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Monday, July 28, 2014 | Last updated: 5:26am

Five reasons to watch the Olympics



With the Sochi XXII Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony airing tonight, we’re already enthused over the trending Twitter hashtag “SochiProblems” and obsessing over the athletes participating in snowy sporting events. Besides the fact that the Olympics are a monumental event celebrated worldwide, there are many reasons why you should jump on the Winter Olympics enthusiast bandwagon.

Sochi is kind of crazy
No seriously, it is. This makes the Olympics not just about sports, but a multitude of things. The politics are complicated, there are a plethora of poor stray dogs running around and the amenities are not exactly luxurious. Journalists covering the games arrived in the Russian town a few days ago to find their hotels without doorknobs but with pink water and toilets that don’t flush. For similarly comedic/sad/crazy Olympic-related events, scroll through the search results for Sochi on Twitter. Stacy St. Clair of the Chicago Tribune tweeted on Monday, “My hotel has no water. If restored, the front desk says, ‘do not use on your face because it contains something very dangerous.’ #Sochi2014.” Athletes, reporters and spectators beware.

Country pride
Even if you’re not exactly into sports, supporting your favorite countries is entertaining. While every nation has its issues and conflicts, the Olympics are the one time where all people unite to celebrate where they came from in the name of athletics. This opens up more opportunities to deck ourselves out in red, white and blue and sing the national anthem even louder than usual.

Winter sports are just as cool as the summer events
Summer games seem to be the gold standard when it comes to the Olympics — soccer, track and field and gymnastics usually come to mind. But having an entire set of games completely devoted to winter sports is awesome. It’s not all figure skating comparable to scenes from “Frozen” (although I really hope that someone incorporates “Let It Go” into one of their numbers). Winter games are really intense. We’re talking incredible, athletic accomplishments that take place in excruciating weather conditions. Sledding down a slope feet-first at 95 mph is no joke. Here’s to you and your incredibly dangerous sporting activity, luge participants.

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By MARK REIS / Colorado Springs Gazette
Courtesy of McClatchy Tribune Switzerland's Elena Koenz crashes on her second run during the snowboard slopestyle competition during the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Slopestyle is one of several new sports being debuted at the Sochi Games.

The traditional aspect
This is the 22nd Winter Olympic games, which means each event is laced with pride, history and a rich sense of institution. The first “International Winter Sports Week” organized by the International Olympic Committee took place in the Alps in Chamonix, France with 258 athletes. This year’s Olympic Games will have 2,800 athletes competing in nearly 100 events. It’s pretty amazing to think how far the games have come since their establishment in 1924.

The participating athletes represent more than sports
Have you seen that recent Guinness commercial? It tells the story of biathlete twin sisters who trained for the Olympics. One became too sick to compete and was eliminated during tryouts, so her sister made the cut and gave up her spot so the other could compete. It’s completely emotional and beautiful — especially for a beer commercial. The Olympics are so much more than skiing and sports. They’re about passion, determination and dedication. A multitude of inspirational stories come out of the Olympic games, and this makes the events completely worth watching.


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