As we get closer and closer to the opening ceremony in PyeongChang we will shift our Olympic focus away from the events and have a look at some of the recent news that has grabbed the headlines this week. With qualification events still being held around the world, athletes are still fighting for there place at the games and some are still fighting for the rights to keep medals won in Sochi 4 years ago!
Where are all the Russians?
One of the major headlines coming out of Sochi 2014 was the Russian doping scandal where 43 athletes were banned for life from the Olympics following an IOC investigation into state-sponsored doping. If you look at the medals table from Sochi there will be a lot of blank spaces where the medals are still vacant, this is because a number of athletes lodged appeals against there bans and the results are still being investigated. Since the appeals the IOC have overturned 28 of those life bans due to insufficient evidence against the athletes, but with others still awaiting results athletes are from other countries who finished 4th or 5th in their events are still waiting to see if they can call themselves Olympic Medalists.
These bans also lead to the entire Russian country being banned from competing in PyeongChang, however we will see 169 Russians competing under a neutral flag and represent Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). The 169 athletes will include some that competed in Sochi but an estimated 80% will be first time Olympians and we can expect to see a few medals for OAR as two time figure skating World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva and European Champion Alina Zagitova will be at the games.
Cool Runnings 2?
Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time!
Not all of you will have witnessed the Calgary 1988 games but all of you will know of the Jamaican Bobsled team! After failing to qualify for the 100m event a team of sprinters took up bobsledding and qualified for the Winter Olympics with their story immortalized in the 1993 film Cool Running’s. Now 30 years later we are set to see the first Jamaican Women’s team at the Winter Olympics, the team is lead by Jazmine Fenlator who competed in Sochi as part of the USA team but has switched allegiances to keep her Olympic dreams alive, she is joined by 4x100m Relay World Champion Carrie Russell and Audra Segree who also competed on the track as a sprinter. The team finished 7th at the World Cup in December and will be hoping to better that to reach the podium!
Jamaica will also be represented in the Skeleton event for the first time! Anthony Watson failed to qualify for the games and is ranked 79th in the world, but due to Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Russia not filling their spaces Watson has been offered a place at the games! Watson initially trialed for the USA bobsleigh team but changed events and countries in 2016 to increase his chances of making the Olympics and his dream has come true as he will be carrying the Black, Green and Gold made famous 30 years ago.
Every year we see new athletes competing at their first Olympic Games and you get to see the look of excitement on their faces at the opening ceremony as they are in awe of their surroundings. But every now and then we are treated to seeing a new flag at the games, 30 years ago we got the Jamaican flag, this year we are welcoming 6 new countries! Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore will all make their first appearances.
Ecuador – Klaus Jungbluth Rodriguez, 38, Cross Country Skiing
Eritrea – Shannon-Ogbani Abeda, 22, Alpine Skiing
Kosovo – Albin Tahiri, 28, Alpine Skiing
Malaysia – Jeffery Webb, 18, Alpine Skiing, And Julian Yee, 20, Figure Skating
Nigeria – Seun Adigun, 31, Ngozi Onwumere, 26, and Akuoma Omeoga, 26, Bobsleigh
Singapore – Cheyenne Goh, 18, Short Track Speed Skating
We wish every nation at the games the best of luck and hopefully one of these debut nations can take home a medal and write their countries names into the history of the Olympic Games
Written by Imran Ali