All Women's Talk

7 Events to Watch in the 2014 Winter Olympics ...

By Neecey

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia have attracted headlines for reasons other than sports, but I’m sure they will be remembered for their events and performances than the pre-games political furor. I hope that the AWS readers will be tuning in to enjoy! I personally believe we are moving away from the notion that not many women enjoy sports, and I think an awful lot of that has to do with the fact that women are playing more sports and there are top female athletes across all disciplines – even those considered to be male bastions. I love sports and the major events like the World Cups and Olympics give me a chance to wave my Union Jack panties high in the air at British success. They’re washed and ready and waiting to be waggled in glee as I watch the 2014 Winter Olympics. These are some of the events in Sochi I will be following.

1 Women’s Skeleton Bob

Women’s Skeleton BobTerrifying! But, I bet it’s an absolute thrill too. This is definitely one of the events at the 2014 Winter Olympics I will be glued to the TV for. The skeleton bob is a single person event where the rider hurtles at breakneck speed down the bobsleigh track on nothing more than a tea tray on blades. Not to be confused with the luge where the rider lies on their back and goes feet first, in the skeleton, the rider lies on the stomach and goes head first. The reason I’ll be watching, other than for the performance aspect, is that Brit Lizzy Yarnold is a serious contender as the current World Cup Champion. But, she faces serious competition from teammate Shelly Rudman who is the current World Champion. GB has great pedigree in this event because Amy Williams took gold in Vancouver’s Winter Olympics 2010. Go Team GB!

2 Ski-Jumping

Ski-JumpingTo see a human in full flight after launching themselves off a really high slope with nothing but a pair of skis attached to their feet is a beautiful thing. It is probably the closest man will ever get to natural unassisted flight. And just how do they glide to reach distances in excess of 100m? Not only that, but then they land perfectly (99% of the time) and upright before gliding gracefully to a stop. Many nations will have entrants but the BBC website says that the name to watch for is 16 year old Japanese schoolgirl, Sara Takanashi, in what will be the inaugural women’s Olympic ski jump competition.

3 Ice Hockey

Ice HockeyIf you want fast, hard hitting action, you really can’t pass up on the ice hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics. It’s not a sport I choose to watch regularly and it’s not really that popular in the UK, but there’s just a special frisson of national rivalry and pride that the Olympics fosters that makes the ice hockey gripping. It seems that everyone forgets they are now friends and neighbors as the old adversaries of USA, Canada, Russia and the Czech Republic seek to settle scores and dominant the rink. NHL superstar Alex Ovechkin will be hoping to spur his Russian teammates to victory (by special request of Russian President Putin!)

4 Curling

CurlingEvery 4 years, a strange sport gets a public outing and leaves most of the audience scratching their heads. If you were to calmly explain with a straight face that curling is a sport where you launch stones down a ice track and sweep the way to get the best position, would it be taken seriously? Probably not, but how in the days before TV and the Internet, were the people in ice bound lands meant to amuse themselves? Joking aside, it is not what we can call thrilling, and it isn’t the greatest spectator sport, but we do have to admire the skill of the precision with which the curlers release their stones. I’m going to get all patriotic and be firmly behind the GB team lead by Eve Muirhead who stand a good chance of getting on the podium.

5 Speed Skating

Speed SkatingFrom the serenity and precision of the curling to the blistering speed of the short track skating – they couldn’t be any more different. Where curling relies on patience and precision, the short track speed skaters depend on their power, prowess and ability to start like a finely tuned sports car to achieve maximum velocity. On blades! On ice! On a circular track! Speed skaters are tough and they take no prisoners as they jostle each other for position to cross the line first. This is a high octane sport and great if you like plenty of action in short bursts.

6 Freestyle Ski-ing

Freestyle Ski-ingWhile I appreciate the skills of the alpine skiers as they navigate tight corners, jumps and slalom gates, I can’t help but gasp and ooh and aah at the amazing tricks of the freestyle skiers and this is another of the events of the 2014 Winter Olympics I will be watching. On tracks filled with humps and bumps, freestyle skiers throw somersaults, flips, jumps and turns. It’s almost like an aerial ballet. I’m not going to get technical because I know so little about it, but there are various classes of freestyle skiing, including moguls, slope style and half pipe (I think). Just watch the fantastic acrobatics and see for yourself. There are similar events for snowboarders too.

7 Figure Skating

Figure SkatingWe Brits tune into the ice skating every Olympic Games in the hopes that a new Torvill and Dean will emerge. Sadly, a nation’s hopes are dashed every time. What we are treated to though are amazing skaters weaving their balletic dances. If you’ve ever been ice skating, you’ll know hard it is just keeping your balance yet here are people leaping meters in the air, doing triple toe-loops, double lutzes, toe steps and heaven knows whatever else the incredible moves are called, and then when it comes to the pairs, things are even more thrilling as lifts and throws join the mix too. All eyes will be on South Korean Yuna Kim, the current Olympic Champion who is looking to end her career (at age 23!) on a high by retaining the gold medal.

I do hope that you snow and ice sport virgins will tune in to watch some of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Why not give it a look – you may be inspired by the amazing athletes to take up a new hobby. Will you be watching and cheering on your country?

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