The countdown is on.
There are only a few days left until the 2014 Winter Olympics begin. And it’s time to start getting excited.
It’s no secret that in Australia, the Winter Olympics don’t get nearly as much attention as the Summer Olympics. And it’s kind of understandable, considering that:
a) the majority of the population have probably never even seen snow, and;
b) they’re always on during one of our warmest months of the year, and it’s kind of hard to get involved in bobsledding and freestyle skiing when it’s +30 degrees outside and you’re eating your third Zooper Dooper for the day.
Seriously, though – this is THE year to get involved in the Winter Olympics, as we have a ridiculously strong Australian team representing us in Russia this year.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this week’s Sport on Saturdays is sponsored by Female For Life. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
Here are the facts:
– This is the 22nd Winter Olympic Games, and will be held in Sochi, Russia (pronounced Soh-chee). It’s located in the Krasnodar Region in the south of Russia, near the border they share with Georgia.
– Contrary to popular belief, it’ll actually be pretty warm there – your average February temperature in Sochi is about eight degrees.
– Events will be divided up into “ice” events and “skiing and sliding” events. The first block of events will be held near the Black Sea in the Imeretinskaya Valley. The second block of events will be held in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains, where organisers have been saving snow since last winter. There are 11 new venues in total, costing organisers a casual $51 billion.
– 6000 athletes from 85 different countries will be competing. Following the Olympic Games, the Paralympic games will commence, with 1650 athletes from 45 countries competing.
– The games run for 17 days in total.
– There are 15 sports in total, and 89 events (12 of which are new this year). For more information about the events and scheduling, click here.
– This is the first year in which women are allowed to compete in ski jumping, after a long process of campaigning for it to be something other than a male-only sport.
– Safety is a concern at the Olympics, especially after a bombing in December that killed more than 30 people in the nearby city of Volgograd. However, no athletes have yet to pull out of the games.
– The views of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, have also been the subject of hot debate in the lead-up to the games. This is because of Russia’s anti-gay laws, which criminalise displays of same-sex affection in public places. In mid-January, Putin prompted outrage when he said that gay people would not be harassed or discriminated against during the Olympics, provided that they “leave children alone”.