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Sochi Hosts Winter Olympics in February 2014

The XXII Olympic Winter Games will be held in Sochi, Russia from February 7-23, 2014. The Winter Olympics will be followed by the Winter Paralympic Games from March 7-16, 2014.

Portrait of young female skier during giant slalom race

Athletes compete in winter sports, such as skiing, during the Olympic Winter Games.


About the Olympic Winter Games

The Olympic Winter Games consist of a variety of winter sport competitions. The games occur once every four years and are hosted in a different country each time. Sporting events include (but are not exclusive to):

Like the Olympic Summer Games, the Winter Olympics are highlighted by a torch relay featuring the Olympic flame prior to the official opening ceremony. There are many Olympic torchbearers, with each one who helps carry the flame, passing it to the next torchbearer to ensure that the flame completes its journey to the Olympic Games’ host city. The torch relay’s journey ends at the games’ opening ceremony. Various cultural events and festivals are also held to honor the games.

What do people do?

The Olympic Winter Games are televised to billions of television viewers worldwide. Many people watch the games to see how athletes from different countries perform in the different competitions. Many people hope for the athlete of their country to win a gold, silver or bronze medal.

The Winter Olympics occur once every four years and this event attracts thousands of visitors who flock to the host city to watch the games or volunteer their time to help out with the games in some way. Athletes from all over the world represent their country when they compete in the games.

Many artists, musicians, dancers and actors also get involved in the games by taking part in cultural event or festival linked to the games. Their involvement promotes the Olympic spirit and culture across various communities in the country where the Olympic Winter Games are hosted.

Public Life

The days in which the Olympic Winter Games occur are not held as public holidays specifically for this event. However, the government of the host city may issue public notices on temporary traffic control measures, including road restrictions. Some workers living in host cities take their annual vacation during this time of the year to volunteer for or watch the Olympic Winter Games. Hotel reservation rates also rise during the games and tourist attraction sites may be particularly busy.


The first modern Olympic Games were held in the summer of 1896. The organizers added skating to the Summer Games in 1908, as ice rinks could be kept cold even in the hottest weather. However, it was eventually decided that winter sports were best left to the winter. The first Olympic Winter Games were held in Chamonix, France, in 1924.

The first gold medal at the first Olympic Winter Games went to speed skater Charles Jewtraw of the United States, but Finnish speed skater A. Clas Thunberg was the overall star. He earned medals in all five speed skating events: three gold, one silver and one bronze. The Canadian ice hockey team won all five of their matches, outscoring their opponents 110 to 3. Sixteen nations participated in that first Olympic Winter Games, bringing 258 athletes (11 women, 247 men) to compete in 16 events.


The Olympic Winter Games are linked with certain symbols. For example, the Olympic torch carries the Olympic flame, which represents positive values associated with fire. The medals that are awarded to winners represent their victory in the games. The mascots associated with each of the Olympic Winter Games have also become icons of modern Olympism.

The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings of equal dimensions (the Olympic rings), used alone, in one or in five different colors, which are, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green and red. The rings are interlaced from left to right. The blue, black and red rings are situated at the top, and the yellow and green rings at the bottom. The Olympic symbol expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games. The Olympic motto is made up of three Latin words “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, meaning “Faster, Higher, Stronger”.