2014 Winter Olympics
|Host city||Sochi, Russia|
|Motto||Hot. Cool. Yours.
(Russian: Жаркие. Зимние. Твои.)
|Events||98 in 7 sports (15 disciplines)|
|Opening ceremony||7 February|
|Closing ceremony||23 February|
|Officially opened by||President Vladimir Putin|
|Athlete's Oath||Ruslan Zakharov|
|Judge's Oath||Vyacheslav Vedenin, Jr |
|Coach's Oath||Anastasia Popkova |
|Olympic Torch||Vladislav Tretiak
|Stadium||Fisht Olympic Stadium|
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The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XXII Olympic Winter Games (French: Les XXIIes Jeux olympiques d'hiver) (Russian: XXII Олимпийские зимние игры), were a major international multi-sport event held in Sochi, Russia, in the tradition of the Winter Olympic Games.
The Games were held from 7–23 February 2014, with opening rounds in certain events held on the eve of the opening ceremony, 6 February 2014. Both the Olympics and 2014 Winter Paralympics were organized by the Sochi Organizing Committee (SOC). Sochi was selected as the host city in July 2007, during the 119th IOC Session held in Guatemala City. It was the first Olympics in Russia since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Soviet Union was the host nation for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
A total of 98 events in 15 winter sport disciplines were held during the Games. A number of new competitions—a total of 12 accounting for gender—were held during the Games, including biathlon mixed relay, women's ski jumping, mixed-team figure skating, mixed-team luge, half-pipe skiing, ski and snowboard slopestyle, and snowboard parallel slalom. The events were held around two clusters of new venues: an Olympic Park constructed in Sochi's Imeretinsky Valley on the coast of the Black Sea, with Fisht Olympic Stadium, and the Games' indoor venues located within walking distance, and snow events in the resort settlement of Krasnaya Polyana.
In preparation, organizers focused on modernizing the telecommunications, electric power, and transportation infrastructures of the region. While originally budgeted at US$12 billion, various factors caused the budget to expand to over US$51 billion, surpassing the estimated $44 billion cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as the most expensive Olympics in history.
The lead-up to these Games was marked by several major controversies, including allegations that corruption among officials led to the aforementioned cost overruns, concerns for the safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) athletes and spectators due to the effects of recently passed legislation, protests by ethnic Circassian activists over the site of Sochi (where they believe a genocide took place), and threats by jihadist groups tied to the insurgency in the North Caucasus.
- 1 Bidding process
- 2 Financing
- 3 Venues
- 4 Marketing
- 5 Construction
- 6 The Games
- 7 Medals
- 8 Calendar
- 9 Security
- 10 Media
- 11 Sponsors
- 12 Concerns and controversies
- 13 Notes and references
- 14 External links
Sochi was elected on 4 July 2007 during the 119th International Olympic Committee (IOC) session held in Guatemala City, Guatemala, defeating bids from Salzburg, Austria; and Pyeongchang, South Korea. This is the first time that the Russian Federation has hosted the Winter Olympics. The Soviet Union was the host of the 1980 Summer Olympics held in and around Moscow.
from 2006 until 2014
|Year||Billions of rubles|
As of October 2013, the estimated combined cost of the 2014 Winter Olympics had topped US$51 billion. This amount includes the 214 billion rubles (US$6.5 billion) cost for Olympic games themselves and cost of Sochi infrastructural projects (roads, railroads, power plants). This total, if borne out, would be over four times the initial budget of $12 billion (compared to the $8 billion spent for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver), and would make the Sochi games the most expensive Olympics in history, exceeding the estimated $44 billion cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, which hosted 3 times as many events.
According to Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee President and CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko, partnership and commercial programs allowed the use of funds generated by Sochi 2014 for the 2009–10 development period, postponing the need for the state funds guaranteed by the Russian Government. He confirmed that the Organizing Committee had raised more than $500 million through marketing in the first five months of 2009. The Russian Government provided nearly 327 billion rubles (about US$10 billion) for the total development, expansion and hosting of the Games. 192 billion rubles (US$6 billion) coming from the federal budget and 7 billion rubles (US$218 million) from the Krasnodar Krai budget and from the Sochi budget. The organizers expect to have a surplus of US$300 million when the Games conclude.
Financing from non-budget sources (including private investor funds) is distributed as follows:
- Tourist infrastructure: $2.6 billion
- Olympic venues: $500 million
- Transport infrastructure: $270 million
- Power supply infrastructure: $100 million
With an average February temperature of 8.3 °C (42.8 °F) and a humid subtropical climate, Sochi is the warmest city to host a Winter Olympic Games. Sochi 2014 is the 12th straight Olympics to outlaw smoking; all Sochi venues, Olympic Park bars and restaurants and public areas were smoke-free during the Games. It is also the first time that an Olympic Park has been built for hosting a winter games.
Sochi Olympic Park (Coastal Cluster)
The Sochi Olympic Park was built by the Black Sea coast in the Imeretinsky Valley, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from Russia's border with Abkhasia/Georgia. The venues were clustered around a central water basin on which the Medals Plaza is built, allowing all indoor venues to be within walking distance. It also features "The Waters of the Olympic Park" (designed by California-based company WET), a choreographed fountain which served as the backdrop in the medals awards and the opening and closing ceremonies of the event. The new venues include:
- Fisht Olympic Stadium – ceremonies (opening/closing) 40,000 spectators
- Bolshoy Ice Dome – ice hockey (final), 12,000 spectators
- Shayba Arena – ice hockey, 7,000 spectators
- Adler Arena Skating Center – speed skating, 8,000 spectators
- Iceberg Skating Palace – figure skating, short track speed skating, 12,000 spectators
- Ice Cube Curling Center – curling, 3,000 spectators
- Main Olympic village
- International broadcasting centre and main press room
Krasnaya Polyana (Mountain Cluster)
- Laura Biathlon & Ski Complex – Biathlon, Cross-country skiing
- Rosa Khutor Extreme Park – Freestyle skiing and Snowboarding
- Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort – Alpine skiing
- Sliding Center Sanki – Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton
- RusSki Gorki Jumping Center – Ski jumping and Nordic combined (both ski jumping and cross-country skiing on a 2 km route around the arena)
- Roza Khutor plateau Olympic Village
Tentative post-Olympic usage
After the Olympics, a Formula One street circuit is planned for the site. The deal to hold the Russian Grand Prix was signed on 14 October 2010, and runs from 2014 to 2020. The first race will take place 7 months after the Closing Ceremony of the Games. The IOC was given the power to delay the race until 2015 if preparations for the race interfered with the Winter Olympics, but the Games started without interruption.
Logo and branding
The emblem of the 2014 Winter Olympics was unveiled in December 2009. While more elaborate designs with influence from Khokhloma were considered, organizers chose to use a more minimalistic and "futuristic" design instead, consisting only of typefaces with no drawn elements at all. The lettering was designed so that the "Sochi" and "2014" lettering would mirror each other vertically (particularly on the "hi" and "14" characters), "reflecting" the contrasts of Russia's landscape (such as Sochi itself, a meeting point between the Black Sea and the Western Caucasus). Critics, including Russian bloggers, panned the logo for being too simplistic and lacking any real symbolism; Guo Chunning, designer of the 2008 Summer Olympics emblem Dancing Beijing, criticized it for its lack of detail, and believed it should have contained more elements that represented winter and Russia's national identity, aside from its blue color scheme and its use of .ru, the top-level domain of Russia.
The Games' official slogan, Hot. Cool. Yours. (Жаркие. Зимние. Твои.), was unveiled on 25 September 2012, 500 days before the opening ceremony. Presenting the slogan, SOC president Dmitry Chernyshenko explained that it represented the "passion" of the Games' athletes, the climate of Sochi itself, and a sense of inclusion and belonging. The Russian-language version of the slogan uses words that can be translated as "heated" and "wintry".
For the first time in Olympic history, a public vote was held to decide the mascots for the 2014 Winter Olympics; the 10 finalists, along with the results, were unveiled during live specials on Channel One. On 26 February 2011, the official mascots were unveiled, consisting of a polar bear, a snow hare, and a snow leopard. The initial rounds consisted of online voting among submissions, while the final round involved text messaging.
A satirical mascot known as Zoich (its name being an interpretation of the stylized "2014" lettering from the Games' emblem as a cyrillic word), a fuzzy blue frog with hypnotic multi-coloured rings (sharing the colors of the Olympic rings) on his eyeballs and the Imperial Crown ("to remind about statehood and spirituality"), proved popular in initial rounds of online voting, and became a local internet meme among Russians (with some comparing it to Futurama's "Hypnotoad"). Despite its popularity, Zoich did not qualify for the final round of voting, with its creator, political cartoonist Egor Zhgun, claiming that organizers were refusing to respect public opinion. However, it was later revealed that Zoich was deliberately planted by organizers to help virally promote the online mascot vote.
The official Olympic video game is the fourth game in the Mario & Sonic series, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. It was released by Nintendo for the Wii U on 8 November 2013 in Europe, and 15 November 2013 in North America. Others were Sochi 2014: Ski Slopestyle Challenge for Android operating system and Sochi 2014: Olympic Games Resort for online social network Facebook.
Stamps and coins
In commemoration of the Games, Russian Post released a series of postage stamps depicting athletes, venues, and the mascots of the Games. The Bank of Russia also issued special coins and 100-ruble notes for the Games.
The Olympic infrastructure was constructed according to a Federal Target Program (FTP). In June 2009, the Games' organizers reported they were one year ahead in building the main Olympic facilities as compared to recent Olympic Games. In November 2011, IOC President Jacques Rogge was in Sochi and concluded that the city had made significant progress since he last visited eighteen months earlier.
According to the FTP, US$580 million would be spent on construction and modernization of telecommunications in the region. Avaya was named by the Sochi Organizing Committee as the official supplier of telecommunications equipment. Avaya provided the data network equipment, including switches, routers, security, telephones and contact-center systems. It provided engineers and technicians to design and test the systems, and worked with other technology partners to provide athletes, dignitaries and fans information about the Games.
Infrastructure built for the games included:
- A network of TETRA mobile radio communications for 100 user groups (with capacity of 10,000 subscribers);
- 712 km (442 mi) of fiber-optic cables along the Anapa-Dzhubga-Sochi highways and Dzhubga–Krasnodar branch;
- Digital broadcasting infrastructure, including radio and television broadcasting stations (building and communications towers) with coverage from Grushevaya Polyana (Pear Glade) to Sochi and Anapa cities. The project also included construction of infocommunications centre for broadcasting abroad via three HDTV satellites.
In January 2012, the newest equipment for the television coverage of the Games arrived in the port of Adler. Prepared specifically for the Games, a team of regional specialists and the latest technology provide a qualitatively new level of television production in the region.
In November 2013, it was reported that the fiber-optic cable that was built by the Federal Communications Agency, Rossvyaz, had no operator. With Rostelecom and Megafon both refusing to operate it, the line was transferred to the ownership of the state enterprise Center for Monitoring & Development of Infocommunication Technologies (Russian: Центр МИР ИТ).
Russian mobile phone operator Megafon expanded and improved Sochi's telecom infrastructure with over 700 new 2G/3G/4G cell towers. Sochi was the first Games to offer 4G connectivity at a speed of 10 MB/sec.
In January 2014, Rostelecom reported that it had connected the Olympic media center in Sochi to the Internet and organized channels of communication with the main media center of the Olympic Games in the coastal cluster and press center in Moscow. The media center was built at total cost of 17 million rubles.
A five-year strategy for increasing the power supply of the Sochi region was presented by Russian energy experts during a seminar on 29 May 2009, held by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, and attended by International Olympic Committee (IOC) experts and officials from the Russian Ministry of Regional Development, the Russian Ministry of Energy, the State Corporation Olimpstroy and the Krasnodar Krai administration.
According to the strategy, the capacity of the regional energy network would increase by two and a half times by 2014, guaranteeing a stable power supply during and after the Games.
The power demand of Sochi in the end of May 2009 was 424 MW. The power demand of the Olympic infrastructure is expected to be about 340 MW.
- Poselkovaya electrical substation became operational in early 2009.
- Sochi thermal power station is being reconstructed (expected power output is 160 MW)
- Laura and Rosa Khutor electrical substations were completed in November 2010
- Mzymta electrical substation was completed in March 2011
- Krasnopolyanskaya hydroelectric power station was completed in 2010
- Adler CHP station design and construction was completed in 2012. Expected power output is 360 MW
- Bytkha substation, under construction with two transformers 25 MW each, includes dependable microprocessor-based protection
Earlier plans also include building combined cycle (steam and gas) power stations near the cities of Tuapse and Novorossiysk and construction of a cable-wire powerline, partially on the floor of the Black Sea.
The transport infrastructure prepared to support the Olympics includes many roads, tunnels, bridges, interchanges, railroads and stations in and around Sochi. Among others, 8 flyovers, 102 bridges, tens of tunnels and a bypass route for heavy trucks — 367 km (228 miles) of roads were paved.
The existing 102 km (63-mile), Tuapse-to-Adler railroad was renovated to provide double track throughout, increasing capacity and enabling a reliable regional service to be provided and extending to the airport. In December 2009, Russian Railways ordered 38 Siemens Mobility Desiro trains for delivery in 2013 for use during the Olympics, with an option for a further 16 which would be partly built in Russia. Russian Railways established a high-speed Moscow-Adler link and a new railroad (more than 60 kilometres or 37 miles long) passing by the territory of Ukraine.
At Sochi International Airport, a new terminal had been built along a 3.5 km (2.2-mile) runway extension, overlapping the Mzymta River. Backup airports were built in Gelendzhik, Mineralnye Vody and Krasnodar by 2009.
At the Port of Sochi, a new offshore terminal 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from the shore allows docking for cruise ships with capacities of 3,000 passengers. The cargo terminal of the seaport is to be moved from the centre of Sochi.
Roadways were detoured, some going around the construction site and others being cut off.
In May 2009, Russian Railways started the construction of tunnel complex No. 1 (the final total is six) on the combined road (automobile and railway) from Adler to Alpica Service Mountain Resort in the Krasnaya Polyana region. The tunnel complex No. 1 is located near Akhshtyr in Adlersky City District, and includes:
- Escape tunnel, 2.25 kilometres (1.40 mi), completed in 2010
- Road tunnel, 2,153 metres (7,064 ft), completed in 2013
- One-track railway tunnel, 2,473 metres (8,114 ft), completed in 2013
In addition, Sochi's railway stations were renovated. These are Dagomys, Sochi, Matsesta, Khosta, Lazarevskaya, and Loo railway stations. In Adler, a new railway station was built while the original building was preserved, and in the Olympic park cluster, a new station was built from scratch, the Olympic Park railway station. Another new railway station was built in Estosadok, close to Krasnaya Polyana.
Funds were spent on the construction of hotels for 10,300 guests. The first of the Olympic hotels, Zvezdny (Stellar), is rebuilt anew. Significant funds were spent on the construction of an advanced sewage treatment system in Sochi, designed by Olimpstroy. The system meets BREF standards and employs top available technologies for environment protection, including tertiary treatment with microfiltration.
Six post offices were opened at competition venues, two of them in the main media centre in Olympic Park and in the mountain village of Estosadok. In addition to standard services, customers had access to unique services including two new products, Fotomarka and Retropismo. Fotomarka presents an opportunity to get a stylized sheet of eight souvenir stamps with one's own photos, using the services of a photographer in the office. Retropismo service allows a customer to write with their own stylus or pen on antique paper with further letters, winding string and wax seal affixing. All the new sites and post offices in Sochi were opened during the Olympics until late night 7 days a week, and employees were trained to speak English.
On 29 September 2013, the Olympic torch was lit in Ancient Olympia, beginning a seven-day journey across Greece and on to Russia, then the torch relay started at Moscow on 7 October 2013 before passing 83 Russian cities and arriving at Sochi on the day of the opening ceremony, 7 February 2014. It is the longest torch relay in Olympic history, a 40,000-mile route that passes through all regions of the country, from Kaliningrad in the west to Chukotka in the east.
The Olympic torch reached the North Pole for first time via a nuclear-powered icebreaker (50 Let Pobedy). The torch was also passed for the first time in space, though not lit for the duration of the flight for safety reasons, on flight Soyuz TMA-11M to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft itself was adorned with Olympic-themed livery including the Games' emblem. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky waved the torch on a spacewalk outside ISS. The torch returned to Earth five days later on board Soyuz TMA-09M. The torch also reached the Europe's highest mountain Mount Elbrus, and even the depths of Siberia's Lake Baikal.
The opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics was held on 7 February 2014 at Fisht Olympic Stadium, an indoor arena built specifically for the ceremonies. The ceremony featured scenes based around aspects of Russian history and arts, including ballet, classical music, the Russian Revolution, and the age of the Soviet Union. The opening scene of the ceremony featured a notable technical error, where one of five snowflakes, which were to expand to form the Olympic rings, malfunctioned and did not expand. The torch was taken into the stadium by Maria Sharapova, who then passed it to Yelena Isinbayeva who, in turn, passed it to wrestler Aleksandr Karelin. Karelin then passed the torch to gymnast Alina Kabaeva. Figure skater Irina Rodnina took the torch and was met by former ice hockey goalkeeper Vladislav Tretiak, who exited the stadium to jointly light the Olympic cauldron located near the centre of Olympic Park.
Participating National Olympic Committees
A record 88 nations qualified to compete, which beat the previous record of 82 set at the previous Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The number of athletes who qualified per country is listed below. Seven nations—Dominica, Malta, Paraguay, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, and Zimbabwe—made their Winter Olympics debut.
Kristina Krone qualified to compete in her second consecutive games for Puerto Rico, but the island's Olympic Committee chose not to send her to compete again as they did in 2010. Similarly, South Africa decided not to send alpine skier Sive Speelman to Sochi. Algeria also did not enter its only qualified athlete, Mehdi-Selim Khelifi.
a India's athletes originally competed as Independent Olympic Participants and marched under the Olympic flag during the opening ceremony, as India was originally suspended in December 2012 over the election process of the Indian Olympic Association. On 11 February, the Indian Olympic Association was reinstated and India's athletes were allowed the option to compete under their own flag from that time onward.
During the Games some countries had a national house, a meeting place for supporters, athletes and other followers. Houses can be either free for visitors to access or they can have limited access by invitation only.
|Austria||Mountain Cluster||Austria Tirol House||Official website|
|Canada||Coastal Cluster (Next to Fisht Olympic Stadium)||Canada House|
|China||Zhemchuzhina hotel||China House|
|Czech Republic||Adler||Czech House|
|France||Gornaya Karusel (Mountain Cluster)||Club France||Official website|
|Germany||Estosadok, Krasnaya Polyana (Mountain Cluster)||German House||Official website|
|Italy||Olympic Park (Coastal Cluster)||Italy House||Official website|
|Japan||Olympic Park (Coastal Cluster)||Japan House|
|Latvia||Radisson Hotel||Latvian House|
|Netherlands||Azimut Hotel Resort (near Coastal Cluster)||Holland Heineken House||Official website|
|Russia||Olympic Park (Coastal Cluster)||NOC Hospitality Houses of Russia|
|Slovakia||Sochi railway station||Slovak Point|
|South Korea||Olympic Park (Coastal Cluster)||Korea House|
|Switzerland||Olympic Park (Coastal Cluster)||House of Switzerland||Official website|
|United States||Olympic Park (Coastal Cluster)||USA House||Official website|
98 events over 15 disciplines in 7 sports were included in the 2014 Winter Olympics. The three skating sports disciplines are figure skating, speed skating, and short track speed skating. There were six skiing sport disciplines—alpine, cross-country skiing, freestyle, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding. The two bobsleigh sports disciplines are bobsleigh and skeleton. The other four sports are biathlon, curling, ice hockey, and luge. A total of twelve new events are contested to make it the largest Winter Olympics to date. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of medal events contested in each sports discipline.
- Alpine skiing (10) ( )
- Biathlon (11) ( )
- Bobsleigh (3) ( )
- Cross-country skiing (12) ( )
- Curling (2) ( )
- Figure skating (5) ( )
- Freestyle skiing (10) ( )
- Ice hockey (2) ( )
- Luge (4) ( )
- Nordic combined (3) ( )
- Short track speed skating (8) ( )
- Skeleton (2) ( )
- Ski jumping (4) ( )
- Snowboarding (10) ( )
- Speed skating (12) ( )
On 6 April 2011, the IOC accepted a number of events that were submitted by their respective sports federations to be considered for inclusion into the official program of these Olympic Games. The events include:
Team alpine skiing was presented as a candidate for inclusion in the Olympic program but the Executive board of the IOC rejected this proposal. The International Ski Federation persisted with the nomination and this was considered. There were reports of Bandy possibly being added to the sports program, but the IOC rejected this request. Subsequently, the international governing body, Federation of International Bandy, decided that Irkutsk and Shelekhov in Russia would host the 2014 Bandy World Championships just before the Olympics.
On 28 November 2006, the Executive Board of the IOC decided not to include the following sports in the review process of the program.
The closing ceremony was held on 23 February 2014 between 20:14 MSK (UTC+4) and 22:25 MSK (UTC+4) at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi. The ceremony was dedicated to Russian culture featuring world-renowned Russian stars like conductor and violinist Yuri Bashmet, conductor Valery Gergiev, pianist Denis Matsuev, singer Hibla Gerzmava and violinist Tatiana Samouil. These artists were joined by performers from the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theaters.
Sochi's medal design was unveiled in May 2013. The design is intended to resemble Sochi's landscape, with a semi-translucent section containing a "patchwork quilt" of diamonds representing mountains; the diamonds themselves contain designs that reflect Russia's regions. Those who won gold medals on 15 February received special medals with fragments of the Chelyabinsk meteor, marking the one-year anniversary of the event where pieces of the cosmic body fell into the Chebarkul Lake in the Ural Mountains in central Russia.
The top ten listed NOCs by number of gold medals are listed below. The host nation, Russia, is highlighted.
Host nation (Russia)
|4||United States (USA)||9||7||12||28|
|Total (26 NOCs)||99||97||99||295|
In the following calendar each blue box represents one or more event competition(s), such as a qualification round, on that day. The yellow boxes represent medal-awarding finals for a sport with in each box the number of finals that were contested on that day.
|OC||Opening ceremony||●||Event competitions||1||Event finals||EG||Exhibition gala||CC||Closing ceremony|
|Short track speed skating||1||1||2||1||3||8|
Security during both the Olympics and Paralympics were being handled by over 40,000 law enforcement officials, including police and the Russian Armed Forces. A Presidential Decree signed by President Vladimir Putin took effect on 7 January, requiring that any protests and demonstrations in Sochi and the surrounding area through 21 March (the end of the Paralympics) be approved by the Federal Security Service. For the duration of the decree, travel restrictions were also in effect in and around Sochi: "controlled" zones, dubbed the "ring of steel" by the media, cover the Coastal and Mountain clusters which encompass all of the Games' venues and infrastructure, including transport hubs such as railway stations. To enter controlled areas, visitors must pass through security checkpoints with x-ray machines, metal detectors and explosive material scanners. Several areas were designated as "forbidden", including Sochi National Park and the border with Abkhazia. An unmanned aerial vehicle squadron, along with S-400 and Pantsir-S1 air defense rockets were used to protect Olympic airspace. Four gunboats were also deployed on the Black Sea to protect the coastline.
A number of security organizations and forces began stationing in and around Sochi in January 2014; Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) was stationed in Sochi for the Games beginning on 7 January 2014. A group of 10,000 Internal Troops of the Ministry of Interior also provided security services during the Games. In mid-January, 1,500 Siberian Regional Command troops were stationed in a military town near Krasnaya Polyana. A group of 400 cossacks in traditional uniforms were also present to accompany police patrols. The 58th Army unit of the Russian Armed Forces, were defending the Georgia-Russia border. The United States also supplied Navy ships and other assets for security purposes.
Incidents and threats
Organizers received several threats prior to the Games. In a July 2013 video release, Chechen Islamist commander Dokka Umarov called for attacks on the Games, stating that the Games were being staged "on the bones of many, many Muslims killed ...and buried on our lands extending to the Black Sea."
Threats were received from the group Vilayat Dagestan, which had claimed responsibility for the Volgograd bombings under the demands of Umarov, and a number of National Olympic Committees had also received threats via e-mail, threatening that terrorists would kidnap or "blow up" athletes during the Games. However, while the IOC did state that the letters "[contained] no threat and appears to be a random message from a member of the public", the U.S. ski and snowboarding teams hired a private security agency to provide additional protection during the Games.
In most regions, broadcast rights to the 2014 Winter Olympics were packaged together with broadcast rights for the 2016 Summer Olympics, but some broadcasters obtained rights to further games as well. Domestic broadcast rights were sold by Sportfive to a consortium of three Russian broadcasters; Channel One, VGTRK, and NTV Plus.
In Canada, after losing the 2010 and 2012 Games to CTV, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation re-gained broadcast rights to the Olympics for the first time since 2008, gaining rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games.
In Australia, after all three major commercial networks pulled out of bidding on rights to both the 2014 and 2016 Games due to cost concerns, the IOC awarded broadcast rights to just the 2014 Winter Olympics to Network Ten for A$20 million.
Several broadcasters were using the Games to trial the emerging ultra high definition television (UHDTV) standard. Both NTV Plus and Comcast filmed portions of the Games in 4K resolution; Comcast offered its content through smart TV apps, while NTV+ held public and cinema viewings of the content. NHK filmed portions of the Games in 8K resolution for public viewing. Olympic sponsor Panasonic filmed the opening ceremony in 4K.
The following are the "Worldwide Olympic Partners":
The following are the "National Partners Sochi 2014":
Concerns and controversies
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The lead-up to the Games were affected by numerous controversies and concerns; primarily concerning exploitation of workers engaged in Olympic construction; allegations of the illegal dumping of construction waste threatening residents' health and safety; evictions and displacement of residents to make way for Olympic venues; economic issues; and harassment of environmental and human rights activists and journalists who criticise Olympic preparations or the government's anti-LGBT policies; and disputes with Circassian nationalists, who demanded that the events be cancelled or moved unless Russia apologises for the 19th-century deaths, which Circassians regard to be a genocide.
Russia's policies surrounding the rights of LGBT people in the country were a cause for concern during the lead-up to the Games, as the Olympic Charter contains language explicitly denouncing all forms of discrimination. In March 2012, concerns for "public morality" led the Russian government to block the establishment of a Pride House for the Games, which would have been a safe-space for LGBT visitors and Olympic participants to connect and share information. In June 2013, Russia passed a controversial law banning the distribution of "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships" among minors. Activists and world leaders interpreted the law as a broad attempt to suppress promotion of the rights and culture of LGBT people in the country, with LGBT rights activists arguing that the law was so vague that even kissing a same-sex partner or displaying LGBT symbols like the rainbow flag in public violated the law, and others attributing the law to an increase in the level of homophobic violence in the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin did guarantee the safety of LGBT athletes and spectators during the Games, if they obeyed the laws.
Olympic-focussed protests and campaigns were held to spread awareness of these laws, such as Principle 6, named after the anti-discrimination passage in the Olympic Charter. A number of world leaders, including Barack Obama, David Cameron, François Hollande and Stephen Harper, declined to attend the opening ceremony as national delegates for various reasons. Although attending the Winter Olympics has not historically been considered a high priority by world leaders, there was still speculation that their non-attendance was a symbolic boycott. The United States appointed Billie Jean King, Brian Boitano, and Caitlin Cahow, who are openly gay, as its delegation instead. U.S. president Barack Obama confirmed the intent of the selections in an interview prior to the games, stating that "there is no doubt we wanted to make it very clear that we do not abide by discrimination in anything, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." A joint letter was sent to the ten Worldwide Olympic Partner companies in early February 2014 by a group of 40 human and LGBT rights organizations, which urged them to support the rights of LGBT people under the Olympic Charter, and pressure the IOC to show greater scrutiny towards the human rights abuses of future host countries. On 3 February 2014, AT&T, a supporter of the United States Olympic Committee, issued a statement in support of LGBT rights at the Games, becoming the first major Olympic advertiser to do so.
A number of LGBT rights activists holding unauthorized protests in Moscow and Saint Petersburg during the Games were arrested, while prominent Italian LGBT activist and former member of parliament Vladimir Luxuria (who was the first ever openly transgender MP in Europe) was detained in Sochi after wearing a rainbow-colored outfit, chanting pro-gay slogans, and holding a banner reading "Gay is OK" in Russian whilst entering an Olympic venue. Although Luxuria was later released, the arrest was criticized by fellow activists Alessandro Zan and Nichi Vendola, both members of the Left Ecology Freedom party. On the other hand, Sports Illustrated reported that an anti-gay demonstration also occurred in Sochi during the games, seemingly defying a ban on unauthorized protests during the Games.
Some Circassian organisations have objected to the Games being held on land their ancestors held until 1864, when most of them were vanquished at the end of the Russian-Circassian War (1763–1864), in what they consider to be ethnic cleansing or genocide. The Games also coincide with the 150th anniversary of this event. They demanded the Games be cancelled or moved unless Russia apologises. Some Circassian groups accepted the Olympics, and argued that symbols of Circassian history and culture should be featured, as Australia, the United States and Canada did for their indigenous cultures in 2000, 2002, and 2010 respectively.
The Games' use of Krasnaya Polyana as a site for skiing and snowboarding events was also considered controversial to Circassians, as Krasnaya Polyana (which translates to "Red Hill" or "Red Glade"), was named for a group of Circassians who were defeated in a bloody battle with Russians while attempting to return home over it in 1864.
Budget and infrastructure issues
While Olympic Games typically have high cost overruns, Russian political activists such as Boris Nemtsov claimed that for the 2014 Games they were much higher than usual. Allison Stewart of the Saïd Business School at Oxford, notes that relations between the government and construction companies appear closer in Sochi than in other games. Oligarch Arkady Rotenberg has won contracts worth $7.4 billion. In a press conference, IOC president Thomas Bach defended the high costs of the Games, stating that the costs were in line with previous Olympics, but that the additional costs were a "long-term investment" into making Sochi a year-round resort and winter sports complex.
Criticism also surfaced over the quality and availability of accommodation in Sochi during the final weekend before the Games. Due to contractors failing to meet deadlines, along with inclement weather, three of the nine hotels for accredited media were left with unfinished rooms. Journalists reported various issues, including rooms that were unclean, no working water, discoloured tap water, and missing furniture or amenities. Executive Director Gilbert Felli stated that the rooms would be finished by 5 February, while Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak noted that the media hotels just needed a "final cleaning".
Politicized media coverage
IOC President Thomas Bach criticized attempts to politicize the Games, saying that governments should not "sent political messages on the backs of their athletes...this is exactly what the IOC doesn't need." Benjamin Bidder of Spiegel Online and Julia Ioffe of The New Republic compared the negative pre-Sochi coverage to schadenfreude and Russophobia, while Anton Fedyashin of The Guardian blamed lingering Cold War mentalities for "dishing up a feast of negativity." In an editorial published by The Nation, scholar of Russian studies Stephen F. Cohen criticized the "toxic coverage" for "exploiting the threat of terrorism so licentiously it seemed pornographic." He further wrote that "American media on Russia today are less objective, less balanced, more conformist and scarcely less ideological than when they covered Soviet Russia during the Cold War."
According to The Guardian the games were more politicised than the before, serving as shameless promotion of Putin's Russia. While former world chess champion and Russian opposition figure Garry Kasparov said that game bolstered Putin's cult of personality.
Some journalists and IOC officials claimed that coverage of the Sochi Olympics by Western media was overly critical, biased, and politicized. U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President François Hollande declined to attend the Olympics in what some analysts considered a boycott over humanitarian issues.
Comedians and satirical newspapers took advantage of the widespread pessimism. On 8 February, The Daily Currant posted a story alleging that a man responsible for operating the Olympic rings during the opening ceremony, which famously suffered a technical glitch, had been "found dead...with multiple stab wounds." The fictional story went viral on social media. On 20 February, luger Kate Hansen posted a well-publicized video on her Twitter account allegedly showing a wolf roaming the hallways of her Sochi hotel; it was later revealed to be a hoax staged by talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and Hansen. USA Luge officials distanced themselves from the incident, with spokesman Sandy Caligiore stating, "I can tell you that our organization is not happy with the incident. Sochi problems? Sochi fail? That's not USA Luge speaking." Throughout the duration of the Olympics the @SochiProblems Twitter account had nearly 100,000 more followers than the official IOC feed @Sochi2014. The blog GossipSochi.com was later set up to debunk @SochiProblems postings, with many revealed to be fakes.
In an interview, IOC supervisor Jean-Claude Killy stated that several hotels intended to house the foreign media were unfinished by the opening of the Olympics because officials realized "too late" that construction had fallen behind. According to David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, many of the incidents early in the Olympics were "standard problems" and were not unique to Sochi. Wallechinsky further noted, "When you mess up with the media before the Games start, you're going to have a problem." In an interview that aired on Russian television on 24 February, Vladimir Putin opined that much of the criticism stemmed from rivalry in international politics, saying "There is a cohort of critics that are far from sport, they are engaged in a competitive struggle in international politics. They used this Olympic project to achieve their own objectives in the field of anti-Russian propaganda."
The mood greatly improved as the Games progressed. With a few notable exceptions, NBC largely avoided broadcasting negative material, although several segments deemed "overly friendly to Russia" were harshly criticized by some U.S. conservatives. Following the closing ceremony, Mark Sappenfield of The Christian Science Monitor concluded that by many measures the Olympics were "very successful." Sappenfield singled out the organization as particularly good, writing that "Athletes and Olympic officials were nearly unanimous: This was an extraordinarily well run Olympics." Thomas Bach also voiced support, stating "We saw excellent Games and what counts most is the opinions of the athletes and they were enormously satisfied...You have to ask all those who criticised whether they change their opinions now."
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games.|
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- Official Sochi 2014 (Russian) (English) (French)
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- 2014 Winter Olympics on Facebook
- Olympstroy State Corporation (Russian) (English) - responsible for Sochi Olympics construction and development
- Sochi 2014 links on Open Directory Project (DMOZ)
- Sochi satellite image on Google Maps
XXII Olympic Winter Games (2014)