Monday, February 10, 2014

The bizarre events of the Winter Olympics

Hockey, figure skating, alpine skiing and even bobsled are exciting events people identify with the Winter Olympics. The Winter Olympics has some great events but it also has its share of weird sports, boring sports  and, in some cases, events that don't even classify as a sport. Some of these events make us groan, some make us giggle... but they all make us change the channel.

Curling - *forehead slap* I’m sorry, but… no. Any event that uses a cleaning apparatus as a part of competition isn't a real sport and doesn't deserve to be in the Olympics.

Skeleton – An event for the daredevil with a death wish. In this competition, participants hurtle down an icy track at 80+ miles an hour HEAD FIRST. Can also referred to as "opposite luge."

Doubles Luge – Don’t even get me started. This is luge, but one guy lies on top of the other – no need to contain your giggle.  I think we have found something that overtakes men’s synchronized diving as the most homoerotic sport in the Olympics!


Team Figure Skating – This event makes me mad. Like most living, breathing women, I love Olympic figure skating. But team figure skating? To me, it’s just a pathetic (and transparent) attempt to boost TV ratings by adding four more days of figure skating to the lineup. A event should not be in the Olympics when that is the only time it occurs during four years. Many of these other sports are strange, but at least the athletes train specifically for them, and have events throughout the year. It actually offends me that people will win an Olympic medal in team figure skating.

Biathlon – Look, I know cross country skiing it is extremely difficult. That said, when adding a gun to your event can’t even make it interesting, you’re doing something wrong.

Ski Jumping – Impressive? Yes. But I’m still not convinced that anyone with the guts to try the sport (which isn’t most people) can’t be good at it. Like, what qualities make a great ski jumper? I think the following: 1. Have the guts to try it. 2. Have the time and money to do it over and over. 3. Have no excess weight to bring you down (literally). 4. Have strong legs to land on.

Nordic Combined – I had to look this one up – not a good sign. The Nordic combined is a winter sport in which athletes compete in both cross-country skiing and ski jumping. So, basically, you can cross country ski and ski jump, but not good enough to do either on its own, so you practice both and become passable at each – Nordic Combined!

Moguls – Real conversation at a party Saturday: “Wait, this is part of an event, right? It can’t be someone’s goal to be just a moguls skier, can it?” Yes, yes it can. Plus, don’t your knees and back hurt just watching it?

Long Track Speed Skating –Short track makes me dizzy, but at least there’s some contact so I can kinda get into it (still not really). But long track is painfully dull to watch, and unless you’re from The Netherlands you probably don’t care about it.

Honorable Mention: Snowboarding. I’m sorry, but I can’t take a sport seriously when it’s announcers (and athletes) sound like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s about “gnarly tricks” and the definitely-not-high athletes who are “so stoked” to be at the Olympics. Plus, it’s a subjective sport, which is annoying; like fellow judged sports figure skating and gymnastics, I DO enjoy watching but prefer sports where the winner can’t be argued. That said, some of the best looking athletes - and undeniably the most fun - are snowboarders.

All of this said, I appreciate the commitment and dedication that the above events have to their discipline. But that doesn't mean I don't groan when it comes on during NBC's Olympic coverage - or giggle, in the case of luge doubles.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

This one's for the ladies: Twelve reasons to watch the 2014 Sochi Olympics

It's that time again, those glorious two weeks I wait for every two years - the Olympics!!! It's been (give or take) 1,073 days since the closing ceremonies of the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and about 543 days since the closing ceremonies in London. I'm ready for two weeks of skiing, skating, jumping, twirling, and sliding. I'm warming up my pipes to sing the National Anthem, and waiting for all the tear-jerking Bob Costas stories (I eat those things up with a spoon).

Every Olympics, my friends and I discuss the most important thing to female sports fans - who are the hottest male athletes, and when are their events? I've seen many lists going around the internet, from Cosmo to PopSugar, with many overlaps (hello Henrik Lundqvist!) and some that leave me shaking my head (Evan Lysacek? Sorry, but no.). So, as I did before the 2012 London Games - relive the 2012 list here - here is my list of the Hottest Olympic Athletes in Sochi, in no particular order:

Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden, hockey

Because... duh. Lundqvist may be the best-looking hockey player of all time, and coming from me that's quite a compliment. On the ice, he's arguably the best goalie in the world - as starting goalie for the NHL's glamour team, the New York Rangers, Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in the NHL in 2012. He's a three-time NHL all star and has been the Rangers' MVP every year since 2007, led Sweden to an Olympic gold medal in 2006 and in December 2013, the Rangers made him the highest-paid goalie in the NHL with a seven-year, $53 million contract extension. In addition, he's been named one of the best dressed men in the world by Vanity Fair, among other magazines, and he was one of People's 100 Most Beautiful in 2006. Oh - and he has an identical twin brother, Joel.

The puck drops on Henrik's Olympics Feb. 12, when Sweden takes on the Czech Republic.

Bode Miller, USA, downhill skiing

This one is a given. A staple on hottie lists since his Olympic debut in 1998, this New Hampshire native has a love-hate relationship with the media. An Olympic and World Championship gold medalist competing in his fifth Olympics, Sochi is likely the last hurrah for the handsome, laid-back 36-year-old. Still a top skier, he has a chance to medal in downhill - he is ranked second in the world, behind our next athlete...

Bode's likely final Olympics begin Feb. 9 with the men's downhill event.

Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, downhill skiing

This Norwegian is a two-time overall World Cup champion (2007 and 2009), an Olympic gold medalist in Super G at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and a five-time World Champion in downhill, giant slalom and super combined. With his victory in the downhill in 2013, Svindal became the first male alpine racer to win titles in four consecutive world championships. Now for what we really care about - this viking is single! He recently broke up with his long-term girlfriend, American gold medal skier Julie Mancuso. We'll get our first glimpse of this hottie as he carries his national flag at the Opening Ceremonies - well done, Norway.

Aksel's Olympics begin Feb. 9 with the men's downhill event.

Steve Langton, USA, bobsled

I have to admit, this one is a bit biased, since I was friends with Steve in high school. That aside, no one can deny his rightful place on this list. A college track star at Northeastern, the Massachusetts native decided to "try" bobsled in 2007 - and hasn't looked back. This will be his second Olympics, and this time around he's part of the "Night Train," the sled driven by Steve Holcomb that won gold in Vancouver. The sled won gold at the 2012 World Championships, and Holcomb and Langton partnered to also win gold in the 2-man, as well. This freak athlete was named "The Most Powerful Winter Olympian" by Men's Health Mag, and after watching that video, I dare anyone to disagree. Not only a beast in the weight room, Steve also has a funny side, which you can see on his YouTube page with roommate John Daly. Go Steve!

Steve's Olympics take off Feb. 16-17 with the two man event, and continue Feb. 22-23 with the 4-man event.

Aleksander Aurdal, Norway, Freestyle Skiing

This high-flying Norwegian will compete in the "slopestyle" skiing event. He's not expected to medal, but will look pretty awesome flying through the air doing crazy tricks at high speeds. Bonus: this hottie has a big heart - he is a mentor for the Heroes of Tomorrow project in Norway, which aims to support and encourage young people with talent.

Aleks flips onto our screens Feb. 13 with the Men's Ski Slopestyle qualifications

Christopher Fogt, USA, Bobsled

People often mistakenly call athletes "heroes." However, in the case of Sgt. Christopher Fogt, the title is accurate. He is an incredibly accomplished athlete, including representing the USA in the 2010 Olympics, and, more importantly, a captain in the Army and a member of the Army's World Class Athlete Program. At Utah Valley University, Fogt was a track star, as two-year captain he set records in the 100m and 60m in the process ... oh, and had time to do ROTC *swoon*. Immediately following the 2010 Olympics, where he was part of the USA-2 that finished in 10th, he stepped away from bobsled for 18 months, much that on a year-long deployment in Iraq with military intelligence. Now he's back to compete in the 2014 games - this time as a member of the "Night Train" aka gold medal favorite. I mean, come on! If he doesn't make you proud to be an American, I don't know what does.

Sgt. Fogt's Olympics begin Feb. 22-23 with the 4-man event.

Tim Burke, USA, biathlon

First off - biathlon is a cross-country skiing and shooting competition. Second, Tim Burke is not only nice to look at, but America's first-ever legitimate chance at an Olympic medal in biathlon. The three-time Olympian won the silver medal in the 20 km Individual competition at the 2013 World Championships, the second American man ever to win a World Championship medal. But sorry ladies, this hottie is taken by a fellow biathlete - German Andrea Henkel, a four-time Olympic medalist.

Catch Tim Feb. 8 in the Men's Sprint 10km and Feb. 13 in the 20km.

Dylan Moscovitch, Canada, pairs figure skating

Kirsten Moore-Towers is a lucky girl to have such a studly partner! The pair placed second in the 2014 Canadian national championships and came in fourth at the 2013 World Championships. No, figure skating isn't the most masculine sport... but at least it's pairs, right?

Watch Dylan and Kristen in the pair's competition Feb. 11.

Bobby Brown, USA, freestyle skiing

Every little step I take... wait, wrong Bobby Brown. In 2010, this Bobby Brown became the first skier at the Winter X Games to win two golds in one trip - big air and slopestyle - vaulting him to freeskiing poster boy status. The four-time X Games gold medalist is hoping to add Olympic gold to his trophy case - I, for one, can't wait to watch him try.

Bobby's Olympics begin Feb. 13 in the slopestyle qualifications

Matt Margetts, Canada, freestyle skiing

This six-time X Games veteran is the first skier to land a double cork 900. He earned his first FIS World Cup medal in January 2014 when he won the bronze in Calgary as part of a podium sweep by the Canadian men. This laid-back hottie is known for his "infectious happy-go-lucky personality, A+ brand of humor and never-ending smile" - what a bonus.

Mark tries to impress us beginning Feb. 13 in the slopestyle qualifications

David Backes, USA, hockey

I went through the whole USA hockey roster, and, IMHO, Backes is the hottest on the team (followed closely by USA captain Zach Parise) . The forward is a native of Minnesota and went to my husband's alma mater, University of Minnesota-Mankato, which earns him a special place in my heart. Each season, the 6'3" captain of the St. Louis Blues is among the top in the league in +/-. This is his second Olympics, after winning a silver medal with USA at the 2010 Olympics. Off the ice, Backes and his wife (boo) are devoted to animal rescue and each have their own rescue organizations: Kelly's Kats and David's Dogs.

David and team USA skate into our hearts against Slovakia, Feb. 13.

Neville Wright, Canada, Bobsled

Apparently the thing to do after your track career is over is to try bobsled! Neville was  a sprinter since the age of seven. After failing to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing 2008 (missing by .02!!!), he decided to pursue another sport and in the summer of 2009 he tried bobsled and a year later was competing in the Olympics, where he was part of the 4th-place finishing Canadian 4-man team. He will compete in the 2- and 4- man in 2014, with his best shot at a medal coming in the 4. He looks more like a football player than a runner, and if I needed a bodyguard I'd love to have Neville protecting me!

Neville's Olympics begin Feb. 22 with the 4-man event.


I don't know about you, but after looking at all these hot athletes, I'm even more excited for the Olympics! I just came across this link Gold Medal Abs and got even more excited! I hope these hotties all avoid the water in Sochi.

Make sure to vote on your favorite in the poll and let me know who you think I missed!