Sochi 2014

Sochi 2014

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.

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Australia at these Games

The 2014 Australian Olympic Team was Australia’s largest Winter Olympic Team with 60 athletes. Thirty-one of the Australian competitors were women, making it also the first Australian Olympic Team- Summer or Winter- with more female than male athletes.

Back-to-back Snowboard Cross World Champion Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin proudly carried the Australian flag in the Opening Ceremony. He led a Team that was was represented in 10 of the 15 sports on the Sochi program, and win went on to win two silver medals and one bronze medal.

Torah Bright became Australia's most successful female Winter Olympian by adding a silver medal to her gold medal from 2010. Bright was the only athlete to attempt three Snowboard events at the one Olympics: Slopestyle, Halfpipe and Snowboard Cross. After finishing seventh in the Snowboard Slopestyle on Day 2 of the Games, Bright produced a blistering performance in the Halfpipe on Day 5 to earn the silver medal. In a nail-biting final, Bright finished on a score of 91.50 - just 0.25 points behind American Kaitlyn Farrington. Bright would go on to finish equal 18th in the Snowboard Cross, proving she was truly the most versatile and talented snowboarder at the Games.

Defending Olympic Aerial Skiing Champion Lydia Lassila was in Sochi to make history. The 32-year-old qualified for the four-woman super-final and chose a jump that no other woman in the history of the sport had attempted in competition – a quad twisting triple somersault. As Lassila soared into the air at her fourth Games, her chances of securing back-to-back gold medals, which no one had ever done, looked strong - but she was robbed of precious points with a precarious landing. The high degree of difficulty jump still scored her 72.12 points and the bronze medal. An emotional Lassila had no regrets and was proud to become the first woman to execute the challenging jump. Her superb efforts launched her sport to a whole new level. Lassila also became the first mother to win a Winter Olympic medal for Australia.

Lassila's Aerials teammate David Morris wrote his own piece of Olympic history in the men’s event. An inspired Morris was the first to jump in the men’s super-final, completing a double-Full Full-Full (quad twisting somersault) to score 110.41 points. Triple Olympian Anton Kushnir from Belarus went for the highest scoring jump possible – the Back Double Full-Full-Double Full (five twisting somersault) – to score an incredible 134.50 points and take the gold medal. Reigning World Champion Qi Guangpu of China and his teammate Jia Zongyang both failed to beat Morris’ score, meaning the exuberant young Australian would take silver at his second Olympics. Morris was honoured for his achievement by carrying the flag in the Closing Ceremony.

A total of 15 top-10 performances were recorded by Australians throughout the Sochi Games- a strong improvement from the nine that were achieved in Vancouver in 2010. In Moguls, Australia had three women and four men in the top-20, including teenager Britt Cox finishing fifth and Matt Graham finishing seventh. Still on Freestyle Skiing, Anna Segal and Russ Henshaw came agonisingly close to medals in a new event at the Sochi Games – Ski Slopestyle – finishing fourth and eighth respectively.

The Team featured a number of other history makers. Bobsleigh’s Jana Pittman became the first female Olympian to compete in both a Summer and Winter Olympics (Olympian Paul Narracott and Paralympian Jessica Gallagher also achieved this feat). Callum and Aimee Watson became the first siblings to compete at the same Games in Cross Country. Alex Almoukov pulled off the best ever performance by a male Australian biathlete when he finished 45th in the 20km Individual. Other historic bests were John Farrow who was 17th in the men’s Skeleton, Belle Brockhoff who was eighth in the women’s Snowboard Cross and Kent Callister who was ninth in the men’s Snowboard Halfpipe.

With a changing of the guard in many of the sports and some great young talent coming through the ranks, the future of Winter sport in Australia is strong heading into PyeongChang 2018.

Australian Olympians At The Games

Flag Bearers

Olympian Name Ceremony
Alex 'Chumpy' Pullin Opening
David Morris Closing

Australian Medallists At The Games

Olympian Name Sport Medals
Torah Bright Snowboard
1
Lydia Lassila (Ierodiaconou) Freestyle Skiing
1
David Morris Freestyle Skiing
1

History

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.

Games Trivia

Motto

"Hot.Cool.Yours." 

The motto was intended to reflect the national character of Russia and the values of the Sochi 2014 brand, as well as Sochi 2014’s progressive and innovative approach to the organisation and staging of the Games. 

The word "Hot." reflects the intensity of sporting battle and the passion of the spectators, and it emphasises the location of the Games, the southern resort city of Sochi.

The word "Cool." references the timing of the Games, the fact that it is a Winter Games, as well as alluding to traditional perceptions of Russia as a country with a cold climate in the rest of the world.

The last word "Yours." symbolises personal involvement and shows that while the Games is a large-scale national project, everybody can share in the victories at the Games and the sense of pride.

Emblem

The Sochi 2014 emblem was the first ever to use of an internet domain address creating a ‘digital’ Olympic emblem to promote open dialogue between nations and fans. The emblem was hailed as an iconic symbol of contemporary Russia and a key milestone in the preparation of the Games.

Mascots

The Polar Bear, the Hare and the Leopard were the official mascots of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

The competition to create the mascots ran in 2010. Over 24,000 entries were received and more than a million people followed the competition online. A panel of expert judges created a shortlist of 10 sets of mascots for the Olympics and a team of artists and animators made cartoon images of the suggestions. In February 2011 the mascots were presented to the nation and the winning mascot was announced on live TV after a national text message poll. The mascots were chosen to reflect a unique aspect of Russian culture, something that is close to the heart and instantly recognisable to millions of people around the world. Three mascots were chosen to represent the three places on the Olympic podium. For the first time in the history of the Olympic Movement, a whole nation took part in the selection of its Olympic mascot. 

What did they represent? The polar bear was brought up by Arctic explorers from a very early age. It was they who taught him skiing, speed skating and curling. But above all the polar bear enjoyed riding sports sleighs. He became a real bobsleigh pro. The Hare is the busiest creature in the winter forest - studying at the Forest Academy, helping her mum in the family restaurant and taking part in all manner of sporting events. The Leopard is a rescuer and mountain-climber who lives in the uppermost branches of a huge tree, on the highest peak of the snowy mountains in the Caucasus. He is an experienced snowboarder and has taught all his friends and neighbours to snowboard too.

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