The Sochi Olympics have finally finished and the athletes are on their way home after a few grueling weeks of world-class competition. Russia’s athletes, boosted by a home-turf advantage, ended up winning the most gold medals out of all the participants, followed by Norway, Canada, and the United States in fourth place. While the United States didn’t win many of the traditional winter events, Team USA earned 9 of their 28 medals in the new events debuted at this year’s Olympics.
Even though Sochi started off rough with unfinished construction, stray dogs, and security concerns, the logistics of the games were not significantly affected. Even the warmer than usual winter weather was just a minor obstacle. Surprisingly, the Sochi Olympic authorities even made light of the difficulties during their closing ceremony by reenacting the opening ceremony’s malfunctioning Snowflake ring. The IOC has also declared their anti-doping policies to be a major success, with only 6 positive tests received, none of them medal winners.
While nothing catastrophic occurred during the Olympics, it was not without its fair share of controversy. Russia’s anti-gay laws yielded arrests for some of the politically-minded attendees, and Pussy Riot, the Russian activist-punk band were whipped in the streets while recording their new music video, “Putin will teach you how to love the Motherland.”
Regional politics weren’t the only controversial events—NBC managed to make headlines with their ‘grey market’ Starbucks lounge and an extremely uncomfortable interview with Bode Miller. NBC even hit a record low-audience for the broadcast of the Olympic closing ceremonies, a number which didn’t come to a complete surprise as only 58% of 1World members expressed interest in viewing the coverage.
What’s next for Sochi?
Even though the world’s eyes have left Sochi following the completion of the Olympic Games, Sochi’s residents won’t be relaxing anytime soon. With the Sochi Paralympic Games set to start on March 7, there is still a lot of work to be done. The town needs to be cleaned up and construction needs to be sped up to accommodate the disabled athletes. As it stands, Sochi isn’t the friendliest environment for the disabled; one Paralympic athlete even had to strap his chair to his body with a belt and crawl up a flight of stairs when his wheelchair lift was broken.
Looking ahead: Pyeongchang 2018
After years of unsuccessful bids to host the Winter Olympics, South Korea has officially been awarded the honor of hosting the 2018 games in Pyeongchang. Pyeongchang is an interesting choice for the next host city, especially with the IOC’s recent experience during Sochi. Pyeongchang lies about 50 miles from the border of North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong-un was recently accused of crimes against humanity by the United Nations. Unless President Park can manage to move heaven and earth to reunify the two Koreas, potential security forces might need to train alongside the biathlon competitors to maintain the safety of the 2018 Olympics.