WITH the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics taking place today, here are 14 fun facts about Sochi 2014.
1. This will be the 22nd Winter Olympics, and the first to be hosted by Russia.
2. At a cost of around £31 billion, this will be the most expensive Olympics ever.
3. Known as the Russian Riviera, the Black Sea resort of Sochi will be the warmest city ever to host the Winter Olympics.
4. Sochi is thought to be the longest city in Europe, sprawling for 90 miles along the shores of the Black Sea.
5. You’d better clear your diary if you want to travel to Sochi from the Russian capital Moscow. A train journey will take 37 hours.
6. There will be 88 nations represented at the Winter Olympics.
7. Twelve events will make their debut at Sochi 2014, including women’s ski-jumping.
8. The epic torch relay for Sochi 2014, featuring 14,000 torchbearers, went into space via the International Space Station.
9. Sochi, with a population of around 400,000, is the former hometown of tennis star Maria Sharapova.
10. Mascots for the Games are a polar bear, hare and leopard.
11. With eight gold medals and four silvers, the most successful Winter Olympian of all time is Norway’s cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie.
12. Only one athlete has ever won gold at both Summer and Winter Olympics. Eddie Eagan won the 1920 light-heavyweight boxing gold medal followed by bobsled gold at the 1932 Winter Games.
13. Known more for its fast cars, BMW has built the USA team’s hi-tech bobsleds.
14. The opening ceremony will begin at 20.14 local time tonight, that being 4.14pm here. It will be held inside the Fisht Olympic Stadium, named after nearby Mount Fisht.