Written by By Seth Cohn, CNN
In any winter Olympic year, the International Ski Federation (FIS) describes them as the "Ultimate Event." "Downhill" is arguably the most hotly contested discipline of any Olympic Games, the only event where the host nation plays a significant role in determining the winner, a split decision.
Not every country is represented in Sochi, however, and for the first time in history, not even Russia is in the running for downhill gold. The country has taken a strong lead position as the host nation, won more medals at the opening ceremony than any other nation and is already on the medal podium in Alpine Skiing.
However, the next European winter Olympics will be in Los Angeles, meaning Sochi has been taken away from Russia, whose track record in downhill has been exceptional. Sochi was a cauldron of fun and invigorating thrills for ski racers, but the preparations for the 2018 Games were marred by Sochi organizing committee, Russia for having left snow - a statement that was immediately criticized by mountain expert Chris Warburton.
What happens now?
As in other disciplines of Alpine Skiing, Austria, Italy and Germany are currently dominating international competition.
Alpine Skiing will be held in Japan's Sapporo between Feb. 8 and 25, 2018.
While the Turin Winter Olympics did not have this mega event, since Russia for hosting the Olympics is allowed to reserve the men's downhill course as preparation for the Turin games, men's downhill will return to the Olympics after a 50-year absence at the 2020 Tokyo games. The USA (2010) and Norway (2006) have participated in men's downhill since 1964, and currently reign supreme.
What about Russia's highly anticipated PyeongChang bid for hosting the 2024 Olympic games? As gold-winning skier Maria Komissarova puts it, "All my success is first because I'm not an angel, because when it comes to training, I put everything into it. That's my main task... We don't have a lottery where we just luck out."
Still, gold-winning super combined skier Julia Mancuso remains optimistic about Russia's chances for hosting the 2030 Olympics. "My involvement in the bid isn't for me to decide, it is to be an example of somebody that is having the return on investment and the return on investment that will last beyond these Games in economic growth and in what you're going to do to build a legacy."