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Let the games begin

ENERGY: The BBC’s Chinyanganya

Anne-Marie Batson: What sports are involved in the Winter Olympics?

Radzi Chinyanganya: The Winter Olympics is the opposite of the summer Olympics. It involves the most elite athletes around the world, representing their country in sports involving snow and ice.

AMB: This is your first time covering the Winter Olympics for the BBC. What are you looking forward to seeing?

RC: I used to do skeleton bobsleigh. It was my dream to compete at the Sochi Olympics. I am excited seeing the skeleton because I’m covering the race. When the final is on air, I will be in the studio hopefully to convey my passion, excitement, energy and hope. The most exciting thing for me is being out there for the Games. To be a part of that is really an honour.

AMB: You achieved a top 10 finish in the GB skeleton bobsleigh trials in 2011. Describe your experiences.

RC: There are three sliding sports: the luge where you lie down feet first, bobsleigh like the film Cool Runnings involving 2-man and 4-man teams. The skeleton is where you lie face down. Taking part in skeleton bobsleigh was the most overwhelming experience of my life. I think everyone should give it a go. You’re going at 30mph, even 40mph, which feels exponentially quick.

It is incomprehensible. You can’t contract a muscle. You’ve got to be loose, relaxed and responsive. You have got to be aware where you are on the track. It is a total body of experience happening in one to two minutes long depending on the track length. What you see at home is a person lying down going very fast. There is so much to it. There is so much detail in the actual skeleton. I will be with a pundit conveying what it is like. All your energy goes into one direction. Even though you’re out of breath, you must hold it turning into the track at the first corner. And in the next two minutes, you are controlling the sled. It’s not going to be perfect, that would take perfection.


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AMB: For all those teams competing in the bobsleigh, what can we expect from the competition this year and how difficult is to medal?

RC: The last time Great Britain medalled in the bobsleigh was 1998. Lizzie Yarnold won gold in the skeleton in the last Winter Olympics. If Lizzie Yarnold medals, she will be the greatest Olympic skeleton athlete of all time, which is just an incredible title. It’s just a question of what happens on the day. How far ahead can Team GB get ahead of the Canadians and German team? Anything inside the top five is almost a medal. That would be impressive.

AMB: The Jamaican and Nigerian women’s bodsled teams take part in their first winter Olympics. Thoughts?

RC: It is awesome because it is chance to win and encourages others to take part in the sport. With teams entering from Africa for example, it makes the pool bigger and opportunity for better sponsorship deals. The sport grows because there are more eyes on it.

AMB: Where can our readers find you after the Winter Olympics Games?

RC: ITV’s Cannonball with Ryan Hand and Blue Peter. I absolutely love sport. I have loved it since I was three years old. My dad was the one who really got me into sport. Hopefully I will do more.

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