by: Jordan Barto
These Winter Olympic games are expected to be the best yet, with 12 new events making their Olympic debut. Such events include, ski halfpipe, luge team relay, biathlon mixed relay, figure skating team event, ski slopestyle, snowboard slopestyle, snowboard parallel slalom, and women’s ski jumping. In addition, the Sochi Winter Olympics will be the first to have venues in two distinct “clusters”, with eleven newly constructed arenas.
As far as the U.S. teams and athletes go, the men and women ice hockey teams are two teams to keep an eye on. In 2010 at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, both teams placed second to Canada.
Ted Ligety, an alpine skier, is also expected to be a US fan favorite in these Olympics. Ligety feels that he has to prove himself in these 2014 Olympics. According to Yahoo Sports, “Ligety’s sole Olympic medal was a combined gold in 2006, and he endured a hugely disappointing showing by his own high standards at the 2010 Games, finishing ninth in the giant slalom and fifth in the super-combined.” He has been training hard in the past four years, and is looking to make a strong comeback in 2014.
Polina Edmunds, a figure skater, will be the United State’s youngest Winter Olympian at just 15 years old. Edmunds is the same age as 1998 Olympic legend Tara Lipinski. Lipinski took home the gold in the ladies singles figure skating.
Unfortunately, famous U.S. Olympian alpine skier, Lindsey Vonn, will not be competing in these winter games due to knee injuries. Vonn tore two ligaments during the world championships last February and recently reinjured the knee in November, causing her to pull out of the games.
Snowboarder, Shaun White, also known as the “Flying Tomato,” will also be another to watch. He is a two-time defending gold medalist of the half pipe and is looking forward to the new Olympic event, slopestyle. In Today Show interview, Shaun White described slopestyle by saying,“It’s basically a series of jumps in one run and some rail features you slide on, and you make your way down and you basically do as many tricks as you can on those jumps.”
At the last Olympic Games in 2010, the US ranked third in the total medal count trailing Canada and Germany. With a total medal count of 37 (9 gold, 15 silver, and 13 bronze), the US is expected to come back stronger than 4 years ago and complete for the most medals. Opening ceremonies will air on NBC and their affiliates on February 7th. Be sure to tune in to watch the excitement!