Team USA: Americans Travel to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in February

By Claire Lewis.

The Olympic Games are a huge part of world history.  The games can be traced back to 776 BC in Ancient Greece, a time and place where athletic ability and competition was very important and a large part of life.  Originally the Olympic games only consisted of one event—a 192-meter one-stade race.  Today, the modern Olympic games consist of 41 summer sports and 15 winter sports.

On February 7, 2014, the 22nd Winter Olympic Games will begin in the world’s largest country, as Sochi, Russia will host the world’s best athletes for more than two weeks of competition.  There will be two clusters in Sochi, a coastal cluster for ice events and a mountain cluster, like many other host countries—yet the clusters are so close to each other, that the 30 minute drive makes Sochi the most compact Olympic site in history.

Sochi won the bid for Olympic host in 2007 at the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) 119th session in Guatemala.  The total cost of the entirety of the venue is approximately $51 billion, which is far and away the most expensive game ever.  Many cities make profit after hosting the Olympic games, but with such a high cost due to kickbacks from construction companies and higher security, Sochi may not.  Experts are unsure whether Sochi will receive the amount of tourism they hope and, like Athens and Beijing, their costly venues will likely turn to bad conditions.  Where is all of this money coming from then?  90% of the money is coming from the Russian government.  They have a huge investment in Sochi right now.

Despite the expenses, Sochi could experience some benefits from the Olympics.  Studies show that host cities experience a 30% trade increase and are 54% more likely to win medals.  Here’s hoping, Sochi.

There are many world-class American athletes to watch come February.  Alpine skier, Bode Miller, is returning for his fifth Olympic games and hopes to add hardware to his already large collection.  US Ski teammates Julia Mancuso, Mikaela Shiffrin, Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, among others, will join him in Sochi.  On the snowboarding side, Shawn White returns to the Olympic games to compete on the halfpipe—an event he is notorious for.

The Olympic Games will be aired on NBC, with Universal Sports, an NBC Network channel, airing the games almost 24/7.  NBC began broadcasting the Summer Olympic games in 1988 and gained rights to broadcast the Winter games in 2002.  NBC’s $4.38 billion contract with the International Olympic Committee extends to the 2020, making it the most expensive deal in Olympic history.

LIST OF WINTER OLYMPIC SPORTS

Sport

Years

# of

events

Medal events contested in 2010[128]

Alpine skiing Since 1936

10

Men’s and women’s downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom, and combined.[129]
Biathlon Since 1960

11

Sprint (men: 10 km; women: 7.5 km), the individual (men: 20 km; women: 15 km),pursuit (men: 12.5 km; women: 10 km), relay (men: 4×7.5 km; women: 4×6 km; mixed: 2×7.5 km+2×6 km),and the mass start (men: 15 km; women: 12.5 km).[130]
Bobsleigh 1924–19561964–present

3

Four-man race, two-man race and two-woman race.[131]
Cross-countryskiing Since 1924

12

Men’s sprint, team sprint, 30 km pursuit, 15 km, 50 km and 4×10 km relay;women’s sprint, team sprint, 15 km pursuit, 10 km, 30 km (women) and 4×5 km relay.[132]
Curling 19241998–present

2

Men’s and women’s tournaments.[133]
Figure skating Since 1924Note 1

5

Men’s and women’s singles; pairs; ice dancing and Team Event.[134]
Freestyle skiing Since 1992

10

Men’s and women’s moguls, aerials, ski cross, superpipe, and slopestyle.[135]
Ice hockey Since 1924Note 2

2

Men’s and women’s tournaments.[136]
Luge Since 1964

4

Men’s and women’s singles, men’s doubles, Team Relay.[137]
Nordic combined Since 1924

3

Men’s 10 km individual normal hill, 10 km individual large hill and team.[138]
Short trackspeed skating Since 1992

8

Men’s and women’s 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m;women’s 3000 m relay; and men’s 5000 m relay.[139]
Skeleton 1924; 1948Since 2002

2

Men’s and women’s events.[140]
Ski jumping Since 1924

4

Men’s individual large hill, team large hill.[141]; men’s and women’s individual normal hill.
Snowboarding Since 1998

10

Men’s and women’s parallel, giant slalom, half-pipe, snowboard cross, and slopestyle.[142]
Speed skating Since 1924

12

Men’s and women’s 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m, 5000 m,and team pursuit; women’s 3000 m; men’s 10,000 m.[143]