Action everywhere, from the Black Sea coast to the Krasnaya Polyana mountains. Superb competition venues for spectacular events, historic performances and numerous records – the XXII Olympic Winter Games kept all their promises. Here are the most memorable athlete exploits that took place in Sochi between 6 and 23 February 2014:
At 10.55 p.m. on Friday 7 February 2014, Russian three-time Olympic champions Irina Rodnina (pairs figure skating) and Vladislav Tretiak (ice hockey) lit the Olympic cauldron.
Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen, winner of the sprint 10km and the new Olympic event, mixed relay, brought his medal count to 13, after starting at the Nagano Games in 1998 (8 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze). He thus overtook his compatriot, Bjørn Daehlie, to become the Olympic Winter Games athlete with the most medals.
Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen won three more gold medals in Sochi (skiathlon, team sprint and 30km freestyle), making a total of six since her first title in Vancouver in 2010, as well as a total of 10 medals won since the Games in Salt Lake City in 2002, becoming one of the Olympic Winter Games female athlete with the most medals (with Smetanina and Belmondo).
In Alpine skiing, gold medals were won by the youngest-ever Olympic champion in the history of the discipline, American Mikaela Shiffrin, 18 years and 345 days old, and the oldest, Austria’s Mario Matt, aged 34 and 10 months. American Bode Miller, third in the Super-G at the age of 36 years and 127 days, became the oldest-ever medallist in his discipline.
Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, 15 years and 73 days old, became the youngest ever medallist on the snow in the history of the Games, when he won the silver medal in the snowboard half-pipe competition.
Russian luger Albert Demchenko and Japanese ski jumping champion Noriaki Kasai, both in their forties, were competing in their seventh edition of the Games, both winning two medals in Sochi. Kasai also equalled the record for the longest interval between two (silver) medals: 20 years!
Like Marit Bjørgen, Belarusian biathlete Darya Domracheva and Russian short-track speed skater Victor An won three gold medals at the XXII Olympic Winter Games. But the athlete who won the most medals at these Games was Ireen Wüst, with five speed skating medals (two gold, three silver)!
Ireen Wüst was a member of the Netherlands speed skating team which won 23 medals, achieved four top-three clean sweeps and was present on every one of the 12 podiums, men’s and women’s alike. A unique domination of one discipline at the Games.
For the first time in figure skating, the 100-point barrier was broken in a short programme, by Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu (101.45), who went on to win the gold medal.
Bronze medallist in 1994, silver in 1998, gold in 2002 and 2006 and bronze in 2010 and 2014, Italian luger Armin Zöggeler became the first athlete to win six consecutive medals in six editions of the Winter Games.
The first winners of the 12 new Olympic events were:
Russia (team figure skating), Germany (luge relay), Norway (biathlon mixed relay), Germany’s Carina Voigt (women’s ski jumping), Canadian Dara Howell and American Joss Christensen (ski slopestyle), Americans Maddie Bowman and David Wise (ski half-pipe), Jamie Anderson and Sage Kotsenburg (snowboard slopestyle), Austrian’s Julia Dujmovits and Russian Vic Wild (snowboard parallel slalom).