2010 Winter Olympics: The Top 10 Events You Must See
There are seemingly countless events at the Olympics and multiple rounds of each event. How can one know what to watch, or how to choose what to watch, over the 16 days of the Olympics? What events are the most significant for the U.S. team? Well, I'm here to break it down for you and give you the ten events you MUST watch if you want to be up to speed with the best that the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver has to offer.
Men's Super G
To me, it is the most thrilling skiing event in the Olympics. The Super G is the event that separates the real Olympians from the pretenders. Super G incorporates just about everything one could want in alpine skiing.
It has the slalom gates, and it is a speed event where skiiers reach speeds of nearly 60 miles per hour going down the side of a mountain. Combine that with the fact that skiers are NOT permitted to ride the course at full speed prior to their official runs, and viewers have that element of speed, thrill, and unpredictability that make the Olympics great.
Bode Miller (pictured) will attempt to redeem himself on the Super G after a DNF in the event at Torino in 2006. Also, look out for the Austrians and the Norwegians in this event.
Men's Hockey Gold Medal Match
It is the most anticipated team sport in the Olympics and the favorite also happens to be the host country.
Team Canada is the overwhelming favorite with a roster featuring Sidney Crosby (pictured), Martin Brodeur, Jerome Iginla, Rick Nash, and many others.
It would be a huge upset should Team Canada not win gold, but Team Russia, Team Sweden (the defending gold medal winners), and the Czech Republic will all have their say. Team USA comes in as fairly large underdogs but, in a short Olympic tournament, they have a shot to medal.
Aerial Skiing Final
Aerial skiing is a personal favorite of mine. If you want to see the best acrobats on skis, tune into the aerial skiing final. Putting gymnastics on skis is no easy feat, but these Olympians do it in style. It is perhaps the most eye-popping event and the one that will make you say "wow" more times than any other sport.
Snowboarding Halfpipe Final
Shaun White (pictured) will be defending his gold medal in the halfpipe. Also, the U.S. team is the dominating force in the event, having won gold, silver, and a fourth place finish at Torino. If you want to see an American team dominate, check out the halfpipe.
The U.S. four-man bobsled team heads to Vancouver with a whole lot of momentum coming off the United States' first World Championship gold medal in 50 years. They are unquestionably medal favorites at the Olympics and will be in good position for a run at the gold.
Steven Holcomb is the driver for the U.S.' first squad. He and his team seek the first U.S. bobsled gold medal since 1948. Switzerland and Germany will be right up there competing for medals with the U.S.
Women's Snowboard Cross
Vancouver will only be the second time Snowboard Cross is run at the Olympics but, if anything, the event is intriguing simply because of what happened at the finish line in Torino.
Lindsey Jacobellis (pictured) seeks to redeem herself for an embarrassing finish that cost her a gold medal in 2006. Her hot-dogging near the finish line caused her to fall, which handed the gold medal to Switzerland's Tanja Frieden.
Jacobellis and the American team seek to make up for that and win the gold that should have come home the first time around.
Men's Speed Skating—500m, 1000m, 1500m
Apollo Anton Ohno and Shani Davis are two dominant forces in men's speed skating and both look to add to their superlative resumes.
Davis won gold in the 1000m event and silver in the 1500m event in Torino. He is a nine-time gold medal winner in the World Championship and heads to Vancouver as a favorite in both events.
Ohno won gold in the 500m race at Torino and bronze in both the 1000m event and the 5000m relay. His five medals overall are one short of the U.S. Olympic record held by Bonnie Blair. Ohno will race in four events in Vancouver, giving himself a great shot to become the new standard bearer of U.S. Winter Olympians.
Women's Figure Skating Gold Medal Round
It is arguably the preeminent event in the Winter Olympics. The women's figure skating gold medal round is one of the crown jewels of the two-plus weeks in Vancouver. Come the gold medal round, the women, led by 2009 World Champion Kim Yu-Na of Korea, will pull out all the stops.
For 1200-plus days between Olympics, most sports fans give figure skating as much attention as the lint on one's carpet. But for one night every four years, figure skating takes center stage.
It's the one sport that makes you go, "these guys are out of their damn mind". That's why we love it. Skeleton—a head-first luge if you're not familiar—is perhaps the most pulse-racing event in the Olympics.
Skeleton returned to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 after a 54-year hiatus. There, Jim Shea Jr. (pictured with the badass helmet) captured the first U.S. gold in the event since the last time the event was run.
Canada claimed skeleton in 2006, and in Vancouver it figures to come down to the Americans and the Canadians. That dynamic is another reason worth watching—aside from the fact that it's some of the best television at any point during the Games.
Women's Downhill Skiing
American alpine skier Lindsey Vonn heads to Vancouver fresh off her 2009 World Championship gold medal in the downhill. Vonn is the most successful women's World Cup skier in American history and is a favorite in all four alpine events in Vancouver.
Downhill is a pure speed event in which skiers can approach 80 MPH while going down a mountain. The skiers in the downhill event will be the best of the best. That alone is worth tuning in for.