As the 2014 Winter Olympics begin in Sochi, Russia, Superiorland residents have a special interest in that we can watch for athletes who have a connection to our area.
The opening ceremonies will be broadcast on WLUC-TV6 starting at 7:30 p.m. today.
Some of the locally connected athletes to watch are Nick Baumgartner, snowboarder, who hails from Iron River in the western Upper Peninsula and attended Northern Michigan University; Shani Davis, speedskater, who graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended NMU while training as a teen at the United States Olympic Education Center; and four short-track speedskaters who attend or attended NMU, Kyle Carr, Chris Creveling, Jordan Malone and Anthony Lobello.
Viewers should be aware that Lobello is skating for Italy during this Olympics after being on the U.S. team back in 2006. Lobello has dual citizenship.
Throughout the next two weeks, winter sports enthusiasts can watch a wide variety of competitions, from curling to figure skating to luge to ski jumping. That last sport for the first time will have a women's competition, which should be a hit in this area, seeing Ishpeming is the birthplace of skiing in North America.
We know many in this hockey-mad area will be watching both the men's and women's games with great interest, with many Detroit Red Wings on the rosters for their home nations' men's squads.
Plus the children of Phil Kessel Sr. - who played quarterback on the NMU football team from 1978-80 and is in the university's sports hall of fame - are taking to the rinks for the U.S. Phil Kessel Jr., who stars for the Toronto Maple Leafs, plays for the U.S. men while his younger sister Amanda Kessel is on the roster for the U.S. women.
And U.S. nordic skier Brian Gregg is the husband of Caitlin Compton, a former NMU cross country skier who herself was on the Olympic roster in 2010.
The Olympic Creed reads: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
We hope these Winter Games are a rousing success -especially for Team USA - and that watching them helps the weather-weary residents of our area enjoy the season just a little bit more.