Olympic Games to come to Champaign

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Brittany Webb

Staff Writer

It has been announced recently that the 2016 winter Olympics are coming to Parkland. Events including slalom skiing, figure skating and luge will be held here on campus.

“I think it’s great they thought to hold them here,” Engineering student John Thompy said. “I hope they cancel classes during them.”

Problems arose when the University of Illinois couldn’t find enough space to hold the events, so the International Olympic Committee turned to Parkland College. Parkland’s state of the art football stadium has plenty of space for a number of events, such as the downhill skiing event, planned to be held on February 9, 2016.

“The University just couldn’t step up their game, and Parkland is more than happy to take over!” Lacey Freeth, an instructor in Olympic Games 101 here at Parkland, said.

Slalom skiing will be held in the M parking lots, which means that students will have to park elsewhere at the beginning of the semester. Freeth explained that set up will begin over winter break and break down will take at least a month. Many of the other parking lots surrounding campus are also being considered for hosting various events, which is one of the many issues that Administration here at Parkland will have to deal with when the time comes.

“The C and D wing parking lots will be holding the Figure Skating competition, with famous skaters such as Liu and Gracie Gold,” Bill Lesterdum stated, who is in charge of setting up some of the events.

Tickets will be needed to attend the events but students will get first pick. Tickets range in price from $300-$10,000 depending on the event. Students are also being offered an Olympic pass, which will allow them to gain entry to all events for the low price of an arm and their first born child.

“I mean, really, if you think about it, that’s not too bad of a price for all the events they are holding,” a student in Automotive Racing at Parkland Adman Bengston said. “I’ll probably do it.”

The luge and bobsleigh competitions will be held in Dodds Park, along with the curling competition. These three events are perhaps the most competitive, with all 88 countries in attendance competing. Other competitive events include, but are not limited to, ice hockey, skeleton, speed skating and snowboard parallel slalom.

Photo by Zong Hui | Prospectus News  The 2016 winter Olympics are scheduled to take place at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was the original candidate to host the events, but when their facilities proved to be inefficient and incorrect for the job, Parkland became the obvious choice.

Photo by Zong Hui | Prospectus News
The 2016 winter Olympics are scheduled to take place at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was the original candidate to host the events, but when their facilities proved to be inefficient and incorrect for the job, Parkland became the obvious choice.

“I can’t wait to watch curling,” Bengston said. “It’s the most exciting sport I’ve ever seen.”

The question on many students’ minds is whether or not school will be in session. Parking would be the biggest problem, along with being able to get into the school without a ticket.

“We have decided to close for the spring 2016 semester,” Tom Franklin stated, who is in charge of Public Media for the Olympic Games. “Parkland will reopen for the summer 2016 semester.”

It is unclear, at this point, how hosting these games is actually going to affect the students attending classes. Administration is urging students to look at other available options including enrolling at other community colleges in the area, such as Danville Area Community College and Heartland College in Bloomington. These institutions offer classes similar to Parkland College and advisors urge students to contact the college they plan on transferring to as soon as possible in order to make sure their classes will transfer and to register before classes fill up.

“Parkland doesn’t want its students to get behind, but wants them to be involved in the games as much as they can,” Franklin said.

Parkland, in conjunction with the International Olympic committee, is looking for volunteers for the games. Volunteers are needed for the setting up, the opening ceremony, security for the events, for the closing ceremony and tearing down the venues. Anyone interested should contact the Parkland College Office for the Olympics in O-123.

Set up for all events will begin during winter break, and will continue until the competitors arrive in the beginning of February 2016. The opening ceremony will take place on February 1st and the games go until the closing ceremony on February 30th, 2016.