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Olympic fever

The Scott Dunn Winter Olympics quiz - test your knowledge of the Winter Olympics by entering our fun quiz – the winner will receive a bottle of Laurent-Perrier Champagne and some Cowshed goodies. Click here to enter, closing date 16 February 2014.

Sochi – what you need to know

  • 1300 medals are up for grabs at the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • New events at the Sochi Games include the ski half-pipe, luge team relay and women’s ski jumping
  • Sochi is the warmest city to host a winter Olympic Games
  • 6 kilos of gold, two tonnes of sliver and 700 kilos of bronze have been used in the manufacture of the medals. They weigh between 460g & 531g and each is 10mm thick and 100mm wide
  • Sochi is considered to be the longest city in Europe – approx. 92 miles long!
  • Mascots for the games in Sochi are a polar bear, a hare and a leopard with the “ray of light” and “the snowflake”, representing the Paralympic games

What’s New for 2014

There are 12 new winter sports that are making their debut at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. Here’s the lowdown on what to look out for:

  1. Ski slopestyle – Men’s and Women’s
    A real crowd pleaser this one. Skiers combine airs and tricks on a 565m course featuring rails and a variety of jumps before being scored on execution, style, difficulty, variety and progression. Keep your eye on Team GB medal hopefuls James Woods and Katie Summerhayes in this one.
  2. Snowboard slopestyle – Men’s and Women’s
    The snowboarding equivalent to the above over a slightly longer course (655m).
  3. Biathlon mixed relay
    Two men and two women per team compete in this ultimate test of fitness combining cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. The women open the relay completing the first two 6km legs, then the men complete the next two 7.5km legs.
  4. Women’s ski jumping
    Believe it or not, this is the first time that women have ever competed in ski jumping at the Winter Games. The ladies will take their leaps of faith in the women’s normal hill event.
  5. Figure skating team event – Mixed
    Teams are made up of six skaters – one male, one female, one pair and one ice dance couple. Points are awarded for each routine and the team with the highest number of aggregate points will win gold.
  6. Luge team relay – Mixed
    Sledging carnage – each nation fields a men’s singles sled, a doubles sled and women’s singles sled. All three will slide down the track, one after another, with the clock stopping when the third and final sled crosses the finish line.
  7. Ski half-pipe – Men’s and Women’s
    You’ve seen the snowboarders grab some air in the half-pipe, now it’s the skiers turn. Competitors will perform an array of big airs and other tricks in the half-pipe and will be judged on technical execution, amplitude, variety, difficulty and use of the pipe.
  8. Snowboard parallel slalom – Men’s and Women’s
    Riders race head to head down the same slope on two parallel courses, outlined with gates and triangular flags.

Team GB Medal Prospects

Ok, so we don’t have the best track record at the Winter Olympics - our best medal haul was back at the inaugural games in 1924 when we won four medals. No British team in history has returned from a Winter Olympics with more than one gold medal – but could this year’s Team GB medal prospects re-write the history books?

  • Women's curling team – there’s a strong chance that Eve Muirhead and her Ice Maidens could emulate the success that Rhona Martin’s team managed back in 2002 in Salt Lake City. This time Rhona’s the coach and the team are currently the World Champions so the prospects are good. Our prediction: GOLD
  • Women's skeleton – for some reason, this crazy sport of adrenaline-pumped ladies hurtling head first down a sheet ice track on a tray with rails has produced our only Winter Olympic gold medals in the last two games. With both the World Cup champion Lizzy Yarnold and former gold-medallist Shelley Rudman in contention, we could end up with both ladies on the podium: Our prediction: GOLD & SILVER
  • Men's ski slopestyle – our man James ‘Woodsy’ Woods is the one to look out for as he competes in this brand new event. At just 18 years old he has already won World Championship silver – pretty good for guy who learned his tricks on a dry slope! Our prediction: SILVER
  • Short track speed skating – This is Elise’s second Olympics and at just 23 she is already the first British woman to hold a World Championship medal in short track. At 5’3” our pocket rocket could just clinch gold this time round. Our prediction: SILVER

Others to watch

  • Bode Miller – at 36 years old, USA alpine skier Bode Miller is always one of the most exciting skiers to watch and never fails to entertain. This is his fifth and quite possible his final Olympic games and he is aiming high as he competes in at least four disciplines.
  • Noriaki ‘kamikaze’ Kasai – currently the world’s oldest competitive ski jumper at 41 years old is competing in his seventh Olympic games and showing no signs of slowing down. Keep an eye on his take off – they don’t call him ‘kamikaze’ for nothing!
  • Ben Cavet – originally from Crowborough in Sussex, Ben Cavet moved to France when he was 10 and is now competing for France in mogul skiing.
  • Shaun White – this snowboarding legend is bidding to become the first American male to win three consecutive winter Olympic snowboarding titles.

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