The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia begin on Thursday, February 6th, with preliminary events in snowboarding, skiing, and figure skating. The Opening Ceremony will be February 7th. Coverage here in the United States is once again on NBC.
The run-up to Sochi has been filled with safety and security concerns for not only the athletes but the spectators as well. You also have the gay-rights issue taking center stage due to Russia’s social policies. This week you also have shades of Vancouver rearing their ugly heads with several participants in snowboarding injuring themselves on their initial trail runs – hopefully the track designers will listen to the athletes and make the suggested changes and keep the safety of the participants in mind so the tragic events of Vancouver don’t happen again.
I’m normally not a follower of winter sports and don’t watch things such as the X-Games or even hockey any more. However, every four years, I watch the Olympics religiously. I find myself hunting for when snowboarding, speed skating, bobsledding, luge, skeleton, and downhill skiing will be shown. I even try to see if curling will be shown at a time that I don’t have to DVR it but will DVR it if needed (I got into Olympic curling while stationed in England during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002 because they showed every match). I find myself glued to the TV watching cross-country skiing and even the biathlon. I love rooting for the underdogs in a sport such as ski jumping and look forward to seeing the women compete for medals in that event for the first time. My wife still cannot convince me to watch figure skating in any of its forms though – there is a line that simply cannot be crossed after all.
With NBC, as usual, having the television coverage, you can expect the normal studio shows full of “fluff pieces” that will have you in tears or screaming “USA! USA! USA!,” and you can expect the normal complaining about their lack of live coverage. However, NBC has promised more “live” coverage (at least via their streaming media avenues either via their app or their website). With the time difference from the East Coast of the US to Sochi, many of the medal events will be during the daytime hours, so expect several replays at night during primetime (so stay off ESPN and other similar sites if you don’t want spoilers). Hopefully, this time around though, NBCNews.com will at least not have the winners of any medal events that will be shown in primetime splashed over their homepage or announced via their Twitter or Facebook feeds like during the last Summer Olympics. Also, I hope their “coming up after the commercial” segment doesn’t give away the winner like during the Summer Olympics either!
One of the best writers I know of that covers the Olympics writes for us here at Sports Unbiased, my friend, Zach Bigalke. Please continue to check out the Olympics page here for updates, previews and other coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi from Zach and the other writers here at SU.
Here’s hoping that we once again get to witness a “Do you believe in Miracles?!” moment. Here’s hoping that we see competition at its highest level. Here’s hoping that we see national pride on display in all its forms. Here’s hoping that an occasional underdog wins. Here’s hoping that the games themselves are tragedy and scandal free.
Here’s hoping that at the end of these Olympic Games the USA leads all nations in Gold Medals and in the overall medal count! USA! USA! USA!
Video courtesy of buzbeto