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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Winter Olympics: For the Country of For the Thrill of Going Fast

Winter Olympics: For the Country of For the Thrill of Going Fast

With the recent death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, the fourth ever competitor dying at the winter Olympics, the question should be raised: Are the Winter Games becoming too dangerous? Seriously, think about it. What is the major difference between the Winter and Summer Olympic games? It comes down to one word and that one word is speed. The Winter games take the cake because of everything being on a slippery surface. Skiing and snowboarding involve being on a slippery surface of snow, sleet, and slush, while other sports such as figure skating, speed skating, curling, and hockey take place on a solid surface of ice. Curling is not nearly as dangerous as the other three, but nonetheless, the surfaces used in these events are not always safe. Easily the most dangerous events are the ones that require going the fastest for a record time. The bobsled, the luge, and the skeleton can require speeds up to and in excess of 90 MPH. Going 90 in a car is one thing, protected by thousands upon thousands of pounds of metal, but in these events, it’s just you and a 50 pound sleigh.   There is nothing more rewarding in this world that winning a metal at the Olympics, let alone a gold. But in such mind-blowing, adrenaline fueled type event, safety is something that needs to be maintained and mastered so deaths like Kumaritashvili do not happen. Especially at such a prestigeous event that only comes around twice a decade, how are all of the eventes involved in Olympics not 100% safe? That is totally irresponsible and a complete embarrassment. The question on the lips of every commentator and water cooler converdsationalist around the globe has been “why didn’t they put padding on those metal poles that killed the luger? » But anyone has yet to take action? Well that poses a very good question: what is the Olympic committee going to do about it? Is it going to take a Toyota type massacre aka 4-5 people dying in a luge type event, for serious changes to occur?   However, moving on from the Negative Nancy side of the Olympics, many positives are also apparent. Currently, even though it is only the midpoint of the games (at the time this was written) and there are still 10 days left of competition, and the United States has already demonstrated that  they are a frozen force to be reckoned with. The United States is currently leading the way with 8 metals, with Germany running a close second with 5. On top of the general positives, we here in New England have a local interest in mogul skier Hannah Kearney. Kearney, a Hanover, New Hampshire native who finished near the bottom of the pack at the 2006 Turino games, went on to win the gold in the ladies freestyle skiing moguls event. She was the last competitor to go and needed a perfect run to capture the gold from Canadian Jennifer Heil. She did more than that, demolishing Heil by almost a whole point. The United States captured the Bronze metal in the event well in the event with Shannon Bahrke taking the honors.   Also taking top honors was United States speedskating favorite and Winter Olympics posterboy Anton Apolo Ohno. With his recent gold in the short track speed skating-Men’s 1500M, Ohno has become the American with the most metals in Winter Olympic history ever, a very impressive feat for sure.   We are only five days into the Olympics and many exciting and scary events have taken place. However, with a week and a half left to go, plenty more excitement is in store, leading the USA to its second overall medal championship and first since the 1932 Lake Placid games.

About the Contributor
Andrew Otovik served as the sports editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2010-2011