The Pulse: Winter Wonderland

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and chatting with experts in The Show. We collect the daily highlights and put them in The Pulse.

Story of the Day: Winter Bitterness

Maybe it's just lingering resentment from Punxsutawney Phil cursing us with six more weeks of winter, but SportsNation seems a little bitter when it comes to the Winter Olympics in Torino.

The good news for NBC and Olympic organizers is that only 40 percent of SprotsNation didn't watch any of the coverage over the weekend, when 49 percent claimed not to be interested in the Winter Olympics last week.

The bad news? People aren't exactly getting in the Olympic spirit, with 57 percent of voters ranking Michelle Kwan's withdrawal or Bode Miller's disqualification as the biggest stories so far, well ahead of American snowboard dominance and Ted Ligety's surprising gold in Bode's wake.

Are you interested in the Winter Olympics? (81,177 votes)
50.6% Yes
49.3% No

How much Olympics coverage did you watch over the weekend? (131,028 votes)
39.5% None
33.4% As much as I could
24.9% Opening ceremony and a few events
2.0% Just opening ceremony

What has been the biggest Olympic story so far? (16,556 votes)
37.5% Michelle Kwan withdraws
19.4% Bode Miller DQ'ed
18.1% U.S. halfpipe dominance
17.7% Ted Ligety wins gold
7.0% Wayne Gretzky arrives

With three events remaining, how many medals will Bode Miller win? (13,373 votes)
38.1% One
36.9% None
17.7% Two
7.0% Three

Voice of the Fan
The U.S. women's curling team is easy on the eyes, but hard on the rooting interest. They've played horribly and missed key throws.
Keith (Pittsburgh)

Almost everyone has laced up a pair of skates at some point, and many folks have strapped on skis or a snowboard before taking to the slopes. But what about some of the lesser-practiced sports in the Winter Olympics? Turns out 42% of voters most want to try the bobsled, far outpacing interest in the luge, ski jumping, skeleton and even curling.

The woman downhiller [Lindsey Kildow] is a stud. Did you see her walking out of the hospital like she had been beaten up? And she runs the race!
Kevin (Burlington)

Ted Ligety came out of nowhere, 13th in the downhill portion, to win the combined!
Joe (Washington, D.C.)

You know, Bode, there is a second half to the "talk the talk" phrase.
Scott (Boston)

The dude [Joey Cheek] who donated the $25,000 to Darfour relief fund is a stud. That's gotta be the most generous thing an American athlete has done in a while. Could you imagine Bode Miller doing that?
Todd (Boston)

Cross-country skiing. The speed walking of the Winter Olympics. How does one get into competitive cross country skiing? An overbearing, ski-freak father?
Jeff (Detroit)

  • Click here for transcript of Dan Shanoff's Morning Quickie

    SportsNation's Show: Hockey Preview
    Ken (Raleigh): Why is it that no one is giving Team USA any shot at medaling in men's hockey? Maybe it's just my patriotism, but I think we have a decent team, and, if it gels properly, could make a run.

    Even with a patriotic boost pushing them ahead of Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic in voting, fewer than one out of every three SportsNation voters expect the United States will capture the gold in men's hockey. Vote!

    Scott Burnside: You're definitely right. I'm in a minority when I picked them to win a bronze. I agree. If their coach can forge a chemistry, they'll surprise some people. If their goaltending can get hot, they've got something. Their depth is also underrated. There are a bunch of guys who are playing their best hockey of the season right now. Those guys are playing at an exceptional level. I think the Americans have the potential to surprise.

    Jeremy: What is the atmosphere like over there? Is there a real buzz around Torino? How are the crowds?

    Scott Burnside: I don't have a sense for the crowds at the other events, but there was a good crowd at the women's hockey game last night. I don't believe all the tickets for the men's game were sold yet. I don't have a sense if that has been overcome in the days leading up to the Olympics. I would like to say there's a buzz around the city, but I'll have to reserve the judgment on that. It certainly hasn't been overwhelming.

    Dave (Connecticut): I really enjoy watching the women's teams play. They seem a lot more skilled than the men's teams, who play more of a physical game. Do you think the U.S. women can overtake Canada this time around?

    Scott Burnside: It really is a challenge, which will be a mental one. They haven't fared well against Canada in the recent months. Of course, the Americans did win the World Championship last spring. I think they can beat them, but it's all about the mental strain on that day. I think there really is a determination to forge a new identity in that dressing room. There is pressure on them to move on.

  • Click here for Burnside's chat transcript

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