42 Amazing Facts You Need To Know Before Watching The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

The opening ceremony is right around the corner and chances are there is a lot you didn’t know about Sochi or the Winter Olympics. Here are 42 facts you need to know.

1. Sochi’s Olympic Village will house 6,000 athletes.

2. The Sochi Olympic torch traveled 40,300 miles: its longest trip to date.

3. The opening and closing of the Olympic Games will be held at the stadium “Fischt” with a capacity for 40,000 spectators.

4. The crypto-currency Dogecoin helped send an Indian luger and the Jamaican bobsled team to Sochi by raising over $37,000.

You can learn more about Dogecoin here and Doge 4 Kids here.

5. The world record for ski jumping is 246.5 meters … or nearly the distance of a professional golfer’s drive.

You can find more golf facts like there here.

6. Sochi is on the same latitude with Toronto, Nice and the Gobi Desert.

7. The Games’ official mascots are a nameless cartoon trio: The Polar Bear, The Hare and (at Putin’s insistence) The Leopard.

8. Nancy Kerrigan is serving as NBC’s figure skating analyst.

9. It’s a 37 hour train ride between Sochi and Moscow.

10. A total of 88 countries will be represented.

11. Joseph Stalin kept a vacation home in Sochi.

12. There are twelve new events, including a mixed figure-skating team event and women’s ski-jumping.

13. The official slogan for the Sochi Games is “Hot. Cool. Yours.”

14. Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova will be one of NBC’s TV hosts during the Games. It’s also her hometown.

15. Constructing the facilities required 60,000 workers and 5,000 pieces of equipment.

16. The opening ceremonies kick off at 8:14 p.m. local time, on Feb. 7 and will run for about three hours.

17. The total cost of the infrastructure and the organization of competitions coming to around $ 40 billion. This makes the future of the event the most expensive in the history of the Olympics.

18. The Sochi’s official Twitter handle is @Sochi2014.

19. The mayor of Sochi says there are no gay people in his city. But the Lonely Planet guidebook lists two gay nightclubs.

20. The Sochi Games will be tobacco-free.

21. Sochi’s Caucasus mountains average six-and-a-half feet of snow, annually.

22. Sochi is killing all the stray dogs that have been hanging around town before the tourists and athletes arrive.

23. Russia will give each of their gold medalists $122,000.

24. Tickets for the men’s gold-medal hockey game go for about $5,000 through scalpers or secondary agencies.

25. According to Forbes magazine, in 2012 Sochi was ranked as the best city to do business in Russia.

26. Ending a 12-year absence, Jamaica will return to Olympic bobsledding in Sochi in the two-man event.

27. The town of Sochi is thought to be Europe’s longest—and runs 145 km along the Black Sea.

28. Round-trip plane tickets from the U.S. to Sochi are running as high as $5,000 to $7,000.

29. German ski jumper Gianina Ernst is the youngest athlete competing in Sochi. She turned 15 on Dec. 31. If born a few hours later, she would not have been eligible for the Olympics.

Via Gianina Ernst

30. Curling will be the only event to take place at the Ice Cube, Sochi’s smallest venue.

31. 98 sets of medals to be competed for across 7 Olympic sports. That’s 12 sets more than in Vancouver 2010, and 14 sets more than in Turin 2006;

32. There are 11 new world-class sports venues in Sochi, with seat capacity of around 120,000.

33. Summer Olympian Lolo Jones will compete at her first winter Olympic Games in Sochi, competing in bobsled.

34. Team USA curling athlete Brian Anderson is an engineer at Xerox.

35. The torch relay — 14,000 torchbearers overall — was the first to go into space, with two cosmonauts taking it for a “space walk” on the International Space Station.

36. Russian Olympic officials saved and stored 710,000 cubic meters of snow last season, to use for the Sochi Olympic Games.

37. 6,000 Olympic athletes and team members are hosted in Sochi for the Olympic Winter Games.

38. Vanessa-Mae will ski in the Olympics for Thailand, she’s also a violinist.

39. The Winter Olympics in Sochi will be the most compact in the history of the competition.

40. Sochi is thought to be the spot where Odysseus met the Cyclops, according to Greek mythologists.

41. Each Sochi medal takes close to 18 hours to make.

42. Sochi’s phone code: +7 862.

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