By Matt Cox – Sports Editor
Olympians have always been considered the peak of the athletic pyramid. They are competing for much more than the typical professional athlete. It is a matter of pride and nationalism instead of simply a quest for a trophy or ring. The amount of training and preparation they must endure is incomprehensible to the average citizen. Thus, they deserve their country’s support and recognition.
Not only do the Olympics highlight the passion that citizens have for their own country, they also demonstrate the harmony and unity that exist between nations.
“I really like the resurfacing of our interconnectedness as a world, instead of as a nation,” junior Jake Matano said. “The games this year have brought out many examples of selflessness and humanity, which is something really special. The world today is so fast paced and ‘plugged in’ that we often forget about the big picture. The Olympics help bring everyone together and remind us of our unifying factor, that we are all human.”
Although the solidarity among nations is one of the more important aspects of the Olympics, the competitive nature of the athletes and their performances cannot be overlooked.
As of print date, the US is the leader in the overall medal count with seven gold, five silver, and eleven bronze. The overall gold medal leader is Norway, with nine.
The 2014 Sochi, Russia, Games included the introduction of the slopestyle event. The contest features a course in which snowboarders and skiers perform tricks and highly difficult maneuvers off large snow banks and railings. The US was able to sweep the podium in Women’s Snowboarding and Men’s Skiing in the event’s inaugural year. They were also able to pick up the gold in Men’s Snowboarding and the silver in Women’s Skiing.
Unfortunately, one of America’s most popular winter athletes, Shaun White (also known as the Flying Tomato), was unable to medal in the event that he has practically owned in the past, Men’s Halfpipe.
“He is an incredible snow-boarder and it was hard to watch. When I watch any American compete in the Olympics, I am always cheering for them,” junior Emily Weedman said.
The most thrilling moment of the Olympics came from Russia’s most popular sport, hockey. It seems that since the 1980 Miracle on Ice, hockey matches between the US and Russia have extra meaning attached to them, even if they encounter one another in pool play. Fans never leave disappointed, because each match has exciting elements to it. This year was no different.
Three periods was not enough to settle the score between the US and Russia. A shootout would decide the winner. A relatively unknown player before the match, TJ Oshie, was sent out to take the penalty shots for the Americans. He was able to score an astounding four times in the sudden death period and propelled the Americans to a victory.
Due to their stellar performance in pool play, the US secured the number two seed in the final bracket. The quarterfinal match featured an upstart American squad facing a strong group from the Czech Republic. With solid play from the veterans on the team, the US was able to post a 5-2 victory.
Occasionally in sports the stars will align. Fortunately for the fans, a win by both the Americans and Canadians set up a rematch of the 2010 gold medal match from the Vancouver Olympics. This time, the US will look to come out on top against their fellow North Americans. The match will take place Fri., Feb. 21 at 12:00 p.m. EST.
Staff Writer Dana Reynolds contributed to this article.