Where is Sochi? And 7 Other Things to Know About the Olympics Host City

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Much of the press surrounding the upcoming Sochi Olympics is colored with a decidedly negative light. Russia’s staunch anti-gay legislation has been well publicized, and the threat of terrorist activity is also on the rise. Hovering just below the surface of this outer turmoil is the pervasive financial corruption and ecological waste associated with the construction of Olympic venues in and around Sochi. With its $50 billion price tag, the (mis)management of the 2014 Sochi Olympics has been more costly than the last 21 Olympics combined.

Confronted with this grim reality, it’s easy to overlook the purpose of the Olympic games as a near-universal goodwill gesture, in which a diverse array of nations come together for the purpose of good ol' competition. Naturally, the handful of cities that compete for the opportunity to host the Olympics have their eyes on the long-term economic benefits that come along with hosting such a mega-event. But on another level, hosting the Olympics also affords these cities a chance to show off on the biggest and brightest international stage. And for the rest of us, being exposed to different cultures provides us with a much needed exercise in global education. As Russia’s winter Olympics starts creeping up on the horizon, it’s time to brush up on our Sochi facts.

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