The 2014 Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympic Games have been played in 22 cities around the world since the start of the 20th century. As an athletic competition, the contest assembles the best athletes from every corner of the globe to compete in events such as bobsledding, skiing, speed skating, ice hockey, and luging, with each country competing to bring home the gold medal. Hosting the Olympics is considered a great honor, and many countries vie for the right to host in order to boost political morale amongst their citizens and reap the benefits of increased jobs, inflated revenues, and international exposure for their respective way of life.


Like any event that draws a lot of attention, the Olympics has had a few unfortunate controversies, including the hosting of the games, the use of performance enhancing drugs, and the interference of politically motivated radicals using the worldwide exposure of the games to perpetuate violence. With the exception of several of the games, these brief periods of uncertainty and upheaval have done little to affect the spirited participation of the athletes that make the games. The number of countries participating in the competition has risen steadily throughout the history of the Olympics with very few setbacks, and the overall reception of the games has been generally positive.


Finances and politics aside, what makes the Olympics such an important part of the collective global community is the multiculturalism and diplomacy represented by the olympians. The games are a time to put human differences and political machinations on hold, albeit for a short while. While not every competing country may share the same beliefs, each athlete is connected to the thousands of other contestants through a common goal. Each athlete that competes in the games has trained in his or her respective sport for years, enduring the discipline and arduous effort required to become an olympian.


Another aspect of the games to consider is the number of people that witness the games. Next to the Super Bowl and the World Cup, the Olympics attracts millions of viewers from all over the world, making it one of the most highly viewed events in human history. When one considers the number of people watching the games it becomes clear that the Olympics has the ability to unify the different nations of the world by providing common ground.


This year, 88 countries will compete in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, and despite numerous setbacks the games will begin in a few short hours with the grand spectacle of the opening ceremony. International Student Exchange wishes all of the athletes a safe and successful journey through this year’s games.

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