This time next week the Olympics will be starting. There will be all the pomp and circumstance, the rivalries and the ever fascinating stories of how hard athletes trained to make it there. But this Olympics will also have some new things too. So let’s break down what’s special about the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics with some fun facts to share at your next Olympics viewing party.
- This year marks the first Winter Olympics held in Russia. In 1980, Russia held the Summer Olympics in Moscow.
- Greek legend has it that Sochi is the place where Odysseus encountered the Cyclops in his epic journey.
- There are 12 new events in the 2014 Winter Olympics, including Women’s Ski Jumping, the Luge Team Relay and the Men’s and Women’s Ski Half-Pipe.
- The Olympic torch made the longest journey ever this year, going to the North Pole and the bottom of Lake Baikal and even into outer space.
- Vuvuzelas, the noisy instruments made famous at the World Cup in South Africa, are banned from the Olympics.
- Seven nations are making their Winter Olympics debut at Sochi: Dominica, Malta, Paraguay, Timor Leste, Togo, Tonga and Zimbabwe.
- Tonga’s Olympic hopes lie in Fuahea Semi, a luger who changed his name to Bruno Banani, a German lingerie company, as a marketing ploy when he moved to Germany to train.
- Sochi has five mascots, each with intricate back stories. There is the polar bear who was raised by Arctic explorers, the hare who works at her family’s restaurant, the leopard who is a mountain climber and then there are Snowflake and Ray of Light, visitors from space.
- Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe is set to be the oldest competitor at Sochi. He is 55 years old and will be representing Mexico in Slalom.
- The Fisht Olympic Stadium was built to open on either end allowing for views of the Black Sea or the Caucasus Mountains.
So what do you think is the most interesting thing about these Olympic games? Do you have a country or athlete you are rooting for? Is there a sport you’re most excited to see?
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