We work up a sweat at the gym (a lot), like a long bike ride and a fast run and if we get the chance to try something new, we’re always up for it. When it comes to Winter Sports, we’re classic snowboarders and skiers…. We love the thrill of the slopes (and the Apres ski) but like so many others, when it comes to the awesome range of activities that are being showcased right now in the Winter Olympics, we’re in turn super inspired and mildly flummoxed.
Olympic-mania has (as always) crept up on us. We began by not realising it was actually happening, then caught a bit of ski jumping on the Beeb whilst idly channel hopping. Then we couldn’t resist tuning in for the drama of the figure skating and now we’re fully hooked, watching everything from snowboarding to skeleton and we’ve been wearing our Big Crocodile Ski, Ice Hockey and Snowboarder print tops non-stop. Part of the appeal is the speed and daring which these fearless athletes showcase, part is the artistry and madcap behaviour, part is the BBCs excellent coverage, and part is the crazy collection of activities which you never hear of outside this fabulous fortnight of snowy sports.
If however you’re just starting to really get into the swing of things and you could do with a handy summary of what’s going on before you settle down for a weekend of winter sport spectating, then you’ve come to the right place.
(For up to the minute, well informed, quality reporting of the wondrous Winter Olympics, head to the BBC sport website, the picture above is from there.)
It’s happening in PyeongChang, the Capital of South Korea. It started on the 9th Feb and finishes on the 25th. There are 102 events across 15 sports; the familiar alpine, freestyle and cross country skiing, ski jumping, snowboarding, bobsleigh, ice hockey, figure skating and speed skating plus the more niche* luge, curling, skeleton, biathlon and Nordic combined. There are 2.925 athletes representing 90 nations.
Your handy glossary of niche* events:
Biathlon- Cross country skiing with guns (yes, really)
Nordic combined - A fearless blend of cross country skiing and ski jumping
Luge- The one where you slide round a track on a toboggan really fast, feet first
Curling - Skittles on ice (with someone sweeping up around you)
Skeleton - The one where you slide round a track on a toboggan really fast, lying on your tummy and head first
Mostly to Norway, Germany, Netherlands and Canada so far but Great Britain have bagged a bronze (courtesy of Dom Parsons in the men’s skeleton) and we have our fingers officially crossed for a medal or two in the curling, skiing, snowboarding and bobsleigh (because apparently we’re in with a chance).
Some of our favourite ‘ones to watch’ from Team GB are:
Elise Christie (Short Track Speed Skater). Elise began the games with a dramatic crash in the 500m but she’s still on track for possibly picking up a medal in the 1000 or 1500m races.
Lizzy Yarnold (Skeleton). After winning gold last time around, Lizzy is defending her title this year.
Dave Ryding (Alpine Skiing). At 31 Dave is older than your average competitor, but is ranked in the world top 10 so has some real potential of bringing home some bling.
Eve Muirhead (Curling). After captaining the the women’s curling team and winning Bronze last time around, she’ll have her eye on a bigger prize this time.
Back to the whistle-stop Winter Olympics Tour, and if you want to wow your friends with your knowledge of who has shone so far, here are some of our heroes:
Red Gerard (Snowboarding). The 17 year old from the US won the first gold medal of 2018 and won everyone’s hearts when he accidentally said something thoroughly inappropriate on tv.
Simen Hegstad Krueger (Cross Country Skiing). After suffering a bad crash he still went on to smash the 30km skiathlon by eight whole seconds and won gold for Norway.
Chloe Kim (Snowboarding). An amazing performance meant USA’s Chloe won the gold medal, despite only eating half a sandwich for breakfast.
Aliona Savchenko & Bruno Massot (figure skating). With outfits that were very similar to the great Torvill & Dean’s, these German figure skaters got the highest score ever for their free skating.
Apart from being a big fan of Big Crocodile’s hand knitted hats, she’s also awesome on the half pipe and although she didn’t make the final team this year because of injury, we’re still sending her (and her woolly hat) a massive high five.
If you’re heading to the pub this evening and know that the conversation is likely to turn to the Winter Olympics, you’re now fully equipped with some quotable soundbites on the current state of play - even if you haven’t watched a minute of it. If you’re canning the pub so you can watch the Olympics on the telly, why not send us a selfie and let us know who you’re rooting for?
If you’re feeling fully inspired by all the snow, skis and skating then you should probably consider getting kitted out in some suitably themed gear.
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