2014 Winter Olympic Games begin!

Sochi will become the center of the world this February.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, start tonight [Feb. 7] with a broadcast of the opening at 7:30 p.m. on NBC. The Opening Ceremonies will kick off the festivities and get the most expensive Olympics going on a high note.

Sochi on the day of the opening. Photo by Roger Cote in Sochi.

There is a slight difference in the Olympics this year, compared to those in the past. The star power that we’re used to seeing is not the same. There will still be Shaun White participating in snowboarding, Patrick Kane will be dawning American hockey skates, and the Jamaicans will bring back their bobsled team. But for the most part, a lot of these athletes are new to the Olympic scene and the popularity that will accompany them.

Something else that is interesting for all of Western Carolina University, there are four of our fellow catamounts that are working with NBC during their production of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Gabe Nucci, former professor of communications, is an engineer for NBC. Monica Papworth, WCU student, is currently on internship with NBC team in Sochi. Jarrett Fraizer and Roger Cote, both WCU alumn, will be working in the NBC central ingest office.

During an email interview with Cote about what it’s like to work the Olympics, he said, “Every once in a while, I’ll catch myself saying, ‘Oh my God, I’m actually here doing my dream job,’ and it’s a great feeling”.

The opening ceremony will be aired on Friday, Feb. 7 in the US at 7 p.m. EST. The first event shown will be the biathlon on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. EST.