By Kirk McEwen

The only things you heard leading up to the start of the Sochi Olympics centered around all the problems. At first it was the ongoing conflict between Russia and it’s neighbors, most notably Georgia, whose citizens have threatened to disrupt these games with some act of terrorism. It was from these parts that came the Tsarnaev brothers we all remember from the Boston Marathon bombings. We were then reminded of the rampant corruption synonymous with Russian politics and the astronomical $50 billion price tag Putin was able to ring up getting things ready where 7 years ago there was nothing. $50 billion spent being the most on an Olympic village and venues by far. Finally it was the pictures of the villagers brown water that went viral, the packs of stray dogs being rounded up and euthanized, and stories of unfinished hotels. Once the actual games began the politics and bad press seemed to disappear.

Sage Kotsenburg was just happy to be at the Olympics before busting out his “Holy Crail” and capturing gold in the inaugural Men’s Slopestyle. That was a move he’d never attempted before in competition on a course that scared Shaun White back onto his half-pipe and broke a Norwegian snowboarder’s collar bone! What a great story the 20 year-old has become from out of nowhere! And how about the Women’s Free Style Moguls? American Hannah Kearney was favored to again win gold but a mistake on her part left the door open for Canadian sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe to win gold and silver. What’s even more incredible is their sister Maxime finished twelfth! What did YOUR sisters do this past weekend?

The point is that once the pomp and circumstance of the Opening Ceremony is over and the athletes actually get down to business, everything else becomes secondary. There are so many other stories to follow as the Olympics rev up into full gear. Can 36 year-old alpine ski racer Bodie Miller bounce back from this weekend’s Downhill disappointment in the Super Combined on Thursday? Can figure skater Gracie Gold continue to grow and challenge the world’s best or will 15 year-old Russian Yulia Lipnitskaya be the story of this Olympiad? And what about the Russian hockey team? It is said that if Russia doesn’t win gold in hockey Putin will view these Olympics a failure. So far, to the rest of the world, the XXII Winter Olympics have been a resounding success! So far…