Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
by James Maguire on Friday, February 7th, 2014
Tonight’s opening ceremonies kick off the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, one of the most controversial winter games in recent history. Gay rights activists around the globe are pushing for a boycott against the games in protest of the Russian government’s human rights violations. Also, Russia has spent $51 billion on the Sochi games, making it the most expensive Olympics to date. This cost has brought the Kremlin under much scrutiny, with accusations of corruption. In another instance, the Russian government spent $8.7 billion on a 31-mile railroad, but Russian Esquire Magazine reports that would be the price if the road were covered with a layer of beluga caviar. Controversy aside, the Sochi Olympics is one of the most anticipated Winter Olympics in recent memory and has many exciting additions.
For the first time ever, slopestyle skiing will be featured in the Olympics. Historically, slopestyle has only been featured in the X-Games and the Dew tour, but it has finally made it into the Olympics. While traditionalists disagree with the addition of what is essentially freestyle skiing, it is sure to attract young audiences, enthusiasm from fans, and a new flavor to the once-bland winter games. Jamaica, which is known for its dominance in track events in the Summer Olympics, is sending a team to the Winter Olympics this year: a bobsled team. Jamaicans and Cool Runnings fans everywhere are ecstatic for Jamaica’s Olympic hopes in Sochi. Upon hearing the news, Chris Lewis (II), who is from Kingston, Jamaica, said, “We dominate on the sprinting track in the summer, and now we’re going to dominate on the bobsled track in the winter.”
The event getting most publicity in this Olympics, however, is hockey. The four favorites in the tournament are Canada, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. Canada is simply a powerhouse: the Canadian roster includes NHL All-Stars Sydney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, and Jonathan Toews. Also, Canada is in a weak preliminary group and will advance easily to the semifinals. However, once they reach the semis, they will likely meet Russia. Not only does Russia have talent in Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Ilya Kovalchuk, but they also have home team advantage in Sochi. Russia is in the toughest preliminary group, but, with the cast that they have assembled, they will undoubtedly advance. Sweden has offensive firepower in the Sedin twins, Alexander Steen, and Henrik Zetterberg. Henrik Lundqvist is the only question mark for team Sweden. Can he come through on the big stage, or will his shaky season carry over to the Olympics? Not only does the U.S. have talent in Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel, but they also have phenomenal goal tending in Jonathan Quick and Ryan Miller. These two goalies have the potential to steal games from stronger teams. All in all, these Olympics provide many opportunities and events to get excited about. They will be a thrill to watch!
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