Sochi Ready to Winter-Party!

A rare sneak peak of main Sochi cauldron undergoing tests for lighting on the Opening Ceremony of February 7. The cauldron will burn for a full 17 days in February and another 10 days in March for the Winter Paralympic Games. (Photo by Reuters)

In a few days, the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russia will be welcoming for the XXIInd Olympic Winter Games some 3,000 winter athletes and an estimated 28,000 foreign visitors, including some LGBT activists challenging Russia's harsh anti-gay laws, probable terrorists (hopefully NOT), and athletes from non-winter countries like the Philippines. Some of these countries will be participating in a Winter Olympics for the first time.

The Sochi Games will feature two athletes Filipinos around the world can root for—JR Celski, a Filipino American, who will spearhead the US’ efforts in short track speedskating; and Michael Christian Martinez, who will represent the Philippines in men’s figure skating. 

Philippine figure skater Michael Christian Martinez training at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia (Photo by Grigory Dukor/Reuters)

There's no doubt that the Olympics—whether winter or summer—is always a spectacular international event that requires a humongous budget ($50 billion at last count for Sochi), a gigantic multinational security force, and enough pomp and pageantry to whet the appetites of the viewing millions for the next one. 

US Short track speed skater JR Celski (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Behind the scenes in this “greatest show on earth” are the equally spectacular preparations that begin many years prior to the event, involving a cast of thousands and a cost of billions. 

Read about them again in "10 Best Kept Secrets of Olympic Ceremonies"


Myles A. Garcia's book, Secrets of the Olympic Ceremonies, is available in the deluxe paperback edition or on Kindle from as well as various eBook sources. Sometime in February 2014, Garcia will be seen in a documentary about the London 2012 Olympic flame, called “The Flame” ( For autographed copies of the book, place your order via the book's website: or Garcia's personal email at: