On the 7th of February, President Vladimir Putin of Russia will insert a flaming 12-inch torch into a fur-lined brown ring in Sochi, causing a shower of snowy liquid to shoot over the expectant crowd and thereby bringing to a start the Winter Olympics of 2014.
It is sure to be a gay old time for all involved, but how did we get here? Where did it all begin? The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that like most other sporting events it was the British who started the whole thing.
Disappointed with their performance at the 1920 Summer Olympics in sunny Belgium - coming behind even Sweden - the head of the British Olympics committee Geoff Olympics wondered whether there could be an alternative games for athletes more used to Britain's rainy climes. As a result of this, in 1923 he established the inaugural British Non-Summer Sports Championships, held in newly-built leafy Welwyn Garden City.
As ninety per cent of the athletes were home-grown, Britain dominated the medals table. They won golds in soggy cricket, umbrella racing and the biscuit game - all well-loved British winter sports in those days. Organiser Geoff Olympics said that it reminded him of the glorious first "unofficial" Olympic Games held in 1891, before foreigners were allowed to take part.
However, the event had attracted global attention and plans were soon underway for a similar, larger world event which would be held in 1926, to be called the "Winter" Olympics. International diplomacy required that other countries would be allowed to compete. Not only that but they insisted on bringing their own sports with them, replacing many of the uniquely British events.
Such brazen foreign arrogance was shocking in the 1920s. Andrew Bonar Law was Prime Minister at the time, and he said that he suspected the Norwegians and Swedes of skulduggery. He raged, "Those pesky Vikings are just introducing their own obscure snow-based larks in order to bag a few medals for themselves. This may mean war."
Britain was eventually forced to concede, and Geoff Olympics left the International Olympics Committee in disgust. Instead, he established a new British-only Olympics to be held on odd years which were also prime numbers. It was fairly unsuccessful and ultimately was stopped after his untimely death at the hands of his wife while trying to ski through soil in a ploughed field.
Meanwhile those Brits who did compete in the Winter Olympics would struggle - not just like fish out of water but fish knee-deep in snow - if fish had knees. Even mountain sport pioneers such as Trinny De Toboggan and Sir Bob Sleigh were not good enough to seriously compete with the Europeans when push came to shove. As Eddie the Eagle would discover many decades later, learning how to do winter sports on a muddy hill in Hertfordshire is poor preparation for tossing yourself off the Matterhorn.
Belated attempts by the British to re-introduce their own sports such as winter trampolining and ice darts were doomed to failure. By 1936, Nazi Germany was hosting the Winter Olympics and bringing in their own strange events such as swastika ironing and snowmen saluting. Although those events did not survive long, it showed how far the Olympics had gone out of Britain's control.
So in 2014 what can we expect? Team GB has no realistic medal chances except in the snowball fighting, but beyond that, why even bother watching.
The only hope for Britain to regain the glory of the old days is to try to actually host the games, and then rig all of the events just like we did in London in 2012. If the crowds are all British, then they can be trusted to jeer at the non-natives and throw the occasional pie, and the judges will be much easier to bribe. It is a vision of competitive patriotism as Geoff Olympics imagined it all those years ago.
After all, Britain invented sport, even though we're not very good at it. People should be grateful for Britain's role as the world's PE teacher. If it wasn't so, everyone would have to spend all year watching boring sports involving overpaid egomaniacs swanning around and diving onto their arses - but in the snow.