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February 7, 2014

American Athletes Go For Olympic Gold in Russia

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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.

There is a new snowboarding event this year, slopestyle. American snowboarding star Shaun White pulled out of that competition however, 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 U.S. bobsled team.

Other Olympians to watch are ice dancers Charlie White and Meryl Davis, 22-year-old figure skater Ashley Wagner and the U.S. hockey team, which once again harbors hopes of winning gold.


Warm up questions
  1. Where are the 2014 Olympic Games being played?
  2. What are some of the sports played in the Winter Olympics? Do you have any favorites?
  3. Who are some of the high profile U.S. athletes competing in the Games?
Discussion questions and writing prompts
  1. Which parts of the Games are you looking forward to? Explain your answer.
  2. Who are some of the U.S. athletes competing in the 2014 Olympics and what are their goals?
  3. Do you think athletes like Shaun White and Bode Miller have an advantage because of their experience competing in previous Games or do you think they won’t preform as well as younger athletes because they are getting older? Compare the benefits and the drawbacks of being a returning and older athlete at the Games.
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