Feb 2014
Matt Bourgault

Guide to the Olympics

Matt lets you know what to watch for in the upcoming Olympic games.

I wasn’t going to do this initially. I was so excited to tell you guys about my trip to Monday Night Raw that I forgot the Olympics were starting this week. I may or may not get back to wrestling.

Shameless plugs aide, these Olympics did really sneak up on me. If it wasn’t for the NHL’s Olympic break, I would have never known that the Opening Ceremony was on Friday. Heck, events start on Thursday, for Russian reasons.

And it’s not just self-serving columnists who are surprised by this year’s games. The Russian resort town of Sochi seems to have no idea that it’s hosting the event. Journalists are reporting that their rooms aren’t finished and don’t have clean drinking water. Sounds like my apartment would be normal in Russia.

There are also issues of stray dog genocide, terrorist threats and severe homophobia. But, you know, Olympics! The world stage! Russia! Hockey at 2 a.m.!

No matter all of the things that could and/or already have gone wrong, I will always be excited for the Olympics. Maybe one day NBC will help us Olympic enthusiasts out with all-live coverage. A man can dream.

So here’s a little primer on some of the more popular events you will be seeing at Sochi.

Skiing: If you look at pure television ratings, skiing is the most popular sport in the winter games. I’m not sure why though; because we all know that the United Kingdom is going to take all the medals in these events. I’ve seen “The World is Not Enough,” you can’t fool me MI6. Just bet on the U.K. and watch the money come pouring in.

Hockey: If you trust smart people, hockey is the event to watch this and every other Winter Olympic year. And as much as my dad would want me to pick Canada this year, I don’t see them getting more than bronze. Sidney Crosby may be the best skater in the game today, but these sorts of tournaments are all about hot goaltending. The U.S. will nab silver behind (hopefully) Ryan Miller. Russia is just too good to drop this tournament at home. Semyon Varlamov, while not a very good boyfriend, is the best player in the NHL right now. Throw in the fact that Russia’s second line will either be Kovalchuck-Datsyuk or Malkin-Ovechkin, and things look even worse for the rest of the field. Expect Putin to interfere if things aren’t going well.

Luge: Luge was also incredibly popular last year, but I can’t help but think that had to do with the untimely death of Nodar Kumritashvili. I hope everyone stays safe this year, as they climb into tiny sleds and hurtle down a twisting track at 100 miles per hour for our amusement. Hey, it’s still safer than football, right?

Skating: Eventually, you will have to face the reality that figure skating is the only Olympic sport on your TV. We can get through this together. Stay strong. Speed skating, on the other hand, is more fun. Bad Boy Victor An is working for the Russians, so anything goes, I guess.

Snowboarding: This will be an easy gold for the United States. No one puts the “extreme” in “extreme sports” like we do. Think about it. Snowboarding: founded here. The X-games: founded here. Extreme the band: founded here. You’re welcome, Earth.

Curling: Curling is the ultimate entrancing sport. You don’t realize you’re watching it until it’s already too late. Andy Rooney hated curling, and that’s why Andy Rooney is dead.

Biathlon: This is where I miss having access to Ici Radio-Canada Télé. Those crazy Quebecois have the best biathlon coverage.

Have fun watching the Olympics, everyone.