PBS NewsHour Extra
The Winter Olympics have officially opened in Sochi, Russia, and
organizers hope to shift the focus away from controversies over human
rights and corruption to the celebration of athletic competition.
In the new slopestyle snowboarding event, US athlete Sage Kotsenburg
won gold. American snowboarding star Shaun White pulled out of the
competition, citing safety concerns. Instead, he will focus on winning
his third straight gold medal in the half pipe.
“For me, I have got a list of tricks I would like to do. Usually,
that list narrows down once you see the competition, and once you see
the pipe and what the conditions are like,” he said. “And there’s a lot
of variables, but I am hoping to take some of that training that I have
had and put it to good use.”
White is one of many high-profile Olympic veterans competing for
Team USA. Five-time Olympic skier Bode Miller and three-time Olympic
speed skater Shani Davis are in Sochi, as is two-time Summer Olympic
hurdler Lolo Jones, who is making her first Winter Games appearance as
a member of the US bobsled team.
Other Olympians to watch are ice dancers Charlie White and Meryl
Davis, 22-year-old figure skater Ashley Wagner and the US hockey team,
which once again harbors hopes of winning gold.
1. What are some of the sports played in the Winter Olympics? Do you
have any favorites?
2. Who are some of the high profile US athletes competing in the Games?
3. Which parts of the Games are you looking forward to? Explain your
4. Do you think athletes like Shaun White and Bode Miller have an
advantage because of their experience competing in previous Games?
Compare the benefits and the drawbacks of being a returning and older
athlete at the Games.