It can seem sometimes that the Winter Olympics doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It doesn’t get the some love and admiration of its summer counterpart despite having a range of events that are utterly transfixing and can conjure up some of sports greatest delights. Perhaps it’s because it is not as old or doesn’t get the wall to wall coverage of the Summer Olympics, but for whatever reason it’s not as widely loved.
It is though going to be great this year, and the added spice of the North and South Korean political detente that will see Kim Jong Un’s sister visit Pyongyang, makes it even more interesting than usual. Arguably another reason that it doesn’t quite get the coverage of the summer games is because the sports that are in it are a little harder to watch. Its rare to turn on the TV and to see freeride skiing videos on a regular TV channel. The news pages are often full of information about athletics and other summer sports but you rarely read about winter sports outside of the Olympics. One sign though, of its growing popularity, and the focus that will be placed on the winter games, is the amount of different markets and sports you can bet on. The biggest sports in the world are always backed by bookmakers, they always have hundreds of things you can bet on and a sport you can have a flutter on is one on in the mainstream. This has seen many companies offer free UK Bets in order to entice people to bet on the upcoming festivities. It is something which shows just how important the Winter Olympics will be for bookmakers as well as sports fans. To try and ramp up the excitement and in order to give an insight into just how wonderful the event will be, we thought we should check out three of top stars who will be hitting the slopes or bombing down the bobsleigh track in the coming weeks. Here they are, make sure to keep an eye out for them…
Shaun White (USA, Snowboarding Half Pipe)
We couldn’t do this post without first mentioning Shaun White, the most famous snowboarder in the world, two-time Olympic gold medalist and going for his third in this Winter Olympics. He holds the record for the most X-Games gold medals and most Olympic gold medals by a snowboarder and has won 10 ESPY Awards. Don’t be surprised to see Shaun pick up another Gold in these 2018 Winter Olympics although he’ll have some stiff competition this time around with Ayumu Hirano from Japan and Scott James from Australia tipped to pick up medals.
Pierre Vaultier (France, Snowboard Cross)
Pierre Vaultier is a French two-time Olympic Gold Champion, and one-time World Gold Champion snowboarder, specialising in snowboard cross. There are some awesome snowboard cross riders he’ll have to fight off including Regino Hernandez and Jarryd Hughes.
Mark McMorris (Canada, Snowboard Slopestyle)
Mark McMorris was the first person ever to complete a backside triple cork 1440 and won back-to-back gold medals in the 2012 and 2013 Winter X Games in the slopestyle event. Going for gold in this Winter Olympics, he’ll be up against Max Parrot and Red Gerard.
Martin Fourcade (France, Biathlon)
Martin Fourcade is a French biathlete, eleven-time World Champion, three times Olympic champion and will be going for this forth gold medal this Winter Olympics. We wouldn’t put it past him to win although he’ll have some strong competition from Simon Schempp from Germany.
Mikaela Shiffrin (USA, Alpine Skiing Slalom)
There are many many great events to watch at the Winter Olympics, but everyone always loves and gravitates towards skiing. It’s no surprise when you consider just how fantastic it is to watch. The speed, the power, the death defying turns keep you gripped to your TV as you wonder how they manage to manoeuvre at such incredible speeds. Shiffrin will likely rubber stamp the fact that she is the number one alpine skier in the world having picked up a stupidly impressive 10 wins in the World Cup races she has participated in this year as well as making the podium a further 15 times. This is all in just 23 race meetings. She won last time out in Sochi despite being 19 and has only gotten better at the slalom, she really is a poster girl for the Olympics and will likely come back to America even more decorated than when she left.
Nathan Chen (USA, Figure Skating)
What were you doing when you were 18? If the answer isn’t, participating at the olympics, then I am sorry to say that Chen has you beat. Despite being such a tender age, Chen is ready to show what a wonderful talent he is having, so far, not lost a competition this season. He would be the youngest gold medalist since 1948 in figure skating if he was to win but he will be one of the favourites. If he can keep his nerves in check and rise to the occasion, he will be hard to beat.
Kamil Stoch (Poland, Ski Jump)
Ski Jump is one of those sports, like diving, that watching it makes you feel scared and nervous, never mind actually doing it. Stoch was the dominant force in 2014, taking home two golds in Sochi and looking at unbeatable. However, he has struggled since, dropping as low as 23rd in the world rankings and looking miles away from his best. 2017 and 18 though have seen him race back towards the top and he currently leads the World Cup rankings going into Pyeongchang. Perhaps he just needs the biggest stages to perform on and if he can match his Sochi haul then he will enter legend as one of the greatest jumpers in the sport’s history.