2006 Olympics are bigger than Bode

The 2006 Winter Olympic Games are set to begin Feb. 10 in Torino, Italy, complete with 24.5-hour television coverage, courtesy of NBC, showcasing the world’s top skiers, skaters, bobsledders and so on.

But it seems that the only event being publicized that is related to the games is Bode Miller’s comments about skiing while under the influence of alcohol.

Miller, the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic silver medalist in both the Men’s Combined and Giant Slalom, has been the subject of an all-out attack from the major media providers, who seem to have allowed his trivial comments to overshadow the rest of what the United States has to offer at this year’s Olympics.

Why focus on a silly, overblown set of comments by Miller when there is so much more about which to talk?

The U.S. Olympic team will have several athletes pose a serious threat to taking gold in Torino.

Sasha Cohen, the skinny, 5-foot-tall, 21-year-old figure skater out of Laguna Niguel, Calif., won the silver medal at the 2004 World Championships in Dortmund, Germany, and most recently became the 2006 U.S. National Champion.

She’s looking like the next Michelle Kwan and should have a long, bright future.

If her body allows her, Kwan should also make a strong case for gold.

A nine-time U.S. National Champion, winner of the gold medal at the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2003 World Championships and two medals (silver in 1998, bronze in 2002) from recent Olympic games, Kwan will once again strive for gold, probably for the last time.

Apolo Ohno, the short track speed skater from Seattle, Wash., should also have a good chance of repeating his success.

Ohno won the gold medal in the 2002 1500 meter and took silver in the 1,000-meter. His success hasn’t stopped there, as he pulled in 23 medals (11 gold, 11 silver and one bronze) in the 2005 World Cup.

Where the United States should especially continue to have success is in the men and women’s halfpipe in snowboarding.

The men, led by gold medal winner Ross Powers, collected all three medals in the 2002 Olympics, while Kelly Clark took home the gold medal for the women.

These are just a few of the many athletes who should be in the press right now; instead the press is worrying about some marginal comments Miller made.

I haven’t even mentioned the ice hockey and bobsled teams, the freestyle skiers and many other athletes who will make this year’s Olympics intriguing for U.S. fans.

Although it will be some time before the Olympics are back in our homeland, there’s plenty more to be excited about than Bode Miller’s drinking habits.

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