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.

Demong going for 2014

The following is an excerpt from a blog posted at TeamUSA.org:

Billy Demong has had a busy summer. The Olympic gold medalist has balanced speaking engagements, bike racing, home renovation, and a July wedding to fiancé Katie Kocnyzski, whom he proposed to the evening after winning gold in February.

With only a few miles on his bike-racing legs, he did four major stage races on his bike, plus a criterium (where he finished 16th, eight places behind Olympic biathlete Jeremy Teela).

But until recently, Demong hadn’t done much training for Nordic combined.

“Ultimately this became the year to catch up on life,” he said via email. “I did not need a break from training, just needed the time training takes to do other things. I can train all day everyday and love it, and I can work all day everyday and love that too!”

His main project was gutting and rebuilding his house in Park City — without much outside help.

But after competing in the Tour of Utah, a six-day bike race held in mid-August on roads around Salt Lake City and won this year by Levi Leipheimer, Demong dove back into full-time training for Nordic combined.

Why?

Because he wants to compete for four more years — to help the up-and-coming U.S. Nordic combined athletes develop into world-class competitors, and to defend his gold medal in the large hill in Sochi in 2014.

“Aside from the odd couple days here or there manufacturing and installing some concrete countertops, I’ve mostly been able to train daily since the Tour of Utah,” he said.

His plan, he says, is “to start the season swinging for the fences” in the first four World Cups. Then after a mid-winter break, he plans to “hammer down at Worlds.”

As for the six months he took off from training this past spring and summer, he says that he already feels more motivated.

“I can already say that this little break really is helping me mentally start building the desire to go for four more and be even better.”

Click here to read the entire article.

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.

Click here to read the entire article.

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.

Training Camp Prepares Bobsledders For Winter Games

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

About two dozen women have spent this week at a training camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., where they are learning all about Olympic bobsledding.

The women, who come from all over the country, have been recruited to potentially become members of the Women’s Olympic Bobsled Team, which will compete in the Olympics in 2014.

“I don’t think people realize how hard it is to run down a hill while you’re pushing something that’s going really fast,” said Katelyn Kelly, one of the women training for the team.

“We need to identify athletes and get them ready. You can’t just walk off the street and jump on the ice and perform at the World Cup or the Olympic level,” said Dave Owens, who will coach the Women’s Bobsled Team at the Winter Olympics in 2014.

The women who do well at this week’s training camp will be invited back to more training camps.

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!

Clukey giving back to her community

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

After a little down time this past spring, Julia Clukey is ready to jump into her luge training for the upcoming World Cup season, and down the road, the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

But first, the 25-year-old from Augusta wanted to do something for her home state.

“I’m pretty passionate about the community I grew up in, and I wanted to reconnect,” Clukey said, minutes before speaking to Gardiner Area High School athletes at their fall sports meeting.

Clukey’s speech was sponsored by the Maine Beer and Wine Distributors Association, and was the first of a series of talks Clukey will give at high schools around the state. Clukey will speak in Sanford tonight and at Cony on Aug. 26th. An appearance at Maranacook is in the works, Nick Alberding, who helped organize Clukey’s speech for the Maine Beer and Wine Distributors Association, said.

Clukey’s appearance included a short video, highlighting her training regimen and competition at the Olympics last February in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“She’s obviously a great role model,” Alberding said. “We’re community members and parents and committed to tell young people, stay away from alcohol. We’ll wait for you business.”

While Clukey never specifically mentioned alcohol in her short speech, she stressed to the Gardiner students to make good choices in their lives.

“My life has been about making decisions,” Clukey said. “Make those decisions that will help you get to where you want to be.”

After the Olympics, Clukey took some time off to rest a neck injury and take stock of her life.

“I was dealing with a lot of health issues. Mentally, did I want to continue? I’m 25 now, I have other things I want to do in life,” Clukey said. “I realized I wanted to continue training. It took about a month to feel like an athlete again.”

The post-Olympic year is kind of a relaxed year, Clukey said, and she spent the summer training at home in Augusta. She’ll return to Lake Placid, N.Y. in September to train with the national team.

Click here to read the entire article.

Olympic champion hired by US bobsled federation

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

Olympic champion Janis Kipurs is the new driving coach for the U.S. women’s bobsled team.
Kipurs, who won gold and bronze medals for the Soviet Union at the 1988 Calgary Games and then continued his driving career for Latvia, will be with the Americans through the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He’ll assist recently hired head coach Dave Owens in the women’s program.

Kipurs also won medals at the world championships and European championships during his driving career.

Click here to read the entire article.

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.