Winter Olympics Theme
|Host city||Sochi, Russia|
|Motto||"Hot. Cool. Yours."|
|Events||98 in 15 sports|
|Opening ceremony||February 7|
|Closing ceremony||February 23|
The Winter Olympic Games are a winter multi-sport event held every four years. They feature winter sports held on snow or ice, such as Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, bobsledding and ice hockey. Cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and speed skating have been competed at every Winter Olympics since 1924. Other athletic events have been added as the Games have progressed. Some of these events, such as luge, short track speed skating, and freestyle skiing have earned a permanent spot on the Olympic programme. Others, like speed skiing, bandy, and skijöring have been demonstration sports but never incorporated officially as an Olympic sport.
Fewer countries participate in the Winter Olympics than the Summer Olympics. The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France in 1924. Prior to this, figure skating and ice hockey had been events at the Summer Olympics. The Games were held every four years from 1924 until 1940 when they were interrupted by World War II. The Winter and Summer Games resumed in 1948 and were celebrated on the same year until 1992. At that time the Winter Games split from the Summer Games, and were begun to be celebrated on alternating even years. The first Winter Olympic Games to be held on this new schedule was in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.
The Winter Games have undergone significant changes since their inception. The rise of television as a global medium for communication has greatly enhanced the profile of the Games. It has also created an income stream, in the form of the sale of broadcast rights, and advertising, which has become very lucrative. This has also allowed outside interests, such as television companies and corporate sponsors, to influence the various aspects of the Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has had to address several internal scandals including the use of performance enhancing drugs by Winter Olympic athletes. The Winter Games have also been used by countries to demonstrate the superiority of their political systems.
Many countries have hosted the Winter Olympics. France has been host to the Games three times. The United States has hosted the Games four times, which is more than any other country. Several countries including Italy, Japan, Austria and Norway have hosted the Games twice.
This year, the host city is Sochi, Russia—the first time Russia has hosted the Winter Olympics. The next Winter Olympic Games in 2018 will be hosted by Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018. It will be the first Winter Olympic Games and second Olympic Games in South Korea; the 1988 Summer Olympics were held in Seoul.