Since 1924, the Winter Olympic Games have preserved a time-honored tradition of inviting world-class athletes to come together in friendly competition. As the world prepares for the Winter 2014 Olympics in Russia, check out these Winter Olympic sites from recent years and take note of the activities that you can still enjoy there.
February 7–23, 2014
This coastal city will be the first in the Russian Federation to host the Winter Games. Although the venues will be split between a coastal cluster and a mountain cluster, they will still be no more than 30 minutes apart. For the first time, all ice venues in the Olympic Park will be within walking distance.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
February 12–28, 2010
These games were the first Olympics to hold opening ceremonies indoors. Shaun White set a record for being the first ever to land a “Tomahawk,” winning him the snowboarding gold medal for a second time. Venues for these Olympics stretched over 75 miles between Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Several of these venues are open to the public at Whistler Olympic Park, where you can take classes in winter sports on Olympic terrain.
February 10–26, 2006
The Winter Games in this Italian city marked the first time that Albania, Madagascar, and Ethiopia were represented. Shaun White received his first gold medal in snowboarding here. The tallest cauldron in the history of Olympic Games was constructed, standing 187 feet. Palavela, home to the skating events, offers fun for the whole family with skating lessons and educational activities. You can even rent the center for a private party.
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
February 8–24, 2002
Ten new events were featured in the Salt Lake City Olympics. From a sporting, business, and audience outlook, these Olympic Games were considered one of the most successful in Olympic history to that point. Two gold medals (rather than a gold and a silver) were awarded in pairs figure skating. The Utah Olympic Park is near other major Olympic sites, such as the ski jump. You can try out the bobsled, luge, and skeleton track that the Olympians used.
February 7–22, 1998
These Winter Olympics included snowboarding and women’s ice hockey for the first time. Bjørn Dæhlie of Norway received three gold medals in cross-country skiing, adding to the five gold medals he won in previous Olympics. Azerbaijan, Kenya, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Uruguay, and Venezuela participated in the Winter Olympics for the first time. At the Nagano Olympic Museum, you can view equipment used by athletes and explore the state-of-the-art 3D Olympic theater.
February 12–27, 1994
This was the second time the Winter Olympics were held in Norway. The Games took place during the Bosnian War, and the best example of Olympic spirit came from the four-man bobsled team from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which included a Croatian, two Bosnians, and a Serbian. At age 13, Kim Yoon-Mi became the youngest Olympic gold medalist. Stop by the Kanthaugen Freestyle Arena, where you can toboggan down the slippery slopes.