Germany has a fascinating history at the Winter Olympics.
German athletes have appeared in 18 of 20 Games due to being excluded after the two World Wars. The nation has now appeared eight times as a single country.
The German delegation tours the stadium, with Germany's bobsledder Andre Lange, as the flag bearer, at BC Place during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver on February 12, 2010. (Photo by MICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images)
A number of memorable gold medal victories came while athletes participated as representatives from the contemporary states they lived in. Figure skater Katarina Witt represented East Germany from 1977 to 1988 and during that time, she won gold twice. Her first was in 1984 and her second in 1988, when she performed “Carmen” in Calgary.
Figure Skating: 1988 Winter Olympics: East Germany Katarina Witt in action during Women's Singles Finals at Olympic Saddledome. Calgary, Canada 2/27/1988 CREDIT: Neil Leifer (Photo by Neil Leifer /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
Speed skater Claudia Pechstein won nine medals over five Winter Olympics from 1992 to 2006. She was especially dominant in 2002, where she captured gold in both the 3000 and 5000-metre races.
KEARNS, UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: OLYMPISCHE WINTERSPIELE SALT LAKE CITY 2002, Kearns; 3000m/FRAUEN; JUBEL Claudia PECHSTEIN/GER - Gold - (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Germany has excelled in biathlon, with 16 gold, 18 silver and nine bronze finishes. Magdalena Neuner earned two gold medals and one silver in 2010.
Germany's gold medalist Magdalena Neuner reacts as she finishes in the women's Biathlon 12.5 km mass start final at the Whistler Olympic Park during the Vancouver Winter Olympics on February 21, 2010. (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Luge has also been a successful sport for the Germans, amassing 26 total medals over the years. Georg Hackl is one of most decorated athletes in German Olympic history, with three gold medals and two silvers. His Olympic career lasted nearly two decades, making his debut in 1988 and taking part in his final race in 2006.
PARK CITY, UNITED STATES: German Georg Hackl celebrates after the men's single luge event of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games at the Utah Olympic Park, 11 February 2002, in Park City, Utah. Italian Armin Zoeggelertook the gold medal, Hackl the silver medal and Austrian Markus Prock the bronze. AFP PHOTO KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
About Sandra Prusina
Sandra is a sports journalist based out of Calgary, Canada. She's covered three Olympic Games, as well as other sporting events across Canada.
You can follow her on Twitter at @sprusina
Want a chance to apply and showcase your creativity, passion and skill at shooting winter sports?
Now the challenge is yours. We want to see your creativity, passion and skill to capture the essence, atmosphere and action – whether it's ice skating, skiing, curling or sledding - anything that's a winter sport.
As the Sochi Winter Olympic Games commence, we want you to get out and shoot the winter sports taking place around you - Richard, and along with Clive Rose, another sports photographer for Getty Images, will review and select their top 5 favourites, and those photographers will receive an Amazon Gift Card to the value of US$500 each.
The competition run from 7 February 2014 to 7 March 2014 (till midnight GMT). For more details, to enter and to see all entries, visit the competition page. And don't forget to share using #gettymasterclass!
The 2014 Winter Olympics, will take place from 6 to 23 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Since 1988, Getty Images has been the Authorised Photo Agency for the IOC. Our coverage began with the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, while our archival Olympic imagery goes back over one hundred years.
Prepare for Sochi Winter Olympic Games with our coverage from all the venues, of all the athletes and from around Sochi & Russia via our Sochi Winter Olympic Games landing page.