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Fun Facts about the Winter Olympics in Sochi!

If you think Russia plus winter equals "way too cold," you're wrong. Sure, the Caucus Mountains overlooking Sochi average six-and-a-half feet of snow each year, but hard freezes are rare in the city down below. In fact, Sochi is known as the "Russian Riviera" for its sandy beaches and warm Mediterranean-like climate along the Black Sea. More than 2 million visitors come every year just to sit by the beach in Sochi. When not playing host to out-of-towners, Sochi is the permanent home of 430,000 – about the same as Omaha, Neb., but without all the corn and football fans. Sochi is part of the Krasnodar Region, which consists of about 5.1 million people.

The 2014 Winter Games is the second time the games were hosted by Russia/the Soviet Union. Moscow hosted in 1980. Team USA boycotted those games due to Cold War tensions, so Sochi was Americans first trip to Russia for the Olympics.

The "Krasnaya Polyana" (Mountain Cluster) overlooking Sochi played host to the Olympics outdoor events like skiing and snowboarding. These mountains are credited with being the place where Zeus shackled Prometheus as punishment for stealing fire from the gods to give to humankind. Men's and Women's Ski Halfpipe was one of six sports – along with Women's Ski Jumping, Biathlon Mixed Relay, Team Figure Skating and Luge Team Relay – making its Olympic debut in Sochi.

After Sochi, the next time you'll see the Olympic torch lighting up a winter's night will be in Pyeong Chang, South Korea, which hosts the Winter Games in 2018. Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Games.

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