YESTERDAY’S opening ceremony in Korea heralded the start of the Winter Olympics and two weeks of live action on the ice and snow of Pyeongchang.

Sometimes considered the poor relation to the summer Games, the winter Olympics continue to grow with each edition and have now become a huge event in their own right – proving the decision to switch years to alternate every two with the summer version was correct back in 1992.

In some ways, there are better stories in the winter Games – just look at the iconic Cool Runnings film based on the Calgary games of 1988 when Jamaica entered the bobsleigh of our own Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards in the ski jump that same year.

This year there are sure to plenty more tales this time around – we already know the Nigerian women will be the first African team ever to compete in bobsleigh.

For me, it is stories like that which make these games so special – the human interest tales truly representing the Olympic ideal. When you see competitors from nations that may never have seen snow, let alone have been able to provide a place to train on it then it gets the neutrals rooting for them.

Of course, the traditional big guns will be favourites for the major events – the Scandinavian countries tipped for success on the ski slopes and Canade likewise in the ice hockey.

But every now an then you get a shock result and I am sure us Brits will be hoping for some of those to keep our upward spiral of the past few Games going.

Team GB has sent a record 59 athletes to Korea – three more than at Sochi 2014 – and are aiming for their most successful Winter Games, with a medal target of five or more.

Surely we can bring home the bacon in curling ay least.

We may not have the class of the likes of Torvill and Dean or Robin Cousins in the ice skating – they are more akin to coaching celebrities for reality TV shows these days – but we still have good chances of medals with the likes of Lizzie Yarnold in the skeleton.

I think I would give everyone a medal just for attempting that sport. It never ceases to amaze me the bravery of someone flying head first round the track at such high speeds. I used to baulk at the thought of even daring the Avalanche bobsleigh-style ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach as a kid so I cannot imagine what the skeleton and luge competitors go through.

I do know, though, it is one of my favourite winter sports to watch along with skiing and ice hockey.

I did go skiing on a school trip as a teenager and after I finally got used to the discomfort of the boots and walking in them, I did enjoy myself – albeit I stuck to the nursery slopes so as not to get out of my depth slaloming on steeper courses.

I’m sure I’m not alone in realising I am better suited to watching winter sports from afar than taking part myself.

I just hope to have plenty of GB hopes to cheer on over the next fortnight.

The biggest bonus this time around for insomniacs like yours truly is the time difference to Pyeongchang which means most action takes place through the night.

Just like last week’s Superbowl, it means for the next fortnight my night-time viewing is all sorted, albeit it may lead to some heavy eyelids the following day.

So strap yourselves in and get ready for the winter wonderland from the sub-zero base for the 23rd Winter Olympics.