With the Olympics in full swing, Prairie State Pigskin wanted to know what those we cover (and those who also cover) FCS football in our state enjoy about the Winter Games. In true Olympic spirit we reached out to a wide range of people--players, former players, coaches, administrators, media members and the wife of a head coach.
Our question: What's your favorite Winter Olympics event or events to watch and why?
Here are the responses we got:
Jaelon Acklin, former Western Illinois receiver
Hockey for sure! I live always enjoyed watching hockey, and whenever you get the chance to cheer for the U.S, it makes it even more fun to watch.
Tommy Bell, Southern Illinois athletic director
The four-man bobsled is one of favorites with speed skating a close second.
Kelly Burke, host of Missouri Valley Football Conference "First and Goal" podcast
My favorites to watch are alpine (downhill) skiing & the bobsled competition. I grew up watching (and loving) the "Cool Runnings" movie. I also spent the first 10 years of my life living in New Hampshire and love to ski. If we wouldn't have moved to Arizona when I was ten, I'm pretty sure I would have been a competitive skier, because I was a natural at it. Even now, I can go years without skiing and pick it up in a matter of hours. Big fan of Lindsey Vonn!
Debbie Dameron, wife of Eastern Illinois head coach Kim Dameron
Alpine skiing, women’s ice skating and freestyle skiing. I’ve seen and been around several awesome athletes but to be an Olympic athlete the hard work, dedication, and pure athletic ability on display...WOW
Jared Elliott, WIU head coach
I have always really enjoyed speed skating. It’s like NASCAR on ice without the pit stops.
Scotty Gilkey, Jr., EIU quarterback
I would definitely say bobsledding. I actually know someone who made it to the Olympic trials in New York. His name is Mickey Dollens. My dad coached him as a high school football player in Oklahoma. The sport is just so intense and competitive. They guys that do the sport are super explosive, which is what you want in a football player. Anytime time your racing a opponent or trying to beat a personal time I find that to be awesome. It’s very fast pace and takes a lot of focus, it takes everyone working on rhythms at that fast pace to win. All those thing are needed to play football. Two very different sports but similar in my eyes.
Davontae Harris, former Illinois State cornerback
Bobsled is my favorite to watch and my favorite overall. It’s just fun to watch and as a kid one of my favorite movies ("Cool Runnings") had bobsledding in it.
Scott Holland, WIU beat writer
I always enjoy the sledding races, whether bobsled, skeleton or luge, just something about watching how fast they go down the track under control is something that always amazes me.
Roger Lipe, SIU team chaplain
As an avid adrenaline junkie, I really like downhill skiing. Pure, unadulterated, speed! Yes!
Kurt Pegler, Peoria sports anchor & ISU play-by-play for TV
Love Olympic hockey. Bigger ice surface leads to great passing. Fewer stoppages in play usually mean fast, well-played games. Love seeing great players play for their countries.
Justin Rust, EIU beat writer
My favorite sport varies every four years it seems. Some years it's ice hockey, others it's skiing, sometimes it's speed skating. Right now, I definitely tune in for Half-pipe even though I've never snowboarded in my life. The reason it's my favorite event right now is because of Shaun White. He's been amazing and is going for his third goal medal in the event. The Flying Tomato put up a perfect score to qualify for the Olympics and is once again on his A-game. He is just so fun to watch and makes the toughest combos look so easy.
Jack White, SIU center
Skiing because if I wasn’t big I’d totally be skiin' (in the Olympics) right now and not in Carbondale.
Mike Williams, ISU sports information director
My favorite has always been speed skating. I grew up when Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair were winning medals left and right for the US. Bonnie Blair was from Champaign and I got to hear her speak one time I think after her second Olympics and I was just so impressed by her demeanor and skill and loved that she was from Central Illinois just like me. Then, Apolo Ohno came around and made it even more fun to watch and I have been hooked since.
Monyae Williamson, WIU sports information director
I saw Shaun White snowboarding a few games ago, and became fascinated with the sport. The athleticism it takes to do those tricks, and to do so against the elements, is incredible.