IP Sports Roundtable: 2010 Winter Olympic Games Preview

As the Winter Olympics begin from Vancouver, BC Canada, the IP Sports team is gearing up for the festivities. Here is what we poised to the IP Sports Roundtable this week:

What are you most looking forward to in the Winter Olympics?

Steven Gepp – Let me start off by saying that I am an unashamed fan of the Olympics. It is the only time I ever actually watch sports like water polo and volleyball. And when you throw in the Winter Olympics – well, that’s just insane. Luge, skeleton, ski jumping – the elements of insanity that is lacking in the summer Olympics is there for all to see. So I love the Games.

As for the Winter Olympics and what I look forward to, it’s simple: Aerial Skiing. I am a fan of gymnastic-based sports (and still, even now fast approaching 40, like try my hand at performance gymnastics) and the Aerials is made for people like me. Not only that, but it is one of the very few Winter Olympic sports where Australia has something of a medal chance.

I also enjoy some of the ice-skating, luge and skeleton (head first?!), bobsleigh, ski jumping, snowboarding… Hey, I love it all. And the best thing about the Winter Olympics is the fact that it’s not as over-hyped and in your face as the summer version.

The only problem is that in Australia to get decent coverage, it’s on one free to air TV channel, otherwise PayTV for a minimum of around $1000 for some-one who doesn’t already subscribe.

Omar Padilla – Olympic Hockey, is there really anything else? As always, it should be a great tournament as this Olympic year marks a true changing of the guard for Canada and the United States. The Olympics also bring the return of Jaromir Jagr to North America as he has spent the last season playing in the KHL as he represents his home country of the Czech Republic, who overall, will once again be rolling out a very strong team.

What can you say about the Russian team other than: AWESOME. Team Russia will have a first line consisting of Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovaulchuk….a line that is very reminiscent of the Federov, Bure and Mogilny days.

Throw in the usual strong rosters for Finland and Sweden and you’re looking at a great tournament that should keep the city of Vancouver on its feet as the rest of the Olympic sports don’t. Well, aside from curling.

Neil Bisman – With the Winter Games being held in Canada this year, I think all eyes have to be on the Hockey portion of the Olympics.

The Canadians are the favorites but it should be interesting to see how they handle the expectations and pressure of playing at home. Anything less than the Gold will be considered a failure. The Canadian Juniors were upset on home ice last month by Team USA in the World Juniors Gold medal game, so a loss here might send the country into a nationwide drinking binge.

It is essentially a four-team tournament with Canada, Russia, Sweden, the United States and then everyone else. As an American, I’d love nothing more than sweet revenge on our neighbors to the North after the Canadians won the Gold in 2002 in Salt Lake.

Canada has the talent to win it all but it is certainly worth keeping an eye on whether playing at home will be a gift or a curse.

Russ Blatt – I am most looking to finding a “moment” in this Olympics. For me, a moment is a time hat I can look back at and remember. Whatever that moment may be, I look forward to finding it and enjoying it. If no moment occurs? Baseball season is around the corner.

Eugene – The Winter Olympics are still around…I kid. I’m interested in some of the hockey match ups, but that’s about it. I’ll follow the medal counts. I really aren’t into the Olympics (Summer or Winter) and don’t see the appeal of watching mostly second rate sports, especially the ones that are boring on TV.

Tom Daniels – I’m not a regular watcher of the Winter Olympics but I will say that they can’t possibly fall during a better time then the barren wasteland of sports television that is between the Super Bowl and March Madness. There’s not much I honesty try to follow other than hockey and, bizarrely, the skiing events. This year I’ll probably attempt to watch some snowboarding (even though it shouldn’t be in the Olympics) and try to re-ignite the passion I found with Curling when we turned the coverage in to a drinking game back in college. I may even try to give women’s hockey a whirl but, well, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Shawn M. Smith – What am I most looking forward to at this year’s Winter Olympics? Not much. Honestly, it’s pretty boring compared to the Summer version, which has far cooler events (who doesn’t think that discuss and javelin are badass?) I love watching the ice hockey competitions, especially the women, but let’s be honest, there’s an advantage for the host nation and unlike the Summer Games, there are far fewer countries competing overall. The stuff of lore (i.e. Jamaican bobsled team) doesn’t quite capture my attention anymore because I get why that was a special moment and no matter what happens in these games, nothing can touch the 1980 games for pure joy due to the American hockey upset (there I go with the hockey again).

I guess, instead of being a jerk about it and whining how much it doesn’t mean to me, I will instead congratulate the athletes who made it. Congrats.

The Games should be fun, I hope we win the medal count, but we won’t; that’s for Canada to lose, really.

So, here’s my final thoughts – Overall Medal Count:

1) Canada – 28
2) United States – 26
3) Germany – 21
4) (tie) Russia – 20
4) (tie) Sweden – 20

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