What is the best Winter Olympics event and why?

February 11, 2010

Figure skating is electric
Phil Hersh

Chicago Tribune

Short track speedskating is great if you like roller derby. Anyone can watch terrific hockey eight months a year.

But what I like best at the Olympics is figure skating, and the most exciting moments often come during the six-minute warm-up before the last group of singles skaters does its long program. The tension is electric as each skater tests his or her big jumps, and the crowd is very aware when a man tries a quad, a woman tries either a triple axel or a nemesis jump.

All six skaters fly around the rink at high speed, and you hold your breath about crashes, since there appear to be games of "chicken" taking place.

The warm-up is a preview of coming attractions and, like many movie trailers, can be more exciting.


Broomsticks and stones
Ron Fritz

Baltimore Sun

Hands down, curling is the best Winter Olympics sport. It's riveting. The concentration it takes to deliver the stone down the ice as the pressure builds makes for must-see TV.

Then follow the positioning of stones using brooms and it's game on. What's even more exciting is the announcers. At times they can't contain themselves, squealing as a stone blocks another stone.

I wish I took curling more seriously during college. I went to a school, Bowling Green State University in Ohio, that had sheets (curling term) in the Ice Arena for the curling club. One of the best things about curling? The athletes look just like you and me.

But when the stone is delivered and the brooms begin sweeping, these are world-class athletes at their finest.


Not lost in translation
Dom Amore

Hartford Courant

For folks of a certain age, two Winter Olympic moments stand out: Dorothy Hamill winning the gold in 1976 and the U.S. hockey team's miracle of 1980.

Most other events don't translate to TV and are not in our consciousness between Olympiads. Speed skating, for instance, doesn't come off on TV the way a 100-meter dash does in the Summer Games. Figure skating is fun to watch in small doses, but it's too technical and subjective. Can you really watch two freestyle performances and tell which was better unless somebody falls?

That leaves hockey. Sure, the Olympic brand of hockey isn't what it was when U.S. amateurs took on the world's pros in '80, but it still fosters a lot of national feelings. We'll pay attention.


Hockey's best face off
Helene Elliott

Los Angeles Times

Players who were teammates last week will be crunching each other into the boards. Fighting won't be allowed, nor will dangerous hits to the head. Men's hockey is the best sport in the Games, no question.

It's the best players in the world facing each other with national pride at stake. It's give-no-quarter rivalries like the Czechs playing the Slovaks, the Swedes playing the Finns and host Canada trying to maintain supremacy in its national sport after losing to the U.S. at the world junior championships.

This could be the Olympic finale for NHL players because the league and the players' association haven't agreed on whether to participate in the 2014 Sochi Games. Watch this tournament and you'll hope they come to their senses and do this again.


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