So, the Winter Olympics is underway half way around the world, and the ice, snow and skis have captured your family’s imagination. We’ve put together a cheat sheet of what to know about the Winter Olympics, from a Champaign-Urbana lens:
1) If your kids suddenly get the hankering to do a lutz or a twirl on the ice, take them to the University of Illinois Ice Arena during a public skate (we tell you how, right here). There’s even a local speedskating competition coming up later this month.
2) There are a significant number of Olympic athletes with ties to Illinois, and one headliner with significant ties to Champaign-Urbana. A few highlights below:
– Aja Evans is an American bobsled athlete who competed for the Illini in track and field, graduating in 2011. She and her teammate won a bronze medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics and is back seeking another medal. Evans is one to watch and already been splashed all over the press. (Great article about her in Cosmo of all places,) Bobsled is scheduled for Feb. 20-21.
– There are three athletes from Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove (Chicago suburbs) who will be competing in ski jumping competitions,
– Women’s figure skater Bradie Tennell of Carpentersville has received significant attention after she unexpectedly skated herself to a spot on the U.S. women’s team.
– Addison’s Alexa Scimeca Knierim and her husband, Chris Knierim, will compete in the pairs figure skating competition.
For past Winter Olympics connections to C-U, the Champaign County History Museum has opened an exhibit, “Going for Gold,” that will run through the end of April. It highlights Champaign County’s connections with the Winter Olympics, including skaters Bonnie Blair and Katherine Reutter.
3) If you’re watching the Winter Olympics and wondering about the time difference: Pyeongchang falls in the Korea Standard Time zone (UTC+0:900), which means there is a 15-hour difference between local time and Central Standard Time in the United States. And they are ahead of us. So if NBC is broadcasting live at 8 p.m. CT, that means it is actually 11 a.m. the following day in Pyeongchang.
4) If skiing is suddenly on your family’s mind, we have an article for that. Our readers recommended where they take their family to ski that’s not too far away. We’ve been told good things about renting cross-country and downhill skis in Normal. WildCountry provides this service with rentals available for daily or longer use.
5) This time during the Winter Olympics, we actually have some SNOW. Let your kids let out their inner luger and bobsledder dreams by taking them to a nearby sled hill.
6) I don’t know about you, but all this talk about skiing, sledding and ice skating makes me want hot chocolate. Believe it or not, we have a list for that too (which probably needs to be updated).
What did we miss? Add your Champaign-Urbana Winter Olympics tip below.