The Olympics Begin, Sochi 2014

The Sochi 2014 Logo

On the 7th of February, 2014, the Winter Olympics began in Sochi, Russia. The opening ceremonies, just a few hours ago, marked the official start of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The games have been surrounded by controversy leading up to this point, but so far they’ve been doing great without without a hitch. Some of the first qualifying events began yesterday, and Canadian athletes have already qualified for events in a number of categories. A few Olympic hopefuls look to qualify for event finals later today.

Setting up Sochi for the Olympics proved to be a lot of trouble for Russia (the Olympic Torch went out 44 times). They had problems ranging from stray dogs wandering into hotels to unfinished construction and garbage in the streets. Many of the first journalists who arrived in Sochi reported problems with their hotels; faulty light bulbs to more serious problems, such as broken faucets with no water.

Despite the appearance of the small the town, the event venues are fully prepared. Although the conditions were icy on the ski hills leading up to the games (one Norwegian athlete broke his collarbone and had to withdraw from the games), the conditions were good for the first few official events. Spencer O’Brien, a 26 year old Canadian woman, competing in the Slope-style event said that Olympic Officials took the athletes concerns into consideration and changed the course to make it less steep and safer for athletes. O’Brien ranked 3rd in the qualification round, which means she will compete for a medal in the finals on February 9th. Three Canadian women have also qualified for the Moguls Finals. In Figure skating Qualifiers, the Canadian team came 2nd, only behind Russia. Four Canadian Men qualified for the next heats of Men’s Slope-style, including two who received direct passage to the Finals. Many people believe this will be Canada’s strongest Olympic showing of all time.

There has also been some worry about the turmoil in nearby Ukraine and how it could affect the games. According to Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, “Security is a major concern“. Vladimir Putin’s Presidency has been controversial, as he has cracked down on many gay rights in Russia, despite claims that he was not specifically “going after” gay people. Many people have chosen to boycott the Olympics, (called by some “The Putin Games”) especially after the mayor of Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov. When asked if he had any gay people in his town, responded “We do not have them in our town“.

The Olympics began at 8AM, February 7th, Pacific Standard Time, and will continue until 8AM, February 23rd, Pacific Standard Time.