- Two firsts for the Olympic torch relay: The flame reached the North Pole during its epic round the world journey, thanks to an icebreaker ship, and the torch passed from hand to hand in open space, during a spacewalk by Russian cosmonauts at the International Space Station.
- Twelve new winter sports events, including the first women’s ski jumping competition.
- First Winter Olympics held in a subtropical climate. Sochi, a Black Sea vacation spot, is so far south that it has palm trees.
- First time that the Russian Federation hosts the Winter Games (the former Soviet Union hosted the Summer Olympics in Moscow in 1980).
As excitement mounts for the 22nd Winter Games, test your own skills by taking our quiz on the history of the Olympics:
- Were the first Olympic Games held in: a) 1900 b) 1802 c) 1018 or d) 776 B.C.?
- During the 1980 Winter Olympics, the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team beat the Soviet Union, which historically had dominated the ice hockey event, and went on to win the gold medal. The win became known as the “Miracle on Ice.” Was this historic Olympics event held in: a) Lake Placid, New York b) Innsbruck, Austria c) Sarajevo, Yugoslavia or d) Salt Lake City, Utah?
- The Canadian Men’s Curling Team won the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The female team from which country won the gold medal for curling that same year: a) Sweden b) Jamaica c) Norway or d) Great Britain?
- When was the most recent time that both the Winter Olympics and Summer Olympics were held in the same year: a) 1984 b) 1992 c) 1998 or d) 2002?
- What is the monetary value of an Olympic gold medal: a) $20,000 b) $1,064 c) $650 or d) $85?
- d. The first Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 B.C. in Olympia in ancient Greece. The first modern-day Olympics were held in Athens in 1896.
- a. The “Miracle on Ice” happened at Lake Placid, New York, in the Adirondack Mountains.
- a. Sweden won the gold medal in women’s curling, a sport in which competitors slide large stones equipped with handles across a sheet of ice toward a mark in the center of a circle. Canada won the silver and China won the bronze.
- b. The last time the Summer and Winter Olympics were held the same year was 1992. The Winter Olympics were in Albertville, France, and the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
- c. The value of an Olympic gold medal is about $650, depending on market fluctuations of the precious metal. The Olympic gold medal is actually gold-plated, and internally comprised of silver, copper, and zinc.