After 16 days of competition, 294 medals won and 98 events, the Sochi games have come to a close. So were the games with the $50 Billion price tag a success?
The build up to the games weren’t all plain sailing with lots of controversy about Russia’s new homosexuality laws. But once the opening ceremony was under way, many of the concerns disappeared.
Early competition was intense as big winter sports nations wanted to get on to the medal table. But there was a surprise with Team GB winning an early medal in the exciting and amazing snowboard slope style: a bronze. Britain’s Jenny Jones was the winner of that medal. The next week was as exciting as ever as the men’s ice hockey got under way. The male Russian team were under immense pressure as the president of Russia said he wanted the team to get gold, although it was going to take a lot as they had not won gold since 1988! Then at the end of the week Britain’s big gold medallist hope Lizzy Yarnold started her campaign in the women’s Skeleton. She won the Gold by a whole second, which is a massive margin, to give Britain their first gold of the games.
As the next week beckoned all eyes turned to another medal hopeful, Elise Christie, but her games weren’t going as expected with disqualification in her first two events. But hopes were up as the final event was her favourite one. With storming heats and quarter-final runs, the odds were in her favour. Her semi-final race was going great up until the final bend when China’s Jianrou Li tried to overtake Elise for 2nd place (to qualify for the final) and took both of them out! Everybody thought Elise would be advanced to the final because the crash wasn’t her fault, but race official thought not and disqualified both athletes! There was outrage in the whole of the UK and yet more disappointment for Elise.
But all hopes of medals were not lost as Britain’s curlers were in the semi-finals. The women were up first against Canada who were yet to lose a game in the competition. Going in, the Brits were confident of winning but all ended in a dismal loss 6-4 with the team now fighting for the bronze medal. The men were next in their semi-finals against Sweden. It was a tense affair as it was going right to the wire with Britain coming out victorious with a 6-5 win.
After the Canadian defeat the women were up there in the bronze medal match, having to pick themselves up from the semi-final disappointment against a rather old Swiss team. The game itself was intense and thrilling as GB came out as the winners. The old Swiss team were no match for the young British team, with the average age being 23. Then the men were up in their final. However things didn’t go quite to plan in the event when the men lost abysmally 9-3 losing the gold medal.
Were the games with the $50 billion price tag a success? From British eyes, yes, with lots of talent ready to be developed for the next games in 2018.What I can say is next time round Britain could be coming home with more than 1 gold medal!