The XXIV Beijing Winter Olympics Begins Today
The XXIV Olympic Winter Games in Beijing begin on February 4 with the opening ceremony, which will take place at 14:00 p.m. Bulgarian time. The games in the Chinese capital will last until February 20. This will be the first Winter Olympics in China, and the capital, Beijing, will become the first city to host the Summer and Winter Games in its history since hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The historic Olympics in Beijing have already begun with several sessions in mixed doubles curling on Wednesday. A total of 2,871 athletes (1,581 men and 1,290 women) from 91 countries, including Haiti and Saudi Arabia, will make their Winter Games debut. Competitors will compete for the distribution of 109 sets of medals in 15 different sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, bobsleigh, skeleton, sledding, hockey, figure skating, skating, short track and curling.
Bulgaria will be represented by 16 athletes in Beijing - our smallest delegation since the 1980s. In the Chinese capital, we will present ourselves in 7 sports, included in 4 federations: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, snowboarding, figure skating and sledding. BF Biathlon has the most Olympians - 8, BF Ski has 6 (three alpine and one in cross-country skiing, ski jumping and snowboarding), one representative each for figure skating and sledding.
The most experienced in our team for Beijing is Vladimir Iliev, as this will be his fourth Olympics, and Rado Yankov and Vladimir Zografski will participate for the third time. Next to them in our delegation are six debutants: figure skater Alexandra Feigin, alpine skier Eva Vukadinova, cross-country skier Simeon Deyanov and biathlon representatives Blagoy Todev, Maria Zdravkova and Lora Hristova. For the other seven - alpine skiers Albert Popov and Kamen Zlatkov, biathletes Dimitar Gerdjikov, Anton Sinapov, Milena Todorova and Daniela Kadeva, as well as for sledder Pavel Angelov - this will be the second Olympics.
Bulgaria's flag-bearers at the opening ceremony will be Maria Zdravkova and Radoslav Yankov. The Bulgarian participation in Beijing starts on February 5 and will be opened by our best jumper Vladimir Zografski, who started by participating in the short-chance qualifiers on Saturday morning. After that, Pavel Angelov will do the first two sledding races, and our biathletes will start in the mixed relay 4x6 kilometers around 11:00 a.m. Bulgarian time.
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