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Olympics

The ski jump in Lillehammer, Norway, the site of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games.
Ronhjones / Wikimedia Commons

This month Norway became the fourth country to withdraw its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Oslo’s withdrawal leaves only two cities in the race: Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China.

The main concern has been cost. This year’s Winter Games in Sochi were the most expensive ever, with a price tag of $51 billion.

Another significant factor for Oslo was reportedly the number of unusual and excessive demands by the International Olympic Committee says World Views Host Suzette Grillot.

Suzette Grillot wraps up a three week, two continent trip with a conversation from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with University of Oklahoma anthropologist and International Studies professor Erika Robb Larkins.

Later, Suzette and Rebecca Cruise discuss the five Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film ahead of Sunday evening's Academy Awards.

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Rio de Janeiro is known throughout the world for its Carnival celebration and an incredibly diverse and lively culture, but this vibrant image contrasts with striking examples of inequality.

University of Oklahoma anthropologist and International Studies professor Erika Robb Larkins says “the beauty of the contradiction of Brazil” is the coexistence of cultural vibrancy and the challenges facing segments of the population. Wealth neighbors poverty in close proximity throughout Rio de Janeiro.  

Canada beat the U.S. men 1-0 in Olympic hockey Friday, winning a tense game that saw strong goalie play and stout defensive work. Despite numerous chances, the Americans weren't able to challenge Canadian goalie Carey Price.

The game was a rematch between two teams that played for gold at the Vancouver 2010 Games. That contest went to overtime before Canada's Sidney Crosby scored an artful golden goal that dashed the Americans' dreams of repeating as gold medalists — something they haven't done since the famed 1980 "Miracle on Ice" Olympics.

It wouldn't be a Winter Olympics without a figure skating scandal, and the Sochi Olympics hasn't disappointed.

When defending gold medalist Yuna Kim of South Korea took to the ice in the women's long program Thursday night, there was much anticipation. The audience had already seen 23 great performances, and Kim was the last to skate.

She landed six triple jumps in what looked to be a flawless program, one she'd skated many times before. In the stands, her teammates and skaters from other countries seemed amazed.

The countries that send large contingents to the Olympics love to watch the "medal count" tally. But as of late Tuesday at the Sochi Winter Games, the countries with the most medals didn't have the most gold medals. That's why by some counts, Germany and Norway were leading the way, while the Netherlands, U.S. and Russia all trailed.

Olympic Photo Of The Day: Teamwork

Feb 17, 2014

Germany won the gold medal in the men's team ski jumping event Monday at the Sochi Games. It edged out defending champs Austria, which took silver. Japan won the bronze.

For more Olympics coverage, go to The Edge.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The blue skies couldn't last forever.

A fog as thick as Russian borscht rolled into the mountains above Sochi on Sunday night. From the vantage point of the relatively low-altitude bobsled track, the gondolas heading up to the cross-country center and alpine venues disappeared into the clouds.

The weather is creating all sorts of problems for Olympic planners. A men's biathlon race was postponed Sunday because of low visibility. It was postponed again Monday. (The women's race was still on track for today.)

As The Associated Press notes:

As always, if you're among those who don't want to know who's won what until NBC-TV's primetime show is on the air, stop reading now. For those who do like to know what's happening, here's a quick look at the medals already awarded today and some of what's coming later on:

Now that the Winter Games have begun, it's time to remind fans in the U.S. about how to watch them.

As NPR TV critic Eric Deggans said earlier this week:

In Sochi, Russia, Hubertus Von Hohenlohe will compete in his sixth Winter Olympics. The 55-year-old downhill skier and German prince won't be skiing under the flag of his royal heritage, however. He'll be with the team of his birthplace, Mexico.

In honor of his Querido Mexico (beloved homeland), Hohenlohe says he will race down the Russian slopes decked out in a state-of-the-art mariachi ski suit.

Is there already one or more "black widow" in or near Sochi, Russia, who might be determined to set off a suicide bomb at the site of next month's Winter Olympics?

NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow that Russian security forces are said to be looking for "Ruzanna Ibragimova, the 22-year-old widow of an Islamist militant who was killed by security forces."

He tells our Newscast Desk that according to Russian news outlets:

Joshua Landis and Rebecca Cruise explain how Syria’s civil war is expanding into a region-wide conflict, and what affect two suicide bombings in Russia this week could have on the upcoming Winter Olympics. 

Later, a conversation with longtime Afghanistan observer Andrew Wilder about this year’s scheduled U.S. combat troop withdrawal, and April elections to replace the term-limited Hamid Karzai.

Russian President Vladimir Putin inspects ski jumping slides at one of the sites for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Press and Information Office of the President of Russia / kremlin.ru

The Russian city of Volgograd is still reeling from two suicide bombings this week at the main railway station and on a city trolleybus that killed dozens and wounded scores more.

No claim of responsibility has been made for either attack, but they come a few months after the leader of an Islamic insurgency in Russia's south called for attacks in the run-up to February's Winter Olympics in the resort city of Sochi.

Roland Tanglao / Flickr Creative Commons

2013 brought change in the Vatican, thousands more deaths in Syria and millions more displaced as the civil war rages with no end in sight, and the death of iconic anti-apartheid statesman and former South African president Nelson Mandela. KGOU's World Views wraps up the year by looking ahead to 2014.

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