The 'ultimate' bucket list for snow addicts...No.6!
The Winter Olympics is the pinnacle of every Winter Sportsperson's career. With the way the Brits have accepted and jumped on board with both the Olympics and Paralympics we believe that for every person keen in snowsports, the Winter Olympics should be added to their bucket list!
All big sporting events struggle to avoid political influence and intervention. Whether it be the unionist claims of London 2012, the South African World Cup or the Ukrainian hosting of the 2012 European Championships. They all have experienced the politicisation of their events for political gain.
The Winter Olympics are no different and have experience political posturing on the grandest of scales. From 1956 with the Soviet Union's first participation in the games, the two Cold War sides realised how useful a platform the Winter Olympics was to establish sporting dominance over one another in the perceived superiority of their respective political systems. Used as a proxy for a Cold War, each USA - USSR matchup made for entertaining viewing, even for those neutrals of the Warsaw pact!
This rivalry was encapsulated by the 'miracle on ice' that occured in Lake Placid, NY 1980. The Soviets had won every Olympic gold from 1964 and were the overwhelming favourites to increase their tally. Indeed a warm up game prior to the tournament had resulted in the USA being trounced 10-3 by the Soviets at Madison Square Gardens.
However, like much of the beauty of sport the Olympic match between the two went against the form book and was won 4-3 by the USA team. As rousing as it was for the American public, it was not enough to save the Carter regime who was replaced by Reagan in 1981.
In recent times the Winter Olympics has become more commercialised, more mainstream and competed by an ever greater number of competitors, countries and broadcast across the world. Much of the Games weren't available on live TV in the USA in 1980, despite it being held in New York! From the 258 that competed in the 16 events in 1928 to the nearly 2600 that were present in 84 events in Turin 2010, the Winter Olympics has come a long way.
With the success of extreme sports and the Winter X-Games, the inclusion of some 'extreme' events has increased the popularity of the games and opened it to an otherwise apathetic demographic. Skier X, Boarder X and Snowboard halfpipe will now be accompanied by Ski Halpipe, Ski Slopestyle and Snowboard Slopestyle. Now with even more mainstream exposure, can we expect to see some freestyle events being given his warranted attention by the BBC's Ski Sunday? We can hope!
The Winter Olympics are an incredible event that should be attended by everyone given the opportunity. Just like Bolt's 100m gives you a new appreciation for just how incredible he is (and how slow you are!), the same is true for the incredible exploits of the likes of Bode Miller and Chemmy Alcott. Think you're a fast skier? Think again!
The problem for many is that unlike the Summer Olympics where one can saunter 5 minutes outside of a city centre and be at an Olympi venue- many Winter Olympic events are hosted in the mountains and are less accessible for the average punter. Although the Vancouver games were distinct in that they had events held at sea-level, the games in Sochi, Russia will make them less accessible once again. With the 2018 games to be held in South Korea we don't expect many of you to be able to make the Winter Olympics any time soon. Perhaps for now you'll just have to tune in on TV like the guys at Snow Rehab!
Nevertheless, should you ever get the opportunity to attend a Winter Olympics event we'd encourage you to grab it with both hands! Whether it be ice hockey or ice skating, we reckon it's one of those things that every snowsports officianado should consider to complete their collection.
If you've got the time to wait for it to be held somewhere less remote to the UK, then why not tune in next week for Snow Rehab's Bucket List No.5? We've got another Snowports event in waiting that we're sure you'd love to attend!