It’s long been the case that countries hosting large international events will come under a fair amount of strife, and really events don’t get much bigger than the Olympics. Google Sochi and your screen will swiftly fill up with startling headlines about protest zones, spies and journalists being arrested, leaving you thinking that you’d mistakenly run a search on the history of Russian conflict.
The main offender of this contention has been the highly controversial law Russia passed over the summer banning gay ‘propaganda’. Both Olympic countries and individual athletes have voiced strong opinions over the issue, while it’s also attracted opinions from the wider media.
Lady Gaga made her view on the matter very clear whilst being interviewed by Alan Carr. “I don’t think that we should be going to the Olympics at all,” she stated before urging Tom Daley not to compete: “I hate saying that, because I’m so excited for those like Tom Daley to go and to win and to rejoice”. This is perhaps when Alan Carr should have interrupted and pointed out that diving isn’t actually in the Winter Olympics.
But putting politics aside for a moment, we’ve decided to turn our attention to the athletes. As the qualifying cut off is getting increasingly closer it is throwing up some pretty interesting stories, so here are a few of them to whet your Olympic appetite.