Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 for Poll Lovers
Its That Time Again...Let the Games Begin!!
Whether or not you are a die-hard sports fan, you will likely find yourself looking forward to the Sochi Olympic Winter Games (if you want to be specific it is the XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics) to be held in Sochi, Russia. It's just a great time to strut your national pride, no matter what country you hale from. February 7-23, 2014 is the time to tune in at home or book your ticket to this Black Sea coastal berg nestled in Southwestern Russia near the Caucasus mountains.
Lets forget, for a moment, the fact that security is a huge issue this year (as it is every Olympics). I will also not dwell on the fact (til later in this lens...) that this is the most expensive games to date. It has only cost triple what the budget was set to allow...kinda puts me in mind of certain out of control U.S. government spending. Shhh...I won't mention that either. Yup, all that fancy Sochi Olympic grand opening, venue consruction, and snowmaking technology apparently does not come cheap.
All that aside, I have a special place in my heart for the Winter Games. Having never been on location at any of the games, I nonetheless was a big fan as a youngster. Unfortunately, I didn't have control of the TV remote...oh wait, that was before such life-changing technology was available. Anyway, my Mom and older sister seemed to dominate the viewing choices to be had on the one television we huddled around. Even though I recall watching 90% ice skating, it was always a joyous and memorable time that instilled in me a love of country and good old fashioned competition.
So sit back and enjoy some fun and easy Olympic polls from Sochi and yesteryear with me.
Must Have Sochi Olympic Fan Gear
Who knew you could get a Team USA cowbell...I didn't until I took off with this lens. Grab yourself one here and a stocking hat to go with it!!
Has any American city hosted the Olympics more than once?
Going back a little
What year was the first Winter Olympic Games played?
Did you know Sochi is a seaside resort city?
Now for some little-known Sochi facts
Sochi is nestled on the Black Sea coast close to the border between Georgia/Abkhazia and Russia. The lower slopes of the Western Caucasus mountains sit by the sea and Sochi is situated on them. It is a city of about 430,000 residents in Krasnodar Krai, Russia. The city sprawls out for about 90 miles and is Russia's largest resort city. Because of the city's mild winters and relatively hot summers, it stands as one of Russia's few subtropical climates. Indeed many locals call it the "Russian Riviera."
Joseph Stalin is credited with making Sochi the fashionable resort area that it is today. It was such a favorite vacation spot for him that he had a dacha built there. Visitors to the city can view a wax statue.
Photo Courtesy of sidnegailof Stalin as well as take a tour of his study.
Largely because of Sochi's warm climate, it has become known for its nice sporting facilities. The likes of tennis greats Maria Sharapova and Yevgeny Kafelnikov trained at the local tennis school. Russia's national football teams are planning to utilize a year-round training center here as well.
Sochi can claim bragging rights to several large events besides the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is slated to be held here and the Russian Formula One Grand Prix will race here from 2014 to 2020 or beyond.
Russian guide gives Sochi history lesson
This young guide may be hard for some to understand, but it is interesting to hear his point of view.
Updated Sochi Olympics Action
Check out the latest Olympic action and results in video form right here. If you prefer the written word you can check out my Google updates in this lens as well.
Sochi and the 2014 Olympics
Photo Courtesy of Sochi 2014 Winter GamesAs early as July 4, 2007 the International Olympic Committee declared that Sochi had been chosen to host the 2014 Olympic games. Pyeongchang, South Korea and Salzburg, Austria were the unfortunate runners-up.
Many have asked the question, "Why Sochi?" The answer is not as complicated as one might think. Vladimir Putin's big push to hold the Games in Sochi is based on reasons that are familiar to many countries trying to recover from a checkered past.
China's hosting of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics is one example. China had high hopes of casting themselves in a better light since much had been made of their genocidal atrocities/persecutions. With the same questionable type of Communist regime still in power it is doubtful their status has been much elevated in the eyes of the modern world.
Going further back in history, one could cite West Germany's efforts to rebuild their post-WW2 reputation by agreeing to host the Munich games in 1972. They likely failed in this attempt because of the massacre of 11 Jewish athletes during the Games. A group called Black September carried out the massacre, but was apparently given assistance by several German neo-Nazis.
Putin, himself, illustrates his desire to overcome the stigma from events of the recent past: "There is also a certain moral aspect here and there is no need to be ashamed of it," he said. "After the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the dark and, let us be honest, bloody events in the Caucasus, the society had a negative and pessimistic attitude." Our hosting of the Olympics will, "strengthen the morale of the nation." - See more at: http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com.
For those who are unfamiliar with the "bloody events in the Caucasus," allow me to give a little more history. The North Caucasus republic has seen much blood spilled since 1994. Chechen groups claim responsibility for numerous acts of terrorism against Russian residents. President Putin has gone so far as to call many of these attacks a "declaration of war" on Russia by international terrorists.
One notable, despicable act of terror involved 30 terrorists led by Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev laying siege to an elementary school in North Ossetia. On the first day of the school year (Sept.1, 2004) over 1100 individuals were held hostage at gunpoint for about 3 days. During the ordeal the hostages were denied access to water,food, or medical care. Among the 334 total casualties from this event were 186 children. These atrocities, and many others, have caused many factions to express outrage that the Olympics are being held on such a bloody battlefield. It is Putin's strong desire to further economic development and tourism in this area. He does this in hopes of finally bringing prosperity and peace to an embattled, poverty-stricken region
Venues for international competition were unheard of before 2008 in Sochi, so Russia busied itself with funding and constructing facilities for world-class competition. Because this is Russia's first time hosting the Winter Olympics, the additional pressure was undoubtedly there to make this a spectacular event. The cost of construction quickly ballooned to over $50 billion, thereby making this the most expensive Olympics ever. The funding came from the government as well as private investors. It should be noted that a huge chunk of this money was spent on infrastructure to bring Sochi up to Olympic standards. There are many stories of the negative aspects of spending so much money on Sochi, when many of the residents of Russia continue to live in dismal poverty. The Vladimir Putin run government, however, is trying to bring many national and international events to the area to help justify and recoup much of the cost. Let's hope Sochi and the surrounding area do see a lasting economic and morale boost after the Games are long gone.
That's Greek to me
The Olympic motto is "Citius, Altius, Fortius." What the heck does it mean in English?
Another easy poll
Yes, one US city has hosted the games twice...but which one?
Know your athletes
Which athlete has won the most medals ever?
Put the pedal to the medal and pollllll
So what is the highest number of medals won by a single athlete, anyway?
Awesome on ice
Which male is the most decorated American Winter Olympian
One for the ladies
Who is the most decorated female American Winter Olympian?
The great indoors
How many indoor sports are part of the Winter Games?
Curling, what the heck is that?
What are the indoor winter sports that are a part of the games?
You're never too old for greatness
Who was the oldest Winter Olympic medalist?
Coming in at fourth place
What do fourth place finishers at the Olympics receive?
Here's to you, world traveler
Have you ever been to Sochi?
Sochi...is that like sushi?
Did you know Sochi is located in Russia?
Fun flicks to get you in the Olympic spirit - Who doesn't love an epic Olympic tale?
These zany and inspiring movies are sure to get your Olympic spirits soaring. Grab some popcorn and pop in one of these classic tales of human will and national pride.
My personal favorite is the hilarious and inspiring, "Cool Runnings" with the lovable John Candy. Jamaica has a bobsled team...no way! Yes, indeed they did...and the laughs are just beginning for these zany, bermuda short-wearing athletes. If you don't watch any of my other picks...you just gotta see this one.
Sanka, are you dead mon?
Are you tired of these polls?
Can you believe Sochi is the second longest city in the world?
How long is the city of Sochi?
Of linguistics, food, and big cities
Well then, what is the first longest city?
We are many
What is the approximate population of Sochi?
What is the warmest city to host an Olympic Winter Game?
What's in a number?
How many times has Russia hosted the games,now?
What city hosted the last Soviet Olympics?
There's gotta be a first time
Is this the first time the US has competed on Russian soil?
Do you enjoy watching skiing or ice skating the most?
Winter Olympic greats that I remember...
Photo Courtesy of International Olympic CommitteeAs I sit with my kids around the television watching Shaun White (USA's premier snowboarding golden boy) try to get his mental game on...but sadly failing, I can't help but remember him in his heyday. It is disheartening to watch him struggle during these Olympics and ultimately go down in flames. This is partly due to a young Swedish/Russian upstart (actually only 2 years younger than the 27 yr. old White) nicknamed I-Pod who invented a flashy, and difficult stunt called a "Yolo". Even though White has seemed to claim this difficult move as his own, he is unable to use it to medal this time around.
It must be noted that the warm temperatures in Sochi are wreaking havoc on many of the halfpipe competitor performances. There has been a monumental effort to harden up the surface of the pipe by using salt to flash freeze the ice along with copious amounts of water. This has proven fruitless as the boarders will attest as they land on their backsides in the slushy bottom of the pipe. Now that I am sadly wistful, I will move on to other Olympic greats for a pick me up. Read on for more.
Tara Lipinski went down in the history books as the youngest Olympic gold winner ever during the Nagano, Japan 1998 winter games. She is notable in my memory because she was only 15, but still had the composure and heart of a champion. Ice skating was her game and she beat the odds and skated her way to the top.
Speed skater Apolo Ohno shot to the top of the charts in 2010 by capturing the most US medals as he lit the ice on fire with speed and agility.
Picabo Street stands out in my mind mostly because she has a funny name and also the fact that I love to ski. Seriously, she worked hard to make her way to the Olympics 3 times. In the Nagano games she took gold by a fraction of a second in the Super G.
Bonnie Blair is a notable female speed skater who took home gold 5 times between 1988 and 1994.
These are just a few remarkable athletes from years gone by...tell me about your favorites in the comments below.