Winter Olympics Primer 2.7.14

 

In this primer, SQ covers US Athletes to Watch, The Storylines That People are Talking About, and The Basics (when, what, where).

To start your prep off right for the XXII Winter Olympics – here’s a scene from one of our favorite Winter Olympic themed movies:

US ATHLETES & TEAMS TO WATCH:

Shani Davis, USA (Speed Skating) –

In his words: “I’ve learned a great amount — how to prepare to be the best I can be, getting to the Olympics and being my best there, rather than being awesome in the beginning of the season and not being at my best at the Olympics. It’s just trial and error, gaining experience. You learn how to do everything you have to do to execute on those given days.” – ESPN

  • Shani Davis is not just racing for another gold medal, he’s racing against history. The talented speed-skating star from Chicago won gold medals back to back in the 1000 meter speed skating event in both Torino and Vancouver, and has a chance at a third straight medal in Sochi. And he would be the first black man in history to win 3 straight gold medals. More than that, he’s got other events too which could make him the first man to win gold in any event at 3 consecutive Winter Olympics.  At 31, this is likely his last Winter Olympics, make sure you catch his events, you don’t want to miss history!

Mikaela Shiffrin, USA (Alpine Skiing ) –

In her words: “Sometimes I’m thinking too hard about technique or tactics or something about the course. I just need to clear my mind and try to find a good feeling, and just go as fast as I can. I figured that out for the slalom, and I tried to do it with the GS, and it worked. It was the most amazing feeling.” – ESPNW

  • She may only be 18, but alpine skiier Mikaela Shiffrin is not too young to go for gold at the Winter Olympics. After American Lindsey Vonn withdrew with injuries, Mikaela Shiffrin looks to fill her shoes as the one to watch in Sochi. Even though she struggled in the last event prior to the Olympics, look for the reigning world champion in the Slalom to make a strong statement at the games this winter.

USA Hockey –

In his words: “Can’t think of a better group [of leaders], and can’t think of a better captain than Zach Parise to lead our team” –  USA Coach Dan ByslmaCBS Sports

  • Both the United States women’s and men’s hockey teams are looking to make some noise on the ice. The men are shooting for their first gold medal since the 1980 miracle (they finished with silver in the 2010 games.) Under the leadership of captain Zack Parise, the scoring of Patrick Kane and the goal protection of 2010 MVP Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick, the Americans are ready to play. The first big match-up is against Team Russia on February 15th. On the women’s team, look for Amanda Kessel, Meghan Duggan and Team USA to shoot for the gold.  After winning the silver in Vancouver, this tough squad is likely to face rival Team Canada again in their quest for that coveted gold medal.

Gracie Gold –

In her words: “I remember a couple of years ago, I was watching my role models in the Olympics. And now to be that role model, it’s so wonderful, you just remember why you do what you do. The passion in your sport is so important.” – New York Daily News

  • Kristi Yamaguchi, Michele Kwan, and Sarah Hughes all won the gold medal and America’s heart. Will 18 year old Gracie Gold be America’s next figure skating star? The 18 year old reigning U.S. Figure Skating champion will go for gold against elite competition including Japan’s Mao Asada in the Winter Olympics. It’s a tough road, and, it’s hard to predict what will happen, but we do know that she will bring her all to Sochi. We can’t wait to see all the figure skaters compete at this year’s games.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White, USA (Ice Dancing) –

In his words: “There are a lot of ways you can look at pressure, we’ve studied that a lot. You can let it lock you up, I don’t think we look at it that way. We’ve been training for this for a long time. We’re ready and excited.” – Charlie WhiteNBC Sports

  • There’s a lot to love about ice dancing, and one of the reasons is the beauty of familiarity. That familiarity of skating with someone you trust will be key for American ice dancing partners Meryl Davis and Charlie White. After winning the silver in the 2010 games, the duo who have been partners since they were young, looks to use their consecutive 6th national championship to propel them to the gold. Look for them to embrace the fun and leave it all on the ice.

Shaun White, USA (Snowboard) –

In his words: ”I’ve never really lowered my sights from that. It’s driven me this far. At any competition, it’s a risk you take that you might not win it, that someone might be better than you. But when you get into this, you know you’re putting yourself up for that from the very beginning.” – Sports Illustrated

  • Arguably America’s most recognizable star in the Winter Olympics, Shaun White is once again a star to watch in this year’s game. He’ll be going for his third consecutive gold medal in the halfpipe, ready to show the world that he’s still got it. Due to risk of injury and course safety, he recently withdrew from the slopestyle event, where he has previously medalled. The snowboarding reigning gold medalist and musician looks to pull a few new tricks out of his pocket and surprise his competition as well as sport a new look. Known for his long red hair, he donated his hair to locks for love back in 2012.

THE STORYLINES THAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT:

The Controversy: Outrage over LBGT discrimination, human rights violations, policy protests, and threats of terrorism revolve around these Olympics.

The History: The IOC is considering changes to the bidding process.

The Imagery:  Reporters live tweet poor experiences thus far in Sochi.

The Facilities: Some facilities are state of the art and some are not yet finished.

The Expectations: Uneasy is an accurate way to describe the mood. 

WANT MORE? LINKS TO EXPLORE

Television Viewing Guide
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch breaks it down
These timezones are confusing right? Indeed they are. Check out this awesome explanation on how to watch every event you want to see and where.

Oh My Cuteness
What’s cuter than a puppy?
Athletes from Team USA get to know a Siberian husky puppy and pose for a much appreciated photo shoot in the process.

The Miracle
Remembering the 1980 games
A slide show of that time the Team USA hockey team won our hearts with a miraculous gold medal victory on the ice.

Snack Time
Themed snacks for your watch party
A collection of intriguing recipes for various types of Russian foods.

THE BASICS:

Where: Sochi, Russia

Time:  Sochi is 9 hours ahead of United State’s East Coast time. Gotta love the personal World Clock we made you.

Where to Watch: Television (NBC,NBC Sports, USA Network, CNBC, MSNBC).  For the first time, everything will be available LIVE on the website  NBCOlympics.com except for the opening ceremonies.

The Medal Count:

The Sports:

  • Alpine Skiing (February 9-22)
  • Biathlon (February 8-22)
  • Bobsleigh (February 16-23)
  • Cross-Country Skiing (February 8-23)
  • Curling (February 10-21)
  • Figure Skating (February 6-20)
  • Freestyle Skiing (February 6-21)
  • Men’s Ice Hockey (February 12-23)
  • Women’s Ice Hockey (February 8-20)
  • Luge (February 8-13)
  • Nordic Combined (Biathlon) (February 12-20)
  • Short Track Speed Skating (February 10-21)
  • Skeleton (February 13-15)
  • Ski Jumping (February 8-17)
  • Snowboarding (February 6-22)
  • Speed Skating (February 8-22)

Schedule of Key Events:

  • Olympic events begin on February 6th
  • The Opening Ceremonies – February 7th
  • Men’s Downhill Skiing Final – February 9th
  • Men’s Halfpipe Snow Boarding Final – February 11th
  • Women’s Downhill Skiing Final – February 12th
  • Men’s Speed Skating 1000 m Final – February 12th
  • Men’s Speed Skating 1500 m Final – February 15th
  • Men’s Figure Skating – February 13th/14th
  • Ice Dancing – February – February 16th/17th
  • Ladies Figure Skating – February 19th/20th
  • Women’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game – February 20th
  • Men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game – February 23rd
  • The Closing Ceremonies – February 23rd
  • Check out the full schedule and your local TV schedule can be found here

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