11 Interesting Facts About the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi involved 15 types of sports taking place in 89 events, including ice skating (my favourite!), skiing, ice hockey, and more.
In this article, you will find 11 interesting facts about the Winter Olympics, covering everything from cost, numbers, facts, and more.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics cost $51 billion, apparently the most expensive Winter Olympic Games yet. The cost covered the many venues as well as the opening ceremony. This price was even higher than any other Olympic Games—including the 2008 Beijing Summer Games as well as the 2012 London Summer Games.
The Sochi Olympic torch travelled over 65,000 kilometres in 123 days, transported by 14,000 carriers. This long trip started on October 7, 2013, and concluded during the fantastic opening ceremony. This torch went to some of the most amazing places on earth (and space) including:
- Europe's highest mountain: Mount Elbrus
- Outer Space: The torch was blasted into outer space by the Soyuz Rocket.
- Siberia's Lake Baikal: It went under water in Lake Baikal in Siberia.
- North Pole: The torches entered the North Pole thanks to a nuclear icebreaker.
The torch weighed 1.8 kg and was less than a metre tall.
The Sochi Winter Olympics had 3 mascots, which were chosen by the public during a live television show. The mascots were:
- Polar Bear
- European Hare
- Amur Leopard
4. Participating Countries
There were 88 countries that entered the Games, with each country entering at least one athlete. The countries with the highest number of athletes entering were:
- France: 105 athletes
- Finland: 103
- USA: 230
- Switzerland: 168
- South Korea: 70
- Russia: 225
- Germany: 152
5. City of Sochi
Sochi has a population of approximately 400,000 people. You may imagine Sochi to have a cold climate with plenty of snow, but it is actually the exact opposite. This city is the "sunny" destination for most Russians and its temperature never really goes under 12 degrees Celsius. Over 2 million tourists visit this city each year.
In the summer, the city has palm trees, beaches, and warm coastlines. Its average temperature is 18-50 degrees Celsius during the daytime. (You can see the logic in this, as it is at the same latitude as Nice in France. I know Nice to be a very warm city, so Sochi must be similar.) It is the cold winds that sometimes blow over the city that make its temperature to go down.
Sochi is the warmest city in history to host the Winter Olympic Games.
6. New Sports
The Sochi Olympics featured seven new sports, including:
- Figure skating team event: Rather than your usual pair of figure skaters, this event showcases a whole team of figure skaters gliding on the ice together.
- Women's ski jumping
- Team relay luge
- Ski slope style
- Snowboard slope style
- Ski half-pipe
- Mixed relay biathlon
The Sochi Olympic medals featured a stylish and beautiful design that clearly showed a great deal of craftsmanship. I have to say, from all the medals I have seen up until this point, my favourite medals are the ones from Sochi. There was something mystical about the shapes on the medal that made them truly spectacular. The Olympic gold medal contained 525 grams of silver with a 960 hallmark; and 6 grams of gold and a 999 hallmark.
The Sochi Olympics represented the first time that Russia hosted the Winter Games (Moscow hosted the 1980 Summer Games). The 2014 Winter Paralympics were also held in Sochi, where 1,650 athletes from 45 countries were expected to compete.
How many people watched the Sochi Winter Olympics? Russia's primary news channel predicted that an estimated 3.5 billion people would tune in to the Games—a number that represented half of the total global population.
Approximately 2 billion people viewed Kate Middleton's and Prince William's wedding, so the Russian estimate represented 1.5 billion more. So, for every 7 people you see on the street, at least 4 of them probably watched at least some part of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Now, that's something!
10. Opening Ceremony
The opening ceremony kicked off on February 7, 2014. Before the ceremony, officials would not reveal any details about the ceremony's many events.
Some great Russian musicians made their debut during the show, including viola player Yuri Bashmet and conductor Valery Gergiev.
Whatever your tastes and preferences when it comes to Olympic sports, there was sure to be an event for everyone to enjoy watching. The following table lists several popular ones.
Also known as "downhill skiing." Athletes will have to ski down snow mountains.
Racing down snow mountains against their opponents
My favourite! The contestants have to perform a dance with music and beautiful costumes. Men, women or men and women participate in this event.
Going on a bobsled track with a bobsleigh. A very action packed and thrilling event to watch!
Athelets have to slide stones across ice and try to make them land in the given targets.
Speed skating is where competitors have to speed skate on ice in an area and are timed.
A typical match of hockey only on ice!
Where one person sleds down a snow track and are timed.
Skiiers have to compete in both cross-country skiing and ski jumping. Another interesting sport!
The athlete has to sled down an ice track facing down.
Going down a snow slope whilst doing stunts. A highly entertaining and skilful sport.
Short track speed skating
Multiple skaters have to speed skate over an ice track
© 2014 Susan W