Winter is coming and that brings the highly anticipated advent of the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi. The games begin in February of next year and many teams recently completed practice sessions on site in Russia. Here is a recap and update on the athletes and events preparing for worldwide competition in a few months.
Men’s Hockey Team USA
An official announcement of the final roster for team USA’s men’s hockey is set for release at the Winter Classic on New Years day. “Most of the decisions will be finalized just after Christmas,” writes CBS Sports.com, “in order to be announced in front of a large US television audience at the NHL’s marquee regular-season event.” The official roster will include 25 names which leaves general manager David Poile and crew with difficult decisions to make. Defenseman Paul Martin and goalie Jonathan Quick are hoping to make speedy recoveries to make it back into the pool of potentials.
Snow Is Finally on the Ground
In the final days of November, just two months prior to opening ceremonies, the first snow storm of the season is headed through northern Turkey and into Georgia, according to accuweather.com. Predicted to be a fast moving system, the storm should bring rain and snow. “Pulling moisture from the Black Sea,” the storm should hit cold northern air to allow for snowfall in the nearby Caucasus Mountains which sit just east of Sochi. This will be a crucial beginning for laying a powdery foundation before February.
Hopefully, this will allay fears form people who viewed Sochi as unusual spot because of its relatively warm climate compared with other parts of Russia. But it looks like a few more winter systems will have spectators bundling up in their outerwear jackets to watch the games.
The Torch is On the Move
Meanwhile, the Olympic torch is making its way across the globe and beyond. The torch recently completed a trip to outer space with two Russian cosmonauts at the international space station, orbiting roughly 260 miles above earth. The torch also made an expedition to the North Pole. And most recently, it completed a trip underwater. The flame was passed at a depth of about 13 meters in Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake. How can a flame survive, let alone be transferred, beneath water? The underwater relay was made possible by a special burner originally developed to emit warning flares for signals at sea.
New Events in 2014
February’s games will be memorable as they mark the addition of six new events to the winter Olympics. These events were included by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in April of 2011. But 2014 will mark the first Olympic competition of these sports which include:
•Men and Women’s Ski Halfpipe
•Women’s Ski Jumping
•Biathlon Mixed Relay
•Figure Skating Team Event
•Luge Team Relay