Though winter sports are not high on the agenda of most Cypriot sports lovers, thousands of people are glued on TV sets to watch the Beijing Winter Olympics on Cyprus’ state television and Olympic events in sports and news programs.

Cyprus, an eastern Mediterranean island country, has little snow only on its highest mountain peaks during the winter time from December to March, and for this reason interest in winter sports is low.

However, Cypriots would not miss an opportunity to watch spectacular snow and ice events as the Beijing Winter Olympics.

“We make a point of regularly watching the Winter Olympic events as a family, either live, or mostly during re-broadcast time because of the time difference. There are some spectacular and artistic events, like dancing or skating on ice, which my kids love,” Anna Petrou, a young secretary and mother of two small children told Xinhua.

Cyprus is taking part in the Beijing Winter Olympics with one athlete, 25-year-old Yianno Kouyoumdjian, who will compete in the men’s giant slalom Alpine skiing.

Yiotis Ioannides, the Cypriot team leader at the Beijing Winter Olympics, said that the athlete, after three training sessions on tracks similar to the one in Yanqing, was in top shape and prepared for difficult races ahead of him.

Ioannides also commented on the opening ceremony, calling it “a life experience.”

“The moment when the Olympic Anthem was sung in Greek by a choir of 44 children will be unforgettable and fill us with pride,” he told Cypriot media.

Beyond live streaming of the Olympic Games for the first time ever by State CyBC television, Cypriot TV stations have been providing almost daily coverage of the events, starting with the opening ceremony.

“Multi-award Chinese director Zhang Yimou, with the participation of 3,000 volunteers from the regions of China where the games will take place, has created an emblematic opening ceremony in which spring had a commanding role, with snowflake, which symbolizes solidarity and prosperity, taking the leading role,” said CyBC sports television presenter Antri Kassapi.

Her comments were reflected in the headlines of several newspapers and websites, which branded the opening ceremony “impressive.”

Cypriot media also highlighted the fact that the snow and ice necessary for the Winter Olympics was manmade and a testament to Chinese innovation.

The Cypriot Olympic mission chief shared a first-hand experience with the manmade snow, saying that “the snow on the slopes is artificial and this creates unprecedented and impressive conditions.”

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