The winter Olympics are finally here! I’m not sure how I feel about these games. For months, we’ve heard nothing but horror stories about corruption—Russia spent over $50 billion to put on the winter Olympics, the largest price tag for an Olympics ever—to threats of terrorism, to Russian president Putin’s stance on gays, and this week, the less than luxury living conditions for the media, the athletes and the fans. And don’t get me started on the story about all the stray dogs in Sochi being rounded up and killed. Barbaric.
But tonight, the games will officially open. Of course, events have been taking place for the past two days. Was there a reason the opening ceremonies had to be delayed? Matt Lauer has been there all week. (Savannah, I hope you packed an extra large Purell for him because I’m sure he’s out by now!) Is it just me or do things feel a little mixed up and jumbled? Showcasing only fifteen sports, the winter games are supposed to be smaller, more intimate and laid back than the summer Olympiads, and yet it seems these games have begun on a more chaotic note. Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to settling in each night to watch, I just hope the side show doesn’t detract from the real story: the performance of the athletes.
Yesterday, I blogged on www.romancingthejock about my favorite winter Olympic sport. Stop on over to see what it is. Hint: special shoes and crazy pants are required. I’m also looking forward to two of the twelve new events: women’s ski jumping (it’s about time!)
and the mixed figure-skating team event (although after last night, I’m not so sure.) And, of course, there’s hockey. I love hockey players—I mean hockey.
I was inspired when the USOC announced the flag bearer for the team USA. It’s Todd Lodwick, a 37-year-old Nordic combined skier. Voted on by the entire 230 member delegation, Lodwick definitely represents the Olympic spirit because this is his sixth winter Olympic games, making him the first US Olympic athlete to compete in six different games. (Surely, his first Olympics was when he was in middle school??) The father of two, Lodwick is a world champion in the Nordic combined who won silver in Vancouver in the team event.
And how about Shaun White, the Flying Tomato. Can we still call him that now that his luscious locks have been shorn? At twenty-seven, he looks all grown up and dare I say sexy? He’s also the richest athlete competing in the games. LoLo Jones is making history by competing on the track in London and now in Sochi as a member of the U.S. women’s bobsled team.
Any way you look at it, these games are guaranteed to keep us all watching and talking. I just hope it’s about the sporting contests and not something else.
What sports are you most excited about watching during the winter Olympics? Is there an athlete you think will be a break out star?