The 2014 Winter Olympiad gets under way today in Sochi.
Given the amount of pre-event negativity that has accumulated in the build-up – spearheaded by gay rights, terrorist threat, exorbitant spend, climate suitability, venue readiness… – we thought it would be fun to follow the Games day-by-day and see how sentiment evolves as the action unfolds.
It is difficult now to remember the months of whinging and doom-mongering that preceded the London Games in the wake of the groundswell of excitement and feel-good that universally captured our imaginations through the summer of 2012.
Will it be the same in Sochi, from which we should expect to be bombarded for the next fortnight by an onslaught of awe-inspiring imagery and fantastic feats? Will Team GB achieve its biggest-ever Winter Games medal haul and will we all be searching for the Sochi 2015 winter season brochure or will our abiding memory be of Putin’s grimace and a massive fail by the Russian PR department?
Let’s see. Every day we will be dipping our toe into the online conversational pool to see what sports fans are saying and selecting our favourite reports to sum up the mood.
Thursday 20th February
What a difference a day, and can of gold paint makes! Vandals give Lizzy Yarnold the gold post box she deserves in her home village, Canada comeback to beat USA in Women’s ice hockey and Team GB women’s curlers WIN BRONZE (for those keeping score, yes, it was a last gasp victory again)
Wednesday 19th February
The continuing success of Team GB’s mens curling and their last gasp victory (aren’t all victories in curling last gasp ones? Maybe thats why Curling is gripping the nation!) that takes them into the final, was almost overshadowed by the release of the video allegedly showing the protest band Pussy Riot being beaten Russian police/cossacks.
Tuesday 18th February
Positive sentiment returns to Sochi following a thrilling last stone double takeout win my Team GB’s mens curlers against the fancy pants of Norway. A day of curling semi finals awaits tomorrow for Team GB’s men and women.
Monday 17th February
A rare drop in sentiment today. Blame the Monday blues, blame the fog but the mood has been subdued today. A third less comments have resulted in the lowest sentiment about the Olympics since the games began.
Weekend, 15 & 16th February
More ups and downs than the Sochi Sliding Centre this weekend. From the highs of a Tearful Yarnold enjoying her medal moment and a tearful Bode Miller from USA celebrating his Super-G joint Bronze to the lows of Elise Christie hit by disqualification…again, and halfpipe skier Rowan Cheshire crashing out in practice. Still, the Jamaicans are back in the bobsleigh – Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time! COOL RUNNINGS!
Friday 14th February
Team GB’s ladies smashing the Japanese has been dwarfed at this point! Lizzy Yarnold’s has got Team GB’s first and hopefully not last gold medal. Her medal winning run has massively boosted positive sentiment in the UK . Great work Lizzy
Thursday 13th February
Positivity at an all time high today. Lizzy Yarnold is in a strong position for her final run at the sliding centre on the Tea Tray a.k.a. Skeleton, whisper it but tomorrow afternoon we might see Team GB’s first gold. We do have form here, GB is the only nation to have won a skeleton medal on each of the five occasions it has been held
Wednesday 12th February
Some really good vibes today, mostly thanks to the Canadians. They might have only won a silver medal but they are golden in social thanks to Molson giving away free beers to Canadians and their friends, and this amazing Canadian coach who defined sportsmanship with this act of kindness
Tuesday 11th February
The good vibes from England beating Germany at Curling were just enough to see off the bad news about Kemp & King failing to live up to the unfeasibly high standards of Torvill & Dean on the ice.
Monday 10th February
Coverage continues of “Jonesy” and the good times keep rolling (should that be sliding?) in Sochi. Slopestyle dominates and a nation scrabbles to learn a new lingo. Don’t embarrass yourself for the upcoming skiing event by knowing the difference between a steezy or a sketchy grab.
Weekend, 8 & 9th February
The first ever British medal won on snow leads to some overwhelming happy vibes online. Relive the ‘gnarly’ performance and comical commentating here
Friday, 7 February
Lots of sporting excitement in the air, but our attention was grabbed by the rich vein of commentary from the attending media who are so far somewhat underwhelmed by the ‘Sochi welcome’.