Pursuit of gold

Students’ anticipation and apprehension surrounding the 2022 Winter Olympics

Rita Chetty, Staff Writer

Illustration by Mia Eshima

High stakes, nervous jitters, clouds of icy deep breaths and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. All on display for the entire world to see.

As athletes shoot for a gold medal, people from all over the globe will be tuning in to catch a glimpse of the tough competition of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Feb. 4 marks a day in history when athletes return to the Olympic stage to battle it out and bring home the gold. Being held in Beijing, China, many will be filling up the stands to cheer on their countries.

From figure skating to bobsledding to snowboarding, the list of captivating sports goes on and on. Many Seattle Pacific University students are looking forward to the athletic performances over the next two weeks.

First-year psychology major Luna Van Brost tied their liking of snowboarding to their interest in watching sports with professional athletes.

“The event that I am most looking forward to is the women’s snowboarding halfpipe, as I grew up snowboarding. It is amazing to watch them flying through the air doing 360s, 540s, flips, and tricks. I also like the Big Air event,” Van Brost said.

Some students don’t tune in to the competition due to the lack of sources to view it, but many can view the Olympic competitions on other social media sites. Fourth-year English major Laura Bower mentioned how she is only interested in one sport in particular, and she does not watch the competitions due to a lack of accessibility.

“I actually almost never watch. I see clips here and there on YouTube after the fact, but I don’t know where I would watch them, and I put no effort into finding out,” Bower said. “I just think ice skating is really pretty.”

Bower went on to mention how she does have an athlete she looks up to from her preferred sport of ice skating.

“The only name I can really remember is Yuzuru Hanyu. I think he made some records by winning medals at a young age, and I know he’s very dedicated,” Bower said.

While the excitement for the Winter Olympics grows, the anxiety regarding COVID goes on. The risks increase due to people attending the sporting affair, even though the crowds will be smaller than originally planned. This can be worrisome for those who believe the large gathering might result in individuals from all over the world getting infected.

With the world’s expectations returning to ‘normal,’ Bower mentioned how the event could cause more harm than entertainment.

“Absolutely a horrible idea. I know people are desperate for any sense of normalcy, but at this point, people are still dying, and I think stuff like that is kind of irresponsible,” Bower said.

Some say that the event can cause many fatalities, but others think that if the proper precautions are followed, the Olympics would be safe enough for observers to attend. Third-year exercise science major Elisa Brougher realized that if the proper protocols are followed, the sporting affair could go by smoothly.

“I feel there could be carefully planned outdoor gatherings with masks, and at least half the amount of capacity they would normally have, in order to mind the six feet rule,” Brougher said.

Hopes of a triumphant event rise as the opening ceremony gets closer. Winter and Summer Olympics alike, many find inspiration in the athletes to tie into their everyday lives.

“Someone that I look up to as an athlete and Olympian is Serena Williams. She has always been an inspiration for me, as I grew up playing tennis. Her determination and strength are amazing and inspire me to pursue my goals and dreams,” Van Brost said.

From the opening and closing ceremonies to life after the Olympics, each athlete must remain driven and dedicated. The discipline that goes into the athletes’ rigorous training to qualify for the Olympics is something that Van Brost mentioned to be very tedious, but also something that pays off.

“The key to becoming adept at anything is practice. It takes discipline, determination and focus to become skilled in sports,” Van Brost said. “Another component needed in order to master something is to enjoy what you do. A passion for the sport along with continued, intensive training are key to becoming proficient in anything.”

Coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics can be viewed on NBC, which is available through Xfinity’s Students on Campus program.