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Sportsview by David Eidlestein - Winter Olympics leave me cold

By shill  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

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NOW be honest – had you even so much as heard of Sochi a few weeks ago? Come to that, have you heard of it now?

Well, Sochi is the Russian Black Sea resort which is about to find world-wide fame as a major sporting venue.

Observant TV advertisement watchers will have seen its name widely emblazoned as the host city for the forthcoming Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

After that it will attract another army of well-heeled sports fans when it stages the Russian Formula One grand prix from 2014 until 2020. Sochi has also been designated a host city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

First up then are the skating, skiing, snowboarding, bobsleigh, curling and ice-hockey that comprise the cold version of the Olympic Games, which begin on 6th February.

No doubt the television coverage will be comprehensive, dramatic and spectacular in a high-speed, snowy, slippery sort of way, and by the closing ceremony 17 days later, regular viewers will probably know their luge from their skeleton.

Newspaper coverage, however, is likely to better reflect public interest in the Winter Olympics: if it is mentioned at all, it will probably be squeezed between the football, the rugby and the tennis.

The harsh truth is that winter sports are all well and good, and there can be no argument that they require tremendous skill, dedication and no little courage, but they have as much relevance to most of us as the Japanese sumo championships or pig wrestling in Kazakhstan.

British competitors, handicapped by a noticeable shortage of proper mountains or serious snow other than on some railway lines, rarely register on the honours board, and when they do, most of us will not have heard of them.

We all hope the British team heading for Sochi will do themselves and the nation proud with their endeavours in this multi-million pound sporting extravaganza.

But most of us who live this side of the Alps will be far more interested in watching Manchester United’s high-speed downhill slide than anything that Russia can deliver. After the authentic London Olympics, anything else is on a slippery slope.

David Eidlestein

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