BOULDER — The first wave of athletes to compete in the winter Olympic games in Sochi will arrive in the United States on Thursday, bringing the total number of athletes from around the world to more than 3,500.
The Games start on Feb. 7 and end Feb. 15, and will feature the world’s most popular sport.
The United States and Russia will each have nine athletes, while Canada and Australia will each host one each.
The U.S. team, which includes athletes from the world of athletics and the hockey and ice-skating arenas, includes three gold medallists and four bronze medallist athletes.
The U.K. will field five medal-winning athletes.
The IOC announced that four other countries, including the U.N. and the U-23 World Championships, will also be competing in the Winter Olympics.
Canada and Mexico are expected to field four medal-winners.
The men’s and women’s team are expected at the end of February.
“We have the highest number of medals in the world, so it’s a huge step forward,” said U. S. Olympic Committee CEO Yvonne Chiang.
“It’s a good indication that we have the support of the IOC and the IOC is going to be looking at this and really looking at it and hopefully looking at the other partners.”
For the U., the IOC announced it has awarded $1.7 billion to the U to support the Olympic movement.
It also announced it is establishing an IOC-backed team of “global ambassadors” to help the U.-20 World Cup, which starts in July in the Us., and the World Cup of Hockey in 2019 in Canada.
The World Cup will feature 20 teams from around Canada and the world competing in five Olympic-style tournaments.
Canada has four gold medals.
The men’s team will include the country’s top-ranked skater, Michael Bournival, who was named the U’s most valuable player for the 2017-18 season.
He also won a bronze medal in the men’s individual medley event.
He is one of three Canadians to win Olympic gold medals in ice hockey.
The women’s squad includes a pair of gold medalists, including one of Canada’s top women’s hockey players, Megan Rapinoe.
Rapinoes gold medal in individual hockey came in the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Championship in Stockholm.
She has a record of 36-5-6 with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage in six Winter Olympic games.
“This is great for the Canadian Olympic movement,” said Canadian Olympic Committee President Craig Brown.
“This will give us an opportunity to have a team of world-class athletes from all over the world and the opportunity to share the Olympic spirit.”