Photo: Sochi 2014 Winter Games

Sochi: One Year and Counting

With glowing hearts Canadians came out in droves three years ago to support a nation with the globe’s attention. The 2010 Vancouver Winter Games brought out the best in our Olympians and they responded with 26 medals, among them a record-breaking 14 gold, to finish third overall in the medal count and the most medals in Canadian winter history.

Many memories continue to burn bright three years later as a crop of current Olympians and new hopefuls vie for spots to represent the Maple Leaf one year from now at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. New legacies will be built, heroes will be created and stories will be shared for generations.

Photo: The Canadian Press

Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Steve Podborski, is ready to lead the 2014 Canadian Winter Olympic Team.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

“At one year out, the athletes are already raring to go and the intensity is building every day as we can see from the massive Canadian presence in different test events, World Championship and World Cup circuits,” said Steve Podborski, 2014 Chef de Mission. “Canadians thought they saw some amazing energy in Vancouver but I’m telling you that the best is yet to come!”

Canadians Ready To Take On The World

With a total of 98 medal events to contend for in Sochi in 10 different venues separated into the mountain cluster and the coaster cluster, Canadians will be aiming high to contend for top spot in overall medals. Many 2010 champions will be hoping to defend their titles, like Alex Bilodeau (Rosemere, QC) who skied himself into the history books at Cypress Mountain, when he became the first Canadian athlete to ever win Olympic gold on home soil. Tessa Virtue (London, ON) and Scott Moir (Ilderton, ON) became the first North American ice dancers to be crowned Olympic champions in 2010 and will look to become just the second ice dance team to ever successfully defend their gold medal.

COC Photo: Mike Ridewood

Alex Bilodeau realizes he has won gold in the men’s moguls final at Cypress Mountain during the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. COC Photo/Mike Ridewood

Speed skaters like London, ON native Christine Nesbitt and Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC will be looking to dominate once again and bring Canada gold both individually and in team events. And Calgarian Kaillie Humphries will hope to keep the same results as she did in Vancouver and at the last two world championships to stand at the top of the podium as the most dominant Bobsleigh pilot in modern history.

“This is another big milestone towards our Olympic journey to Sochi,” said Humphries of being a year away from the Opening Ceremonies in Sochi. “I’m becoming more eager and it’s surreal to think we’re only a year away from the Opening Ceremony. The excitement is definitely noticeable among my teammates and I look forward to proudly representing Canada once again at a Winter Games.”

New Events, New Stars

COC Photo: Alex Paradis

Mark McMorris will be one of the many Sochi hopefuls from Canada looking to make an impact at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. COC Photo/Alex Paradis

The Winter Games will mark the debut of six new events in which new stars can be created. Among the exciting debut sports will be one that weighs heavily on fans of Canadian Freestyle Skiing as the halfpipe event takes centre stage with the memory and legacy of the late Sarah Burke on all the competitors and organizers minds. The event would not be possible without Burke’s work as an advocate for the event to be included in the program. Calgary’s Rosalind Groenewoud will be carrying the torch left behind by Burke and hoping to land on the podium.

“It’s questionable where the sport would be without Sarah,” said Rory Bushfield, Burke’s widower. “It is where it is because of her. I watched her work so hard and set a goal. She wanted to be an Olympian and she built her side of the sport up until it became an Olympic sport. It was her goal and she got to achieve it.”

Photo: The Canadian Press

Alex Gough, right, and teammate Samuel Edney celebrate their team’s second place win in the team relay at the World Championships at the Whistler Sliding Centre in Whistler, BC. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Alex Gough (Calgary, AB) will be looking to team up with fellow Calgarians, Sam Edney and Justin Snith, along with Tristan Walker of Cochrane, AB, to shoot for a medal in the relay event in Luge as they did this year during the World Championships. Mark McMorris of Regina, SK, has been stealing the show and the headlines in Snowboard slopestyle after winning two consecutive X Games titles, but even more will be at stake now with the entire world watching this time around. The Figure Skating team event makes its debut and Canada is expected to form a strong team including the likes of Olympic champions Virtue and Moir and two-time world champion Patrick Chan (Ottawa, ON).

Team Behind the Team

Behind the scenes, the Canadian Olympic Committee is strategically planning to make this a stress free and focused leading up to the Games. The first shipment of Sochi cargo left the Ottawa-based AMJ Campbell Warehouse in early December, carrying equipment to help Canadian athletes stay fit and injury-free during World Cup test events.

Photo: Bobsleigh Skeleton Canada

Kaillie Humphries, right, will be looking to repeat her Olympic performance from 2010 and stand on top of the podium as she did at the 2013 World Championships. Photo: Bobsleigh Skeleton Canada

Meanwhile, the first orders of team uniforms were submitted to official clothing supplier HBC and orders are currently in for furniture and equipment to provide athletes with comfortable living spaces in the athletes’ village. Additionally, the COC has already secured an inventory hotel rooms in Sochi to assist our sport partners, National Sport Federations and their guests with their accommodation needs during the Games.

Show Your Support, Get Behind the Scenes

The Canadian Olympic Foundation‘s hospitality program offers a number of appealing experiences for donors at various levels of giving so that they may be able to live the Olympic Games front and centre.  First-class dining, accommodations and Olympic events are just the beginning for those who are looking to help today’s Olympians reach their goals and dreams.

Supporting the Canadian Olympic Team in Sochi will grant you access to opportunities to go behind the scenes. Space is limited.  Contact us today to discover how you can create an unforgettable Olympic experience while making a direct impact on Canada’s performance in Sochi.