The Cauldron has been extinguished, the final medal count has been tallied, and jokes have been made at the Closing Ceremony's expense (many, many jokes) -- the 2012 Summer Olympics are officially a thing of the past. Meaning it's time we look ahead at what's next.
Sunday night, London ceremonially passed the Games to the city of Rio de Janeiro, the hosts of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Brazil will be the first-ever South American host, and at just one hour ahead of the Eastern time zone, (hopefully) a tape-delay free Games. But before we get to see how Rio sambas its way into the nightmares of NBC's standards and practices division, the Olympics will visit the Russian winter.
Here's a quick glance at the Olympics schedule and host cities:
- 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia (Feb. 7-23, 2014)
- 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Aug. 5-21, 2016)
- 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea (Feb. 9-25, 2018)
- 2020 Summer Olympics -- Istanbul, Turkey; Madrid, Spain; or Tokyo, Japan. The IOC will announce the host on Sept. 7, 2013.
The bidding proces for the 2022 Winter Olympics has not yet begun, but the United States will not be involved. The U.S. Olympic Committee announced in early July that it would not be competing for the 2022 Games -- the city of Denver was hoping to host -- but will instead focus its efforts on landing either the 2024 or 2026 Games.
Looking ahead to 2016, Sochi is a resort town in Krasnodar Krai, on the border of Russia and Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea. Sochi was selected over Salzburg, Austria, and PyeongChang, and in having its bid accepted, will mark Russia's first time hosting the Games (the 1980 Winter Olympics were in the Soviet Union). It's already attracting negative attention for its human rights issues, a topic that we've been able to avoid with Vancouver and London.
For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics Hub.