Sochi 2014 or the XXII Olympic Winter Games was the 22nd Winter Olympics, following Vancouver 2010. They were held in Sochi, Russia. This was the second time that Russia had hosted the Olympics, after a controversial Moscow 1980. Sochi was the city with the warmest climate to have hosted the Winter Olympic Games.
The Indian delegation was initially suspended, but Indian athletes were allowed to represent the country after two days into the event. Malta, Paraguay, Timor Leste, Togo, Tonga, and Zimbabwe competed for the first time at the Winter Olympic Games.
Sochi had to defeat Salzburg and Pyeongchang in order to be able to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, with all three countries having hosted the Olympic Games before. Sochi tried to bid for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, but fell short and did not make the shortlist. Pyeongchang finished runners-up to Vancouver in 2010, after the country had hosted Seoul 1988, while Salzburg finished third in that election, behind Vancouver and Pyeongchang. Austria previously hosted Innsbruck 1964 and Innsbruck 1976. After the first round of voting, the results were pretty even, with Pyeongchang and Sochi around 35 votes, and Salzburg lagging behind with 'only' 25. In the second round of voting, Sochi had the slim majority of 51 votes (against 47). Pyeongchang would ultimately be elected to host Pyeongchang 2018.
|Voting results for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games|
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The logos as presented by the Sochi Organizing Committee celebrated the nature surrounding Sochi, with the Caucasus mountain range and the Black Sea, as well as worldwide digitalization and celebration.
The logo of the Olympic bid showed the contrasting winter landscape of the Russian mountains, with a snowflake as the centerpiece. The snowflake design and landscape were made in the main colours of the Russian flag: blue, white, and red.
The emblem or logo of the Olympic Games itself tried to show technological development and simplicity, by using a blue sochi2014.ru in a simplistic design, in which the styles of Sochi and 2014 are mirrored. This also reflects the location of Sochi at the Black Sea, with the reflection of the landscape in the water.
The Olympic torch was lit on 29 September 2013 and travelled to Moscow, Russia, where the official torch relay started on 7 October. From this point onwards, the torch relayed across 14,000 torchbearers in 83 regions of Russia, to arrive in the Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 February. Highlights of the torch relay included visits to the International Space Station and the depths of Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world.
The torch's design references several aspects of Russian culture and folklore, most notably the shape itself. The torch was shaped like a feather, as a reference to a phoenix, a symbol of good luck and fortune in Russian folklore. The colors of the torch (silver and red) reflect the Russian national colors of red and white, especially with red being worn by the Russian national sports teams. It was made of aluminium and was 95 cm in length. The torch was designed by a team of Russian designers led by Vladimir Pirozhkov and Andrei Vodyanik.
The torch was lit on 29 September 2013, in Olympia, Greece, and was first carried by Greek alpine skier Ioannis Antoniou. After the initial ignition, it followed a route of around 2000 kilometres through Greece, after which it would follow one of the longest relays in the modern edition of the torch relay. After the torch was handed over to the Russian organizational committee, the Russian leg started on 7 October 2013 in Moscow. Parallel to the Olympic relay, other Olympic flames were lit and carried to major landmarks and achievements, such as the highest peak in Europe Mount Elbrus (5652 metres above sea level), the deepest lake in the world Lake Baikal, and for the first time ever, the Olympic flame was carried in the geographic North Pole and the International Space Station. On 7 February 2014, the torch was lit in the Fisht Olympic Stadium by Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretiak.
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The opening ceremony on 7 February was to show the rich Russian culture and history. The ceremony, with the motto "Dreams of Russia" shows how different cultural aspects of Russia were formed, such as the Russian Odyssey, Peter the Great, and the world-famous Russian ballet.
The official mascots of the 2014 Olympic Games were the Hare, the Polar Bear, and the Leopard, representing the three available places on an Olympic podium and some main characteristics of an Olympic athlete. The mascots were revealed on 26 February 2011 after an international contest of over 24,000 entries, and the final three were created by Silviya Petrova, Oleg Serdechniy, and Vadim Pak, respectively. The five other finalists included a brown bear, a sun, a dolphin, a bullfinch, and matryoshka dolls. Another candidate was Ded Moroz, the supposed Russian Santa Claus, but it was removed from the candidate list early on, because if it had won the vote, the rights for the character would belong to the IOC. They are also the first and still only mascots as of 2022 to not be officially named.
The Hare was a social individual in the forest, working in a restaurant while also attending school. After a forest fire hit her town, she tried to contact the fire department, but with the phone lines out, she took initiative in her own hands and warned her neighbours. Together, they put out the fire to save the forest.
The Leopard was a playful and caring individual who puts himself in the face of danger to save others. In his background story, the Leopard got delved in a snow avalanche after he was able to warn his home town at the last moment, at the potential cost of his own life. He was saved by a mentor who taught him to grow through meditation and tranquillity, and even after the mentor's death, the Leopard passed on his knowledge to the inhabitants of the valley, while returning to his place as sentinel.
The Polar Bear was an energetic and stubborn individual who was involved in an accident when an ice platform drifted way, separating him from his family. With the help of polar explorers who found him, he was able to use his energy to develop his athletic talent. During his time with the polar researchers, he was able to learn subjects such as computing, engineering, and astronomy to help with arctic research.
The official mascots of the Paralympic Games in 2014 were the Ray of Light and Snowflake, who represented the sun and snow in the Arctic and Siberian regions. As the opposites to make up the Siberian environment, the two represent the flora and fauna of the region. Their backstory was that 1 came from a planet that was perpetually hot, and the other came from a very cold planet. They became friends when they met on Earth and invented the sports of wheelchair curling and ice sledge hockey. They acknowledged that through sports, they are not different from humans after all.
Controversy was brought upon the mascots when accusations were brought against the mascots for telephone vote rigging, as Russian president Vladimir Putin said his favorite mascot. According to Russian politician Sergey Mironov, he said that the Polar Bear resembled the United Russia political party mascot, which led to political propaganda accusations.
The mascot of Moscow 1980's mascot, Misha's designer Viktor Chizhikov, accused Polar Bear's designer for taking Misha's facial features, stating that "they just pumped him up and made him fatter". He also said that the aforementioned Polar Bear, as well as Hare and Leopard, was lacking any personality. These issues, as well as the IOC denying the rights to Misha, when Chizhikov was asked by the organizers of the Sochi 2014 closing ceremony, he declined to help.
Another rejected character for the mascot of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics was Zoich, a fuzzy blue frog, which became a very popular character in the online voting. It took less than an hour (40 minutes to be exact) for it to take first place in the voting. The character, according to its author and the media, was based off Hypnotoad from the American animated sitcom Futurama. The mascot was rejected from the final voting by the IOC, and was also a perfect example of guerilla marketing, as it was commissioned primarily for advertising purposes.
- Main article: Venues
The venues of Sochi 2014 were mostly divided into two clusters: the ice events mostly took part in Sochi, while the snow events took place in the Krasnaya Polyana Valley. The venues in Sochi were newly constructed for the Olympic Games, and were all on walking distance to create a compact environment for anyone involved in the event.
Sochi 2014 would be the biggest Winter Olympic Games to date with 98 medal events. Twelve events were added to the Olympic program in Sochi to promote gender equality and collaboration between the different genders. This resulted in the introduction of mixed team events in figure skating, biathlon, and luge. For the first time ever, women were also allowed to compete in ski jumping, making Nordic Combined the only discipline at the Winter Olympic Games with only events for a single gender. The freestyle skiing and snowboarding disciplines were expanded, with the men's and women's slopestyle being added in snowboarding, and the same events being added in freestyle skiing, for both men and women. The snowboarding discipline was also enriched by the Olympic introduction of parallel slalom for men and women, while freestyle skiing discipline now also featured the men's and women's ski halfpipe.
|← Summer 2012||Sochi 2014||Summer 2016 →|
|← 2010||2018 →|
|Cross-Country Skiing||Curling||Figure Skating|
|Freestyle Skiing||Ice Hockey||Luge|
|Nordic Combined||Short Track||Skeleton|
|Ski Jumping||Snowboarding||Speed Skating|
Twenty-six nations had won at least one medal, just like in Vancouver four years prior, despite the introduction of twelve medal events at the Winter Olympic Games. For the second time in a row, the host nation of the event finished on top of the medal table, after Canada topped the medal table in 2010. The last time Russia had lead the medal standings had been at Lillehammer 1994, right after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Norway had won the same number of gold medals with 11, but had only won five silver medals, compared to the Russians' nine. Slovenia won its first gold medal ever at the Winter Olympic Games, only followed a few days later by its second.
Out of 98 medal events, eight of them resulted in podium sweeps from a single nation, of which half by the Netherlands. In speed skating, the country won all three medals in the men's 500 metre, 5000 metre, and 10000 metre, as well as the women's 1500 metre. Meanwhile, the United States had dominated the podium in the men's ski slopestyle, a feat later repeated by the French ski crossers. On the last few days of competition, the medals of the mass start competitions in cross-country skiing were swept by Norway for the women and Russia for the men.
Ireen Wust was the only athlete to win five Olympic medals (2 gold, 3 silver) in 2014, winning five of 23 medals won by the Netherlands in speed skating. Viktor An, Marit Bjoergen, and Darya Domracheva all won three gold medals in their sport, of which only the former also won a fourth (bronze) medal. Ten other athletes won three total medals, with an additional 70 winning two medals.
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen was one of the athletes winning two gold medals, with which he became the most successful Winter Olympic athlete ever with 8 gold medals, 4 silver, and 1 bronze. With her three gold medals, Marit Bjoergen came level as the female athlete with the most medals at the Winter Olympic Games. Armin Zoeggeler won his sixth consecutive medal in the same number of Olympic Games after winning a bronze medal in the luge singles, while Albert Demchenko and Noriaki Kasai both won two medals at their seventh Olympic participation. Ayumu Hirano became the youngest Olympic champion in a snow discipline at the age of 15 years and 73 days, while Mikaela Shiffrin achieved the same feat in alpine skiing at the age of 18 years and 345 days. On the other side, Mario Matt became the oldest Olympic champion ever in alpine skiing after winning the men's slalom aged 34 and 10 months.
In doping retests conducted after the Olympic Games, several members of the Russian team were retrospectively disqualified, with plenty of medal changes as a result. Despite some of these disqualifications being overturned, the medal winners in the men's two and four were substantially changed after the gold medalists were disqualified. The silver medalists of the biathlon women's sprint and the relay were also disqualified for doping. Despite the loss of these medals, Russia remained on top of the medal standings, with nations such as Latvia, Great Britain, Switzerland, and the United States climbing positions on these rankings.