10 Reasons to Care About the 2010 Winter Olympics
The nations of the world are about to face off against each other in the 21st Winter Olympic games in Vancouver, Canada, starting with the Opening Ceremonies on Feb. 12. With 15 events featuring thousands of athletes all
scheduled to take place over the next 17 days, viewers from Australia to Alaska will tune in to the festivities to see which country amasses the most Olympic hardware.
Shaun White (pictured) will try to repeat his gold medal performance from the snowboarding halfpipe event in the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
For most of us, the Winter Olympics are filled with events we know nothing about that most of us may never get to try ourselves. While there may be moderate to widespread lack of familiarity with events such as curling, skeleton, and Nordic Combined, one should remember that a country's pride is at stake in every event.
Whether you root for a hottie American defending gold medalist or the lone underdog athlete representing his entire third-world country, the 2010 Olympic Games have something for everyone.
Many people are suckers for NBC's often-too-long human interest pieces that interrupt live Olympic action for extended periods, and others love to watch with pride as their national anthem plays with the gold medalist weeping from atop the podium. The rest of us (myself included) want to see a combination of chills, spills, and world record thrills. This slideshow should help to illustrate just that. Enjoy!
Curling: Where Bowling Meets Shuffleboard Mixed with a Splash of Archery
Curling was the television ratings smash of the 2006 Winter Games in Turin that nobody saw coming. The hype surrounding this curious sport spawned a generation of curlers, and will now serve as a distinct selling point for the International Olympic Committee going forward.
The only question that remains is whether Scotland will be able to triumph in a sport that they are credited with inventing, or if Canada and Sweden will continue their reign.
Lindsay Jacobellis Searches for Redemption After Hotdogging Yielded Her Silver in ’06
Jacobellis became a polarizing figure in sports for her “Snowboarding is fun, I was having fun” comment when asked why she blew a three-second lead by deciding to attempt a method grab towards the end of the gold medal race in Turin back in '06.
As snowboard racing is still a fairly new event in the Winter Olympics (it debuted in Nagano in 1998), its most dedicated enthusiasts will maintain that as a hobby, snowboarding isn’t about speed or who finishes first.
Only time will tell whether Jacobellis experienced a change of heart in the last four years, and whether she’ll instead save her arsenal of snowboarding tricks for non-Olympic freestyle events.
Bode Miller Strives to Show That He’s Not Burned Out
After his worst year as a professional alpine ski racer in 2009, Miller started 2010 with a victory in the World Cup super-combined event in January. While the victory is encouraging for Bode’s body of fans, he still needs to atone for his 2006 choke job in Turin, where he failed to medal in any of his five events.
Canadian Men Take What’s Rightfully Theirs
Let’s face it: Canada cares more about hockey than any other country in the world. If there’s any justice, the men’s team will match the success of the ’06 women Canucks and win the gold on their home turf.
Johnny Weir Brings Star Quality Back to American Men's Figure Skating
Love him or hate him, the most notable American figure skater since Brian Boitano commands our attention! Say what you will about the effeminate, fox fur-loving three-time US National Champion, but he represents much of what casual fans enjoy about figure skating: grace, attitude, and flamboyance.
Ski Jumping: Don't Try This at Home!
If you planned on watching the NBA Slam Dunk contest, which has become something of a farce since the days of Spud Webb and Michael Jordan, check out Olympic ski jumping instead to see some real hang time.
One caveat: Americans will have to set aside their jingoistic “U-S-A! U-S-A!” patriotism for this event, as Yankees will likely take a backseat to the Scandinavian countries in ski jumping.
If You Like NASCAR, You’ll Love Skicross!
This contact sport, making its Olympic debut in Vancouver, combines elements of giant slalom, ski jumping, and moguls. Four skiers compete at once, and, similar to auto racing, not everyone may finish the race before they crash either into an obstacle or each other.
What Other Sports Are You Going to Watch Besides Regular Season Basketball, NHL, and NASCAR?
Kudos to the IOC for taking advantage of a quiescent period in sports and scheduling the Olympics smack dab between the Super Bowl and NCAA Basketball March Madness.
Shiva Keshavan—India population: 1.1 billion. Number of Winter Olympic Athletes: Three…No Pressure!
Since India is a warm-weather country, their Winter Olympic slush fund is about as flush as Jamaica’s. That said, all eyes from Kerala to Kashmir will be on “Shiva the Destroyer” as he looks for his first medal in his fourth trip to the Games. While I personally enjoy the skeleton event more than the luge, Shiva is a fascinating human-interest story worth mentioning. As a nation over one billion strong pins their hopes on only three athletes, Keshavan may not have many more Olympic opportunities left in his career as the world’s fastest Indian.
Question: What Do You Get When You Cross Tony Hawk With Carrot Top?
You get Shaun White, the world’s best snowboarder who has won dozens of various international snowboarding competitions since 2002. Since he won Olympic gold for the men’s halfpipe in Turin in ’06, Shaun White has practically become the Babe Ruth of the Winter X-Games.
Not only has Shaun established himself as the world’s preeminent snowboarder, but he has also become a White-hot brand whose ebullient disposition has attracted a gaggle of endorsements ranging from video games to energy drinks to sunglasses to winter resorts, and much more.