The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have finally arrived after months of hype and preparation in Sochi, Russia. These are the 22nd Winter Olympic games since the games started in 1924. Competition officially starts today, February 6, with alpine skiing and snowboarding events. The Opening Ceremony will be held on Friday; the first time in 30 years that events are starting before the Opening Ceremony.
To celebrate the winter tradition that comes once every four years, here are some interesting facts about the Sochi Winter Olympics:
- There are 2,871 athletes competing from 87 National Olympic Committees.
- This is the first year that Dominica, Zimbabwe, Malta, Paraguay, Togo, Tonga, and East Timor are competing in the Winter Olympics.
- There will be 98 gold medals presented throughout 16 days of competition.
- There are 15 sports featured at the Winter Olympics, including: alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsleigh, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, short track speed skating, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding, and speed skating.
- There are 12 new events debuting at the Sochi Winter Olympics, including: ski halfpipe (men and women), ski slopestyle (men and women), snowboard slopestyle (men and women), snowboard parallel slalom, women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event, and luge team relay.
- After a 12-year absence, Jamaica will return to the two-man bobsledding event.
- This was the first torch relay to occur partially in space. Two cosmonauts took it for a space walk on the International Space Station.
- The United States won 37 medals in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics (9 Gold, 15 Silver, and 13 Bronze).
- Norway has won the most medals since the Winter Olympics started; 303 to be exact.
- The United States is the only country to earn a Gold Medal at each of the winter games.
Go Team USA!