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Interesting Facts About The Winter Olympics

Updated on April 7, 2014

The Black Sea resort town of Sochi, Russia is going to host the 22nd Winter Olympics from 7th to 24th Feb, 2014. The US interest in these games has seen a huge rise, thanks to twelve new sports added to the earlier series of games, namely biathlon mixed relay, women's ski jumping, figure skating mixed team, luge mixed team, ski half-pipe ( men and women), ski slope style (men and women), snowboard slope style ( men and women) and snowboard parallel slalom (men and women).

And the most interesting fact of the games is that the players who win a gold medal on the 15th of February will be rewarded the medal with Chelyabinsk meteor fragments in it. It would be exactly one year since the meteor fell in the Chebarkul lake in the Ural mountains.

Going past numerous controversies and possibilities of threats by Jihadi groups, Vladimir Putin has promised the people that the 2014 Winter Olympic games would be' the safest Olympics in history '.

Kim Yuna at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics
Kim Yuna at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics | Source
Tara Lipinski- World Rank 2
Tara Lipinski- World Rank 2 | Source

Peggy Fleming-1968 Gold Medal Winning Performance

Today's Skaters and Old School: A Brief Comparison

No doubt the level of skating has seen a rise over the years, as have all other sports. With this rises the ever haunting question, who's better, the current reigning champion or the 'old school Balboa'?
The current Olympic gold medalist Kim Yu-Na of South Korea has proved herself to be the best in this generation.A holder of numerous world records, she has broken the world record for the highest score 11 times, 8 of which she broke the ones she herself set.No one else poses competition at such levels to the skating Korean.

But when it comes to figure skating, there's hardly anyone who can beat Peggy Fleming, the 1968 gold medalist in France.She reigned the era when compulsory figures-the ability to trace three figure points were a compulsion.Penalties were imposed for even a slight deviation from the ideal figure and this score accounted for as high as 60% of the total score.Her perfect geometric sense puts her ahead off all her competitors.
The current generation America takes pride on the leaping abilities of the recent champions like Kristi Yamaguchi(1992), Tara Lipinski(1998), Sarah Hughes(2002), as these are some of the very few skaters who've maintained the skill sets of the old school players like Heiss and Hamill.

Canada has won 11 gold medals, the most by any team.USA trails behind with only 3 golds but 10 silver medals, compared to the former's only 5.

Canada USA Ice Hockey Match Fight

Canada-US Ice Hockey Rivalry:

The Canada US Ice Hockey rivalry is analogous to those who dominate the game and those who continue to pull upsets.Since the introduction of NHL players into the tournament, the rivalry has taken a rather peculiar and fierce turn.1998 saw women's hockey become a part of the Games and as expected, the historic rivalry was extended to this domain as well.The US defeated the favored Canadians in Nagano.

Both the men and women US team had to settle for Silver in the 2002(Salt Lake City) and 2010 (Vancouver)games, losing to the reigning Canadians.
Keeping all the wins and losses in the past, the teams are geared up for the 2014 clash.Numerous practice matches have provided them the necessary experience to put up a great show in Sochi.These teams have kept their energy high with brawls at regular intervals, the most famous of these being the one instigated by American forwards Jocelyne Lamoureux and her sister, Monique Lamoureux.

Jamie Hagerman Phinney, a 2006 U.S. Olympian, puts it: “I’m a Red Sox fan, so I hate losing to the Yankees, but not nearly as much as losing to Canada.”

CAN / USA performance in Olympics Finals

1920 Antwerp
United States(USA)
1924 Chamonix
United States(USA)
1928 St. Moritz
Sweden (SWE)
1932 Lake Placid
United States(USA)
1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen
Great Britain (GBR)
1948 St. Moritz
Czechoslovakia (TCH)
1952 Oslo
United States(USA)
1956 Cortina d'Ampezzo
Soviet Union (URS)
United States(USA)
1960 Squaw Valley
United States(USA)
Canada (CAN)
1972 Sapporo
Soviet Union (URS)
United States(USA)
1980 Lake Placid
United States(USA)
Soviet Union (URS)
1992 Albertville
Unified Team (EUN)
1994 Lillehammer
Sweden (SWE)
Canada (CAN)
2002 Salt Lake City
United States(USA)
2010 Vancouver
United States(USA)
The table shows the dominance of Canada in Ice Hockey in the Olympics
Finn Haagen Krogh of Norway reacts in front of Italy's Frederico Pellegrino (R) after winning the World Cup men's cross country sprint race
Finn Haagen Krogh of Norway reacts in front of Italy's Frederico Pellegrino (R) after winning the World Cup men's cross country sprint race | Source

Another pair with boiling blood is the men's cross-country ski relay team of Italy and Norway.Taking into account the performances in the 3 consecutive Olympics from 1994 to 2002, the total difference in time for the 2 teams was less than a second, an unbelievable feat for a game that lasts more than 90 minutes.

Cross Country Skiing 4*10km Relay results

Silver(Clocked Time)
Norway( 1:39:26.0 )
Italy( 1:40:52.7 )
Italy( 1:41:15.0 )
Norway( 1:41:15.4 )
Norway( 1:40:55.7 )
Italy( 1:40:55.9 )
Norway( 1:32.45.4 )
Norway( 1:32:53.8 )
1936 Winter Olympics-Garmisch-Partenkirchen
1936 Winter Olympics-Garmisch-Partenkirchen | Source

Politics and the Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics have not seen any terrorist attack or bombings unlike the Summer Olympics in Munich(1972) and Atlanta(1996). It has also been unaware of boycotts due to disagreement among participating nations.Such instances have been witnessed with the boycotts of Summer Olympics in Montreal(1976) due to disputes over South African apartheid. The Soviet Union's invasions over Hungary(Melbourne 1956) and Afghanistan(Moscow 1980) have also met a similar fate.
Though the Winter Games have never faced such harsh situations, political turmoils did present interruptions.
In 1940, Japan invaded China, due to which Sapparo, the Japanese bid for the host of winter games, couldn't host the games then. The games were held later in 1972.A similar situation was witnessed in 1936, when Germany invaded Poland and lost the site of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a resort mountain city as the host for the Winter Olympics.The ongoing war led to the cancellation of the next edition of the games too, which were planned to be held in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.These games were postponed till 1956.
Although the 1984 games in Sarajevi, Yugoslavia progressed without any interruption, the Balkan wars in 1990s destroyed the skiing sites.

Was the 1980 US team highly underestimated?

See results

Miracle On Ice

Anyone who has some basic knowledge of the Olympic Ice Hockey scenario wouldn't need any evidence to prove the Canadian dominance on the men's league.The US team in 1960, though highly immature, managed somehow to defeat the dominating Canadians in a 2-1 defeat.They went on to face the USSR.
A somewhat similar story was repeated in the 1980 games.The US team, consisting of unexperienced college candidates had an unimaginable run in the early rounds and went on to face the fully professional Soviets in the semi finals.This Herb Brook's underdog squad managed to clinch victory off a tie breaker and pulled off the unexpected 3-2.This event if famously recalled as the 'Miracle on Ice'.

Miracle On Ice- Documentary

Denver-the previous host for the 1976 Winter Olympics
Denver-the previous host for the 1976 Winter Olympics | Source

Denver, Colorado won the bid to host the 1976 Olympics in 1970, only to withdraw it in 1972.

Can Anyone Reject the Appealing Offer of Being the Winter Olympics Host ? Well..Someone did !

It's a famous myth that big cities tend to jump and clinch the chances of hosting such games, as they present the perfect opportunity to increase revenue, with the whole world watching the city live.Well, the incident I'm going to share rejects this myth.In 1970, the IOC announced the Colorado city, Denver to be the host for the 1976 games.As expected, skyrocketing figures were projected for this international event. This attracted local opposition to spending the taxpayer's money on a project whose overall revenue was in doubts.In 1972, Richard Lamm undertook a ballot initiative which denied a $5 million bond issue to finance the games, which forced the IOC to move the games to Innsbruck, Austria.
Lamm claimed that such events would popularize Colorado and it would gradually lose the rocky mountain environment.Later, he realised that his anti-olympic vote did nothing to preserve Colorado.
“The Colorado I was afraid was going to happen with the Olympics happened without the Olympics,” he told the Rocky Mountain News in 1999.

Putting all such events aside, Russia is looking forward to organizing a successful Winter Olympic Games this February. The world can't wait to see what Putin has in store for us.

Here is a brief trailer featuring the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

LeBron James
LeBron James | Source

Apart from the Winter Games, the NBA games in the United States have also attracted widespread attention.With the Heats leading and injured Kobe's team- the Los Angeles Lakers suffering their worst losing streak in the franchise history.Let's have a look at the top performers in the 2013-14 season and take a quick look at the potential MVP candidates through my hub-'Best Players of NBA 2013-14'.


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    • chinmayXdas profile imageAUTHOR

      Chinmay Das 

      4 years ago from Mumbai, India

      I completely agree with you teaches12345.

      Sports independent of politics has become a rare scene these days.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Just finished watchin the figure skating and was impressed with all the talent displayed. You have brought out some interesting facts and history for readers. I hate that politics plays such a big part in each olympic game.


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