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Dark mornings, bitterly cold weather, new year’s resolutions that have already failed and coursework coming out of your ears; the winter season can be grim. Some would tell you though, that the extremities Winter brings us actually make it the most exciting season of all. Those people are Olympians who are all set for a trip to Sochi in Russia for the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics (February 7th – February 23rd) and Paralympics (March 7th – March 16th).
In contrast to the Summer Olympics, the Winter games are full of much more extreme sports where the adrenaline junkies go head to head to conquer the slopes and master the ice. The competition involves 15 sports, much less than in the summer but full of just as much variety. Firstly, we have our skiers and it’s not all about weaving between those gates at full speed. The ski events this year are Alpine Skiing, Freestyle, Ski Jump and Cross Country along with those that like to take on more than one of those in the Nordic Combined and Biathlon, which combines skiing with shooting.
Snowboarding also takes place on the slopes and is worth watching, especially with some medal hopes for Team GB.
Secondly, there are those that aren’t fazed by a slippy surface in Ice Hockey, Curling, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, and Short Track Speed Skating. Finally, if speed is what thrills you the most, be sure to catch the Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Bob that truly challenge your nerves.
If you think the ones that take on these challenging events are brave, there are ones that certainly see no limits when it comes to taking on white knuckle sports in the Paralympics. This will be taking place in March and with sports such as Wheelchair Curling and Ice Sledge Hockey that are hard to imagine, it is definitely not to be missed.
As you can see, the Winter games are not short of excitement; you are guaranteed to be on the edge of your seat for the best part of two weeks.
For those of you who are thinking “what’s the point in all this excitement if there are no British medal hopes?” – brace yourselves for a mountain of talent.
Racing down the ice track in the four man bobsled will be John Jackson, who has recovered well from injury and is set to succeed on February 23rd.
In Curling, Eve Muirhead and Dave Murdoch have both done Scotland extremely proud recently and should shine in their home sport.
Over on the half pipe, we have high hopes for James Woods and Katie Summerhayes who have both set incredible records in the sport and finally in the snowboarding keep your eyes peeled for Billy Morgan and Jenny Jones, who makes her Olympic debut this year.
If all this isn’t already making you more eager for February to arrive than ever before, the cultural events that are in store in the stunning city of Sochi will certainly boost your mood. Situated on the Black Sea coast bordering Georgia, it is Russia’s largest resort city. With its subtropical climate and stunning Stalinist architecture, it never fails to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. During the games, the city will be providing endless entertainment for spectators that will present the very best of Russian culture. Some things to look forward to include never ending musical performances from Jazz to opera, museum exhibitions and ballet. The Olympics is as much about discovering the wonders of our world as it is about sport, so be sure to check out the diverse entertainment taking place from start to finish.
The rest of the Winter Olympic tale of 2014 remains unwritten, but let’s hope it brings Team GB much success and most of all, enjoy the thrills and nail biting moments that this superb event consistently delivers.