SYMBOLS AND REASONS TO WATCH THE OLYMPICS

The winter Olypmics haved arrived. Here’s some insightful info and some reasons to watch the games.

The Olympic Rings
Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games, designed the Olympic Rings as a symbol to encourage world unity. The five rings represent the five continents, however the colors do not correspond to specific continents. The rings are interlaced to show the university of Olympism and the meeting of the athletes of the world during the Olympic Games.
Coubertin first presented the rings in a flag in June 1914 in Paris at the Olympic Congress. Due to the First World War, the flag and its five rings were not displayed in an Olympic stadium until 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Medals
The medals — gold, silver, and bronze — represent the highest levels of athletic achievement at the Games. The design of the medal varies with each Olympic Games and they are the responsibility of the host city’s organizing committee. Olympic medals must be at least 60 millimeters in diameter and at least three millimeters thick. Gold and silver medals must be made of 92.5 percent pure silver; the gold medal must be gilded with at least six grams of gold.

Torch & Flame
One of the most enduring symbols of the Olympic Games is the Olympic flame. The flame made its first appearance at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games and since then the lighting of the flame has become a major focal point of every Opening Ceremonies. The concept of lighting a flame for the duration of the Games comes from the ancient Greeks, who used a flame lit by the sun’s rays at Olympia – the site of the original Olympic Games.

REASONS TO WATCH THE WINTER OLYMPICS

Yahoo Sports has some pretty compelling reasons…

• Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, or as you can call him, the Snow Leopard. Kwame is Ghana’s first Winter Olympian, and will be competing in Alpine skiing. How easy is he to love? “No problem. Choo, choo, I’m the train which never stops,” he was quoted as saying. How did he get his nickname? Kwame is being sponsored by an online poker site, and any extra money he makes will be donated to save endangered snow leopards from extinction.

• Go to Sports Illustrated, find pictures of Lindsey Vonn, and smile. She’s the world’s best Alpine skier, she is American and she is absolutely beautiful, and not in that “she’s an athlete so she is pretty for an athlete” kind of way. Nope, this is “she walks in a bar and your buddy is going to nudge you” hot. But it isn’t her looks that might make her a star. Vonn could win four gold medals in Vancouver. Now that’s hot.

• You think NASCAR is fast? Take one night to watch skeleton. Seriously. For all the talk about obscure sports in the Olympics, the fact that people actually practice (and become good) at skeleton is insane. It’s like how Jerry Seinfeld used to joke about the luge, only tougher, faster and with more risk.

• He was the face of American sports in Turin, and Apolo Ohno will again be competing for medals in speedskating with the flash that has made him a face to remember. He might be 27, but he is still skating well, and needs one more medal to beat Eric Heiden for most by an American man. How is the outlook? In trials, Ohno won the finals in the 500 meter, the 1000 meter and the 1,500 meter, although he came in second in time trails to J.R. Celski in the 1,000 meter.

• For Shaun White and his continued dominance in snowboarding. If you didn’t watch the X-Games, you missed White’s brutal practice crash that even left White in awe after watching his face catch the edge of the halfpipe. White will have tricks in his bag for this event, and anytime he’s in the air, your television should be tuned in.

• For the curling. Did you know it’s becoming more popular? There are 154 curling clubs in the United States, and like adult kickball, it’ll be gaining popularity. Also, like modern art, curling is one of the few sports people at home on their couch can look at and think to themselves, “Heck, I could do this.” That is, until you try and play it.

• To actually utter these words for the first time in years: “I’m watching NBC, and I like it!”

• To watch Roberto Carcelén, the first Winter Olympian from Peru. He will be competing in cross-country skiing, but his story on how it all worked out is probably the best you’ll hear from Vancouver. Carcelén was planning on running a marathon in the United States, and decided to get online to meet some people before heading to America. Instantly, he met Kate, and the marathon was history. They met in March of 2003, were married in July, and Kate introduced Roberto to skiing. After watching the ’06 Winter Olympics, Carcelén vowed to become the first Peruvian in the Winter Games.

• Talk about pride… India’s Shiva Keshavan is the only Olympian from the populous country, but wasn’t going to be able to compete because his sled broke and he didn’t have the scratch to fix it. No worries. Five Indian businessmen heard about the luger’s troubles, tossed in $10,000 each and now he is in the field in Vancouver.

• To see Bode Miller drop the crazy act and just ski. Miller is competing in all five Alpine events in Vancouver, even though, you know, he hasn’t even trained for two of them. Call him what you will, Miller will be a big draw at Vancouver.

• To see Canada  win gold in hockey.

• To make fun of the American’s outfits for the Opening Ceremony

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