With the Superbowl ending and a month before March Madness begins, sports fans across the nation will be tuning into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The XXII Olympiad will begin Friday, February 7th and will end Sunday, February 23.
The Winter Olympics in general is much smaller then the Summer Olympics. With 15 sports and a total 98 events, Sochi will be handing out 294 medals this year.
U.S. athletes that are expected to shine this year are Shaun White and Shani Davis. White is expected to win his third gold for the United States in the half pipe. Davis is the 1st black athlete to ever win a medal in the Winter Olympics and will be skating for his third straight gold in the 1,000 meter speed skating event.
A familiar name to sports fans is Lolo Jones, who ran the 60 and 100 meter hurdles for the U.S.A. in 2008 and 2012. She is diversifying her résumé and competing in the Winter Olympics this year with a 4-man bobsledding team. She is the ninth American athlete to compete in both the summer and winter games.
The location of the Olympics has been under a lot of scrutiny. Russia has an anti-gay law that restricts the rights of gays. This law will remain intact for the Olympic games.
According to the Seattle Times, many human rights campaigns have been launched to encourage Olympic sponsors to run ads promoting lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. Russian President Vladimir Putin banned “pro-gay” propaganda that could be accessible to minors.
Besides the anti-gay law, Russia is dealing with the animal rights issues as well. Sochi has a stray dog issue, and Russian officials are killing off the stray dogs, leaving their bodies in the streets. This notion has upset many animal rights activists around the world and caused even more controversy for the Russian government.
The 2014 Olympics will be one for the books as the United States competes for gold in all 15 sporting events.