Ultimate Guide to Sochi 2014: What You Need to Know About Every Olympic Event

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Ultimate Guide to Sochi 2014: What You Need to Know About Every Olympic Event
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

There are few events capable of bringing the whole world together. Divided by distance, religion and language, our lives increasingly fit in various niches.

While sports tend to unite us, few contests are truly ubiquitous events the world over. The World Series, despite its grandiose name, only really matters in America. The Tour de France, a major spectacle in Europe and parts of South America, is relegated to obscure channels, the kind your remote has rarely reached.

But the Olympics? The Olympics matter. Not only are the sports a breath of fresh air, a welcome change from the routine schedule that defines the calendar year for most fanatics, but they are imbued with special meaning. These are no mere athletes competing. They are avatars, representatives of something bigger than themselves. They are us.

The Olympics matter.

As much as I love the Olympics, however, I confess to being baffled by the Winter Games every four years. The sports are vaguely familiar, but I've never understood exactly how they worked. How do the mysterious judges decide who wins a figure skating showdown? What's all that sweeping about on the curling rink? And wait, was that celebrity endorser Shaun White?

This year I was determined to know more about these sports we will all make a part of our lives. I explored all 15 Olympic sports to find out where they come from, how they work and who to watch.

In addition, Bleacher Report's video team takes you down the slope and onto the ice, using GoPro cameras to put readers directly into the action. Press play to see Ted Ligety fly down the Alpine hill at 75 mph, the American bobsled team slide 20 curves in under a minute, short-track sprinting come to life on J.R. Celski's helmet and John Daly put you on his skeleton sled at speeds faster than any New Yorker has ever driven. You've never seen the Winter Olympics quite like this.

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