Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics – Articles, Analysis, Comment

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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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…