Inspiration, Pop Culture

Top 10 Reasons I love the Olympics

I don’t know about you, but I have been obsessively watching the 2010 Vancouver Olympics since the opening ceremonies on Friday. I don’t care what the season, the host country, or even if I know the rules of the sport (I still don’t get the biathlon)… I love the Olympics.

Here’s the top 10 reasons why:

10. The Opening Ceremonies

Vancouver knew they weren’t going to top China’s spectacular $100 million extravaganza – so they focused on what Bob Costas kept calling an “intimate” program. The focus on the aboriginal peoples of Canada didn’t really resonate with me (and seriosuly, where was CELINE?), but I did love the 2-D meets 3-D whales swimming across the floor and the giant glittering polar bear rising from the ice. Nice.

Can’t see the embed? View on YouTube

Check out vancouverlens on flickr – some really breathtaking stuff!

9. The Mascots

This year’s mascots are undeniably CUTE. I like their quirky personalities – Miga is half Orca whale/ half bear and Quatchi is a real live Sasquatch. And Sumi is some sort of “animal spirit guide” … with wings.

Can’t make it to the Olympics? Buy the mascot stuffed animals or go see them in person!

The adorable design house Meomi that created them has free desktop wallpapers of all sorts of animals for download at meomi.com. I am currently sporting the three-toed sloth on my work desktop.

9. The Medal Count

If you Google “Medal Count,” you’ll see it at the top of the page. You can also keep up with it on  vancouver2010.com/olympic-medals and the iPhone app (under News > Medal Count). You can even embed it in your blog (as you’ll see on the right sidebar of this page.

And it’s nice that USA is up at the top…

8. USA! USA!

It just feels good to hear an enthusiastic crowd cheering on their favorite athletes. Just sit back and listen.

7. The Firsts (and the Mosts)

It’s almost unbelievable that Canada didn’t win a single gold medal in the Calgary 1976 or Montreal 1988 games – but that drought is over as of last night. When Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada’s first gold in Moguls last night and then ran into the crowd to hug his brother Frederic who has Cerebral Palsey and is his inspiration… that’s what the Olympics is all about.

I’m also especially looking forward to Apollo Anton Ohno potentially breaking the record for most Olympic medals for a Winter Olympian – he is currently tied with a Russian cross country skier with  6).

6. The Commercials

I had to say it, I love the sappy commercials. Love them.

My favorite so far this games – the Go World spot about Dan Jansen winning a medal in honor of his late sister Jane. Just try to watch it with a dry eye. JUST TRY.

Can’t see the embed? View on YouTube

5. Bob Costas

When I think of the Olympics – I immediately think of Bob Costas. His soothing voice takes me right back to the first Olympics I really remember watching – in 1996 in a hotel room on a family vacation in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He’s a legend in my eyes.

4. Cute Olympians!

I stand by my claim that the cutest Olympian is the Canadian diver Alexandre Despatie, but the Winter Olympics is not short of cuties.

If you like tall, dark, and handsome there’s Shani Davis (fun fact – the super hero Frozone from the Incredibles was modeled after him). I’m a sucker for his smile. Bonus points that he’s on Twitter @ShaniDavis2010 and Facebook.

If you’re into the guy next door look, there’s Bode Miller. And for dudes, you’ve got you Lindsay Vonn and other bombshells on ice.

The Huffington Post did a great job with their Hotties of Team USA blog post – it’s a must read.

3. The Stories

There are heartwarming stories – like the real life married couple and Chinese figure skaters earning the highest recorded score in a figure skating pairs short program on Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year.

There are also the tragic ones – like the Georgian Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili’s tragic death on Friday.

The stories of these athletes are so compelling. You can’t make big money being the best in the world at the biathlon or women’s moguls or curling… but the Olympics is their time to shine.

2. The iPhone App

The Vancouver 2010 iPhone app is free, and a must have. It shows schedules for each day, medal count, and best of all – short descriptions called “How it Works” for each sport. This is extremely helpful for the more obscure – and confusing events.

Also – the loading screen incorporates the aforementioned adorable mascots doing adorable things.

This app makes watching the Olympics better!

1. The Sports!

Let’s be real, without the sports we wouldn’t be here. My favorites are Hockey, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, and anything high flying and scary (those guys are moving FAST). There’s nothing like cheering on your favorite – whether they’re from your home country or not. Go team!

Anything I left out? What else should be on the list??

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