By Jim den Hollander
For most of the past couple years, my own primary focus has been on hockey – whether with the Ducks where I help as part of the management team, or local varsity and youth levels which are the bread and butter for Saukhockey.info.
Most probably don’t know this about me, but I am an Olympics fanatic. Since I was young, I was glued to the television during the Olympics, watching sports that I would normally flip the channel on as if it was for the Stanley Cup.
This summer, I find myself in a position of being able to watch all of the Olympics this summer and by the time it ends in the middle of August, it will practically be hockey season once again. I have already gotten through a warm-up spending time watching US Olympic trials for swimming, track and field and gymnastics in the past few weeks.
I grew up cheering for the Maple Leaf and I still have a place in my heart for Canada but getting a look at the American athletes and the great stories behind so many of them, I am excited to see the ones that earned the right to make the trip next month in Tokyo.
How much of an Olympic nerd have I can become. Well, I can tell you, almost like an expert, the top weightlifters in the world generally come from Bulgaria and other Eastern European countries, if you want to learn from the best cross-country skiers, you should head to Norway, want to learn to be an Olympic archery medalist – make the trip to South Korea. Cycling or Speed Skating – Netherlands…and the list goes on.
The neat thing about the Tokyo games is the schedule is so busy, there are some sports kicking off before the Opening Ceremonies. So if you are antsy for some softball or football (soccer) and you happen to be up at 2 a.m., you are in luck.
That works out great for me as I generally find the Opening Ceremonies mostly boring, way too long and just difficult to sit through.
Softball and football will begin playing their respective pool play games on July 21 and even on the 23rd, archery and rowing will be a great alternative to a bunch of dancers and flag wavers giving you some crazy history of Japan that the announcer must explain.
The craziness of the past year saw the Olympics pushed for a year and because of that, an Olympic fan like myself will get a chance to watch two Olympics in less than 12 months as the Beijing Winter Olympics will begin on February 2.
As a hockey fan, I generally favor the winter games and I don’t consider myself very political, but because of a certain event between Canada and China, I am not in favor of our participation.
But that’s another story.