The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games were the first Winter Olympics for host nation Russia, having also held the Summer Games in Moscow in 1980, then as the Soviet Union.
Russia ruled the Games. The host nation dominated competition to top the medal tally with 13 golds and a total of 33 medals, ahead of Norway and Canada. Their 13 gold medals equalled their previous record, set (as the Soviet Union) in 1976.
The lead up to the Games was marred by several major controversies. Legislation was passed affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Russia, causing global outcry against this discrimination and caused concerns for the safety and rights of LGBT athletes and spectators during the Games. In addition, terrorist attacks and threats by groups tied to the insurgency in the North Caucasus, caused major security concerns. Additionally, much was made of the cost of the Games. Over $US 50 billion, was said to have been spent, making them the most expensive Olympics in history. The larger-scale Summer Olympics in London cost less than $15 billion and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing cost around $US 40 billion.
Despite these issues, the Games took place without incident, getting underway off the back of an impressive Torch Relay that lasted 123 days and measured over 64,000 kilometres - not including its trip into space! A total of 14,000 Torchbearers took part and the Olympic Flame journeyed to the Caucasus' tallest peak — Mount Elbrus, the bottom of Lake Baikal, and visited the North Pole and the International Space Station.
After a sensational Opening Ceremony full of Russian culture and heritage, there were 16 days of sport, with 88 nations in action. There were 98 events on the program (compared to 86 in Vancouver). The new events were: Ski Halfpipe (men and women), Ski Slopestyle (men and women), Snowboard Slopestyle (men and women), Ski Jumping (women), Figure Skating Team, Luge Team Relay and Biathlon Mixed Relay. The incorporation of mixed-gender, X-Games and youth-oriented events really made an impact in Sochi with athletes and spectators alike.
Sochi was the warmest Winter Olympics ever held. The city is a popular resort city located on the coast of the Black Sea in southern Russia with a population of 350,000. The Games were based in two separate areas - the coastal cluster in downtown Sochi featuring Sochi Olympic Park; and the mountain cluster. The two areas were approximately 40km apart, connected by two high speed roads and rail - making Sochi the most compact Winter Olympics ever. There was a coastal, mountain and endurance Athletes’ Village meaning they were situated close to competition and training venues.
In the mountain cluster was the Laura Cross Country and Biathlon Centre, the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre, Extreme Park Snowboard Park and Freestyle Centre, the RusSki Gorki Ski Jumping Centre and the Sanki Sliding Centre.
Back down in Sochi Olympic Park, all venues were within in 10 minutes walk of each other. This included all five ice venues: Shayba” Arena and Bolshoy Ice Dome (Ice Hockey), Ice Cube Curling Centre, Adler Arena (Speed Skating) and Iceberg Skating Palace (Short Track and Figure Skating). The Fisht Olympic Stadium (Opening Ceremony), the Olympic Cauldron and Main Media Centre were also located here.