Olympics

Heading to Sochi? Bring your bathing suit!

Nov. 7, 2013 at 3:46 PM ET

Image: Sochi beach
Maxim Shemetov / Reuters
Women enjoy the beach in Sochi, Russia in September 2013.

Heading to Winter Olympics this year? Don't forget your beachwear.

That's what Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Organizing Committee, told TODAY.com about what the legions of tourists should do when visiting his hometown. 

Palm trees and waterfalls — that's a different picture than most Americans have of a Russian winter. But Sochi is a subtropical city on the Black Sea, with a backdrop of towering mountains covered in snow.

"You can literally ski and then go swim," Chernyshenko said.

Will anybody take him up on that winter dip amid mid-50 degree temps? "It depends on how drunk you'll be," he joked. 

Earlier, Chernyshenko talked with Matt Lauer about Sochi's overall readiness to host the Olympics in 91 days. "We are ready," he asserted, adding that there's no need to worry about the weather. "We always enjoy a lot of snow," Chernyshenko said.

Image: Snow in Sochi
Sergei Grits / AP
No snow? That won't be a problem for Sochi. City officials are already storing snow in case weather doesn't cooperate before the Olympic Games.

Sochi officials are already storing snow under insulation just in case. It's a good thing, too, since Chernyshenko is most looking forward to Russia making a comeback in alpine and downhill skiing. A Russian Alpine skier has not made the top 10 in the Olympics since 1998, but he said Russians are currently training with their American counterparts. "Maybe we'll be learning fast and then compete at the same level," he said. 

One change from previous Olympics: Athletes will receive medals not at the venues but each evening in the Sochi Medals Plaza inside the Olympic Village. It'll be followed by a concert.

Will Chernyshenko join the crowd each night? "We'll see," he said, citing his 16-hour day schedules. 

One scenario would definitely get him out of the office: If Russia competes for men's hockey gold.

The nation grieved together after a 2011 plane accident killed 45 people, including most members of an elite Russian hockey team. 

Winning gold in hockey would be the "most exciting end point of our Olympic journey," he said.

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