Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics

Analysis and Comment

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…
With the world’s eyes on Russia, anti-gay sentiment hasn’t alleviated. Flickr/jantangerine

A gay old time? Social media lessons from Russia

As the Winter Olympics in Sochi draw to a close, a brief survey of trending topics across social media and international press reveal some entertaining and frightening contradictions on the slippery slopes…
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…
Comedic duo Roy and HG simultaneously celebrate and critique the place of sport in Australian culture. Network Ten

Too much sport is barely enough: what makes Roy and HG funny?

The Sochi Winter Olympics has seen the return to Australian television screens of sport parodists extraordinaire “Rampaging” Roy Slaven and HG Nelson. Roy and HG’s Russian Revolution presents the familiar…
Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada had to undergo an unannounced doping test hours before performing. Ivan Sekretarev/AP

A drug-free Olympics could be Sochi’s antidote to a bad image

Since anti-doping tests were introduced at the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics there have only been 20 positive drug tests in Winter Olympic competition. Compared to the Summer Olympics, which has more athletes…
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 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…
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…
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…
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…
Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards 1988. PA Archive

Winter Olympic oddities are the real heroes at Sochi

When we think of heroes of the summer Olympics, we tend to remember the great achievements: those who broke records and won clutches of medals, people like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps. But at the winter…

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