As Sochi finishes its technological face-lift in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics beginning on Thursday, Feb. 6, and athletes make their final training sessions in their respective events, it’s time to preview the events and athletes who promise to make the 22nd installment of the winter games not only memorable, but historic.
Of particular note are two events that are remarkable, albeit for very different reasons, are the women’s ski jump and the two-man bobsleigh event.
The women’s ski jump marks the first time that the games will feature the female version of the jump, after a long and hard fought battle led by the United States.
The ski jump is an extraordinarily intense event, as skiers race down a lengthy ramp with the goal of flying as far and landing as smoothly as possible.
Judges award scores for the event based on the distance of the jump, the style (or smoothness of the jump), and a highly complex formula that is used to determine the run length and wind conditions and adjusts the score for how those factors change throughout the event.
This event is one of the more dangerous in the games, which alone lends it must watch status, but it is also one of the most beautiful.
Couple that with the historic nature of the inaugural women’s ski jump inclusion and we have an event that will surely be a highlight of the winter games.
Watch for Lindsey Vann to step up big in this event.
The two-man bobsleigh event is must watch TV for a different reason. The event will feature a Jamaican bobsled team for the first time since the 2002 games. Cue the “Cool Runnings” soundtrack.
This team had to fund raise to get to the games after qualifying. A Cincinnati doctor, Dr. Tim McCrossen, who was a member of the USA bobsled team in 1994, provided major funding for the Jamaican team who was going to be unable to make it to the games until McCrossen stepped in.
Obviously, any time a Jamaican bobsled team makes it to the winter games it promises to be entertaining, thanks to Walt Disney Pictures.
Another event to watch for that has been a popular high thrill event in the X-Games is the freestyle skiing half pipe, which has been added to the Olympics for the first time for both men and women.
This event has gained worldwide attention in the snowboarding world, thanks in large part to the celebrity of Shaun White who has dominated the event for years. It’s an event that is an exciting display of aerial acrobatics for both boarders and skiers, and it will be fun to see how skiing lives up to the bill this year.
Look for American Aaron Blunck to be a frontrunner in the men’s side of this event.
Finally, another new event to watch for in this February’s games is the Biathlon Mixed Relay. Skis, guns, teams comprised of both men and women and an event that has been in existence for less than a year all make for promising entertainment.
In this event, women ski three laps of 6 kilometers while relaying with men who ski three laps of 7.5 kilometers, and every member has to shoot for two rounds (one prone and one standing).
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics get things kicked off Thursday with men’s slope style snowboarding, and all events throughout the games can be viewed on laptop, tablet or smartphone through NBC’s new free live sports streaming service.
This year’s games promise to be an exciting and historic mixture of old and new, with both athletes and events setting the table with fantastic storylines to watch for, as history will be made with each medal earned in the snowy Russian city of Sochi.