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Olympic Fever

Just in time to beat the winter blues, the 2014 Olympic Winter Games are almost here!
By: Erin Dunlop

After a winter full of polar vortexes, ice storms, and otherwise freakish weather, it’s about time we all had something to look forward to throughout the rest of this chilly season. Personally, I’m counting down the days to one thing in particular: the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Port of Sochi

It seems like light years ago that the last winter Olympics in 2010 (officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia) took place. At the time, I was just beginning the second term of my first year at Queen’s University. I was 18 years old, and it was perhaps the first time I actually invested any interest or energy in the games. The Olympics were in full swing during my reading week in February, during which I was glued to the television (and the couch) in my parents’ living room.

The Canadian team celebrating after winning the gold medal

Watching the legendary gold medal hockey game between Canada and the USA is the memory that stands out the most. The gold medal match coincidentally landed on the last day of the break, so most Queen’s students (including myself) were returning to campus after going their separate ways for reading week. The excitement in the air was palpable, even to me, a relatively new hockey fan. I gathered in the common room of Victoria Hall along with about 20 others, expecting to sit back, relax, and enjoy watching a game of hockey. What I experienced instead was a relentlessly action-packed, stomach-turning, thrilling couple of hours. I remember with surprising clarity watching in awe as Sidney Crosby scored in overtime, leaping to my feet with excitement. I wasn’t alone: it has been estimated that two-thirds of the Canadian population were also watching that goal, making the game the most-watched event of the entire 2010 Olympics. The match also captured an 85 Share, which means that 85% of Canadians watching television at the time had their eyes glued to the gold medal game. With their gold medal title at stake, that number is sure to be the same or higher this year.

Following the great reveal of the roster of the 2014 team, there was just as much criticism as there was celebration of the chosen players. Despite all that, Olympic hockey promises to be 300px-Ice_hockey_pictogram.svgjust as thrilling this year as it was in 2010. And whether you’re watching hockey or curling, huddled in a crowded bar or lounging in a neighbour’s living room, the Winter Olympics are the perfect excuse for gathering with friends and family. If you’re hosting an Olympic gathering, try going for a patriotic theme: offer some classic Canadian beers (such as Molson), get creative with Canadian-coloured snacks, and don your favourite red and white attire. With the hefty time difference making certain events more challenging to catch than others, rallying some friends together to watch your favourite sport makes waking up at 7:00 am a little easier.

Speaking of waking up early, be sure to set your alarms for the men’s gold medal hockey game: it’s taking place on Sunday, February 23 at 7:00 am and is sure to be a game to remember.

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