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Winter Games style guide distributed by AP

Visitors pose in front of the Olympic rings at the 2014 Winter Olympics Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The Olympics begin Feb. 7th. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Olympic rings
Visitors pose in front of the Olympic rings at the 2014 Winter Olympics Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. The Olympics begin Feb. 7th. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The AP Standards Center today issued the following advisory to editors at our member news organizations.

To help with spellings and usage in coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics, The Associated Press compiled an editorial style guide of essential terms, spellings and definitions. Some terms are from the AP Stylebook: Others are used in AP sports stories or contributed by Stephen Wilson, AP’s Olympics beat writer.


Sochi Winter Olympics
Dates: Feb. 7-23.

Nations: more than 80 national teams will compete.

Athletes: around 3,000.

Medal events: 98. 


Sochi Games facts and figures
Sports: 15

Eight on ice: bobsled, curling, figure skating, hockey, luge, skeleton, speedskating, short track speedskating.

Seven on snow: Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, snowboarding.

New events: 12, including women’s ski jumping, ski halfpipe and ski and snowboard slopestyle races. Others include biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event, luge team relay and snowboard parallel slalom.

Within stories, lowercase the events: e.g., halfpipe, men’s downhill, women’s slalom, men’s figure skating, women’s luge, two-man bobsled, men’s skeleton.


Some winter sports terms
hockey: face off (v.), faceoff (n. and adj.); power play, power-play goal; goalie or goaltender; penalty box; red line; short-handed; slap shot; hat trick.

figure skating: double axel; triple flip-triple toe loop; triple Lutz.

freestyle skiing: halfpipe, moguls, aerials.

Alpine skiing: giant slalom, super-G, downhill,

bobsled: women’s bob; two-man bob; four-man bob

cross-country skiing: freestyle sprint, classical-style event; 10-kilometer race, also abbreviated 10km or 10K.


Host city
Sochi, population 350,000, is a subtropical resort on the Black Sea, where ice events will be held at new indoor arenas at the Olympic Park.

Skiing events are in the mountains 45 minutes away. The area is on the edge of the Caucasus region, where insurgents are seeking to create an Islamic state and have threatened to attack the games.

Sochi is the first Russian city to host the Winter Olympics. Moscow staged the 1980 Summer Olympics, boycotted by the U.S. and other countries to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The Sochi Olympics are the 22nd Winter Games, which began in 1924 in Chamonix, France.

Cost: $51 billion, the most expensive in history, summer or winter, and more than three times the budget of the 2012 London Summer Games. Pricetag includes roads, tunnels, railways, as well as indoor arenas and ski facilities.


A total of 98 gold medals will be handed out to individuals and teams.

The medals designed by the hosts feature a patchwork quilt design representing the different regions of Russia. The medals depict the sun’s rays reflecting through a prism of snowy mountains and sandy beaches.

Counting medals use singular: e.g., six gold, 10 silver and 15 bronze

AP medal tables:   In the U.S., standings are compiled by the total number of medals per team: gold, silver and bronze. Internationally, the medals table is recognized by the number of gold medals, rather than total.


Sochi mascots
A snow leopard, a polar bear and a hare.


Olympic terms
Olympic Park: site of five new indoor arenas for ice sports and the 40,000-seat Olympic Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held.

Olympic Village, capitalized, or athletes village, lower case. Sochi has three Olympic Villages. The main village is located adjacent to the Olympic Park on the coast. The mountain village is located 3,600 feet (1,100 meters) above sea level near the ski, snowboard and sliding events. A smaller village is located near the biathlon venue, 4,700 feet (1,450 meters) above sea level.

Olympic flame and torch relay: the Olympic flame was lit in Ancient Olympia, Greece, on Sept. 29, 2013, and traveled 40,000 miles (65,000 kilometers) across Russia _ and into space and under water _ to arrive for the opening ceremony Feb. 7. The torch will light the Olympic cauldron at the stadium and burn until the closing ceremony Feb. 23.


Games symbols and culture
Olympic rings: five interlocking rings (blue, yellow, black, green and red) symbolizing the five continents.

Olympic motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger).

Olympic Charter: code of rules and principles governing the International Olympic Committee and Olympic movement.

Olympism: IOC term for the philosophy of sport, culture and education behind the Olympic movement.

Olympic hymn or anthem played at opening and closing ceremony. Composed by Spyridon Samaras with lyrics by Greek poet Kostis Palamas, the hymn has been played at both ceremonies at each Olympics since 1960.

Olympic oath: a solemn promise to abide by the rules in the spirit of sportsmanship. Recited by one athlete and one judge or referee at the opening ceremony on behalf of all the athletes and all officials.


Sochi names and acronyms
IOC: International Olympic Committee. Either the full term or abbreviation is acceptable on first reference, but use full title in the story.

IOC President Thomas Bach

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of the Sochi organizing committee.

See “Russian names” entry in the AP Stylebook for guidance on transliterations into English.

International sports federations. All Olympic sports are run by separate federations. Avoid abbreviation IF; use international federation or governing body.

NOC: national Olympic committee. In news stories, avoid the abbreviation and use national Olympic committees or national bodies.


Spellings and usage
Capitalize games when attached to the host city or year: the Sochi Games and the 2014 Games.

When standing alone, spell games lowercase: The games open Feb. 7.

Olympics or Olympic Games are always capitalized: Winter Olympics and Summer Olympics. Each is staged every four years, but two years apart. The next Summer Games is 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Olympic (adj. without s) is always capitalized: Olympic gold medal, Olympic host city, Olympic flame, etc.

Olympian is any athlete who has been to the Olympics.

Join AP sports journalists for a Twitter #APStyleChat on the Winter Games at 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

To keep in step with Olympic competition, download the AP Mobile news app for iOS or Android, or view the AP Winter Games microsite, which has been embedded on hundreds of websites of AP member newspapers and broadcasters.  The microsite gathers the latest news, as well as photo galleries, interactive quizzes, medal counts, schedules of events and more.  


Paul Colford
Director of Media Relations
The Associated Press

Erin Madigan White
Sr. Media Relations Manager
The Associated Press

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