Mr. Madden @PSDRedZone | Feb 5
Shaun White has withdrawn from the Slopestyle event, Lindsay Vonn will not be competing in the skiing events, and everything is either half built or gross in Sochi.
Word came down on Wednesday morning that American snowboarding superstar Shaun White has withdrawn from the inaugural Olympic Slopestyle event, citing safety concerns. While White is clearly protecting his body and preparing for the Halfpipe event, where he is expected to win gold again, his withdrawal is just going to bring more negative attention to an Olympic games that has seen nothing but over the past month.
Slopestyle is not supposed to be outstandingly difficult. The event is primarily about the riders and the tricks that they can pull off, but it's tough to pull off big tricks when you're more concerned about not crashing. Shaun White is going to take a lot of criticism for this decision, but maybe it is exactly the kind of thing that will open the eyes of organizers. They have 24 hours to get it right. White wasn't going to win Slopestyle anyway, but he generally finds the event fun and enjoys competing in it. Not in Sochi.
We are all well aware that US skier Lindsay Vonn will not be competing in Sochi 2014 due to injury. The lack of high-profile talent is going to seriously impact these games.
Hockey will, obviously, be the highlight of the entire event. Even if the American team is not in medal contention, there will be superstars all over the ice in Sochi.
The experience for fans, media, and athletes while not competing could be the biggest concern. Security issues had already become apparent, human rights issues have been well documented, and as people began arriving this week there have been reports of other issues with the venues and accommodations.
Here is a picture of the unfinished Sochi Cultural Center...that's right, it's just a building frame with a tarp over it:
Double toilets...interesting user experience:
Is murdering thousands of dogs a good thing?
"authorities have turned to a company to catch
and kill the animals so they don't bother Sochi's new visitors — or even
wander into an Olympic event.
Alexei Sorokin, director general of pest control firm Basya Services,
told The Associated Press that his company had a contract to exterminate
the animals throughout the Olympics, which open Friday.
Sorokin described his company as being involved in the "catching and
disposing" of dogs, although he refused to specify how the dogs would be
killed or say where they would take the carcasses."
The Canadian hockey team full of millionaire athletes should be plenty comfortable sleeping here:
I'm sure you won't see reports of these issues during NBC's coverage of the games. The Russian government and the IOC will make sure that the general public has a warm and cozy feeling about Sochi and the entire Olympic experience.
Twitter could be an interesting place over the next few weeks.
Update: Just don't go to Russia.