A flaming torch makes its record-breaking, 4-month-long journey through places including Moscow, the North Pole, and outer space, finally coming to rest in blustery Sochi, Russia. Within the next two weeks, the 25th winter Olympics will commence in Sochi, beginning February 7 and concluding February 23.
There will be twelve new sports events premiering at the winter games in Sochi. The new sports events will include three mixed events: the biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event, and the luge team relay. Other new events at the Sochi Olympics include the men’s and women’s ski half pipe, ski slope style, snowboard slope style, and snowboard parallel slalom. Women’s ski jumping will also be new this year.
The winter Olympics are divided into snow sports and ice sports. Under the snow sports are alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, snowboarding, biathlon, freestyle skiing, and ski jumping. Ice sports include the bobsled, figure skating, luge, skeleton, curling, hockey, short track, and speed skating.
The United States’ biggest medal contenders to watch out for are Shaun White (snowboarding), Arielle Gold (snowboarding), Seth Wescott (snowboarding), Kelly Clark (snowboarding), Lyndsey Jacobellis (snowboarding), Jamie Anderson (snowboarding), Shani Davis (speed skating), Bode Miller (alpine skiing), Mikaela Shiffrin (alpine skiing), Ted Ligety (alpine skiing), Meryl Davis (figure skating), Charlie White (figure skating), Gracie Gold (figure skating), Julie Chu (hockey), Zach Parise (hockey), and Nick Goepepper (freestyle skiing).
Complicated relations between the U.S. and Russia may be further exasperated by President Obama’s decision to bring openly gay athletes to the Olympic Games in full knowledge of Russia’s anti-gay policies. As protesting is not allowed on Olympic grounds, a specific area has been blocked off where protesters may voice their opinions for or against an issue. The biggest concern lies in the propaganda of gay rights. Throughout multiplying political concerns, the athletes remain prepped for the games that are just around the corner.
Pregame concerns have skyrocketed with the addition of the promise of a “present” to be delivered to the Olympics by a terrorist group who has allegedly already infiltrated Sochi with their “Black Widow,” a widow of one of the prominent members of their terrorist organization. Russian President Vladimir Putin has increased security and police forces, and they are still searching for the woman within the city.
On a lighter note, Ralph Lauren has revealed distinct, purely American outfits for the U.S. athletes to walk out in this year. As opposed to last year with the mini-scandal in which the clothes were discovered to have been made mostly in China, the remedied outfits this year scream America with red, white, and blue stars and stripes emblazoned across them.
Although 70% of tickets have been sold, hundreds of thousands of tickets remain available due to several factors. Terrorist threats remain a very real obstacle. It is still unknown where an attack might occur. For now, reports say that Russian security has been upped dramatically. Putin has brought in 40,000 police in an effort to deter this terrorist danger.
– Bethany Kuhn, Reporter