As most people know, the Winter Olympics are due to begin on February 7, in Sochi, Russia! As a Canadian, and an admirer of winter sports my fondest hope is that we bring in a big haul of medals. Big haul aside, the thing to remember is that what counts most in any sports is the spirit of sportsmanship and that which is to be most honored is the sweat, blood and tears of the athletes who have been preparing for four years now to represent their countries! This is a heartening thought :)!!!
With 221 members (121 men and 100 women) named to the 2014 Olympic Team, the Sochi games will see the largest Canadian delegation in the history of the Winter Olympic Games. 202 athletes represented Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Canada is expected to field an entry in 93 of the 98 events in Sochi.
As we wait for the games to begin here are some historical facts worth knowing about the Winter Olympics!
The Winter Olympic Games are a major international sporting event that occurs every four years. The first Winter Olympics were held in the French town of Chamonix, in 1924. The original sports were alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating. The Games were held every four years from 1924 until 1936, after which they were interrupted by World War II, and resumed in 1948.
The Winter Games have evolved since their inception. Sports have been added and some of them, such as luge, short track speed skating and freestyle speed skating have earned a permanent spot on the Olympic program.
The Winter Olympics have been hosted on three continents, but never in a country in the southern hemisphere. The United States has hosted the Games four times; France, three times; Austria, Canada, Japan, Italy, Norway and Switzerland have hosted the Games twice. This year, Sochi is the first Russian city to host the Winter Olympics. The IOC has selected Pyeongchang, South Korea, to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.
With their mind-boggling 51 billion-dollar budget, the Sochi games are being recorded as the most expensive ever, and one hopes that this is only because of the excessive security being deployed there. I personally believe that serious efforts must be made to cut the exorbitant budgets of the Summer and Winter Olympics and IMHO*, a sincere attempt must be made to focus on the games and the athletes, instead of all the related drama and frills that countries are using and resorting to, to show political muscle and power!
*IMHO — In My Humble Opinion