The Olympics only happen once every four years, so they should be enjoyed as much as possible while they are around. As a sports fan, nothing gets me more excited than rooting for my home country (and hopefully watching it win some medals) with all of my friends. It is a time of national unity, where people put aside their differences to root for their countries with pride.

On a local basis, the winter Olympics is very interesting to some of the athletes that attend Fairfield University. A member of the ice hockey team, as well as members of intramural floor hockey teams and a student that skis, just watched the Olympics and wondered what it would be like to be up on a pedestal, bringing honor and glory to their country by winning a gold medal.

“I love watching the Olympics,” said ice hockey player Marc DeLuca ‘15, whose favorite olympic sport is men’s ice hockey. When asked how he thinks it would feel to win a gold medal, DeLuca said, “The thought never really came to mind, but if I had to imagine it, it must be an awesome experience and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

I am of the opinion that people put sports rivalries on hold when it comes to rooting for their countries, and DeLuca is of the same mind. “I try to put it all aside for the Olympics because no matter what, they are still representing our country,” he said.

On a more personal level, he was excited to watch the Olympics because one of the members of the U.S. Men’s Hockey Team, Kevin Shattenkirk, is from DeLuca’s hometown of Greenwich, Conn. DeLuca said that he really liked watching T.J. Oshie play because of his exciting shootout performance against Russia (Oshie scored four goals on six attempts during a game-deciding shootout), but that he has always had a soft spot for Shattenkirk because of their hometown connection. DeLuca said that he is glad that Shattenkirk played very well and did Greenwich proud.

Intramural floor hockey player Buddy Mulholland ‘15 said he feels that ice hockey in the Olympics is as exciting as it gets.  When asked his opinion on having professional players in the games, Mulholland replied that he thinks it is good, because it makes the games fair for most countries. However, he also likes the fact that not all of the teams are made up of strictly NHL players, because it allows him to see people he wouldn’t usually get to.  “It makes more sense,” Mulholland said.  “Obviously it makes a difference since Team Canada is all NHL players, but it is nice seeing players from different leagues like the KHL and Finnish League.”

Another intramural floor hockey player, Mike Facciolo ‘15, said he thinks that the Olympics are great because they unite people together as a country. However, he also feels that in this modern day and age, things can get a little out of hand.

“I think the Olympics are a good thing because they bring everyone together and make everyone root for the same team for once, but they are not what they used to be,” Facciolo said.  “Back before everyone had access to social media, the Olympics were all about team play and rooting on your own country. Nowadays, when everyone can tweet their feelings, people can get over-competitive and say some truly horrible things that make all of us look bad.”

Facciolo is referring to the copious amounts of tweets that people wrote in response to the U.S. hockey team’s loss to Canada.  Tweets disparaging Canada and those who live in it were everywhere, and they made people look very foolish for taking things so seriously.

Hopefully, people can remember what the games are all about, and be happy that they get to watch such great competition.

Junior Greg Petit, who has been skiing since he was 7 years old, would be expected to watch the olympic skiing events. “To be honest I watch a lot of skiing edits and other stuff,” Petit said. “I never really sat down and watched [the Olympics]. I would also much rather [do skiing moves and tricks] myself then watch.”

Perhaps Petit is onto something here; instead of wasting time watching professionals ski, he practices and betters his own technique. Maybe this is the recipe to success, and we will see Petit up on the Olympic podium in a few years.

Most of the athletes that I talked to thought the USA did pretty well these past few weeks in Sochi. Petit feels that the ski teams did reasonably well, as he was keeping track of how they did instead of watching.  DeLuca and Facciolo felt that the men’s hockey team did well, but were disappointed that they came up just short of getting a medal.  “Overall, I say it was a great performance,” DeLuca said. “It’s disappointing that [the team] lost to Canada in such a close game, but I would definitely say I’m proud that such a talented group of guys represented the U.S.”

Mulholland, on the other hand, felt that the team didn’t play that well, and he expected more from them.  He said that he feels “pretty disappointed since [the team] showed such promise in the beginning, especially with that great win over Russia.”  He went on to say that the team “just collapsed over the last two games,” resulting in its downfall.

Now that the Olympics are over, life will return to normal for these athletes (or as normal as things ever get in the life of Olympians). They will have to wait four more years to compete again to attempt to win glory for their home countries.  I have no hesitation in saying that I can’t wait for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and that I hope the U.S. does as well there as it did in Sochi.

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-- Senior | Assistant Sports -- English: Journalism

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