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Sochi Olympics draw record number of TV-viewers worldwide

February 21, 2014, 16:07 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© EPA/Tobias Hase

MOSCOW, February 21. /ITAR-TASS/. The 2014 Winter Olympics, which kicked off in Russia’s Sochi on February 7 and will close this Sunday, are beating all records in terms of television viewers across the globe. According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the overall television audience of the Sochi Olympics hiked by 8% comparing with previous 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada’s Vancouver.

Despite the recent world trend of people switching to Internet from watching television, those who rarely turned on their televisions, did so during the Sochi Olympics to watch live broadcasts. For instance, some 4.1 million people watched the ice hockey match last Saturday between Russia and the United States, broadcast by one of the world’s leading sports channels NBCSN. It had a record number of ice hockey match viewers in the television channel’s history.

This match was broadcast in Russia by Channel One and, according to the TNS international research group, the game drew 44.3% of Russian television viewers at that time or 16.9% of the country’s 140 million population.

Wednesday’s quarterfinal hockey match between Russia and Finland, which the hosts lost and subsequently dropped out of the competition for medals, was also broadcast by Channel One and drew 30% of all television viewers in Moscow at that time (there is still no data on match’s television viewers across Russia).

Olympic Games discussions on social networks ousted all previously most popular topics concerning politics and the rating of the national currency. Most read topics on Internet now comprise heated discussion about whether Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko had the right to withdraw before the individual competition.

Ice hockey fans are posting demands for an investigation into US referee’s decision to disallow a goal scored by Russia against the United States as the US goalkeeper pointed out that the net was off its moorings when the puck hit the top right corner.

Internet discussions concerning the new sensation, which is the gold medal won by Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova in individuals on Thursday, are very optimistic. Her outstanding result of 149.95 points brought an inspiring atmosphere in numerous blogs. The atmosphere is only marred with the performance of the Russian hockey squad.

Russian web-users used to heatedly argue in their blogs about enormous sums of money the government spent on the construction of the Olympic facilities, but such topics disappeared two weeks prior to the opening of the Games as they were replaced by sports discussions.

Sochi residents, who experienced inconvenience during the preparations for the Olympics, forgave the organizers for the past discomfort. “Sometimes there were power outages, sometimes there was no running water. But I was overwhelmed with pride when a torch with the Olympic flame was carried by the side of my house! It was a lump-in-throat feeling and I had tears of joy,” a woman from Sochi wrote in her blog.

Participants and guests of the 2014 Winter Games said that the overall organization of the Olympics left a very festive impression. “We are now four days into the Games and are very satisfied with the way they are unfolding,” IOC President Thomas Bach said during the Games. “In light of the great success so far, I have decided to cancel the regular coordination meetings between the IOC and Sochi 2014.”

“I’ve been speaking to many, many athletes and haven’t heard a single complaint. They know that the best stage has been prepared for the best athletes in the world, so I’m really happy,” Bach said.


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