Warm up to winter with the Olympics

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Although many of us grumble and complain about all this snow and cold weather and cannot wait for it to warm up outside, there is one good thing that comes from this every four years. That of course is the Winter Olympics. The host to this year’s Olympics is Vancouver, Canada. This should make it nice to watch events live instead of getting the replays of what happened in the middle of the night when most people are asleep. The two week winter spectacle begins Friday, Feb. 12 with the opening ceremonies. The Winter Olympics has 15 different sports with unique disciplines in each one. The more popular sports in the games are skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, figure skating, speed skating, and everyone’s favorite curling. Out of these 15 sports there are 86 separate competitions that total 256 medals to be had. Each event awards three medals: a gold for first place, a silver for second and a bronze for third. During every Olympics the talk is always what country is going to have the highest total medal count. This year’s favorites have to be Canada and Germany. Germany led all countries in the 2006 Olympics totaling 29 total medals. Canada was not too far behind coming in third place with 24 medals. The other reason Canada has to be considered one of the favorites is because it is the host country. Excluding Italy in 2006, every host country has increased its overall medal count from the previous Winter Olympics since 1928. While Germany and Canada finished first and third in Torino, the site of the 2006 Winter Olympics, the United States placed second. The United States is looking to build off its strong showing in Italy and perform even better in Canada. There are many U.S. athletes to watch, in Vancouver. The first has to be snowboarder Shaun White. White is known as “the flying tomato” because of his long shaggy red hair and the gravity defying air he gets on the slopes. He already won a gold medal at the last Olympics and is coming off a mind-blowing performance to capture another X Games gold medal in the half-pipe. He is the heavy favorite going into the Olympics for the half-pipe. Another athlete who is always in the headlines for one reason or another that is a must see is Bode Miller. Miller was a huge disappointment in the 2006 Olympics but has a vast amount of talent. He has made headlines for not trying and also for controversially admitting that he has skied drunk before. Nevertheless Miller is a great talent and has the potential to be dominant on the slopes. While the two athletes above are probably the most recognizable for team U.S.A. the sport in which the team will likely do the most damage is speed skating. Leading the way for U.S. speed skating is Shani Davis. Davis won a gold in Italy and is considered the best speed skater in the world. He could potentially win five medals in the upcoming Olympics. While Davis dominates the long track speed skating, America’s favorite, Apolo Anton Ohno, is looking to continue to increase his medal collection. Ohno already has two gold medals and five total from the previous two Olympics. In women’s skiing the U.S. is currently holding its breath to see if one of its main attractions, Lindsey Vonn, will be able to compete. Vonn was looked upon as the favorite in multiple events, but in a training session on Feb. 2 she suffered a deep tissue bruise on her lower right leg. She is unsure if she will even be able to compete in the upcoming games. These aren’t the only athletes that will capture America’s attention. Others are sure to seize the moment and become household names over the next two weeks.
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