Opinion: As Sochi 2014 gets underway, Kim Briscoe tells us why she loves the Winter Olympics - but what do you think?

The Winter Olympics are underway in Russia. Photo: Andrew Milligan / PA

The Winter Olympics are underway in Russia. Photo: Andrew Milligan / PA - Credit: PA

My love of the Winter Olympics can be traced back to a bout of german measles and an enforced stay at home from school which happily coincided with Calgary 1988.

I remember being particularly taken with the luge and thinking that I'd love to have a go at hurling myself down an icy track at speeds of up to 90mph.

Thankfully for my parents' sake there are no suitable luge, skeleton or bobsleigh tracks in the UK, but that hasn't stopped Great Britain's Lizzy Yarnold from becoming winner of the women's skeleton bobsleigh world series and a favourite for gold. Watching these brave souls hurtle round perilous corners makes for a gripping contest.

The flamboyant costumes and artistry of figure skating provides a nice foil to some of the more brutal events, and you only need to think back to Torvill and Dean's flawless Bolero performance or the nail-biting conflict between skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding to remember how every triple lutz or double salchow can leave your heart in your mouth.

Ski cross, which made its debut in Vancouver in 2010, is basically the winter version of the summer Olympics' BMX event, but it involves four skiers, which sounds like a winning formula to me.


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I'm also hoping that some of the new inclusions will add extra spice. Both ski half-pipe and ski slopestyle will involve the kind of jumps and tricks I could only dream of emulating, while the extreme ability of the downhill skiers is simply jaw-dropping.

Like many people, I find Russia's stance on homosexuality appalling, and while this strikes a sour note in Sochi I can only hope that the publicity surrounding the issue will ultimately lead to more understanding and acceptance.

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Perhaps a stint as a London 2012 Gamesmaker volunteer has fired my enthusiasm for all things Olympic, and maybe because I'm a skier myself I can appreciate the skill of the athletes as they battle the snow and ice.

The downside to Sochi 2014 is that I know it will turn me into a green-eyed monster and make me long to return to the slopes myself. I've already been warned not to complain about how long it has been since I last skiied.

But while it showcases examples of excellence, my fondness for the Winter Olympics also stems from 1988 when ski jumper Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards and the Jamaican bobsleigh team became crowd favourites as plucky underdogs.

Qualifying has been tightened since then, so we are unlikely to see any similar 'heroic failures', but like its summer counterpart there is always plenty of triumph and heartbreak.

• What are your favourite events and memories of the Winter Olympics? Let us know by commenting below.

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