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Opinion

Winter Olympics cause for international celebration

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February 6, 2014

Every two years, the summer and winter Olympics takes place, providing a source of entertainment for some, and a source of competition for others. Whether it is the summer or the winter games, it is an international celebration, a way to show pride for one’s country and connect with others around the globe. This week, athletes from around the world will travel to the 21st games in Sochi, Russia in hopes of coming out victorious and representing their country. I know I feel a sense of pride during the Olympics, so it is always fun to watch fellow Americans take home the gold medal.

The first winter Olympics were held in 1924 in Charmonix, France, approximately 20 years after the summer Olympics debuted. The winter Olympics was created due to the immense success that the summer Olympics had in the past. When it started, the winter Olympics only had seven sports: alpine and cross-country skiing, figure skating, speed skating, Nordic combined, ice hockey, and ski jumping. Since then, several sports have been added to the schedule, such as luge and snowboarding. The rapid rise of television in the 1950’s helped the Olympics grow in popularity, attracting over one million viewers. This also increased profits due to broadcasting and advertising costs.

The winter Olympics, like the summer Olympics, has had its fair share of scandals and controversies. World War II was among the first global issues to stand in the way of the Olympics, creating an eight year hiatus. The games resumed in 1948. There have also been issues involving performance enhancing drugs and political boycotts of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), likely due to conflicting governments, especially concerning Communists during the Cold War. However, the IOC also notes that the winter Olympics is a way for other countries to show off their political superiority.

Everyone has their favorite Olympic memory. Mine is from the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing when Michael Phelps’s swimming relay pushed ahead to win the gold medal. During the winter Olympics, several Americans can agree how exciting it was to watch the United States pull a hockey victory over the Soviet Union in Lake Placid, NY in 1980, under the coaching of the great Herb Brooks, a Minnesota native. The victorious game is dubbed the “Miracle on Ice,” as the Americans won the gold medal against an obvious rival country. History has come a long way to be able to finally host the games in Russia. Another memorable moment includes the singing of “God Bless America” at the 2002 Salt Lake City opening ceremonies, remembering the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

This year, many Americans will be sad not to see skier Lindsey Vonn competing due to injuries, but we can look forward to up-andcomer Lindsey Van and snowboarder Shaun White, among others. Do not forget to tune in to the 2014 Sochi Olympics starting on Thursday, February 6 and ending on Sunday, February 23 on NBC. Make sure to look up when your favorite events air so you do not miss any part of the action.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.