This year in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Team GB have the chance to become the most successful Winter Olympics ever, targetting 3-7 medals this year.
The last time Britain managed to win 3 medals at the Winter Olympics was in 1936. Since then there have been magical moments including Torvill and Dean’s magnificent Bolero, and Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards’ extravagant efforts in the ski jumping. The team have been targeted to win between 3-7 medals by UK Sport and they are on track to do so.
Britain’s most likely medal hope brought GB its only medal in Vancouver 2010, in the skeleton. Amy Williams, who was the sole success story of GB’s Winter Olympics last time out, shall not be competing in Sochi, but the team she has retired from are more than capable of picking up a medal or two. Shelley Rudman won a silver medal in Turin 2006 and will be hoping to go one better in Sochi in what will probably be her last games. Rudman is not the most likely Brit to win a medal, however, as Lizzy Yarnold was this years overall World Cup winner. While Rudman finished 3rd, Yarnold, the 25 year old from Kent, could and should be standing on the podium on Valentines day.
Curling has been perplexingly popular event amongst British viewers for many years. This popularity looks set to increase after this year, as both the women’s and the men’s teams have strong hopes for a medal. Both teams, each represented by 5 Scots, are in fine form – the men winning bronze at last years World Championships, while the women took home the gold. Similar to the in-game tactics, qualifying for the latter rounds of the curling at the games is a long process. The round-robin process involves all twelve teams playing each other, before the semi-finals and medal matches can commence. Great Britain are expected to be competing at those medal matches, at the very least.
Britain also have an outside chance of scoring medals in the men’s four man Bobsleigh, Freestyle skiing and short track Speed Skating, as well as in slope-style Snowboarding – in which Bradford competitor Jamie Nicholls sealed a surprise place in the finals after an incredible run in the preliminary rounds.
Elsewhere around the world, summer Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones came 4th in London 2012 in the 100m, but will be competing in Sochi as part of the American Bobsleigh team. The biggest story in Bobsleigh, however, has been the social networking sensation surrounding the qualification of Jamaica’s team. Expect plenty of wry smiles and puns based on the Disney comedy ‘Cool Runnings’ throughout, the classic which told the story of the Caribbean island’s exploits at the 1988 Calgary winter games.
Finally, for the first time in Winter Olympic history, women’s Ski Jumping will be competed, 90 years after the first men’s competition. Following celebrity winter sports show ‘The Jump’, it will be nice to see some ski jumping that isn’t presented by Davina McCall.
Images courtesy of the BBC and Daily Mail