By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
Speed skating is a dangerous, yet thrilling, sport to watch, but you know what would make it even better? Green shells, item boxes and banana peels. That’s right: Mario Kart.
In a video titled, “Sochi 2014 – Speed Skating Double Dash Final,” filmmaker Michael Shanks edits a speed skating race from this winter’s Olympics by adding some of the most infuriating weapons from the Nintendo’s franchise, and the result is pretty awesome.
Speed skating is one of those sports that require a mixture of skill and chance to succeed – crashes and falls from other skaters can make or break your chances of medaling. U.S. speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, arguably the face of short-track, won a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics after the two South Korean skaters who were in first and second place at the time crashed. Similar instances are not uncommon.
So what better way to poke fun at the drama and high stakes of the Olympics than comparing it to Mario Kart? It’s genius. The best part is that Shanks’s video makes Mario Kart Olympics seem so real because of the risky nature of speed skating.
After all, what’s better than the bad-ass feeling of knocking out the guy in front of you with one clean hit of a red shell or lightning bolt? Anyone who’s ever played the game knows what I’m talking about. Don’t deny it.
Let out those maniacal laughs and go ahead and punch the air because you’ve landed sweet victory.
By Margaret Waterman, Staff Writer
If you know me at all, you know I am crazy about the Winter Olympics. From ski jumping to curling to skeleton, there isn’t one event I don’t enjoy watching.
As an avid skier and general athletic enthusiast, I grew up on snow (I was a competitive alpine ski racer for 13 years). My parents have always joked that I can ski better than I can walk, which, according to the many scars on my knees, might be true.
So, as you can imagine, realizing that I was going to be in a foreign country for the entirety of the 2014 Sochi Olympics sort of stressed me out. How was I going to be able to ensure I could watch Ted Ligety fight to win his second Olympic giant slalom gold medal?
It turned out to be easier than I had imagined.
Luckily, the British Broadcasting Corporation, also known as BBC, allows no advertisements and thus has no incentive to embargo events until prime time.
Unlike NBC back in the U.S., BBC is paid for directly by citizens of the countries in which it is broadcast. Everyone who buys a television in the U.K. has to pay a “license fee,” which funds BBC and its many channels. For a color television, this fee is £145.50 per year, according to BBC’s website, which is equivalent to approximately $238.60.
So, this morning, even before I got out of bed, I was able to live-stream the men’s downhill medal heat right to my phone via BBC. And I haven’t had to miss many events. I got to catch Hannah Kearney, my favorite Olympian – who, before her US Ski Team days, skied for the Waterville Valley BBTS just like I did – capture the bronze medal in women’s freestyle skiing as it happened.
My friends and I also got to see the opening ceremony in real-time, unlike all our friends back in Boston and all over the U.S. (it was also interesting to see Americans tweet about the show later on, and to see them react to what we had seen hours before).
BBC also does a good job broadcasting all performances for each event. So, regardless of how well the U.S. does, we over in the U.K. can watch our hometown heroes compete, which has made watching the Olympics a much more patriotic, social event for us expatriates. We’ve spent the last few afternoons and nights crowded around the basement television, dinner plates in our laps.
Speaking of which, I’ve got to run and catch the re-airing of the downhill competition. There’s no way I’m going to miss an opportunity to watch Bode Miller’s (kind of disappointing) run again. Go team USA!
By Vitalik Schafer, Staff Writer
Businessweek is calling the Sochi Olympics the most expensive in history, topping out with $51 billion spent. As you can tell from the high cost, Russia invested more than what it would cost to just build a venue for the winter sports.
Recent news stories about the Olympics have not been about the athletes, but rather about the corruption, security and political issues, not to mention the funny hotel picture tweets from journalists.
Typically, the Olympics are an opportunity for the host nation to show off their art, culture, infrastructural feats and athletic stars. And, as President Putin has said, “build bridges.”
By heavily investing in the relatively unimpressive Russian south, Putin had hoped to turn an outdated Soviet style resort into a destination where people would want to come back. Supposedly, Putin chose Sochi as the location for the games because it is the favorite vacation spot among Communist elites. The $51 billion price point makes sense when you consider that 85 percent of Sochi’s infrastructure had to be built from scratch.
For Russia, this facelift on Sochi is an investment in its future. Russia is hoping to achieve the same success that Salt Lake City had with its resorts, which experienced a 37 percent increase in profits since its 2002 Olympics and turning it into a billion-dollar industry.
This tremendous investment however is a big risk for Russia. It’s unlikely the government will recoup the ludicrous amount spent. It is also difficult to compare Sochi to any other Olympic host cities: Sochi is the only host city that had to start from scratch, a complete opposite from the last winter games in Vancouver (whose $7 billion price tag boosted the city’s tourism and afforded a face-lift to several resorts).
Sochi, however, is $46 billion more expensive, and its success will rely primarily on people seeing the resort as one of the most elite in the world. That is the big gamble here, what image will people leave Sochi with?