Sochi Winter Olympics on the horizon

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

figure skating
Figure skating’s the oldest sport in the Olympic Winter Games, first contested at the 1908 London Games before the first ever Winter Games in 1924.

The 2014 Winter Olympics will be taking place in Sochi, Russia from February 7-23, in the resort town of Krasnaya Polyana. There will be 98 events in 15 winter sport categories, some of which will take place in Olympic Park in the Imeretinsky Valley on the coast of the Black Sea.

Russia has spared no expense in preparing for the 22nd Olympic Winter Games, spending a hefty $51 billion in what is now the most expensive Olympics in history. Previously, China’s 2008 Summer Olympics held the record at $44 billion.

Athletes will compete in events like cross-country skiing, alpine (downhill) skiing, ski jumping, figure skating, speed skating, and ice hockey.

High-speed sledding events include “bobsleigh” races through iced tracks on a gravity-powered sled, “luge” races face up and feet-first down a mega slide on small sleds, and “skeleton” runs face down and heads-first on little sleds.

As countries prepare their best Olympians to compete on the global stage for national pride, many have expressed concern over Sochi’s security levels. The threat of terrorist attacks are always an issue at the Olympics, but this year seems particularly intense. US officials are super focused on ensuring the safety of American athletes and visitors, even sending two warships into the Black Sea in case helicopters need to be launched. Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, assures everyone that strong measures are being taken to guarantee safety.

Images courtesy of Sochi 2014 Winter Games Facebook.