So Sochi’s nearly here, and I am so very excited about it (although the UK advert for it is absolutely terrible. The rhymes sound like they were written by a 5 year old). First things first, The Jamaican bobsleigh team has scraped through qualification for the first time since 2002. The Cool Runners are back at the Olympics after getting the very last qualifying spot. They were 39th at the end of the qualifying period, with 30 teams qualifying, but 9 sleds were deemed ineligible due to their nations reaching the maximum number of entries, so Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon crept in by the skin of their teeth. They could write a film about it or something.
So what else should you watch when we finally get to Sochi? Curling, obviously, gets my vote, as does ice hockey. For those familiar with football, you’ll see all the same things, but 5 times faster. Watching a team break out on the counterattack is spectacular, and just as incredible is the effort the defence put in to get in the way, literally as often as figuratively.
Slopestyle snowboarding is new to the Olympics this year, and it is AWESOME. If you’ve ever played one of the SSX games, that’s basically what it is. Competitors go down a mountain doing flips and tricks, grinding rails and pulling some sweet air, and are judged on the style and difficulty of their run by a panel. Here’s a video, or you could grab the Xbox and do a couple of runs down Snowdream. http://mpora.com/videos/AAdfkie57t2d
Short track speed skating is great to watch, and there’s British interest in the form of Elise Christie. You can also follow Lizzy Yarnold and Shelley Rudman in the skeleton, though you’ll spend most of your time wondering why anyone sane would do that. All in all, ice is what’s hot right now.