On your marks, get set, luge!

First impressions 

If we had grown up somewhere cold, with snow and ice, we probably would have…never become any kind of a winter athlete. The only sport we’ve ever managed to play to any level is badminton, and even then, a sports scholarship was never in our future. 

The Sochi Winter Olympics are running from Feb. 6 to Feb. 23, and will feature everything from downhill (as opposed to uphill) skiing to snowboarding and ice skating. Our favorite has always been the ice skating. Maybe it’s because we loved “Ice Castles” so much when we were younger, or maybe it’s because when we tried ice skating for the first time at the age of 18, we realized that those triple loops were perhaps a little less effortless than they looked on TV. 

What with the time difference between the Cayman Islands and Russia, and our plan to record our priority Winter Olympics categories, we decided that we needed an app that would lay it all out for us so we could schedule appropriately. After all, if we were to take to the ice at a late age like that chick in “Ice Castles” (16…44, what’s the difference?), we had to start looking at the minimum requirements necessary for us to qualify for the 2020 Winter Olympics. 


How it works 

The Sochi 2014 Guide app is free, so the choice to download it should be relatively easy. Once you’ve got it on your device, you are asked to set your time zone and choose your country. Cayman Islands is on there, thanks to Dow Travers, the sole winter athlete competing under our flag. He will be competing in the men’s slalom and the men’s giant slalom. 

We found a wee glitch as we were choosing our preferences in the settings section, so we chose to skip the rest of them. 

As you enter the app, you’ll be greeted with a dizzying array of information, including the full event schedule, news and photos, all the sports venues, even everything you need to know in case you decide to hop across the pond to watch the Olympics in person. This app covers planes, trains and accommodations, along with a guide to all things Sochi. 

For most of us, the relevant information will revolve around the schedule and the ability to mark our favorite events so we don’t miss any of them. 

Under the “Schedule” tab, you’ll find events listed by day, and you can tap on each event to get further information, and view images of the particular sport you’ve chosen. 

When you see a competition that you don’t want to miss, simply tap on the small star down the left, and it will be added to your “Favorites” section. 

Move over to the “Catalogue” tab, and you can see all the Winter Olympics competitions, from alpine skiing and biathlon to skeleton, ski jumping and luge. Tap on any of them to see what days they’re scheduled for. This is a particularly useful tool for those who are only interested in specific sports. 

You can also find the dates and times for the ceremonies under the “Catalogue” tab, such as the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. 


When we tried it 

We admit that when we initially tried to make our way around this app, it felt like an Olympic sport all on its own. It went into such depth that we found ourselves knee-deep in “Ladies’ Moguls Final” before very long, and had to dig ourselves out to find our beloved ice skating. Using the schedule was a bit time consuming, so we moved over to the catalogue and competitions and instantly located it. We saw that the medal rounds were being held on Feb. 9, 12, 14, 17 and 20. Looked like we were in for a busy couple of weeks. 

We also saw that the competitions would be happening when we were at work, thanks to the time difference, so we prepared to purge old programs from our DVR so we had space to record them, and vowed to stay away from Google so we wouldn’t see the results in advance. 


Final thoughts 

This is a pretty great free app to have as a companion to the Sochi Winter Olympics, and of course you can look up the schedule on the Internet, but this is a nice, concise way to get the information. Although some aspects of it require an Internet connection, most of it doesn’t, including that calendar of events, so you can keep abreast of your favorite sports on the go. 

The only issue we had with it was when it froze or refused to go further when we were in the initial settings stage, but at least you can skip past that. 

In the end, it’s not costing you any money, so why not give it a try? 

  • Cost: Free 
  • Seller:  
  • Devices:  
  • Rating: E for Everyone 
  • Three stars 

This app is your guide to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

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