Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games

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Updated Dec 16, 2014 at 05:09AM EST by Brad.

Added Feb 03, 2014 at 04:22PM EST by Molly Horan.

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The 2014 Winter Olympics (XXII Olympic Winter Games) is a major international multi-sport event scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia from February 7th to February 23rd, 2014. The 2014 Winter Paralympics, a similar competitive event for athletes with physical disabilities, will begin on March 7th and continue to March 16, 2014.


Sochi was elected as the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics on July 4th, 2007, beating out other competing cities like Salzburg in Austria and PyeongChang in South Korea.[14] The venues for the games will divided into two main sections-the Coastal Cluster and the Mountain Cluster. With a total budget of $51 billion, the 2014 Sochi games is expected to be the most expensive Olympics event ever organized and it will be the first time Russia hosts the game since the Soviet Union was dissolved. Over the course of sixteen days, more than 2,500 athletes from 88 nations will participate in 98[15] events over 15 disciplines in seven winter sports: skating, skiing, bobsleigh, biathlon, curling, ice hockey and luge.

Anti-Homophobia Campaigns

On October 30th, 2013, FCKH8 announced a new campaign on its official Tumblr blog[2] pledging to deliver 10,000 copies of pro-gay coloring books to Russian children via mail during the Olympics, if the post receives more than 100,000 likes. In the press release, the group explained the direct mail campaign as a way to protest against the Russian government’s enforcement of its controversial anti-gay propaganda laws, and secondly, to inform kids in Russia that being gay is okay.

Jamaican Bobsled Team Dogecoin Fundraiser

On January 19th, 2014, an Indiegogo[1] page was created by members of the Jamaican Bobsled Team to fund their trip to Sochi. On the same day, a fundraiser was launched by the Dogecoin Foundation[2] for the bobsled team, which gathered $35,000 in donations in the first 24 hours.[3]

Twin Toilets

On January 20th, 2014, BBC reporter Steve Rosenberg tweeted a picture of two toilets he found in one stall in a bathroom in Sochi’s cross-country skiing and biathlon center with the caption “Seeing double in the Gentlemen’s Loo at the Olympic Biathlon Centre #Sochi .”[9][10]

Russians on social media were quick to point out the double toilet wasn’t common but not unheard of in Russia, and on January 21st, Rosenberg tweeted a picture BBC photographer Max Lomakin took in 2013 of four toilets in one stall-less room at Russian Kazan University. On February 1st, the Associated Press took a picture of a second double toilet in Sochi, this pair found in a women’s rest room in the Main Media Center.[11]


On January 21st, 2014, fast food restaurant chain McDonalds launched a Twitter hashtag #CheersToSochi, encouraging their followers to send well wishes to the athletes competing in the Olympic games.[7] The campaign was met with a lot of criticism because of Russia’s anti-LGBT policies and sentiment at the games, and the Twitter hashtag was taken over by people who wanted McDonalds to know they were against their corporate sponsorship of the Olympics.[12] On January 24th McDonalds responded to the backlash by tweeting:

As of February 4th, McDonalds was still tweeting encouraging followers to send their cheers to Sochi, though they have abandoned the hashtag.[13]


On February 4th, the Twitter account @SochiProblems was launched, which began tweeting photographs and complaints of various mishaps observed in Sochi, Russia during the 2014 Olympic games. Within the first 72 hours, the Twitter feed gained over 255,000 followers.

Notable Developments

Opening Ceremony

On February 7th, 2014, the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics commenced at the Fisht Olympic Stadium. The event was marked by a series of interpretative dances touching upon various eras of the Russian history, and musical performances by the Russian pop duo t.A.T.u. and the Ministry of Internal Affairs choir’s rendition of “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. The ceremony went smoothly for the most part, except when only four of the five large snowflake-shaped light displays successfully lit up into form the Olympic rings. as a result of a technical error.

Meanwhile on Tumblr, a couple of image macros comparing Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to President Snow from The Hunger Games surfaced.

Bob Costa’s Eye

On February 6th, Bob Costas appeared on the Today Show to cover the Sochi Olympics with one eye considerably swollen and red.

The same day, the sports news blog Deadspin[22] published an article about the eye, which included a statement from Costas’ assistant who revealed that he was suffering from an eye infection.

“Yes, Bob has some sort of infection which has his left eye completely red and almost completely closed, making it impossible to put a contact lens in it. It just came on within the last 24 hours, the NBC doctors in Sochi are treating it, and they think it should resolve itself by the weekend. Until then, he has no choice but to go with the glasses on air.

Also on February 6th, the novelty Twitter account @CostasLeftEye was launched, featuring tweets from the perspective of the news anchor’s infected eye.

On February 8th, Costas addressed the issue on air, explaining to viewers that it was pink eye.[23] On February 9th, the IBI Times published an article about the Internet reaction to Costas’ eye, highlighting several notable tweets and photoshopped images mocking the infection.

On February 11th, Costas announced he would be taking the night off from Olympics coverage due to the eye infection and would be replaced by Matt Lauer for the evening.[24]


On February 8th, 2014, U.S. Olympic bobsledder and former NFL athlete Johnny Quinn tweeted a photograph of a bathroom door at the Sochi Olympic Village that had been heavily damaged after he was forced to break through it in order to free himself from being locked inside.

In the following days, a handful of photos illustrating overly physical approaches to everyday problem-solving surfaced on the site with the hashtag #Quinning, such as opening plastic blister packs or clamshell packaging by puncturing a hole through the surface (shown below).

Ashley Wagner’s Reaction

On February 8th, American figure skater Ashley Wagner made her Olympics debut in the short program for team figure skating event. Wagner’s performance was praised by the U.S. commentators as promising, and the 22-year-old skater herself seemed optimistic as she came off the ice, especially in following Japanese figure skater Mao Asada’s tumble during her routine.

But upon seeing a score of 63.10, which put in the fourth place, Wagner was seen on camera shaking her head in disbelief before muttering “that’s bullshit.” Nonetheless, Wagner’s score advanced the U.S. team to the medal round.

Soon, GIFs of Wagner’s disgusted expression began circulating on Twitter[19], Tumblr[18] and Reddit[17], where she was declared the next Mckayla Maroney. On February 9th, Deadspin[22], The Wire[21] and The Daily Dot[20] reported on the GIF sensation, dubbing it the first meme of The Sochi Olympics.

Johnny Weir’s Outfits

On February 8th, former American figure skater and NBC commentator Johnny Weir began sharing daily Instagram[25] pictures of himself dressed in high fashion, Hunger Games-like wardrobes. Being one of the few openly gay athletes to attend the Sochi Olympics, Weir’s eye-popping outfits in public and on-air appearances were seen as a bold statement against the anti-gay sentiments running amok in Russia and quickly met with praises from the news media back home.

Kate Hansen’s Warmup Dance

On February 10th, the YouTube channel Sportynews uploaded a video of U.S. Olympic luger Kate Hansen doing her warmup dance while listening to Beyonce on her headphones. In just over 72 hours, the video garnered more than 300,000 views and even prompted a shout-out from the singer herself.

Shoshi Games

On February 11th, 2014, the Tumblr blog Shoshi Games[26] was launched with a series of photoshopped images from the Sochi Games in which the faces of Olympic athletes are replaced with Shoshanna Shapiro, a recurring character played by Zosia Mamet in the HBO comedy Girls.

Perfectly Timed Figure Skater Photos

On February 12th, 2014, BuzzFeed[35] published a compilation of well timed photographs from the Olympic games featuring figure skaters with unflattering facial expressions (shown below). In the coming days, several other sites reblogged the figure skating photos, including Distractify,[37] The Telegraph[36] and Sad and Useless.[38]

Closing Ceremony

On February 23rd, the Sochi Olympics came to an end with the closing ceremony, which included a choreographic reference to the Olympic Rings failure that became the butt of a joke during the opening ceremony of the games.

Search Interest

External References

[1]Indiegogo – Help Jamaica Bobsleigh Team

[2]Motherboard – The Founders of Dogecoin See the Meme Currency’s Tipping Point

[3]Reddit – Lets send the Jamaican bobsled team to the winter Olympics

[4] – Travis Gerrits ‘eats’ fellow freestyle skier Lydia Lassila in perfect Vine

[5]The Huffington Post – Travis Gerrits Posts First Perfect Vine Of The Olympics

[6]Yahoo Sports – Must see: Travis Gerrits is eating his freestyle skiing competitors at the Olympics

[7]The Huffington Post – McDonald’s #CheersToSochi Campaign Meets With LGBT Backlash

[8]Tumblr – Activists to Break Russian “Gay Propaganda” Law During Olympics, Send 10,000 Pro-Gay Children’s Coloring Books Featuring Gay Kiss to Russian Homes with Kids

[9]The Washington Post – Picture of twin toilets in Sochi goes viral

[10]Twitter – BBCSteveR

[11]World News – Olympic Loo-Loo: Another twin toilet found in Sochi

[12]Policy Mic – #CheersToSochi is Going Viral. But Here’s Why People Are So Pissed Off.

[13]Twitter – McDonalds Corps

[14] – Election of the 2014 Host City

[15]DNA India – Sochi Olympics: All you need to know about the 2014 Winter Games

[16]Deadspin – Ashley Wagner’s “Bullshit” Moment Is The First Meme Of The Sochi Games

[17]Reddit – Search Results for ‘Ashley Wagner’

[18]Tumblr – Tagged Results for Ashley Wagner

[19]Twitter – Search results for ‘Ashley Wagner’

[20]The Daily Dot – Check out the Winter Olympics answer to ‘McKayla is not impressed’

[21]The Wire – The Internet Falls in Love With Ashley Wagner’s Disappointment

[22]Deadspin – Bob Costas Eye

[23]UPIBob Costas Swollen eye

[24]The Blaze – Bob Costas Creepy Eye

[25]Instagram – Johnnygweir’s Instagram

[26]Tumblr – Shoshi Games

[27]Complex – "":

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