I’ve been a fairly dedicated Winter Olympics viewer over the last week, but no matter who I watch the events with, questions about the sports and its athletes always arise:
“Where are all the ski jumping training tracks in America?”
“What makes you decide to train for the Olympic Curling team?”
Along with being entertaining and impressive, the Olympics offer endless topics of discussion, so as you continue to watch the events unfold, refer to this list of facts for everything you need to know about the Olympics:
Olympic athletes seem to be getting younger and younger. How old do you have to be?
There is no minimum age requirement to enter the Olympics. All rules are regulated through the Internal Sports Federations, which is a group of international organizations that administer one or more sports at the world level.
How can I be eligible to carry the torch?
Pretty much anyone can qualify to carry the Olympic torch — just be over 14 years old and physically able to carry it for a minimum of 437 yards.
What else do Olympic athletes do besides train?
Not much. Coaches and trainers both said its not unusual for athletes to train 4-8 years before even making an Olympic team and they map out their training schedules that far in advanced as well to make sure they reach certain goals.
What are medalists awarded with besides the actual medal?
Nada. Olympic medalists don’t get a penny from the International Olympic Committee. But if they become a household name, they can bank on sponsorships and endorsements.
What do athletes do in between events?
The thousands of athletes at the Olympics are stuck in the village for the duration of the games, but are apparently supplied with over 100,000 condoms. Enough said.
Why was Sochi chosen as an Olympic host city?
I’m still trying to put myself inside the brain of the people who decided on giving Sochi the honor, but applicants must submit their entry nine years in advanced. Bids are now being accepted for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
How much money does an athlete spend getting to the Olympics?
It’s difficult to put an exact number because some sports require more than others, but to give you the gist, an Olympic bobsledder can spend up to $20,000 a year on equipment alone. And a pair of speed skating boots will cost you $2,000. Then there’s traveling, fees for using certain facilities and a trainer/nutritionist, just to name a few other expenses. To put it simply, athletes train full-time without getting paid anything and then spend tens of thousands of dollars before even getting to the games.
Who makes the Olympic medals?
Each host city is responsible for the design and execution of its Olympic medals. The Sochi medals are being noted as one of the most original in Olympic history and it took 11 tries to get the design concept just right. It also took an average of 18 hours to produce just one medal.
Sources: discovery.com, olympic.org, espn.com