Cultural Narrative of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Full reference: Garcia, B. (2014) ‘The Olympic Games Cultural Narrative:  Ceremonies, Cultural Olympiads and Look of the Games as platforms to project the host city and nation”, Russian International Olympic University Herald, 2014(1), pp. 112-120.

The Olympic Games is recognized worldwide as the largest sports mega-event – certainly the event attracting the largest amount of media coverage globally. However, beyond a sports event, the Olympics is also a cultural phenomenon that can have considerable influence over local, national and international cultural narratives of place. This cultural dimension tends to be represented by the media via popular ceremonial events, such as the Olympic Torch Relay that precedes the start of the Games, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. However, beyond these highly recognized aspects, the Games also incorporate a cultural and arts programme, the Cultural Olympiad, that is playing a growing role defining or contributing to the projection of respective Olympic host cities via the showcase of local culture and the reinforcement (or change) of cultural values. Further, every Games is framed by a visual design programme (‘The Look of the Games’) which plays an important role setting the tone and feel of public spaces and sporting venues, and can be determinant in creating a unique atmosphere that is representative of the cultural aspirations of respective hosts. This article reviews the function, development and achievements of Opening and Closing ceremonies, the Cultural Olympiad and the Look of the Games programmes as the three most significant contributors to a Games host cultural narrative.

Access the English version of this article below. The Russian version is also available via the RIOU Herald website.