What to Expect in Vancouver for the Olympics!

Filed in Gather News Channel by on February 8, 2010 0 Comments
I found a very interesting article about the people to know and what to expect from the Winter 2010 Olympics.
The Olympics have returned. Athletes who ply their trade on snow and ice in relative obscurity until it’s decided their most incredible feats merit incredible attention are back. Commence the scramble to discern a double-cork from a double-Salchow, a hog line from a high-line. Here are ten topics that look to dominate watercooler chatter when the calendar hits Feb. 12.
1. Vonn, Vonn, who?
You may know Lawrence and Street and Mahre and Ligety, Moe and Johnson and Miller and McKinney. But do you recall, the most successful U.S. skier of all? That would be Lindsey Vonn. And if you don’t know her name, you soon will. Since the 2006 Games, where she competed as Lindsey Kildow, Vonn has become a mega-celebrity in Europe. That might have something to do with her back-to-back overall World Cup titles. Or the two world championships she won in 2009. Or maybe it’s her charming disposition, her winsome smile or her rejection of prize money in favor a cow (she now has 5). Either way, the U.S. is finally going to understand what Europe already knows – Vonn is a medal threat in each event she enters. And if she does compete to her level, well, she’ll go down in history.

2. Border battle

Most will be surprised to know that America’s neighbors to the north could beat the United States at anything, but Canada could top the U.S. in the medal standings in 2010. At the 2006 Torino Games, an emergent Canadian team won a national record 24 Olympic medals – one less than the U.S., which finished in second place overall. That finish, coupled with a home Olympics, has emboldened Canada to spend resources with the intent of yet another record haul. One small problem: Canada has never won a gold medal at home. At the 1976 Montreal Games and the 1988 Calgary Games, Canada failed to win a single Olympic title. Those results will weigh heavy on the national consciousness, not to mention the athletes themselves, in the opening days. If a gold doesn’t come early, things could get ugly.

3. Drama kings

With the return of reigning Olympic champion Yevgeny Plushenko of Russia and Torino silver medalist Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland, the men’s figure skating field is suddenly as crowded as Moscow’s Red Square during a Paul McCartney concert. Not since the 1994 Lillehammer Games, when Olympic champions Brian Boitano (1988) and Ukraine’s Viktor Petrenko (1992) returned to challenge Russian Aleksei Urmanov and Canadians Elvis Stojko and Kurt Browning, has a men’s competition featured such a compelling lineup. Representing the U.S. are Jeremy Abbott, Johnny Weir and 2009 world champion Evan Lysacek. The trio is exected to challenge for medals. No matter the outcome, there promises to be an extra helping of drama.

4. Old kids on the block

Torino marked the arrival of a relatively new cast of U.S. Olympians. Of the nine American athletes who won gold in 2006, seven were Olympic rookies. But even with the veterans the average age of the golden nine was a tender 23. More important, all but one of the gold medal winners will return to compete in Vancouver (speed skater Joey Cheek has since retired). With four more years of seasoning, the U.S. team will enter the Games as one of the more accomplished in Vancouver

5. Apolo and protégé

After introducing the U.S. to short track as a one-man machine in Salt Lake and Torino, the Apolo Ohno show will finally have a supporting character. Ohno’s understudy is 19-year-old J.R. Celski, who had a breakthrough performance at the 2009 World Championships winning four medals and finishing second overall. (Celski has recovered from a serious crash at the Olympic Trials in September, but his first competition since then will be at the Games.) Celski, who happens to be from Ohno’s hometown of Federal Way, Wash., first began short track after watching Ohno on television during the 2002 Games. But don’t think that Ohno is ready to pass the torch just yet. As a five-time Olympic medalist, Ohno needs two more to become the most decorated winter Olympian in American history. Only 27-years-old, the fleet footed Dancing With the Stars champion has every intention of staying centerstage.

6. Halfpipe hegemony

The U.S. snowboarders ooze cool, like a rat pack redux in polarized wayfarers. And in such an individual sport, the pack of women halfpipers is  as close to a team as it comes. When 2006 silver medalist and snowboard’s darling Gretchen Bleiler wedded last summer – to the cringe of adolescent boys everywhere – multiple female riders were in attendance, with 2002 gold medalist Kelly Clark serving as bridesmaid. “It’s a privilege to be friends with your competitors in a sport that’s so creative and artistic rather than competitive,” says 2006 halfpipe gold medalist Hannah Teter, who was unable to attend the ceremony. “Last winter I was telling the girls we need to be called ‘The Dream Team.'” Leading the way on the men’s side is 2006 gold medalist Shaun White, the man, the myth, and the emerging legend. Right now no other country can match the skill level of American boarders. Expect Clark to take the women’s title and White to unleash his latest brain-melting move, known as both the McTwist and Whitesnake, all over the Cypress halfpipe on his way to gold.

7. El Niño returns

 

El Niño, Spanish for…. “The Niño,” has made an uninvited, though not unexpected, landing ahead of the 2010 Olympic Games. And like Chris Farley in the now infamous SNL skit, the irregularly occurring phenomenon has been a troublesome sight. The weather pattern has brought warmer weather to Vancouver. The record warmth and dearth of snow has proven particularly problematic at low-lying Cypress Mountain, site of the snowboarding and freestyle skiing events. The mountain has been shuttered for the past sveral weeks as hundreds of workers have been working round the clock to create a winter wonderland in time for the Games. Cypress is expected to be ready for competition.

8. Canadian pastimes

For most Canadians, the whole of the Olympics could be canceled so long as the curling and ice hockey competitions stay the course. Both are considered national pastimes and no medals mean more to the 2010 hosts. While Canada should be considered a strong candidate for gold in the men’s and women’s competitions of both, victory is far from assured. In curling, Scottish skip and 2009 world champion David Murdoch is as tough an opponent as they come; in hockey, the maple leafs will face dominant squads from the Russian men and American women. If one of the Canadian teams falter, expect a country in mourning.

9. Partying on an Olympic level

Noted Alpine bad boy Bode Miller will be at the Vancouver Games. While the skiing, international goodwill and chance to represent your country might have all played a part in his decision, he most surely is enticed by the famed Whistler nightlife. It’s a “I-woke-up-with-a-bald eagle-tattoo-and-a-new-bride-named-Destiny” type of place. One Alpine skier called it “a mini ski Vegas.” And things are only looking up. “The energy of the place without the Olympics is crazy,” adds 2006 giant slalom gold medalist Julia Mancuso. “I can imagine when the Olympics roll into town, it’s going to take it up a notch to where it has probably never seen.”

10. Old men and the ski (cross)

In an attempt to youthanize the skiing events, the International Olympic Committee has added ski cross to the Olympic program for 2010. Think BMX with skis and snow. The addition comes on the heels of the wildly successful snowboard cross competition in Torino. The U.S. features two strong participants in the mass start event: four-time Olympian Casey Puckett and three-time Olympian Daron Rahlves. Both were successful Alpine skiers and either of the friendly pair could win the Olympic medal that eluded them in their previous careers.

For more winter olympic updates click here.

(via NBC Greg Groggel)

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I'm just a girl trying to figure life out! I don't take things for granted and I've realized that everything happens for a reason! Even the things that hurt us. I love to have a good time! I'm down to earth. I LOVE LOVE LOVE movies! I have an amazing boy

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