Women’s Nordic Ski Jumping Added to The Olympics

After a long battle, Women’s Nordic Ski Jumping has finally made it in the Olympic Winter Games!

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The announcement was made early this morning. A press conference is being held at the Utah Olympic Park to celebrate the announcement.

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Will Women’s Ski Jumping make it to the Olympics?

Below is an article posted on Reuters.com :

Olympics-Women’s ski jumping set for Sochi, says FIS head

The long-awaited approval of women’s ski jumping for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics now looks a formality, ski federation head Gian Franco Kasper said on Tuesday.

“The ladies ski jumping has become a purely political question,” the International Ski Federation (FIS) president told Reuters at the Sportaccord Convention where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is also meeting to decide on new events.

“But I think that is rather a formality. With the others, I really do not know.”

Apart from ski jumping, other events up for consideration include ski halfpipe (men and women), ski slopestyle (men and women), snowboard slopestyle (men and women), biathlon mixed team relay, the figure skating team event and luge team relay.

The IOC’s powerful executive board is expected to announce a decision on most of the events on Wednesday after postponing a ruling late last year, with IOC president Jacques Rogge saying some may need to be monitored a little longer.

Kasper said an Alpine team event and the women’s ski jumping were the priorities for his governing body.

“We will see what comes out. I am quite sure that they will accept all the events, not only from skiing but also luge and the team event in skating and biathlon,” said the Swiss IOC member.

“Sochi has a little different list to what the IOC has or that we have because they want to have only those new events where they have a certain medal chance,” said Kasper.

Women’s ski jumping tried to win a place in last year’s Vancouver Games but was rejected on the grounds that performance levels were not good enough and too few nations and athletes were involved.

“It has improved since then, no question,” said Kasper.

“We have now more athletes and increased the level of performance so I believe they are ready now. But it is a political question for the IOC. That’s why I am very sure they will accept it.

“I think that’s more a formality, on condition that the Russians agree of course.”

If women’s ski jumping is given the go-ahead, the nordic combined event — which mixes cross country skiing and ski jumping — will be the only one at the Winter Games without any female competitors.

Sunny Singapore dreams of Cool Runnings in Sochi 2014

The following is an excerpt from an article published by AFP:

Terence Chew grew up in hot, humid Singapore, but his dreams are of ice — and of making the team for the tiny equatorial nation’s first ever bid to contest the Winter Olympics.

Chew is an aspiring speed skater, aiming to fly to the flag with a fledgling team that Singapore is putting together for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The 23-year-old undergraduate, who is undergoing compulsory military service, trains several nights a week with the goal of topping 60 kilometres (37.3 miles) an hour — twice as fast as his current best speed.

“If you can discipline yourself to do something that you want to, there’s always time for it. You have to make time for what you want,” he told AFP.

Singapore is an overachiever state, attaining industrialised status in just one generation and constantly aiming to be Asia’s best or the world’s best in all sorts of fields from education to technology.

But with a population of just five million — a million of them foreigners — and temperatures hovering around 30 degrees all year, it does not have a huge pool of winter sporting talent.

What it does have is is plenty of money, thousands of young Singaporeans working and studying overseas and a government determined to use sport as an instrument of national pride.

Singapore’s dreams are reminiscent of the Disney film “Cool Runnings,” based on the true story of sun-baked Jamaica’s bobsled team and its comical but successful campaign to enter the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada.

“You have Singaporeans doing amazing things,” said Teo Ser Luck, a senior official of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, referring to Singaporeans scaling Mount Everest and crossing Antarctica.

He admitted that entering Sochi 2014 may seem like an impossible dream right now but added that the effort alone could be worth it.

“It hopefully can inspire many other young people to come forward and say not just for Winter Olympics, not just for winter games or sports, but for anything that they want to do, that they continue to pursue their dreams.”

Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi 2014 organising committee, challenged Singapore in August to aim high.

“Nothing is impossible for Singapore,” local media quoted him as saying.

“Qualifying for the Games is a feasible goal. Why not go for a miracle and have an Olympic medallist in 2014?”

To get things going, Singapore is setting up a national sports association encompassing snowboarding and skiing.

“I’m sure there are talented snowboarders and skiers amongst the Singaporeans living outside Singapore, including even some in Singapore,” said Low Teo Ping, a veteran sports official spearheading the formation of the association.

Low, who is vice-president of Singapore’s National Olympic Council and head of the national rugby association, said the hot climate was just an inconvenience.

“The world today is a lot smaller than what it used to be so people in Singapore also in fact travel distances to ski, to snowboard,” he said.

Besides snowboarding and skiing, the city-state is also hoping to nurture short-track speed skaters.

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New Sochi Airport Is Opened

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at themoscowtimes.com:

The new Sochi airport terminal, intended to serve passengers arriving for the 2014 Winter Olympics and built by Oleg Deripaska’s Basic Element at a cost of 6.2 billion rubles ($200 million), officially opened Thursday.

The terminal is the first major facility commissioned for the games and ticks off a box on Russia’s long to-do list in preparation for the event.

The new terminal is fully operational and services both domestic and international flights. It boasts the latest know-how in ecological and resource efficiency and the most modern equipment, the company said in a statement.

“This is a major event not just for Basic Element […], but also for the main Russian resort city of Sochi and the Krasnodar Territory, as a modern airport is a key element of the region’s future prosperity,” Deripaska said.

“The new air gateway is what will give our guests — the tourists, sportsmen and women, official delegations and spectators who fly in from all over the world — their first impressions of the Olympic Sochi,” said Dmitry Chernyshenko, president of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee.

Analysts say the construction cost is surprisingly low compared with what has been spent on similar projects. Expansion of St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo, for example, is a 1.2 billion euro ($1.6 billion) endeavor.

Industry experts say the new terminal’s capacity, which is projected to reach 3,800 passengers per hour by 2014.

Click here to read the entire article.

VIDEO: Sochi 2014 Volunteers in action

Yes, this video is filled with Russian songs, but it captures the Olympic Spirit and the excitement of the games. Enjoy!

Sochi2014.com Launches Interactive Map

From Sochi2014.com:

Sochi 2014 will be the most compact Winter Games in the history of the Olympic Movement. It will be possible to get from one venue to another in just a matter of minutes and all Olympic and Paralympic competition will take place in the same venues. It is for this reason that all athletic facilities for the Sochi 2014 Games are being built with the needs of disabled people in mind.

Eleven athletic venues will be built for the Sochi 2014 Games, which will be divided into two clusters—mountain and coastal. The clusters will be located within 48km of each other, which is less than a 30 minute ride along a new railway.
Each cluster will contain an Olympic Village. The travel time from the Olympic Village to a competition venue in the coastal cluster will be no more than five minutes. Additionally, travel time from the Olympic Village to a competition venue in the mountain cluster is less than 15 minutes.

Click here to view the interactive map and explore the two clusters.
Click here for Utah Olympic Park’s interactive map.

Sochi 2014: Herculean Efforts To Build Olympic Facilities

Sochi: construction work is on track

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at ruvr.ru:

The Russian deputy prime minister, Dmitry Kozak has assured Russian senators that all sport and other facilities for the Sochi 2014 winter Olympics will be ready by 2012. There had never been either sport facilities or a modern infrastructure in Sochi until now, meaning that everything was started from scratch. The city on the black sea must create 235 sport and allied infrastructure facilities, as well as get credible public transport running and backed by reliable electricity, within the remaining 4 years before the Games.

Construction work is proceeding at full throttle and under all weather conditions. Large and small rinks for hockey and figure skating are being built in the outskirts of Sochi. The main stadium of a capacity for 40 thousand spectators, where the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games are to be held is also under construction in the suburb of Sochi; also being constructed are tracks for speed skating races, an 8-thousand capacity center and a curling arena. The Olympic village will also be built here. The baptismal competition in the curling arena will be held in 2012, but earlier in 2011, planned competitions in the mountains will be staged.

All the tracks and other competition areas are ready. Biathlon and skiing venues are being prepared in Krasnaya Polyana, and several trampoline, snowboard and free-style centers, as well as bobsleigh and skeleton tracks will equally be made ready in the zone. One more Olympic village will be built here. Some 5 thousand guests will be housed in both the upper and lower Olympic villages, while the rest will be accommodated in hotels. Most of the sport facilities are modern.Preparations for the winter Games include other aspects, apart from construction of facilities, said Kozak.

A special programme, “Sochi – a hospitable city” has been prepared, and designed to promote a new image for the future Olympic host-city. It includes giving Sochi a facelift plus improving the quality of service.. There is also a plan of making life a little easier and comfortable for the handicapped . A cultural event is part of the “Hospitality” programme and is designed to pick the best project which will be showcased during the 2014 Games. 2010 is the year of the cinema; 2011 of theater; 2012 of music and 2013 of museums, disclosed Kozak.

Click here to read the entire article.

IOC pleased with progress as spotlight shifts to Sochi

The following is an excerpt from an article published at Sochi2014.com:

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for the Sochi 2014 Games on Thursday praised the progress being made by local organisers in the Russian City as it gears up to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games.
Led by Chairman Jean-Claude Killy, the Commission convened in Sochi from 13 April to 15 April to assess the developments made by the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee and its partners since the Commission’s last full visit in May 2009.

Speaking after the meetings, Chairman Killy said: “It is awe-inspiring the work that is being undertaken in the Sochi region. With 43 construction sites that are operational 24 hours a day, employing around 16,000 workers, we are arguably looking at one of Europe’s biggest and most ambitious construction projects and I am pleased to report that work is on schedule.

“Sochi 2014 has also learned a number of lessons from their observation of the Vancouver Games and this was obvious in the comprehensive presentations that we received from the very motivated and professional staff that we heard from this week.”

He concluded: “We reminded the organisers that they need to continue moving forward in some areas, including accommodation, workforce recruitment and training, and construction, but we are confident that the project is on track and are impressed with the progress they have made over the past year, particularly in their very successful marketing programme.”

Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, said: “We would like to express our gratitude for the time and effort that the IOC Coordination Commission has spent in Sochi to ensure that Russia’s first Winter Games is on track.

“Across the board, rapid progress is being made in our preparations to host the most innovative Winter Games ever. We will deliver on all our promises.”

During the three-day visit, the Commission toured the Olympic venues in Sochi and neighbouring Krasnaya Polyana and received updates from the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee on topics ranging from athletes and media services to transport and culture. While receiving a full overview of the Games project, the Commission provided guidance to the Sochi team as the nation prepares to host its first ever Winter Games. Killy and IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Gilbert Felli, also briefed the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin by video conference updating him on their evaluation of how the project was progressing overall.

Click here to read the entire article.

Russia readies for its Olympic turn in 2014

The following is an excerpt from an article published at NBCOlympics.com:

From the Pacific coast to the shores of the Black Sea. From the peaks of western Canada to the Caucasus mountains of southern Russia. From gleaming North American skyline to palm-fringed resort in the former Soviet Union.

Do svidanya (goodbye) Vancouver. Do vstretchi (see you) in Sochi.

As the Vancouver Olympics come to a close, the focus turns across the world to Russia’s first Winter Games in 2014 – taking the Olympic movement to a new territory and a new set of challenges.

“We are next,” Sochi organizing chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said. “The bar has been well and truly raised.”

The Russian city’s first big moment in the global spotlight came during Sunday night’s closing ceremony, with the Olympic flag handed from the mayor of Vancouver to the mayor of Sochi.

In the traditional handover ceremony, the Olympic flag was lowered and presented to the hosts of the next Winter Games in 2014.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson handed over the five-ringed flag to IOC president Jacques Rogge, who passed it on to Anatoly Pakhomov, the mayor of Sochi. That was followed by the Russian national anthem and a presentation about Sochi featuring opera, ballet, ice skating and giant glowing spheres called “zorbs.”

“This is a historic event for Sochi,” Pakhomov said before the event. “We understand it is a huge responsibility for Sochi and for Russia and we can’t let anyone down.”

After the showbiz, the hard work continues back home as organizers continue to prepare for an event that has the prestige of Russia and its leaders – including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – on the line.

Ever since Sochi was awarded the games by the International Olympic Committee three years ago, questions have been raised: Can Sochi complete its massive construction projects on time? Will the funding hold up? Will the games be safe in a city near the separatist Abkhazia region in neighboring Georgia?

Putin, Russian president at the time, was instrumental in Sochi securing the games when he traveled to Guatemala City in 2007 and personally lobbied IOC members. He and current President Dmitry Medvedev remain centrally involved in making sure the games are a success.

“It’s so important for Russians that they will not allow it to fail,” senior Canadian IOC member Dick Pound said. “Whatever has to be done will be done.”

Sochi, established as a summer resort under Joseph Stalin, is a city of about 500,000 people in Russia’s Krasdonar region. Olympic organizers hope the games will serve as a catalyst in turning the area into a year-round world-class destination for Russians and foreign tourists alike.

Organizers say the games will feature the most compact layout in Winter Games history, with a cluster of ice arenas situated along the Black Sea coast and snow and sliding venues a half-hour away in the Krasnaya Polyana mountains. A new rail line is being built to connect the two clusters.

Click here to read the entire article.

Click here for more on Sochi.