February 7 marks the beginning of the one-year countdown to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The Games are highly anticipated after a tremendously successful Summer Olympics in London in 2012. Vancouver hosted the last round of Winter Olympics in 2010 and didn’t disappoint by putting on a wonderful display of international competition and cultural diversity.
The Russians, looking to show a positive and prospering image of their society, are sparing no expense for the Games. After China spent $40 million on the 2008 Beijing Games, the Russians are estimated to be shelling out $51 billion, the most in history for an Olympics.
International hockey has had a big spike in exposure after the NHL lockout propelled several of its stars to play overseas. KHL, the Russian-based international hockey league, was the destination for most of those stars.
“We have the Olympics in Sochi next year. It’s the main event,” KHL board member Valery Kamensky said, according to Sportbox.ru. “We all must prepare for it. Everything must be done for our national team to succeed there and take gold medals.”
In 2010 and in the two previous Olympics, the NHL went on hiatus during the games to allow its athletes to compete. The 2014 Games should include NHL players, according to Kamensky.
Despite those comments, there is nothing official from the NHL one way or the other, yet.
While the women’s figure skating events are certainly beautiful and artistic, the speed skating events are definitely more adrenaline-filled and exciting. They have it all too, with 500, 1,000, 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meter events.
It is not just a test of speed but also of endurance and technique. Taking a corner too quickly could find a contender falling tragically out of the competition. It is that anticipation and uncertainty that makes this event so entertaining.
Winter Olympics celebrity Apolo Ohno is still undecided about competing in the Games, but the best in the world will still be competing in the exciting event.
The International Olympic committee has added several new events for the 2014 Games. Let’s take a brief look at these new additions.
Ski slopestyle (men and women), snowboard slopestyle (men and women), parallel special slalom (men and women), ski halfpipe (men and women), women’s ski jumping, biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event and luge team relay will all make their debuts in 2014.
Any time there is a new twist to the Olympics, it is something to pay attention to. The addition of more exciting events seems to be pushing the traditional envelope.
That’s an important development to help keep the attention of a world that is leaning more and more towards extreme sports.