Carlos Font, Staff Writer
The 2014 Winter Olympics, officially named the XXII Olympic Winter Games, are taking place in Sochi, Russia from February 6th to the 23rd of that month. Ninety-eight events will be held from fifteen different sports.
Sochi, Russia was selected host to the games on July 4, 2007, defeating bids from Salzburg, Australia and Pyeongchang, South Korea. These games mark the first Olympics hosted in the Russian Federation since the breakup of the USSR. The USSR hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Fifteen winter sports will make up the winter Olympics for a total of 98 events in an eighteen day span. Some of the sports include hockey, bobsledding, curling, snowboarding and three different disciplines of skating.
The Sochi Olympics are being overshadowed by controversies. One such controversy is the Circassian Nationalists demand that the games be cancelled or moved somewhere else unless Russia apologizes for the 19th century deaths, which Circassia refer to as an act of genocide. President Barack Obama, alongside the Canadian Prime Minister and other national leaders, will not attend the Olympics as a symbolic boycott over Russia’s treatment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender individuals.
The biggest controversy relating to the games, according to the Associate Press, is an Islamic militant group in Russia’s North Caucasus region. This group claimed responsibility for the January 19 twin bombing in the southern city of Volgograd. In addition, the group posted a video threatening to strike the 2014 Winter Olympics. In the video, two Russian-speaking men warned President Vladimir Putin that “If you hold these Olympics, we will give you a present for the innocent Muslim blood being spilled all around the world: in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Syria.” They also added, “For the tourists who come, there will be a present too.” There has been no sign from the Olympic committee to cancel the games. The United States government has issued a travel alert for all Americans making the trip to be safe.
Not all is heart-breaking news, as the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team has qualified for the games for the first time since 2002. The two-man team call themselves “Cool Running, the second generation.” Just like the famous 1988 team, the Jamaican team is struggling to finance their trip to get to the games, but, according to a source close to the team, “That won’t stop the team and Jamaican Federation from walking out and waving the Jamaican flag during the inaugural ceremonies.”