Welcome to our series of posts about Sochi 2014. We hope you're all as excited as we are here at Ellis Brigham - with only 3 months to go, we're already getting hyped for the World's biggest snowsports event!
Serious extreme snowsports fans and newcomers alike will have a lot to get excited about as the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics begin to take shape. Traditional favourites will be showcased throughout the duration of events and celebrations, as well as a few events that have finally been added to the schedule. In all, there are fifteen disciplines in seven game categories for fans to follow.
The cold weather competitions, taking place in Russia's Sochi, will begin in early February of 2014 and span 17 days. From the colourful and popular opening ceremony on 7 February, to the official closing on 23 February, the world will be watching for their country's representative athletes to place in the finals and bring home the gold.
Some preliminary events will begin on Thursday, 6 February, ahead of the official opening the following day, so be sure to watch for figure skating, snowboarding and freestyle skiing to begin on that date.
All freestyle skiing and snowboarding events will take place in a brand new venue called Rosa Khutor Extreme Park built specifically for the 2014 Games. Events will include Cross Country, Freestyle, Snowboarding, Ski Jumping, Alpine and Nordic Combination.
The Big Names
Although all athletes who make the cut to represent their countries in the Olympic Games are worthy of attention (especially our UK skiers and snowboarders), some are bound to stand out within their field of competitors. Keeping track of their progress makes things interesting for everyone, no matter which country you're supporting.
One of the most exciting events for spectators is freestyle skiing, and with the introduction of Slopestyle and Halfpipe to the 2014 Games, competition should be tough as the world's top freeskiers push their skillset to the next level.
Women's freestyle fans will be closely watching the USA's Hannah Kearney. If she does well she may go down in history as the most decorated female freeskier. She will be looking for a minimum of one gold medal in Sochi.
Kearney previously achieved gold in freestyle moguls at Ruka in 2005, a bronze at 2009 Inawashiro in dual moguls, one silver and one bronze in dual moguls at Deer Valley in 2011, and another gold medal at 2010 Vancouver in moguls.
Kearney's closest competition includes Kari Traa of Norway. Traa, winner of multiple international titles, will be tough to beat. Her specialty is aerials and she has shown a great deal of creativity in her runs. Janne Lahtela, Finland, will be another strong competitor in women's freestyle having won gold and silver medals in Salt Lake City, USA, and Nagano, Japan.
In men's freestyle, the world's eyes will be on Dale Begg-Smith representing Australia as a firm favourite in the moguls events. He is also well known for his mysterious disappearance in the summer of 2013 and his generous humanitarian efforts as a philanthropist. In November of 2013 he was named the most successful athlete in moguls events, following his previous title of youngest freestyle skier in moguls in the history of the sport. He is known as a superior extreme sports athlete and should place well in the upcoming Sochi Games.
Snowboarders to watch
The Olympic Committee has given spectators yet another great reason to watch throughout the course of the Games. Two additional events - Slopestyle and Halfpipe have been added to the snowboarding category to expand the number of spectacular competitions.
Snowboard favourites include the reliable Shaun White and Kelly Clark.
The USA's Shaun White is, once again, a favourite in the men's halfpipe event. Love him or hate him, Shaun already has a trophy cabinet that other mere mortals can but dream of. His hoard includes two Olympic gold medals, one for Torino in 2006 and one in Vancouver 2010, plus 17 Winter X-Games awards, twelve of them gold, and 6 gold Winter Dew Tour medals. When Shaun unleashed his signature 'Tomahawk' trick at Vancouver 2010, no one else stood a chance! You can watch the video here.
In the women's snowboard events, Kelly Clark will undoubtedly be representing the USA. Having achieved gold medals in 2002 Salt Lake City and Vancouver in 2010, Clark has stepped up to the podium on many other competitions and was a nominee for an ESPY in 2012 in the Female Action Sports Athlete of the year category.
The 2014 Sochi Olympics will officially begin with the ceremonial well-travelled torch leading the opening festivities. The relay has not only encompassed the globe as usual; it has been taken to the International Space Station to be passed among people of several nations and for a walk in space with Russian cosmonauts!
With an out-of-this-world build up, we can only expect big things this winter...