If you’re an avid watcher of NBC, you may have been wondering why your favorite TV shows were suddenly missing from their usual schedule during the month of February. February 7th marked the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Winter Olympics, just like the Summer Olympics, are held every four years. The last Winter Olympics were held in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. This year, Russia won the bid to host the international competition, the first time since 1980, more than 30 years ago. In preparation for the competition, Russia spent over $51 billion in order to modernize their infrastructure and expand their transportation power, becoming the most expensive Olympics hosted in history as of now. Games were organized in two “clusters,” with ice events hosted in the Sochi Olympic Park. Other events, involving snow and the like, took place near the Krasnaya Polyana Mountain Range. 98 events were held in Sochi this year, accumulating to a total of 15 different sports. Aside from the competition zones, Sochi Olympic Village was established to provide staying arrangements for the 2, 873 athletes competing, representing a total of 88 countries participating.
The official opening ceremony began on the first day. Broadcasting in the United States were handled exclusively by NBC Network, who purchased rights to the Games for $4.38 billion dollars. The ceremony, held in Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium, focused primarily on Russian culture as well as music, history and art. Opened up by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the opening ceremony officially commenced the two and a half week games. Initially, there were concerns over security measures due to potential terrorist attacks and threats by insurgents. However, at the day of the ceremony there appeared to be no apparent incidents; mostly attributed to the drastic increase in security – with over 40,000 police officers forming a “ring of steel” around the Olympic zones. With the end of opening ceremony, the games finally began. Sports this year included, but were not limited to: figure skating, hockey, skiing and snowboarding. After 16 days of competitions, with over 150 medals being awarded, the 2014 Winter Olympics came to a close on February 23.
The United States entered a total of 230 athletes in the Sochi Olympics this year. Team USA consisted of athletes participating in 15 different sports. By the end of the competition, the United States took home a grand total of 28 medals, coming third in the medal count. Of the 28 medals received by the United States, 9 of them were gold, making Team USA fall behind Canada, Norway and Russia. First-time US Olympic athletes won 7 of the gold medals. Despite coming in fourth place in the medal count, the United States managed to get the second highest amount of medals in Sochi.
With the 2014 Winter Olympics finally finished, the next one will be held in 2018 at PyeongChang, South Korea.