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Sochi 2014

Analysis and Comment (40)

A taste of things to come: protests against the Sochi games. EPA/Andy Rain

IOC failing on human rights as democracies drop Olympic bids

Oslo has pulled out of the bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, leaving only two cities in the running: the Chinese capital, Beijing, and Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan. This virtually guarantees…
Australian skier Jessica Gallagher and guide Christian Geiger won bronze in the Women’s Visually Impaired Giant Slalom in Sochi. AAP/Sport the Library, Jeff Crow

Aussie Winter Paralympians in Sochi: a world away from 1976

Over the weekend, Australian Winter Paralympians broke their medal drought at Sochi to end the Games with two skiing bronze medals – one won by Toby Kane in Super Combined and the other by Jessica Gallagher…
Austria’s Roman Rabl makes light work of the Sochi slopes. EPA/Vassil Donev

The incredible tech behind Paralympian daredevil stunts

Watching the Paralympics makes us forget about the term “disability” and the idea that sport with a disability is about limitations. The athletes on the slopes and rinks at Sochi are showing us that theirs…
It’s natural for athletes to experience some anxiety in the lead up to an event, but sports psychology can prevent it affecting their performance. porschelinn/Flickr

Chill out, cool down … athlete anxiety at the Winter Games

Whether an athlete is competing at the Olympics or Paralympics, anxiety management is one of the most common psychological issues experienced. Anxiety is an unpleasant emotion with distinctive features…
Vladimir Putin, Dimitry Medvedev and sports minister Vitaly Mutko oozing cool in Sochi. EPA/Mikhail Klimentiev/Ria Novosti

Russian confidence dealt a blow by Sochi Paralympics boycotts

The founding fathers of the Paralympics must be turning in their graves. The Sochi Paralympics is the latest in a long list of sporting events to be marred by politics. The 1980 Olympics in the then USSR…
Veteran skier Cameron Rahles-Rahbula – also the Australian flag bearer for the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic Games opening ceremony – will compete in his fourth Paralympics. AAP Image/Sport the Library, Jeff Crow

Games on: preparing body and mind for the Winter Paralympics

The Winter Olympic Games has finished up in Sochi, but our Paralympic athletes are preparing themselves to compete in two of the six disciplines scheduled at the Winter Paralympic Games. So who are they…
A nod to the failed opening of the fifth ring in the opening ceremony featured in the closing ceremony … but the underlying cultural aspects are fascinating. ifindkarma/Flickr (cropped)

Sochi’s closing ceremony: the art, the circus and the spectacle

Tasked with winding down the over-exuberance of the build-up, Olympics closing ceremonies always have an anti-climactic tone. Terrorists from the Caucasus failed to disrupt the Sochi event, and the most…
Sochi’s bear mascot sheds a tear as the most expensive Winter Olympic Games come to a close. marcus_and_sue/Flickr (cropped)

The curtain drops on Sochi – and Fisht stadium is protest-free

The Closing Ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Olympics went off without a hitch last night. Again the theatrical extravaganza was mesmerising and some of the dazzle matched the earlier ceremony, but the finale…
In April 2011, men’s and women’s ski halfpipe events were approved to be included in the Sochi Winter Games. couloir/Flickr

Everyone’s a winner with new events at the Winter Games

As the Sochi Winter Games have now come to a close, it is possible to reflect on the unprecedented addition of 12 new winter sports events to the program. These new events – all of which have been added…
Don’t make a fuss: the Ukrainian women’s ski relay team celebrate their win at Sochi. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

IOC rules at Sochi go too far with ban on black armbands

During the Sochi Games, much has been written about “ambush marketing”, and its applications at, and around, the Olympics. At Sochi2014, there have already been many examples of non-sponsors exploiting…
The lesser known ‘faces’ of Pussy Riot. Igor Mukhin at ru.wikipedia

Pussy Riot arrest at Sochi reinforces their cult status

It wasn’t long between spells in jail for two members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were briefly arrested at the Sochi Olympics, having only been released…
How many times can lead shot kill? Lamiot

Olympic Committee must ban lead shot in shooting events

Despite the environment being, according to the Olympic Charter, the “third dimension of Olympism”, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to act on the enormous tonnage of lead shot scattered…
Jazzy trousers. Wong Maye-E/AP

Fashion at Sochi: who wears it best?

So, your country is one of 88 participating in the Winter Olympics in Sochi 2014. How do you get noticed? The winter games may not get as much coverage as the those in the summer, so fashion is used as…
How do they do it? David Davies/PA Archive

Lutz or flutz? The tricky physics of figure skating

Figure skating is always the highlight of the Winter Olympics. With the introduction of a team competition this year, there are five figure skating events. And we’ve already seen much drama with records…
Sochi as a media spectacle has epitomised Vladimir Putin’s aspirations for his Russia. EPA/Yuri Kochetkov

Sochi on screen: how Russia is being sold to Russians

All modern Olympics employ directors who stage-manage the huge spectacle of the Games – and Sochi 2014 is no different. So what does this stage management tell us, internationally, and what is it intended…
Jana Pittman, an accomplished summer Olympian, will compete in the bobsleigh event this week in Sochi. AAP/Dean Lewins

Switching sports: Jana Pittman’s psychological hurdles

Jana Pittman has always been fast on the athletics track, but now she has the opportunity to display not only her speed, but her strength and versatility, when she becomes “the muscle at the back” of a…
Jana Pittman will be Australia’s first female athlete to compete in both Summer and Winter Olympics. Dave Hunt/AAP

Jana Pittman’s leap from the track to the bobsleigh

Reaching the Olympic Games is undoubtedly the highlight of any athletic career, but this year will be the first time a female Australian athlete has participated in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games…
Illegal dumping in the Mzymta River from Sochi’s building frenzy. sochiwatch

Sochi Olympics have left a trail of environmental destruction

The reports from Sochi’s newly built hotels and Olympic Village have not painted their construction in the best light, with tales of doors that wouldn’t open, yellow drinking water, and collapsing fixtures…
Russian biathlete Olga Medvedtseva was the only athlete to test positive to a banned substance in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. EPA/Gero Breloer

Higher, faster … cleaner? Doping and the Winter Olympics

A quick look at Wikipedia shows that Winter Olympians test positive for doping at a far lower rate than their Summer Olympic counterparts. The past two Summer Olympics (London and Beijing) saw 34 drug…
That’ll be 42 broken bones and still skiiing. Mike Egerton/PA

The fear factor: coping with anxiety at altitude

The nature of competitive sport involves athletes putting themselves in high-pressure situations in which they are being constantly appraised, and Sochi is no different. So it is unsurprising that the…
Krasnaya Polanya, the site of the Sochi 2014 games, has long been a haunt of Russian artists and intellectuals. EPA/Michael Kappeler

Writing the Caucasus: Sochi and Russia’s literary retreats

Sochi – currently hosting the Winter Olympics – looks like the beach resort it is, situated on the blue waters of the east coast of the Black Sea, and enjoying a sub-tropical climate. There is what looks…
Torah Bright, seen here competing in the 2013 Snowboarding and Free Style World Cup Test Event, won silver at the Winter Olympics – Australia’s first medal at these Games. AAP/Chris James

Advance Australia: five steps to Winter Games success

You may have seen overnight snowboarder Torah Bright picked up silver in the women’s halfpipe at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. It was Australia’s first medal at these Games and brings our all-time Winter…
Australian skier Katya Cremer (right) flies through the air in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. AAP/Julian Smith

Where athletes look can spell Olympic success or failure

Some of the most exciting moments in the Sochi Winter Olympics will be in racing events such as ski and snowboard cross and short track speed skating. While it may seem obvious that vision plays a big…
Torah Bright is one of many Australian women competing in the Winter Olympics and challenging perceptions about women in sport. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Australian women show the way to equality at the Winter Olympics

The London 2012 Summer Olympic Games were declared the “women’s games” – with female participation in all sports and every nation represented by at least one female athlete. Although the Sochi 2014 Winter…
The calm before the storm: millions of people will descend upon the city of Sochi and its surrounding areas. What’s in place to mitigate their impact? EPA/Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

Sochi 2014 – a ‘rich green legacy’ to remember … or forget?

Since the late 1990s, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been committed to sustainable development. Since the Agenda for the Olympic Movement in the 21st Century (Agenda 21) was adopted in 1999…
The pomp and glamour of the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony didn’t quite project an accurate version of Russian history. Flickr/Kristy Yang Photography

Looking through the spectacle, Olympic opening ceremonies can rewrite history

The role of an Olympic opening ceremony is twofold – it is a place to show off to the world and it is a place to converse with your own citizens. So what did the grand opening ceremony to the Sochi Winter…
A German protester wears a mask of Vladimir Putin – one of thousands protesting Russia’s stance on gay rights ahead of the Sochi Winter Games. EPA/Axel Heimken

Are politics fair game at the Olympics? Google thinks so

This week, the largest, coolest and most promising Australian Winter Olympics team to ever leave these shores landed in Sochi. But there’s more than gold on their minds – they want their presence to mean…
Snowboard halfpipe 2010 gold medalist Torah Bright (centre) won one of a total of nine medals for Australia in our history of the Winter Games. EPA/Valdrin Xhemaj

Better late than never: Australia’s Winter Olympic medallists

It’s no secret that Australia fares much better in Summer Games than the Winter Games: Aussie athletes have won 485 medals in Summer Olympics, while the winter counterpart has yielded a much more modest…
BFFs: IOC President Thomas Bach and Vladimir Putin. David Goldman/AP

Russia and the IOC are the perfect match

Nationalism is the main event at any Olympic Games, and the Olympic industry relies on the goosebumps effects of the sporting spectacle to divert public attention from its less attractive underbelly, in…
Australian rugby star David Pocock is among the international sportspeople supporting the Principle 6 campaign – citing the Olympic Charter – against Russia’s anti-gay laws. Twitter/@pocockdavid

Sport, Sochi and the rising challenge of the activist athlete

What happens off the field stays off the track and the dais but plays OK at the press conference – that is the rather convoluted message from International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach…
This old thing? Just found it lying around in the shed. Andrew Milligan/PA

Why would British athletes choose winter sports?

The British terrain and climate are not really designed for winter sports – there are few mountains suitable for skiing and our winters simply aren’t cold enough. Yet Team GB will be taking a 56-strong…
Matt Graham and Brodie Summers – second from right and far right – are two of 30 Aussie Olympians with tertiary links this year. EPA/Sergei Ilnitsky

Cool to be a nerd: why the highly educated Australian Sochi team?

The Australian team currently gathered in Sochi, Russia for the Winter Games is probably the most highly educated team of Australian athletes ever assembled for an Olympic games. Of the 60 athletes selected…
If this can be a winter wonderland, freedom of speech can exist in Russia. Ganoshenko Roman

Press freedom at Sochi is more than a distant Olympic dream

Yes, there they were: palm trees in the place where a country known for its cruelly cold winters was planning to hold the Winter Olympics. What a treat it was to feel the mild air of the Black Sea coast…
This ‘skating palace’ was a snip at $98m. Atos International

Olympic-style mega-events reach new frontiers, at a cost

There is a tendency – almost a law of nature – that governs the way the costs of large-scale international events such as the football World Cup and Olympic Games far outstrip the initial forecasts of…
Recent revelations about the surveillance surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are distinctly Orwellian. David Blackwell.

The Sochi Winter Olympics and the spectacle of surveillance

If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Russia for the Winter Olympic Games in February next year, prepare to have every aspect of your communications monitored under “the most invasive and systematic…
Who was in charge of selling tickets again? Bescker

Sochi scandals threaten a Russian sporting renaissance

With the 2014 Winter Olympic Games fewer than six months away, the last thing Russia needs is another scandal. But that is exactly what the organisers have got. The latest controversy involves migrants…

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