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Winter Olympics build excitement in Spearfish

Paige Follett

Paige Follett

By Jenna Carda, Assistant Editor

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On Feb. 7 the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia began. From Sean White to Todd Lodwick and ice-skating to downhill skiing, the US will perform in Sochi and “go for the gold”.

The Winter Olympics happen every four years and is an event where world-renown athletes will come and compete against each other for an honorable title. BHSU associate professor of physics Dan Durben knows all too well about the experience.

“Getting together with the best from all over the world with all these different cultures was great. To see that they’re going through the same things you are is fascinating,” Durben said.

Durben competed in Seoul, Korea on the 1988 US team in rifle shooting. He has also coached the US rifle team in 2000 and coached the Paralympic shooting teams taking them to Athens in 2004 and Bejiing in 2008.

Like many Olympic athletes, Druben trained at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colo. for five years before competing. Throughout these years of prepping, athletes will go through sporting competitions to test not only themselves, but experiment with different strategies to success.

“The journey to that challenge is fascinating,” Durben said. “You learn different things as you’re going on through all these competitions testing yourself, seeing how things work. It’s an exploration in learning.”

The famous Olympic flame made its debut in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. Today, that flame has been carried throughout the globe – and even the universe. This year was the first year the torch took a spacewalk. According to NBCBayArea.com, the torch was “carefully held by two Russian cosmonauts outside the International Space Station as it orbited some 260 miles above Earth.”

From there the torch has hit numerous locations starting in Moscow including the North Pole and the highest mountain in Europe – Mount Elbrus. Beginning in October 2013, this is the longest recorded torch run for the Olympics totaling 123 days of relay.

The opening ceremony is full of extravagant lights and big entertainment. Todd Lodwick, a Nordic combined skier will be the first American in history to compete in six editions of the Winter Games according to sbnation.com. Ranked number 52 in the world, Lodwick will be the U.S. flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

Durben has been able to be apart of four opening ceremonies and remembers all of the excitement during the event.

“It’s just an amazing experience,” Durben said, “to walk into a stadium representing your country.”

Although Druben participate in the Summer Olympic Games, the winter competition of the Biathlon is one of his favorite sports to watch.

“…of course half of that is shooting, so I’ve got some kindred spirits there,” Durben said.

The Biathlon is a combination of skiing and rifle shooting and not a very popular sport in the states. However, there are many states that have similar activities – one being Minnesota.

Some students at BHSU are excited to watch the more popular sporting events like snowboarding and skiing. Especially when Olympic star Sean White is a part of the event.

“I’m excited to see Sean White,” said freshman business major Pat Brick from Deadwood. “He never disappoints. He goes big.”

In spearfish, winter sports area big deal. With opportunity to participate in skiing, skating and snowboarding – students can relate to the obstacles the Olympic athletes face.

“Some of the things [Sean White] does inspires you to do more, to try more and be more risk taking,” said Myranda Jeffery, a freshman biology major from Spearfish. “You have to take risks to get to the point of where you’re at.”

The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will end its run on Sunday Feb. 23. NBC will be live streaming the event, but there are many other locations you can find the Winter Games including online streams, Twitter and other social media platforms.

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Student-run media of Black Hills State University. The Jacket Journal / KBHU-TV / KBHU 89.1 FM & KJKT 90.7 FM "The Buzz".
Winter Olympics build excitement in Spearfish