What’s Up N London: Sochi Olympics 2014

Posted by | On February 07, 2014 | Leave a comment | Under: Columnists, Columns, Sasha Taylor, What's Up N London

by Sasha Taylor | ARCHIVES

The United Kingdom was a buzz with the brilliant athletic display of the British Olympic team physical prowess at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The British team was made up of athletes from the whole United Kingdom including Northern Ireland, whose athletes may have elected to hold Irish citizenship, allowing them to represent either Great Britain or Ireland.  Additionally, some British overseas territories competed separately from Britain in Olympic competition. A total of 56 athletes competed in 11 sports making it the biggest contingent that Great Britain had sent to a Winter Olympic Games for 26 years.

After 90 years of waiting for Britain’s first ever Olympic medal on snow, Jenny Jones took our breath away in winning Great Britain’s first medal (February 9, 2014) on snow in their Winter Olympic history after finishing third in the women’s slope style.  Lizzy Yarnold won gold (February 14, 2014) in the skeleton. She became the second Briton to win the gold in the event, taking the title from previous Great Britain champion Amy Williams, as well as only the tenth Briton, or British team, to have won Winter Olympic gold. She was elected to be the flag bearer for the closing ceremony.

Ever since the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix in 1924, the closest Britain had previously come to a medal on snow was the fourth-place finish in the slalom by skier Gina Hathorn in Grenoble in 1968. In Salt Lake City in 2002, it looked as if the long wait was over when Alain Baxter won a slalom bronze medal, but weeks later he had to hand it back after testing positive for a banned stimulant.

The women’s curling team gritty performance earned them a bronze medal (February 20, 2014) match against Switzerland 6–5. In doing so, they ensured that Great Britain met its UK Sport medal target of three medals from the Games. Not to be out done, the men’s curling team won (February 19, 2014) their semifinal against Sweden 6–5 and on February 21, 2014, they won the silver medal after being defeated by Canada in the Gold medal match 9-3, but the result still confirmed Great Britain’s most successful Olympics for ninety years by equaling the medal count of the 1924 Winter Olympics.


In the Winter Olympic Cycle running from 2010 to 2014 the UK government body UK Sport allocated a record budget of over ($13-14 million) to fund Team GB for the individual athletes as well as the bobsleigh and curling teams for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The sports receiving the highest funding are bobsleigh, curling and skeleton, whilst speed skating, ski and snowboard, and figure skating also received funding but all other winter sports where British athletes are competing did not receive any funding from the body.

Sochi was selected as the host city in July 2007, during the 119th IOC Session held in Guatemala City. It was the first Olympics in Russia since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Soviet Union was the host nation for the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

A total of 98 events in 15 winter sport disciplines were held during the Games. A number of new competitions—a total of 12 accounting for gender—were held during the Games, including biathlon mixed relay, women’s ski jumping, mixed-team figure skating, mixed-team luge, half-pipe skiing, ski and snowboard slopestyle, and snowboard parallel slalom. The events were held around two clusters of new venues: an Olympic Park constructed in Sochi’s Imeretinsky Valley on the coast of the Black Sea, with Fisht Olympic Stadium, and the Games’ indoor venues located within walking distance, and snow events in theresort settlement of Krasnaya Polyana.
In preparation, organizers focused on modernizing the telecommunications, electric power, and transportation infrastructures of the region. While originally budgeted at US$12 billion, various factors caused the budget to expand to over US$51 billion, surpassing the estimated $44 billion cost of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing as the most expensive Olympics in history.

For the first time in Olympic history, a public vote was held to decide the mascots for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The official mascots were unveiled (February 26, 2014) consisting of a polar bear, a snow hare, and a snow leopard.





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