“The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”--those defining words used as the introduction for years for ABC TV’s Wide World of Sports set the tone and built the anticipation for some great sports viewing. Visualize a ski jumper cavalcading down the decent in a disjointed array of crashing and tumbling in what appears to be a fatal mishap. These images have been burned into the memories of winter sports viewers. It defines the risks of competition in the winter Olympics.
Certainly the Winter Olympics are thrilling, but not all fun and games and they include very extreme forms of athletic endeavors.
The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France in 1924. Notwithstanding the absence of the games due to wars, the Winter Olympics were conducted in the same year as the Summer Olympics every four years until 1994. That year the IOC (International Olympic Committee) decided in 1986 to alternate the winter and summer games, so that the games would be two years apart. The Winter Olympic Games have been staged on three continents, but never in the southern hemisphere. Twelve countries—Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States—have attended every Winter Game. Six other countries (Austria, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the U.S.) have earned medals in every Winter Olympics. Only one--the U.S.—has earned a gold medal in every Winter Olympic Event.
The 2014 Winter Games will be held in Sochi, Russia on the Black Sea coast and the nearby Caucasus Mountains. These upcoming games have been plagued by terrorism threats, security risks, gay rights protests, political turmoil, debate over environmental pollution, as well as record expenditures. Yet, the Olympics are moving forward with new athletes, new stars and heroes, new events (women’s ski jumping, for example), revived healthy competition, and the ever-growing media coverage that will eventually explode onto our TV screens.
The details about the Sochi Games can be found by going to www.Olympic.org/sochi games. The schedules, locations, competitors, rules, and other news can be researched there. Events leading up to the Olympics and promoting them along the way are reported on the site also. Watch the online Countdown Clock! The winter Olympic Games are near!