The ‘retweets’ and ‘likes’ have started. From major social media networks to the blogosphere, everything that anyone is talking about is the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. That is, anyone who has not decided to boycott the games. The Sochi Winter Olympics seems to have a litany of problems–the greatest of them being the continuous terrorist threats. What has the world most upset started last year when Russia banned the promotion of “non-traditional” sexuality. Vladmir Putin tried to appease the LGBT community by publicly inviting gays to the Sochi Winter Olympics, promising that they “can feel relaxed and comfortable”; however, he finished by saying that they must “leave the children in peace.” (SMH, Putin…)
The Winter Olympics are my crack–no boycotting for me. I will eat, breathe, and live Olympics for the next few weeks.
There are only so many hours in the day; therefore, there are only so many events an individual can watch. These are some events and people who you are going to want to add to your Winter Olympics agenda.
Carrot Top No More
Shaun White–the Tony Hawk of the halfpipe. He cleaned up well for the cameras, but will he clean up when it comes to the Olympic gold medal? He earned gold in the Snowboard Halfpipe event, both 2006, in Turin, and in 2010, in Vancouver. He is favored to win again this year–no surprise there. What is surprising is events that occurred in the last two months.
In December, White was handed a devastating defeat at a halfpipe competition in Breckenridge, Colorado. It is evident that this shook his confidence, as he has pulled out of the highly anticipated Olympic slopestyle competition. This was the first Olympic games to included this competition–an event that White preferred and primarily competed in before the Olympics added the halfpipe to its Winter Olympics’ program list.
With his entire focus on the halfpipe, I expect an extraordinary display of talent–per usual–from Shaun White.
Oh No, No Apolo Anton Ohno?
I was heartbroken when I found out that my favorite American Winter Olympic champion would not be returning in 2014 (not returning to compete anyway). The blow was softened when I recently learned that Apolo Ohno will be very present at this year’s games as an analyst and broadcaster.
Ohno cast a large shadow in the last three Olympic games, but American racers Shani Davis and J.R. Celski have been lying in wait, preparing to take over. Both Shani Davis and J.R. Celski are world record-holders in their respective short track races – Davis in the 1000 and 1500 meter and Celski in the 500 meter.
I imagine both will represent America well, but I’m most excited for J.R. Celski. The 500 meter is going to be an all-out, no holds barred blitz to the finish line. With 14th ranked Mo Tae-bum winning gold in 2010, anything is possible.
Russian Home Court Advantage
I feel as if there aren’t many events in the Olympic games where a home court advantage comes in handy. I would think that the events that would most benefit would be hockey and figure skating.
Don’t start. I know what you are thinking: “Really, you think I care about figure skating?”
It beats curling, and say what you will…some of those jumps (and spins) are bad ass. After watching the Men’s Short Program event, I think that Russian Evgeni Plushenko will take home the gold. He has home court advantage, and the crowd absolutely loves him. My personal favorites, and who I think will keep Plushenko on his toes, are either: Germany’s Peter Liebers or Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu. Below is a one of Evgeni Plushenko’s most recent performances.
Chasing Medals in Both Summer and Winter Olympics
It isn’t completely bizarre for athletes to compete in multiple sports. Deion Sanders excelled in both football and baseball, being the only man to compete in both the Super Bowl and World Series. Aforementioned Shaun White competed professionally in both snowboarding and skateboarding; it was during his rise in the snowboarding world that White trained with skateboard-legend Tony Hawk. Neither of those is bizarre.
What is bizarre is someone competing in events that span both the Summer and Winter Olympics. In something that you thought could only happen in a movie (Cool Runnings)–and yes, I’m aware it is based on a true story–Lolo Jones has gone from a world-class track and field Olympic competitor, to a member of the 2014 American bobsled team.
It was recently announced that Lolo Jones will be positioned as the brakeman for the American bobsled team. The media is all abuzz and people are very anxious. She has come up short in all her attempts to win a medal in the last two Summer Olympics–can she finally win a medal for herself and America in the 2014 Sochi Olympic games?
Rematch of the Century
The most disappointing defeat for America in the 2010 Winter Olympics was in the final game of the Men’s Ice Hockey tournament. Losing the gold medal to Canada, on their home court, was humiliating. It wasn’t that America played poorly. The game went into overtime, and Canada won by one point. Americans just don’t like to lose to Canada…in anything.
As the gold medal game is the last competitive event at the Olympics before the Closing Ceremony, it puts a damper on celebrations and the closing of an otherwise successful Winter games.
Nothing would make me happier than to get Canada and America back in the rink for a gold medal rematch.
If everyone performs to the best of their abilities, I suspect that our athletes will represent us well. Moreover, I believe that America will go home with the highest medal count.