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Sochi 2014- Does Asia Have Assets?

You'll see this everywhere!
You'll see this everywhere!

I thought I'd take a quick break from food to discuss something that's relevant JUST now, instead of always.

Despite the growing trend of multiculturalism, and the ease of travel to develop athletic prowess of all sorts, the Winter Olympics have long been a bit of a sore spot in southeast Asia.

Most smaller nations don't send more than an athlete or two, and even typical medal-winning powerhouses like China tend to lose a step. 2010's Games in Vancouver had Korea and China in the top 10 medal winners, but Sochi's website doesn't even have a list of athletes under a few countries yet. Some "Attending" countries may well be no-shows.

China's biggest medal-winner in Vancouver, the short track speed-skating star Wang Mung, is out with a broken ankle. And their athlete pool has dropped by a third, to 66 from a whopping 94 in Vancouver. Their strong events tend to come with cross-overs from Summer skillsets. Teach former gymnasts to figure skate in pairs, and you have an immediate possible success!

Korea (that is to say, -South- Korea) has fielded a pool of 71 athletes (compared with 2010's 46). Being frequently among the best of the Asian countries in Winter Games, and being the next hosts (2018 is in Pyeongchang), I expect them to show strongly.

Japan is sending almost as many athletes as both China and Korea combined! 136 in total. Numbers don't add up to medals though- they haven't had a good run at the leaderboards since they last hosted in 1998's Nagano games.

The Phillipines are sending a solitary figure skater, who I know nothing about. Young and nervous, I wish him well.

Mongolia has a pair of Cross-Country Skiers who I'm going to be keeping an eye on.

Thailand has two Alpine Skiers, but as one of the newest countries to compete, I'm not expecting much.

Taiwan (listed as Chinese Taipei) has sent someone for Short Track, Luge, and Speed Skating. While I wonder if China-Russia politics are afoot here with the naming, I expect comparatively strong showings. Assuming the Luge fellow isn't a DNF, of course.

There's one more Short Track competitor from Hong Kong, but that's about it for the list.

Nepal and North Korea are listed as Attending but have no athletes listed for any events. I guess we'll see!

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