The 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia beginning on February 7th are already making headlines! As I cheer for the United States Olympic Athletes in their pursuit of gold, silver and bronze medals, I thought I would share some interesting news about the Winter Olympics being held this year.
Olympic Torch Experiences a Number of Firsts for the Winter Olympics
The 2014 Winter Olympics began in Ancient Olympia, Greece with the lighting of the torch on September 29, 2013 and made its 7 day journey from Greece to Russia. In Moscow, on October 7th the torch relay started its longest trek in history, covering a 40,000 mile route across all of the regions of the Russian Federation.
The Russians sure made an impact for their first hosting of the Winter Olympics by having the perpetually lit torch travel to Europe’s highest mountain, Mount Elbrus and into the deepest depths of Siberia’s Lake Baikal! And if that wasn’t groundbreaking enough for the Olympic flame, it voyaged all the way to the North Pole for the first time via a nuclear powered icebreaker and then to the far reaches of open space when two Russian cosmonauts took the torch to the outlet of the International Space Station! That will be hard for the South Koreans to top in 2018!
More Participating Nations Means Increased Competition for the Winter Olympics
Did you know that there are 90 nations competing in the Winter Olympics? Sochi is making history with the addition of 7 nations participating in their very first Winter Olympics games:
- Dominica – the Caribbean
- Malta – Europe
- Paraguay – South America
- Timor Leste – Southeast Asia
- Togo – West Africa
- Tonga – Polynesian island close to New Zealand
- Zimbabwe – Southern Africa
Of that large number of nations from around the world competing, only 12 countries have actually attended every Winter Olympics and half of these countries earned medals at all of them (*):
- Great Britain
- United States of America*
When looking at these interesting statistics, I was excited to discover that the United States is the ONLY country that has won a gold medal at EVERY Winter Olympics! With such a history, our Olympic Athletes have a lot to live up to, but they look ready to meet that challenge!
Athletes Can Earn a Gold Medal in 98 Winter Olympics Events!
During the Olympic Games, you will be able to witness 12 new events that make this Winter Olympics in Sochi the largest to date with a total of 98 events!
In 1924, the first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France with 7 original winter sports:
- Alpine Skiing (now 10 events)
- Cross Country Skiing (now 12 events)
- Figure Skating (now 5 events)
- Ice Hockey (now 2 events)
- Nordic Combined (now 3 events)
- Ski Jumping (now 4 events)
- Speed Skating (now 12 events)
Since then, those categories house multiple events and 8 more categories have been added such as:
- Biathlon (11 events)
- Bobsleigh (3 events)
- Curling (2 events)
- Freestyle Skiing (10 events)
- Luge (4 events)
- Short Track Speed Skating (8 events)
- Skeleton (2 events)
- Snowboard (10 events)
I love to watch the Winter Olympics! Each night, I anxiously anticipate the opening strains of “Bugler’s Dream” the Olympic Anthem written by French-American Leo Arnaud that was adopted by the television networks as the Olympics theme song. Those trumpet notes signify something great is about to happen and you just know you are witnessing history in the making!
Share this blog article full of fun, newsworthy facts with friends and family who are Olympic enthusiasts. My favorite is the Ski Jumping competition. I love watching those death defying jumps. Truly amazing! Reply to this blog if you have a different favorite Winter Olympics event.
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