This paper examines the preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and links it to debates on state rescaling and urban entrepreneurialism in mega-projects. It argues that the Olympic mega-project in Sochi follows a model of state dirigisme which accords a salient role to the national state. Although private sector companies act as investors, the national state steers the planning process and directs the investment. This arrangement is reflected in a business-state relationship where the boundaries between the public and the private sector become blurred, as the state establishes directive control over companies. The model of state dirigisme is underpinned by a nationalist narrative which frames the Olympic Games not primarily as a stimulus for economic development and global competitiveness but as a contribution to Russian greatness. This mode of governing the Olympic Games deviates from the model of entrepreneurial governance and the concomitant state rescaling, dominant in mega-projects in North America and Western Europe, in according a prominent role to the national state rather than to market-led development pushed by cities as lead actors.