If the Kingdom impressed in the summer Olympics with sixty-five medals won, the winter games should be more difficult. What can we expect from the Olympic Games in Beijing, which start this weekend?
Skiers, skaters, or the bobsleigh, skeleton and luge rockets. They are 50 athletes who have been flying to China since last week to represent the Union Jack colours from 4 to 20 January. All of them will be treading the artificial snow or ice of China, trying to break the record of 5 medals, which dates back to the lasts Games in 2014 and 2018, and to have more than one gold medal. In impressive events including freestyle skiing, alpine skiing, and bobsleigh. Or in more strategic disciplines such as curling. Who can make the difference?
Kenworthy, the Atkin’s sisters and curling to unlock the medal counter?
They are Dave Ryding, Izzy and Zoe Atkin and Gus Kenworthy. Whether they are medal winners or first-time competitors, they represent British alpine and freestyle skiing and will be strong contenders for the podium. Izzy Atkin and Kenworthy have already done so in 2014 and 2018. But for the latter, it was with the USA. Born in Chelmsford, Essex, he has represented Great Britain since 2019. Izzy Atkin wrote herself into the history books at Pyeongchang in 2018 by becoming the first Briton to win a Winter Olympic ski medal when she took bronze in ski slopestyle. Otherwise, Laura Deas (skeleton bronze – Pyeongchang 2018) and Eve Muirhead (curling bronze – Sochi 2014) are also expected to fight for the medal. Considered the best chance, many British athletes have stood on a World Cup podium this season. Charlotte Banks and Katie Ormerod in snowboarding. Bobsleigh and skeleton will also be on the cards. But it's in curling that the gold medal may come. Bruce Mouat and Jen Dodds are world champions in mixed doubles.
Great Britain suffers from its topography
UK Sport have projected between three and seven British medals next month, meaning that they could potentially beat their record haul of five. If Great Britain is able to hold its own against the United States and China, and even upset the established order, it is because of the number of athletes entered, more athletes means more disciplines and more chances. Last summer in Tokyo, 366 athletes made up the UK delegation. Those 366 athletes who also benefit from a financial programme that boosts the federations and prepares them in the best conditions to perform every four years. And yet! In this equation, winter sports are more difficult to work with. There are few or no resorts on the island. Meagre means to benefit from an attraction towards winter sports from a very young age, and to launch into it almost ad vitam eternam. A delegation of 50 athletes for a country that presents seven times more in the summer is difficult! But apart from ice sports, the Kingdom will continue to suffer from resorts mainly located in Scotland. So yes, the UK has more difficulties for the winter games, but it is able to beat its record. And why not train skiers, skaters, and other champions, ready to challenge the rest of the world, especially in the freestyle categories, where they will be the most numerous to wear the lion's colours.
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