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Furries at the Sochi Winter Olympics 
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It's 2014 and once again the furries are allowed to compete at the Olympics! So here on FFC Sports we bring you the stories of these incredible athletes going for gold in Sochi.

One of this year's snowboard competitors was raised in the United States but is competing for his homeland--one you would never expect to see in these Winter Games.

Jean Radifera is a gold dust day gecko hatched in the island nation of Madagascar in 1989. Orphaned before he was even two years old, Jean was adopted by a family of American missionaries and emigrated to the US at the age of five. He grew up in California, where he learned to skateboard and surf like a lot of kids. But it wasn't until he had just turned nine that Jean's sights began to turn to the Olympic Rings.

"We were watching the Nagano Olympics on TV one day, and we saw these people surfing down the mountain! Some looked like they were flying, and others were on halfpipes like skateboarders. I told my parents that I wanted to 'snow-surf', as I called it then, and a couple weeks later I was taking my first lesson up at Mt. Baldy!"

The gecko's small size, and his skateboard talent, gave him an advantage in multiple events. Eventually, Jean decided to focus on slopestyle and made it into his first Winter X Games in 2009. He finished 5th in the slopestyle then just missed the cut for the Vancouver Olympics the following year. Since then, Jean has won bronze and silver medals at the X Games. And just last month, he finally struck gold.

"That's what training's all about--pushing yourself to go bigger and get better every single time. I've always been proud to compete for Madagascar, and I'm so excited to finally represent my home country at the Olympics!"

Coming off that X Games win, of course Jean's one of the favorites to win a snowboarding medal. If he does, it will be the first of any Olympic medals for Madagascar. He is certainly one of the top athletes to watch here in Sochi.

Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:04 pm
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[XD in our fictional Russia, lets pretend there aren't anti-gay laws and drama! yay!]

Turning heads this year is the brand-new Amazon Rainforest bobsled team, a four-person, mixed-gender team that represents not a particular country but instead the Amazon Rainforest itself, which, they argue, is an entity beyond national boundaries. They managed to convince the Olympics Council to recognize the Amazon separately from Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and the other South American countries in covers. And so, here they are, just in time for... the winter games?

You can imagine that an Amazonian bobsled team turns heads just as much as the Jamaican team has in the past, seeing as the Amazon rainforest is quite close to the equator and does not naturally experience snow, or indeed any seasonal changes aside from "rainy" and "VERY rainy." Nevertheless, native species groups in the Amazon are fighting to reclaim their natural heritage from European and American settlers, who came in droves looking for rubber and gold in the early part of the century and have since then built up great cities along the coasts and on the banks of the Amazon and its tributaries.

Our two runners are João Barboza, a male Brazilian Tapir from Manaus, Brazil; and Pilar Flores, a female Giant Anteater from Santa Rosa, Peru.
In the back, on the brakes, is a male Three-toed Sloth from Manaus named Milton Rojas; and in the front, steering, is Araci Ka'api, a female Capybara from Iquitos, Peru.

The Amazonian bobsled team uses a unique strategy in that their small, folivoran brake-man stays in the sled from the beginning, and does not push the sled in the initial part of the race, leaving all the heavy lifting to Pilar, João, and Araci. Despite this unorthodox approach, the team managed impressive enough times to enter the Games, and are expected to do fairly well for a rookie team from the rainforest.

The team is considered to be Araci Ka'api's brainchild; after watching the movie Cool Runnings in the 90s, growing up, she and her father built a makeshift practice course in their own backyard, which she would practice on with anyone who would get in her two-person wooden sled. She went to college in Canada and continued pursuing her goal of competing in the winter Olympics. However, becoming a Canadian citizen and joining the Canadian team didn't seem like the right course of action to her.

"I always wanted to make a Peruvian team," she said in an interview in her home country last year. "I grew up in Peru, I wanted to compete as Peru, not as Canada. So I came back to Peru and started looking for people who shared my passion for the sport."

After over two years of searching for a teammate to complete a two-person team, Araci found Pilar, who was active in track and field in high school and university, and had a soft spot in her heart for winter games. "I had always wanted to see snow," she said in an interview with Sochi reporters shortly after the teams' arrive in Russia. "I never heard of bobsledding but when Araci told me about it, it sounded like a roller coaster, it sounded like fun. I wanted to learn it."

However, as the two women sought to register their team and enter the games, a young man in Brazil heard about their plan and contacted them immediately. Says João, "When I heard they were going to bobsled in the Olympics, I begged them if I could join," he said. "I always watched the winter Olympics every year. I did weightlifting, I did wrestling, I did a lot of different sports growing up but I never thought anything was as exciting as moving so fast, sliding on the ice like that. I didn't see ice except in drinks in restaurants," he laughed. "A whole course covered in ice seemed like magic. I called them and I said, I will do whatever it takes to be on this team."

Their fourth member, Milton, was a long-time friend of João and decided to give it a try as well. As he told Sochi reporters: "I figured... I can pull a lever, right? ha, ha." Milton is a steadfast advocate for native Amazonian rights and is the one who conceived of opening the team to the entire Amazon River Basin, rather than a single country.

After many years of training in Peru, Canada, and all over Europe, the team is finally ready to go for the gold in Sochi.


Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:41 pm
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"Nervous, mostly. I'm just some bloke from Southampton. Used to choke up for speeches in primary school, and now I'll have billions watching me. Not sure...not sure how to handle that really."

Everything about David Wesley is a contradiction. The 22 year old raven from Southern England is built like a cage fighter, but is instead one of Figure Skating's most promising rising stars. He's known for his aggressive and high flying style, but in person, he's quiet and reserved, definitely not the powerhouse people have come to expect of him. Given his crisp accent and preference for urban attire, you might be surprised to find that he's competing for Morocco. Born outside of Rabat, David was adopted at the age of thirteen months, moving to England. Growing up, he showed no signs of becoming an athlete, and had never set food on an ice rink until the age of seventeen.

"I took a girl there on a date!" he says, laughing. "Turns out, I was pretty good at it. Took her back the next week, then went by myself after that. I was pretty much hooked."

But competing was not on his radar, let alone performing at the Olympic level. It wasn't until he was approached, in a freak chance, by one of Team Great Britian's coaches did the possibility of taking his skill to the next level. Since then, his skill has exploded, and many have considered him a possible gold contender, if not this Olympics then down the road. Known for pushing the boundaries of what is possible in Figure Skating, David is easily one of the most visually dynamic performers at Sochi. Possessing unparalleled aerial maneuverability, something David credits in no small part to his avian heritage, David's routines invariably include numerous jumps, including several quads, a personal favorite of his. His high risk, high reward, and high energy style has made him immensely popular with crowds, but not with his coaches. While his potential for excellence is high, so too is the spectre of failure, and he has gone from sure victor to defeat on too many occasions for him to warrant a spot on Team GB this year. Fortunately for him, he was approached by the Moroccan Olympic Committee, inviting him to join their team.

"Was I disappointed to not make he team at first? Not really. It's no secret they don't like how I skate. 'You need to work on your consistency. Your opponents don't beat you, you do!' that's...that's what they keep tell me. But...I'm just not having fun if I'm not out there throwing myself in the air like a maniac. So...what's the point in doing it if I can't enjoy it, right? Also, I've apparently become somewhat of a celebrity in Morocco, so there is that!"

When asked about his chances of medaling, David merely laughed.

"Nah, Some of these people are out of my league. I'm just excited to compete. Excited and nervous. I'll do my best, have a good time, and maybe learn a thing or two. Plus, there's always the next Olympics!"

Regardless of how he feels, His performance, for good or worse, will be one of the most exciting of this years Olympics, and we all look forward to seeing just how high this bird can fly.

Poets have hitherto been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

-G.K. Chesterton

Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:25 am
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It's been an incredible day here at Rosa Khutor for the slopestyle finals in men's snowboarding! Jean Radifera, Madagascar's sole competitor at these Games, sat pretty at the top of the standings after his first run with a 92.25 but then got knocked off in the 2nd run by Torsten Engquist of Sweden with a 93.5. Can the gecko reclaim the number 1 spot and take home the gold? We're about to find out!

And he's off, doing a complete 360 down the first rail! Very nice, we haven't seen Jean do this once yet! Maybe he was saving it for this last run...

Radifera could walk away with a bronze if he keeps his first run's score, but he's got gold in his eyes...

Some solid grinds on the other 2 rails, now for the jumps...

Jean launches off with a 1260 flatspin! NAILED IT!

Jump number 2, that's 1, 2, 3, a 1440 backside rodeo!

Here comes the last one, where it counts, he was talking about a triple cork but will it be big enough for gold?

A 1260, oooo, was really hoping for a 1440 there given that rodeo. But the crowd's loving that triple cork! And the gecko looks incredibly pleased. Are the judges too?

It's a 93.00 even for Jean Radifera, getting him the SILVER! Incredible! The first Winter Olympic medalist not only from Madagascar, but ANY tropical nation or any African nation as well! He's smiling that wide smile with his tongue sticking out.

"Congratulations, Jean Radifera! This is a huge moment not only for you but for so many others! What's going through your head right now?"

"Oh my gosh I'm so happy! I'm really proud of myself and proud to represent my home here in Russia! Also wanna give a quick shout-out to the Amazon bobsled team. I became good friends with 'em here and wanna give them my love and support."

Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:48 am
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