Students seeing gold with Olympics

by Derek Hannah

Just a few weeks ago, United States skier Bode Miller was in the news for remarks he had made about competitions he had skied in while being “wasted.” Albeit negative, the attention his statement, and later his half-hearted apology, has received will likely bring extra viewers to the Alpine Skiing events and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

The United States are a favorite to lead the medal count and have a few athletes that have many fans here on campus.

Senior Andrew Bergman, who is on Simpson’s curling team, is excited to watch Americans Bode Miller in downhill racing and Apolo Anton Ohno in speed racing. Miller won two silver medals in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and has many fans due to his unpredictability on the slopes and for his candidness off them. Ohno won a gold and a silver in 2002 and is equally popular, always sporting his signature soul patch. This year, he is one of the favorites in the 500, the 1,000 and the 1,500 meter races.

“I really like the speed events,” Bergman said. “Figure skating always gets a lot of coverage, but speed skating is where it’s at. I really like watching the trick jumping events too. A couple friends and I are sure to get together to watch the big events and it’s always fun to be patriotic and root for American domination.”

Freshman Jeffrey Sailer, an avid skier, is looking forward to watching Bode Miller as well.

“I prefer the Summer Olympics with basketball and everything, but I like the winter games too,” Sailer said. “I don’t know about Miller skiing wasted, that’s just crazy. What I’m really looking forward to though, other than Michelle Kwan’s beautiful figure skating, is the bobsledding. Ever since ‘Cool Runnings’ came out, I’ve been sure to catch the Jamaican bobsled team every year.”

Junior Jessica Lind is another bobsledding fan.

“I’m a snowboarder, but bobsledding just seems like such a rush,” Lind said. “This year though, I’m really pulling for Shaun White, the snowboarder. Last year he missed making the Olympics by 0.3 points. He’s amazing.”

Nicknamed the “Flying Tomato,” Shaun White is known for his long, blazing-red hair, and is the predicted favorite in this year’s snowboard half-pipe events. He might be the most popular Olympian due to his charisma and energy. Whether it’s for his attitude or his altitude, his fans at Simpson will be watching.

In 2002, the United States snowboarding team swept the medals for the half-pipe events, raising a little bit of controversy due to the lack of practice facilities and knowledge of the sport in general in other countries.

Snowboarding was just one of the United States’ strengths in 2002, as they were second only to Germany in total medals won. Simpson fans seem to think the U.S. will do even better this year.

“I’m going to be pretty busy, but I’m going to catch all of the snowboarding and bobsledding that I can,” Lind said. “I had to tape the opening ceremonies, I never miss that.”