A short introduction to the Winter Olympic Games
21st Feb 2014
I love sport. I like the fact that sport brings people together. Whether it is a football match, a marathon run or the Olympic Games it always creates euphoria and happiness. Still fresh in our memories are the very successful London Olympics and Paralympics Games in summer 2012.
Every four years there are also the Winter Olympic Games taking place - this year hosted at this very moment in Sochi, Russia. An unusual place for the winter sports some would say. Sochi has always been known as a summer holiday destination situated on the Black Sea and surrounded by the beautiful Caucasus Mountains.
This is the first time that Russia is hosting a Winter Olympics. The Olympic Village and Olympic Stadium are located on the Black Sea coast. All of the mountain venues are 50 kilometres away in the alpine region known as Krasnaya Polyana.
The first Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix, France in 1924. Since then it became a major international sporting event. Traditionally it is always taking place in February and it depends on the winter weather which is why no country in the southern hemisphere has ever hosted the Winter Olympics. North America, Europe and Asia are the three continents who have hosted the Winter Games since the Games began.
Since 1992 a number of new sports have been added to the Olympic programme including short track speed skating, snowboarding, freestyle and moguls skiing. The original 6 sports which were broken into 9 disciplines in 1924 have been extended to 15 sports broken into 86 events (Vancouver 2010).The addition of these events has broadened the appeal of the Winter Olympics beyond Europe and North America. There are more athletes than ever from tropical countries who are competing in this year Winter Games.
I always admire the speed of the downhill skiing, the figure skating technique and determination of all the athletes who are competing on the ice or snow. It is great to watch and it is time consuming, but the evening highlights of the day events are a must.
The total number of the participants has also increased significantly from 285 in Chamonix in1924 to 2566 in Vancouver in 2010. 89 countries are represented in this year Winter Olympic Games. The Olympic staff and volunteers had to learn greetings in 30 different languages.With more than 1,000 translators and interpreters offering expertise to visitors during the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, these events are truly multilingual sporting festivals on a grand scale.
Agnieszka Graham, Polish Interpreter (full time)
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