Yay! Russia will host thier first Winter Olympics (and Paralympics) in 2014 in beautiful Sochi, located in Krasnodar Krai and nestled next to the Black Sea. This resort town olympic site will be divided into two major areas: the coastal cluster and the mountain cluster; each one having about 6 different arenas. The coastal Olympic village will have Ice hockey, curling, figure skating and speed skating. The mountain will have the biathlon, ski races, alpine skiing, ski jumping, luge, bobsleigh, freestyle skiing, and snowboarding.

The mascot, actually the mascots (plural) for the 2014 games, came into being from a country-wide contest and over 24,000 submitted sketches. (Check out the mascots!) The hare, the polar bear, and the leopard are all indigenous to Southern Russia in the Caucasus Mountains near Sochi. A further note, these three mascots mirror the 3 places on the Olympic podium. The Ray of Light and Snowflake (“Luchik” and “Snezhinka”) were chosen for the Paralympics. These two come from two different planets… one very hot, one very cold.

The games begin on February 7th and go until the 23rd. The Paralympics games are March 7th – 16th.

The torch relay begins on October 7th, 2013 in Moscow, and will travel through 83 Russian cities.

Sochi 2014 Fun Facts:

  • Third time’s a charm! Russia previously had bids to host in 1994 and 1998.
  • Sochi will be the first city with a subtropical climate to host Winter Olympic Games. (Thus the warmest city ever to host in Winter).
  • The Caucasus mountains are over 6,600 ft in elevation.
  • About 2 million people visit Sochi each summer.
  • Para-snowboarding will make its debut in Sochi.
  • "Federation Island" will be built in the sea and will be shaped like the Russian Federation. It will hold hotels and offices.
  • Russia has already started stockpiling snow in a building at the Rosa Khutor ski resort.
  • An estimated 25,000 volunteers are expected to help out next year.
  • The 2014 Winter Olympics could cause the 86th Annual Academy Awards to take place in March, instead of its current favorite month of February.

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