto Sadok at the Rosa Khutor alpine resort near Sochi, on February 2, 2014. (Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach) #
(1 of 4) A view of the Bolshoy Ice Dome under construction at the Olympic park near Sochi, on May 20, 2011. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin) #
(2 of 4) Construction of the Bolshoy Ice Dome, photographed on December 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Igor Yakunin) #
(3 of 4) A stray dog walks outside the Bolshoy Ice Dome, as preparations take place for the 2014 Winter Olympics, on February 3, 2014. A pest control company which has been killing stray dogs in Sochi for years recently told The Associated Press that it has a contract to exterminate more of the animals throughout the Olympics. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #
(4 of 4) A volunteer walks along a concourse at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, where ice hockey will be played, on January 25, 2014. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #
(1 of 4) In this photo from April 25, 2009, people work on their vegetable gardens near the construction site of the Olympic facilities in Sochi. In less than five years, somewhere in this expanse of short grass, stones and weeds by the Black Sea, the 2014 Winter Olympics are to open with a ceremony watched worldwide. In April of 2008, the site was still and silent and the International Olympic Committee's Jean-Claude Killy warned Russia must work "hard and fast" to get Sochi in shape for the games. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev) #
(2 of 4) An aerial view of the 2014 Winter Olympics sites construction, near the Black Sea, on October 26, 2010. (Mikhail Mordasov/AFP/Getty Images) #
(3 of 4) Security guards walk along the debris of abandoned buildings with the Olympic Park in the background, on February 17, 2012. (Reuters/Denis Sinyakov) #
(4 of 4) An aerial view from a helicopter shows the Olympic Park on December 23, 2013. Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in February. The view shows (clockwise from top) the Fisht Olympic Stadium, the Shayba Arena, the Bolshoy Ice Dome, the Ice Cube Curling center, the Adler Arena and the Iceberg Skating Palace. Picture taken December 23, 2013. (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov) #
Workers cordon off a badly-leaning building in Sochi, on March 3, 2013. A three-story house under construction tilted after a road tunnel being constructed for the 2014 Winter Olympics had collapsed nearby, the local media said. (AP Photo/Artur Lebedev) #
(1 of 2) In this photo taken on May 19, 2011, Rosa village, a new ski resort is shown under construction in Krasnaya Polyana, near Sochi. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) #
(2 of 2) Rosa village is seen from a gondola prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics, on February 4, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) #
A construction worker in the mountain Media Village on top of the village of Esto Sadok at the Rosa Khutor alpine resort near Sochi, on February 2, 2014. (Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach) #
(1 of 3) A view of the Iceberg Skating Palace, under construction at the Olympic park near Sochi, on May 20, 2011. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin) #
(2 of 3) Construction of the Iceberg Skating Palace during a media tour of the Olympic venues in Sochi, on February 10, 2012. (Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay) #
(3 of 3) Technicians stand on the ice as they work on the score clock at the Iceberg Skating Palace, on August 20, 2013. (Reuters/Gary Hershorn) #
A volunteer walks past a construction site with an unfinished building under a tarp decorated with paintings of windows, in Sochi, on February 6, 2014. (Reuters/Eric Gaillard) #
(1 of 4) On May 10, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron visit the Fisht Olympic Stadium where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics will be held. At right is Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, at left is Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky) #
(2 of 4) A picture shot through the window of a house -- scheduled to be torn down because it is within the perimeters of the Olympic Park -- shows the Fisht Stadium, on February 18, 2013. (Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach) #
(3 of 4) A workman carries a bag of cement inside the Fisht Stadium as construction continues at the Olympic Park, on August 20, 2013. (Reuters/Gary Hershorn) #
(4 of 4) The completed Fisht Olympic Stadium, on February 2, 2014. (Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) #
A worker is dwarfed against the sky as he stands at the top of the Olympic cauldron ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, on February 4, 2014, in Sochi. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) #
The Olympic torch, left, is tested before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Olympic Park, on January 29, 2014. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) #
Mountain climber Karina Mezova, front, and Abdul-Khalim Elmezov, head of Kabardino-Balkaria climbing federation, head to light the Olympic flame on the summit of Mt. Elbrus during the Olympic torch relay in Kabardino-Balkaria province, southern Russia, on its way to Sochi, on October 25, 2013. The 65,000-kilometer (40,389 mile) Sochi torch relay, which started on October 7, is the longest in Olympic history. (AP Photo/ Konstantin Dikovsky, Olympictorch2014.com) #
Sarah Reid of Canada makes a practice skeleton run ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Sanki Sliding Center, on February 5, 2014. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images) #
A biathlete practices ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center on February 5, 2014. (Julian Finney/Getty Images) #
Vanessa James of France practices with her pairs partner Morgan Cipres at the figure skating practice rink ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, on February 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) #
Snowboarder Sven Thorgren of Sweden trains on the slopestyle snowboard course in Rosa Khutor, Russia, on February 4, 2014. (Reuters/Dylan Martinez) #
Russian pair skaters Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov practice for their event in Sochi, on February 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev) #

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