Here's some background information about the 2014 Sochi, Russia, Winter Olympics. This is the 22nd Winter Olympics. The games will be held February 7-23, 2014. The Paralympic Games will be held March 7-16, 2014.
Facts: Sochi, considered the longest city in Europe (approximately 148 kilometers or 92 miles), is a resort city in the Krasnodar Krai territory.
This is the first time Russia will host the Winter Olympics, but the Soviet Union (USSR) also hosted the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow.
Sochi's population is approximately 400,000.
Location of events - Ice events will be held in a "cluster" near the Black Sea in the Imeretinskaya Valley. The second "cluster" will be for skiing and sliding events and will be held in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains.
Sochi will also be a host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Controversies: Protests have arisen due to gay rights issues in Russia and conflicts between Russian law and the Olympic charter.
Some have called for boycotts of the Sochi Olympics because of Russia's political alignments. Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum August 1. Snowden has been wanted by U.S. authorities since it was revealed that he leaked government surveillance information to the Guardian. Additionally, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a close ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syria has been engaged in a bloody civil war since 2011.
2014 is the 150th anniversary of the Circassian genocide, which took place in Sochi. Protestors contend that the Olympics will be hosted on "mass graves."
Environmentalists are concerned about the ecological impact of building structures in such a "pristine" location.
The 2014 Sochi Olympics are estimated to be the costliest ever, at $50 billion.
Timeline: July 2005 - Seven countries submit bids for the 2014 Olympics to the International Olympic Committee (IOC): Sochi (Russian Federation), Salzburg (Austria), Jaca (Spain), Almaty (Kazakhstan), PyeongChang (Republic of Korea), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Borjomi (Georgia).
June 22, 2006 - The IOC unanimously selects the final three: Sochi, Salzburg and PyeongChang.
July 4, 2007 - The IOC chooses Sochi as the 2014 host during the 119th Session in Guatemala City. In the first round of votes, Sochi receives 34, PyeongChang receives 36, and Salzburg receives 25. In the final round, Sochi receives 51 and PyeongChang receives 47.
2009 - Organizers of the Sochi Olympics say they want these to be the greenest, most environmentally aware games ever staged.
June 2009 - The Sochi 2014 Ecological strategy is approved.
February 26, 2011 - Five mascots are chosen for the Sochi Games. The Polar Bear, Hare and Snow Leopard are the official mascots of the Olympic Winter Games, and the Ray of Light and Snowflake are the mascots for the Paralympic Winter Games.
2011 - Russian banks begin the release of commemorative coins, including one worth 25 rubles, depicting Sochi Games and mountains. Ten million of these will be released through 2014.
October 2011 - Russian court rejects the registration of a LGBT (lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender) Pride House, citing that LGBT would "contradict the foundations of public morality and government policy in the area of protection of the family, motherhood and childhood."
December 29, 2011 - 55,000 workers construct the Olympic buildings; raise $1.2 billion in sponsorship.
May 10, 2012 - Three men are arrested in connection with a terrorist plot to attack the Sochi Olympics.
February 7, 2013 - Is estimated to be the costliest Olympics at $50 billion.
June 30, 2013 - The Russian anti-gay propaganda law, which passes overwhelmingly in Russian parliament and is signed by President Vladimir Putin, bans the public discussion of gay rights and relationships anywhere children might hear or see it. Those found in breach of it can be fined and, if they are foreign, deported.
July 2013 - Global protests include boycotting Russian vodka.
July 17, 2013 - Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggests considering a boycott of the Olympics if Putin allows NSA leaker Edward Snowden to remain in his country and if Putin continues supporting Syrian President Bashar al Assad.