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2014 Winter Olympics

by Dan Gunderson

Now that the Super Bowl is over, and thank goodness we only had to endure that one-sided affair for 60 minutes, it seems that sports enter a sort of purgatory. The NBA and NHL are just hitting their mid-way point of way too long regular seasons.

College basketball is just beginning the second half of their conference schedules and Major League Baseball is still waiting for the pitchers and catchers to report. However, every four years, the month of February is graced with a two weeks of great athletic competition. I am talking about the Winter Olympics.

In my 24 years of existence, I have never cared much for the Winter Olympics. I do not ski, snowboard, curl and me trying to ice skate is truly a comedy of errors. This year will be different for a few reasons.

One, the majority of the United States Curling team is from Minnesota or North Dakota. That alone makes watching someone push a stone down a sheet of ice enjoyable. Chances are you will be watching someone your next door neighbor’s daughter-in-law went to school with for two years. You practically are best friends with all the curling team.

Another reason is that bobsledding is really cool. I enjoyed the moving Cool Runnings so much growing up that I instantly became a fan of the sports. Plus, the speed they reach in those things is scary. It puts you on the edge of your seat. I will definitely be up to watch that.

Speaking of being up, the times that these events are on live are insane. The first women’s hockey game starts at 2 a.m. on Saturday, February 8. The question is are going to be up or just getting home to watch this thing? It gives me a reason to say, “I’ll be to be bed right after this skiing event.” I love excuses to stay up late.

Finally, the atmosphere at these games will be interesting to take note of. Much has been made of how safe United States Olympic athletes are going to be at this game in Sochi, Russia. You also have the fact that Russia and the U.S. are not exactly best friends. Throw in the treatment of the LGBT communities in Russia and you have a melting pot of issues on your hands.

Sports and politics don’t mix but they are hard to ignore when you are dealing with athletes that represent their nations. All these factors considered could make this one of the most entertaining Winter Olympics in history. Just make sure and set your DVR because sometimes sleep is better than the U.S. versus Finland in women’s ice hockey. Sometimes.

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.