Secrets of sports betting Sport

Searching for Sochi

Written by Ben Blaschke

In just a little over a month’s time, the 2014 Winter Olympics will get underway in Sochi, Russia. Of course, being from a far more tropical climate than the majority of the countries that typically do well in the winter Games, us poor souls in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole don’t often get a chance to see these athletes in action, but now is the perfect time to start preparing yourself for what’s coming.

The 2014 Winter Olympics represent the changing of the tide when it comes to winter sports with the IOC adding eight new events this year in an attempt to appeal to a younger audience. The majority of these are tied to the always exciting X Games and if you’re new to watching the winter Games, these new sports are the ones to watch. They include Freeskiing halfpipe. Freeskiing slopestyle, Snowboard slopestyle, Snowboard parallel special slalom, Biathlon mixed relay, Women’s ski jumping, Figure skating teams event and Luge team relay.

If you’re planning to have a bet on the Games, January is a great time to check the form lines with a number of the top sports holding major championships in the lead-up. These include the European Championships for figure skating, short track, speed skating, bobsleigh, biathlon and luge, the World Sprint Championships for speed skating and the Four Continents Championships for figure skating.

So what to expect from China at these Games? Although China has traditionally been far more accomplished at the summer Games than winter, they achieved their best ever result in Vancouver in 2010 with five gold medals, two silver and four bronze to finish seventh on the medal tally. Although bettering that this year might prove difficult given China’s aging team, they still have some good hopes including four-time Olympic champion speed skater Wang Meng who will be defending her 500m and 1,000m titles as well as the 3,000m relay title.

Wang Meng will be looking to win her fifth Olympic gold

Wang Meng will be looking to win her fifth Olympic gold

China is one of only two countries, alongside Canada, to have had the maximum allowance of 20 athletes qualify for the speed skating team.

Keep an eye on the figure skating where China’s mix of veterans and young talent should make for some interesting performances, while another main medal hope is aerial skier Li Ni’na. Ni’na has only just returned from a serious knee injury but is a proven performer at this level having won silver at both the 2006 and 2010 Olympics.