Sochi 2014: Winter Olympics, world’s biggest sporting extravaganza, starts today

In the months leading up to the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics the story of Sochi, the stage for one of the world’s biggest sporting extravaganzas, has evolved into a distinctly negative narrative: security threats, gay-rights protests and corruption allegations, CNN reports.
Security because areas such as Chechnya, Dagestan and Georgia – all nations close to Sochi’s location on the north coast of the Black Sea – have ongoing issues with Russia that have a history of violence. Two recent bombings in Volgograd, and reports of suicide bombers dubbed “black widows” in operation, prompted the U.S. government to say it viewed the Games as an “attractive target for terrorists.”
Gay rights because Russia’s government banned what it defined as “gay propaganda” in 2013, a move that has seen widespread criticism from competing athletes and areas of the international media, and has led to some high-profile politicians refusing to attend.

From the students keen to take part in an event that could shape their future to those who have taken the opportunity to work in the new jobs created, there is a sense of excitement and pride. Russia, a country notorious for its autocratic government and stone-faced expressions, has historically driven fear and paranoia in many Western nations.
Hosting the Winter Games is a grand welcome to the world to learn more about its culture and people, or to witness its grandstanding depending on your stance, a move that in itself is fascinating.

PM Victor Ponta to attend opening ceremony
Premier Victor Ponta will be in Sochi on Friday, where he will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games and the dinner offered on this occasion by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The opening ceremony of the 22nd edition of the Winter Olympic Games will take place on Friday, at 6 PM, on Sochi’s Fisht Olympic Stadium.
Excellent conditions for Romania’s athletes
Romania’s winter Olympic team have already started training in Sochi, Russia, enjoying the excellent conditions provided by the organisers of the XXII Olympic Winter Games, Romania’s Olympic Sports Committee (COSR) reports, according to Agerpres. ‘Our hosts in Russia have extended us a great welcome. Accommodation and meals are the best, the sports facilities are impeccable and organisation is impressive,’ COSR Secretary General Ioan Dobrescu said in Sochi. ‘I do not know why the press is circulating all kinds of false stories. For the time being, the Sochi Olympic Games are the best so far held,’ he added. After the opening ceremony that promises to be grandiose, scheduled for February 7, Romania’s first athlete to compete in the first day of the games on Saturday will be Timea Sara in the cross country skiing event.

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