Category Archives: Winter Olympics 2014

Sochi, here we come – The Winter Olympics 2014

By Simon Rea

On the 7th February the Olympic torch arrived in the Russian resort of Sochi, nestled beside the Black Sea, having been carried by 14,000 torch bearers over 65,000 kilometres through 83 states of Russia.  Its arrival marked the start of the 22nd Winter Olympics and the first to be held in Russia.  These Games will be the most compact in Olympic history with two main sites – The Coastal Cluster that includes the 40,000 capacity Fischt Olympic Stadium and the Mountain Cluster 18 miles to the north in the Caucasus Mountains.  The Coastal Cluster will host events such as ice hockey, speed skating and figure skating with the skiing events being held in the Mountain Cluster.

President Putin is hopeful that the twin ‘mega events’, the Winter Olympics of 2014 and the Football World Cup in 2018 will boost the positive image of Russia around the world, just as the Summer Olympics of 2008 and 2012 did for the cities of Beijing and London.  This is a dangerous game to play as amid the terrorist threats, accusations of human rights abuses and restriction of the freedom of expression Russia are also presiding over the most expensive Olympics Games in history.  These Games are expected to cost the Russian taxpayer around £32 billion in comparison to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver that cost £5.3 billion or London 2012 that cost just under £9 billion.  The road between the Mountain and Coastal clusters has cost as much as the budget for the entire 2010 Winter Olympics and led to an opposition Minister enquiring if it was paved with caviar.

The Winter Olympics were first held in Chamonix in 1924 with 250 athletes from 16 Nations. In Sochi there will be over 2500 athletes from 88 different Nations, including Zimbabwe and Togo for the first time, competing in 98 events in 15 different sports.  The first Winter Olympics were dominated by athletes from Norway, Finland, Austria and USA. Medal tables in subsequent Olympics show that this trend has continued with most medals being won by European and North American nations.  It is not too surprising given the shortage of physical resources that there has never been a Winter Olympic medallist from Africa or South America.

Slip sliding away

There have been many memorable moments in Winter Olympics history, such as Torville and Dean’s perfect rendition of Bolero and Herman Maier crashing and landing head first during the downhill skiing in Nagano only to walk away and come back to win gold medals in the giant slalom and Super-G events.  There have been honourable failures, such as Eddie the Eagle soaring to last place in the ski jump and the Jamaican bobsleigh team ending up travelling down the course upside down. 

The most successful winter Olympian is a Norwegian cross-country skier, Bjorn Daehlie, who won 12 medals including 8 golds between 1992 and 1998.  He was reputed to have a VO2 max (measure of aerobic fitness) of 96ml/kg/min which is one of the highest ever recorded.  He was also an athlete of great sportsmanship.  In 1998 he had become aware of a Kenyan skier, Philip Boit, who was competing in the 10k race.  Boit had only been skiing for two years and had excelled at 800 m running. He started training on ski rollers in Kenya before making his way to Finland to try snow for the first time. Boit’s event was won by Daehlie but rather than going directly to the medal ceremony he waited twenty minutes for Boit to finish so he could congratulate him on his achievement.  Apparently Boit informed Daehlie that he should enjoy his moment as he would beat him in Salt Lake City in four years’ time. It started a lifelong friendship and Boit named his first son after the Norwegian champion.

Bringing it back home – who to watch for the medals?

The Russian team are confident of a significant haul of medals to excite their supporters and their biggest hope is the men’s Ice Hockey team which contains several of their sporting icons.  However, Canada are the defending champions in this event and along with the Americans are always very strong. When looking at potential medallists it becomes clear that certain Nations are historically successful in certain events.  For example, Norway dominates cross-country skiing, Austria in ski jumping, Germany in the luge and bobsleigh, the Netherlands in speed skating and USA in snowboarding.  The following athletes are generally viewed as some of those most likely to make it to pinnacle of the podium.

  • Kallie Humphries is the Canadian driver of the two-woman bobsleigh and is reigning Olympic and World Champion. Kallie has been known to develop power for the start by pushing cars in training.
  • Shaun White is an American snowboarder who competes in the halfpipe event.  Known as ‘the flying tomato’ in tribute to his red hair his signature move is the Double McTwist where he rotates through 1260 degrees or 3 1/2 turns.
  • Sara Takenashi is a 16-year old Japanese schoolgirl who is aiming to become the first winner of the women’s ski jump event.  She has the perfect attributes for a ski jumper as she is under 5 foot tall and as a trained ballerina came to the sport with exceptional balance.
  • Felix Loch is the reigning champion in the luge and expected to win again.  In 2010 aged 20 he became the youngest winner of the event that was overshadowed by the death of a Georgian competitor, Nodar Kumaritashvili, during practice for the event.
  • Lizzy Yarnold is the British world champion in the skeleton event.  British sliders have had success in this event during the last three Winter Olympiads and with Yarnold and Shelly Rudman, the silver medallist from 2006, expectations are high.

The British Olympic team are hopeful that this can be their most successful Winter Olympic Games to follow the most successful Summer Olympic Games.  Irrespective of British performances the events, especially those with inherent dangers, are always going to be thrilling.  Added to this the stunning facilities in a magnificent setting the Sochi organising committee are promising a truly memorable Winter Olympics. 


Being an Olympic Parent: the family behind the athlete

By Jessica Pinchbeck

To become an Olympic athlete requires an abundance of hard work, determination, talent and plenty of support. Top athletes typically have teams of coaches, sports scientists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and psychologists working with them around the clock, but at times a simple hug or words of support from mum or dad are invaluable to the athlete. Being an Olympic parent is not an easy job. Aside from the obvious financial and logistical support it’s important to know when to step in and offer emotional support and when to step back and let others take over. For most athletes continued family support is crucial and plays a large part in their success, with many of the London 2012 Team GB athletes attributing their achievements in the games to their parents:

‘You forget your mum and dad are probably more nervous than you … but I just felt so happy I could reward them now and give them back a gold medal for all their help and support down the years. It made me think of how supportive my family had been through the years, how through all the sports I tried they were there pushing me on, driving me to Eton for track or to Birmingham for football. They always gave me everything I needed.”

(Greg Rutherford, 2012 Olympic gold medalist)

In most cases parents are responsible for introducing their children to sport. For example GB Downhill skier Chemmy Alcott began skiing at only 18months old with her first race aged 3 years! Likewise the summer athletics camp Jessica Ennis-Hill’s parents’ saw as ‘cheap childcare’ proved instrumental in her athletic development as did Andy Murray’s frequent visits to the Tennis club where mum, Judy, coached.

As well as introducing their children to activities families provide help to athletes in a variety of ways and Tom Daley remembers his mum and dad showing their support early on in his career:

‘For my Tenth birthday, in May 2004, mum and dad got me a massive trampoline to go in the garden. I could always practise the somersaults and twists I needed for my diving’.

Parents of sporting children can often find themselves providing extensive logistical and financial support which can impact the rest of the family and dominate family time spent together. Louis Smith’s mum Elaine recalls:

‘I made the effort to take Louis to a gym 26 miles from home and was paying up to 100 pounds a week on petrol because I knew it would give him a better chance of success.’

Family support is a crucial factor for most athletes throughout their career however the role of the family and the type of support required changes throughout the athlete’s development. A key researcher in this area is Jean Côté who developed a model of sport participation.

The Sampling Years

Côté labelled a child’s initial stages of involvement in sport ‘the sampling years’ and these are said to occur when children are aged between 6-13 years. During this stage the role of the parents is to provide opportunities for their children to enjoy sport, encouraging all children within the family unit to participate in a range of different sporting activities. It is often within this stage that parents recognise their child is particularly talented in an activity.

‘Lots of people used to tell me how much natural ability she had. And there was one or two people who said she could go a long way in athletics… I was a bit cautious… I suppose I wanted to be protective of Jessica…’

(Alison Powell, mother of Olympic Athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill)

The Specialising Years

As children got older Côté discovered that they tended to become committed to one or two sports. For example Usain Bolt was a keen cricketer as well as a sprinter and Chris Hoy represented Scotland in rowing as a junior before taking up track cycling. At this stage the family start to make a financial and time commitment to their child’s activities and their own interest in the sport begins to grow. At this stage most families tend to still place emphasis on both school and sport achievement. GB ski slopestyle athlete James Woods explains how he had to persuade his parents to agree for him to go to Mayrhofen for two months during his GSCE year, and then to complete his A-levels by email the following season!

Côté also found that within those families where the child athlete had older siblings they often acted as role models to the athlete. Olympic Triathlete Alistair Brownlee jokes, I did pretty much everything first then Jonny copied me like a year later’ and Katie Summerhayes, GB ski slopestyle medal hope, showed the way for younger sister Molly in 2010…Molly and I placed 1st and 2nd at the Brits. Molly is 16 now and just joined the British team programme’. Siblings certainly have a role to play in athletic development although the exact nature of these relationships is still an emerging area of research within sport.

The Investment Years

At around the age of 15, although this can be earlier for some sports such as gymnastics, Côté ‘s research showed that the athlete tends to commit to one sport. At the age of 15 Andy Murray made a big decision, supported by his parents, to move to Spain to enhance his performance and develop a stronger work ethic. Zoe Gillings GB Snowboarder describes how being home schooled helped her to commit to snowboarding as they travelled to the Alps for 6-8 weeks each winter. Research suggests that during these years parents tend to show the greatest interest in their child’s sport. However this dedication can give rise to sibling jealousy, as siblings may resent the time and money that parents have to spend with the athlete in the family.

Family support at this stage also shows parents helping and supporting athletes when they experience setbacks such as injury. GB skier Chemmy Alcott, whose participation in Sochi looked doubtful following a leg break, feels her family played a large part in her recovery:

‘My family are the reason I have the strength to come back and give it one last go. My parents sacrificed so much for me growing up and my mother was a huge driving force behind helping me realise my dreams.’

Following this ‘investment stage’ Côté describes the athlete moving on to face the challenge of maintaining and perfecting their performance. For most athletes the support of their family still features heavily at this stage. Shelley Rudman, GB Skeleton athlete, explains how the support from both her parents and her husband’s parents in looking after her daughter Ella, have been invaluable in the build up to the Games:

‘Kristan and I are both competing, which is different, but we work it really well between us and we rely heavily on our families for support.’


As we can see the recipe for sporting success requires a variety of ingredients, the family, and in particular parents, providing for some athletes one of the most important.  The support offered is unconditional and rarely an easy job, it is one that sees much sacrifice and while the destination may ultimately be success, the journey may have encountered some bumps along the way.  What we can be sure of is that we will see some very proud faces in Sochi, an event which for many will be the culmination of four years very hard work and commitment for both athlete and family.  Undoubtedly one of the most touching moments of the games so far is that of Jenny Jones, who dislikes competing in front of her parents, being reunited with her mum and dad after winning Britain’s first ever medal on snow. Her parents had travelled to Sochi without Jenny knowing and stayed out of her sight until being unable to resist congratulating their daughter following her success. Jones’ mum could be heard to say ‘you’ve never disappointed us’ an illustration of the unconditional support parents often provide.


BBC (2013) ‘Shelley Rudman ‘had skeleton funding cut after pregnancy’ [online] Available from: (Accessed 27 January 2014)

Bell, G. (2013) ‘Chemmy Alcott: The Olympic Interview – ‘Now I want it more’ [online] Available from: (Accessed 21 January 2014)

Bell, G. (2013) ‘Zoe Gillings: The Olympic Interview’ [online] Available from: (Accessed 21 January 2014)

Bell, G. (2013) ‘Katie Summerhayes: The Olympic Interview’ [online] Available from: (Accessed 21 January 2014)

Bell, G. (2013) ‘James woods: The Olympic Interview’ [online] Available from: (Accessed 21 January 2014)

Daley, T. (2012) ‘My Story’ Penguin Books Ltd, The Stand, London.

Lewis, A. (2013) Shelley Rudman on her Sochi hopes and teaching her daughter [online] Available from: (Accessed 21 January 2014)

Maxifuel (2014) ‘The Brownlee Brothers: GB Olympic Gold and Bronze Medalists’ [online] Available from: (Accessed 21 January 2014)

Shivspix (2012) ‘Chemmy Allcott: A race with meaning’ [online] Available at: (Accessed 23 Jan 14)

Injured at the Olympics

By Caroline Heaney

Imagine you have spent the last four years of your life preparing for one special moment, only to have it snatched away from your grasp at the last moment. That scenario can be a reality for the Olympic athlete who sustains an injury before or during the Olympic Games.

Yesterday it was announced that bobsleigh athlete Craig Pickering was returning home from the Winter Olympics without even having stepped on the Sochi bobsleigh track. His exit was the result of a back injury. Pickering stated that he was devestated not to be able to compete in his first Winter Olympics.

Pickering is not alone. Research examining the psychological impact of sports injury shows that the occurence of a sports injury can lead to several negative reactions such as anger, frustration, anxiety and depression.

Some models of psychological reaction to injury even suggest that a sports injury can constitute a form of loss, and for the athlete whose Olympic dream has been crushed by injury this is certainly evident.

A tale of two injuries…

Sport psychology plays an important role in helping the athlete to cope with sports injury. Psychological strategies such as imagery, self talk, goal setting, relaxation and social support have all been shown to aid sports injury rehabilitation. A mentally strong athlete will cope better with injury and grow from the experience.

Pickering’s team mate, bobsleigh driver John Jackson, has certainly shown an ability to grow from the experience of sports injury. Back in July he suffered a serious Achilles’ tendon rupture – an injury that could almost certainly have put an end to his Sochi Olympic dream. Yet thanks to a positive attitude and some pioneering surgery he will be competing in Sochi, and following a some recent good performances at the European championships and World Cup he is a genuine medal prospect. It is claimed that Jackson has returned sronger than ever before. Jackson recently tweeted “To all injured athletes. Never give up faith, never give up on your dream and fight to come back better than you were. Believe in yourself” – inspirational words for any injured athlete.


Pathways into Winter Olympic Sport

By Caroline Heaney

Olympic Rings from the Sochi Olympic Village (Copyright Gary Anderson)

The British terrain isn’t exactly designed for participation in Winter Olympic sports yet Team GB will be taking a 56-strong squad to the Winter Olympics which open in Sochi next week, so how do British athletes come to be involved in these sports?

Paths into winter sports vary and often quite different to the more conventional routes seen in summer Olympic sports. Whilst most athletes have a background of junior participation, often having made their entry into the sport at a young age, in some Winter Olympic sports this is not the case. It is very common for athletes in these sports to start late having begun their sporting career in other sports. Athletics to bobsleigh has, for example, become a very common route into the sport.

Paths into winter sport can be influenced by factors such as:

  • Opportunity – e.g. do you live near a Winter sports facility?
  • Finance – e.g. can you afford skiing lessons?
  • Role models – e.g. are there role models that make you want to try a Winter Olympic sport?

I explore this more in the article Why would British Athletes Chose Winter Sports? in The Conversation.

The Development of the Winter Olympics – Athlete Excellence or Performance Art

By Candice Lingam-Willgoss

While the Summer Olympic Games have remained largely true to their roots – the Winter Games have seen a raft of newly created sports being included in the line-up year on year. This Winter Olympics will see 98 events over 15 disciplines in 7 sports –skating, skiing, bobsleigh, biathlon, curling, ice hockey and luge. 12 of these are new events to be contested including:- Women’s Ski Jumping, Ski half-pipe, Team relay luge, Ski and Snowboard Slopestyle, and Snowboard parallel special slalom. The scope for the creation of new winter based sports seems to be something mirrored by what is viewed in ski resorts, with various different approaches to the ‘originals’ being trialled all over the slopes.

Extreme Sports or Winter Games

In a world which is becoming increasingly more health and safety conscious it is interesting that many of these new sports are ones that can be termed high risk. Are these high risk sports becoming more attractive to both view and participate in as an antidote to the ultra ‘safe‘ world we live in? Take the newly included Slopestyle event which has been introduced for both skiers and boarders, the main goal is to perform difficult tricks while getting the highest amplitude off jumps with emphasis on variety. The Luge programme has now had the Team relay included and while this variation has long been popular among luge aficionados it will be its first outing on such a big stage. In essence this event sees a sport often termed the ‘fastest sport on ice’, that saw the death of a young Republic of Georgia competitor at the Vancover Games being made even more high risk than it was before. Three sleds, four racers (a women’s single, a men’s single and a double, and a touchpad. Rather than the classic baton switch competitors must activate the said touchpad at the end of their run to open the gate for the next sled to go down.

With the inclusion of these types of sports it could be argued that the Winter Olympics is becoming closer to the recently created X Games at every outing, in fact Sean White is a key example of this. White is competing in two snowboarding competitions at Sochi, the halfpipe and the slopestyle and while he is already a two times Olympic Gold medallist he also holds the Winter X-Games record for the total number of gold medals.

The Winter X Games

The Winter X Games were created in 1997 after the 1995 creation of the Summer sport focused X Games and are solely focus on Extreme Winter Sports. The Events of the Winter X games are very much there to entertain and events are driven by spectacle, and the ‘wow factor’ – which begs the question are the Winter Olympics competitors from some of these newer sports a mix of athletes and performers? The tricks that a number of the new winter sports require individuals to carry out, are akin to those performed by entertainers and are as much a display of athleticism as guts and creativity. As Morris of the Telegraph says, ‘the inclusion represents the rise and rise of freestyle skiing and snowboarding, and brings an extra injection of awe to the Games ‘ (2014). This idea that there has been a change to the style of sports included in the games, is something Zimpfer discusses in his blog earlier this month when commenting on how a number of Olympic sports are now becoming “more like a performance than a sport’ (2014).

Need for change

This added ‘awe’ as Morris talks about may be a deliberate ‘marketing’ ploy of the Winter Olympics. The viewing figures for the last Winter Olympics peaked at the opening ceremony with 3.2 million viewers, a figure that dropped to as low as one million for some events. Compare this to the summer Olympics of 2008 in Beijing when figures peaked at 5.4 million and Athens at 8.68 million. While as a nation we may not have as many athletes competing, overall there is less interest in winter sports than summer, which begs the question is the inclusion of these new more exciting sports a necessity in order to entice a new group of viewers. Not just the winter sports fans but also the extreme sports fans and the younger generations?

Recent research has examined the newly termed Generation Y those born between 1980 and 1990. The previous generation X made up of the baby boomers are having to step aside as a new generation are becoming the marketing focus of big business, they are a generation of technology savvy, highly ambitious people who relish creativity, are open minded, and as such open to change – they display a patchwork of traits. One of these key traits is interestingly rule following – as a generation less likely to break the law or go against their parents, is this high profile, controlled, and legal style of sport satisfying the side of the generation that craves creativity and a fresh approach. The full spectrum of characteristics of the Y Generation is probably at this stage unknown, what is clear is that it is this sector that need to be drawn in and this is something that the commercially driven sports world is fully aware of.

Money, Money, Money

No area of sport is immune to the naked truth that all high profile events are a business opportunity and Winter Sports are no different. All sports see the commoditisation of sportsmen – to the extent that at times they are seen as little more than billboards for sponsors. The recent selection of the US ice skater Wagner over Mirai Nagasu – a choice cynics among us may consider was due to a need to satisfy sponsors as it would have been something of an inconvenience for BP to have to take her out of their latest commercials, I guess we will never know how much her marketability influenced her selection. There are of course questions over whether the IOC who ultimately made this decision did so in order to increase the attraction of this games to certain audiences where the corporate money lies.

This need to make all sport enterprise a commodity could be in part the reasoning behind this shift in sports that are now on offer at the games. Television companies need viewers and are striving to appeal to a wider more diverse audience, something these newer sports are clearly aiming to do. With the Winter Games now sitting in their own Olympic year rather than being the follow up to the Summer Games they have sought for many years their own individual identity – what seems clear is that they are very much finding their self.

Great Britain on snow and ice – a brief history of involvement at the Winter Olympics

By Simon Rea

Out in the cold: Britain’s medal tally at the Winter Olympics

Great Britain’s recent involvement in the Summer Olympics has been an overwhelming success. It culminated with a third place finish in the medal table winning a total of 65 medals at the London Olympic Games of 2012 and many GB athletes becoming household names.  But how does this compare to Britain’s performances at the Winter Olympics? Ask most British people what they know about the Winter Olympics and they will reply with Torville and Dean, Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards and something about skeleton Bob!

So are the Winter Olympics less relevant for a country that has few mountains where skiing is possible and no sliding facilities? Or is it something to get excited about and hopeful for British success?

Unfortunately, history is not on our side.  Compare the total medal hauls for the Summer and Winter Olympics:

  • Summer Olympics – Total: 780 medals (236 gold, 272 silver and 272 bronze)
  • Winter Olympics – Total: 22 medals (9 gold, 3 silver and 10 bronze)

Whilst acknowledging that these statistics are skewed because there are fewer medals available at the Winter Olympics, Britain has achieved under 3% of its Olympic medals at the Winter Olympics. Added to this Britain’s best performance at a Winter Olympic Games came at the first, held in Chamonix in 1924.  Great Britain secured four medals (1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze).  This performance achieved a sixth place in the medals table in comparison to sixteenth in 2010.  Along the way there have been some highpoints for British performers as well as several low-points, which may be best forgotten.

Success on the ice

In the late 1970s and early 1980s British figure skaters were prominent on the podium.  John Curry and Robin Cousins winning gold medals in the men’s singles figure skating in 1976 and 1980 respectively. Then in 1984 Christopher Dean and Jayne Torville won gold in the ice dancing and famously achieved the highest score for a single routine with twelve 6.0s and six 5.9s for their Bolero routine.  This was an all-time Olympic highlight.  They tried to repeat their success in 1994 but pushed the rules too far with a controversial assisted lift and had to settle for bronze.

British athletes have found success in the skeleton event which was introduced at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. This is an event where the athlete lies face down on a small steel sled and hurtles down an ice track at speeds of around 90 mph. British success in the skeleton was started in 2002 by Alex Coomber who won a bronze medal, an amazing feat considering that she had broken her wrist ten days prior to the event!  This was followed up by a silver medal for Shelley Rudman in 2006 and then a gold medal in 2010 for Amy Williams.  Currently, British women top the medal tables for this event.

As the sport of curling has Scottish origins it is one where we may expect that British athletes have found success.  In fact, Great Britain won the men’s event in 1924 and were the holders of the Olympic title until it was reintroduced into the Olympics in 1998.  Continuing the trend Rhona Martin’s team dramatically won gold in 2002 with the last stone of the competition, since then medals have been in short supply.

Frozen in time

With the exception of achievements in speed skating (Nicky Gooch, 1994) and in bobsleigh (Sean Olsson’s four, 1998) medals have been sparse on the ground.  Interestingly, one British failure at the Winter Olympics is remembered as fondly as the successes.  Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards became an all-time Olympic hero in 1988 when he became the first (and still only) British competitor in the 70 m and 90 m ski jumps.  Eddie was a dedicated athlete who had tried to qualify for the British ski team in 1984 but had failed to make the team.  Not disheartened by failure he moved to Lake Placid and began training for the ski jump. However, he had two main problems – he was too heavy and he was long sighted.  In ski jumping it pays to be light because gravity will bring the heavier jumper to the ground more quickly. It also pays not to have to wear glasses as they become steamed up in cold weather.  Unfortunately Eddie came last in both events after which the IOC changed the rules to restrict the competition to ski jumpers who had achieved a certain standard. As a result Eddie failed to qualify for the next three Olympic Games.  Eddie the Eagle is an extraordinary story but spare a thought for the Finnish jumper who won the gold medal and whose victory was over shadowed by a jumper who finished over thirty metres behind him.

Skiing is another sport where British athletes have failed to gain a medal.  It looked like this had all changed in 2002 when Scottish skier, Alain Baxter, won a bronze medal in the slalom.  However, he was disqualified a few days later, when he was back home celebrating in Aviemore, having failed a drugs test.  He was found to have traces of methamphetamine in his body – this is a drug that had been in a Vicks inhaler he had used.  It transpired that the American version of the inhaler contained methamphetamine but the British version, which he usually used, did not.

Sochi 2014: British hopefuls set to break the ice

The lessons here are that if we are looking for British success in Sochi 2014 we should look at ice events such as curling, skeleton, speed skating and bobsleigh.  The attention of British viewers on the lookout for British success should be focused on some of the following athletes:

  • Lizzy Yarnold in the skeleton has won three World Cup races this season and has finished on the podium in every race.
  • Shelly Rudman who is the current skeleton world champion and looking to improve on her silver from 2006.
  • The women’s curling team and their skip, Eve Muirhead, are coached by Rhona Martin and are the current world champions.
  • Elise Christie in short track speed skating who is the current European champion at 1000 m and 1500 m.
  • John Jackson the pilot of the four man bobsleigh that just missed out a World Championship medal in 2013.

British hopes for Winter Olympics medals are usually modest. But this time maybe we can dream of beating our best performance of four medals in 1924 to match our best performance at a Summer Olympics in 2012.


By The Sport and Fitness Team at The Open University

Welcome to our Winter Olympics blog. We will be using this blog to post articles and comments relating to the 2014 Winter Olympics from our perspective as academics in sport and exercise science.

The Winter Olympics will be taking place in Sochi, Russia between 6th-23rd February 2014, and will no doubt provide an amazing spectacle of sport and plenty of opportunity to apply our knowledge of sport and exercise science.

We plan to cover a wide range of sport and fitness related topics in this blog over the coming weeks. We will be starting later in the week with an article by Simon Rea reviewing the success and failure of British athletes at the Winter Olympics in comparison to the Summer Olympics.

To make sure that you don’t miss out on any of our posts, follow us on Twitter (@OU_Sport)!