The Olympic Games are meant to represent what’s best about the human athletic spirit. Of course, they don’t always live up to that ideal. Alex Hillsberg shares an infographic of 10 Surprising Facts—good and bad—About Sochi and the Winter Olympics.
The Winter Olympic Games set to unfold in the Russian beach resort town of Sochi were plagued by controversy from the start.
When organizers struck down a request by NGO Pride House to set up shop in Sochi, Russia’s policies on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights came under close scrutiny. Then there were widespread allegations over corruption in the provision of services and facilities. Critics accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of cronyism in awarding contracts and of the mismanagement of funds.
The facilities needed for the Games, from venues to cargo terminals, were heavily criticized for the environmental and geological hazards they might pose. The skewing of real estate prices in and around the venue was also questioned. Meanwhile, political activists have not made it easy for the organizers to market the games. Safety and security are very real concerns in an area that has traditionally been a hotbed of political dissent and conflict.
Despite all this, sport enthusiasts the world over will tune in the next two weeks to watch the athletic drama that will unfold on the ice and snow.
The infographic below features a selection from the many tales of triumph, tragedy, pride and glory in the history of the Winter Olympics. There are enduring achievements that will be forever remembered, such as Bjorn Daehlie’s 12 Olympic medals or Eddie Eagan’s singular achievement of being the only athlete to win gold at both the Summer and Winter games.
And there’s the fact that Russia, famous for its cold and cruel winters, chose to host the Winter Olympics in the subtropical resort town of Sochi, where palm trees sway amidst the new venues constructed at the beachfront Olympic park.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
A version of this article and infographic originally appeared at FinancesOnline.com.