Lost among the thrill of the Superbowl and the hoopla of the NBA All Star game are the XXI Olympic Winter Games being held in Vancouver, Canada. While not as popular as its summer counterpart, there is still much to look forward to.Besides giving the world a chance to realize that curling is much more than pushing a rock around the ice with a broom, it is also the perfect opportunity to see the mastery of some of the less mainstream athletes.
Controversial speed skater Shani Davis became the first African American athlete to win Winter Olympic gold in Torino, Italy, in 2006. This year, he hopes to add four more in Vancouver.
Apolo Anton Ohno, a short track speed skater who has already equaled Eric Heiden for most medals by an American man, is now trying to surpass Bonnie Blair for the most by any American in the Winter games. In snowboarding, ‘The Flying Tomato’ Shaun White, aptly named so for his flaming red hair, is the reigning X games king and will try to repeat his win in the half pipe, while his female counterpart Lindsey Jacobellis will try to recover from her premature celebration which cost her the gold in 2006.
Despite big success, skier Lindsey Vonn has never won an Olympic medal. She looks to get on the board this year along with the wildly talented but mercurial Bode Miller, who has never quite lived up to Olympic expectations.
Canadians Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue aim to make their home country proud by nabbing a victory in ice dancing. They will face stiff competition in Americans Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, as well as Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
In the glamour sport of ladies’ figure skating, Korea’s Kim Yuna is the favorite to take home the gold. However, in this event history has shown that there is no such thing as a lock.
Can Bode Miller overcome his demons? Will Shaun White repeat? Will Apolo Anton Ohno reign supreme? Did Dancing with the Stars help snow boarder Louie Vito? All these burning questions will be answered when the games begin on Feb. 12 with the opening ceremony at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
Nasha Smith is a senior mass communication/French major from St. Lucia.