Students compete in KSU Olympics

Chelsey Milkovich

With the start of 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the Department of Recreational Services decided to take the interest of students and give them an opportunity to display it further than simply watching the events on TV and cheering from their couches.

On Feb. 7, students arrived at the Kent State Ice Arena at 11 p.m. to participate in “Light The Torch: Kent,” a free Olympic late night event where students competed against one another for prizes.

Students were given eight team options to choose from. The teams consisted of Canada, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, China, Japan, Brazil and the United States.  The events in which students competed began abruptly after the opening ceremony, which was a performance by the Kent State Skating Club.

Abby Millsaps, marketing coordinator at the Department of Recreational Services, explained the choice of countries as a special representation.  

“We developed these teams based on the international student population here at Kent State,” she said. “We looked at how many students come from which countries, and that’s how we decided on who to use for the teams.”

Upon registration, students had the ability to be on any team of their choice.  This made for a multi-cultural balance among all of the teams.  

Freshman biology major Dillon Cup, sophomore criminology and justice studies major Ray Berlan and sophomore sociology major Tom Spangler signed up for team Japan without a clue of who the rest of their team would be and got confident about the events.  

“I’m so pumped up and ready to see who the rest of our team will be, and it doesn’t even seem like it’s already 11 o’clock at night.” Cup said.

With some students curious about the time during which the event took place, Millsaps said this event was a part of the late night series.

“We put on a lot of late night events, but this is our first Olympic event,” Millsaps said.  “We’re doing it because it’s timely with the Winter Olympics going on, and we’re very excited about it.”

The Olympic events began roughly around 11:30 p.m. and ended around 1:30 a.m.  The competition consisted of speed skating, ice smash, curling, a frozen t-shirt contest and tug-of-war.  

All of the events took place on the arena’s left side ice rink. Students were given the opportunity to skate freely to music, as well as participate in cosmic skating while braving their skills with the lights down at the opposite rink at midnight.

Kent State Banquet Services created a specialty menu of gourmet items from each country and provided international cuisine.

“We really wanted to get a sense of culture in all aspects during the night,” Millsaps said regarding the choice of food.  A few of the dishes offered to students included Italian bruschetta, potato samosas from India and Brazilian almondegas meatballs.

Students also gathered outside the ice arena to watch the 2002 U.S. Team captain of the Winter Olympics ice carving team in Salt Lake City, Utah., Richard Bubin carve an array of ice sculptures.  

Some of his creations included a guitar, a heart with two kissing birds, a corn hole set (in which students played during the night) and the Kent State “K” on top of the Olympic Rings, which was topped with a burning Olympic torch that was also made of ice.

“We got the best of the best,” Millsaps said.  “If we were going to get anyone to do it, this was definitely our guy.”

“I’m excited that they asked me to join them tonight and represent the Olympics, because that represents who I am,” Bubin said. “This is a great and fun idea for students to get involved.”  

America finished in first place with 195 points.  Finishing in second place was China with 155 points and Japan followed with a close 145 points.  The winning teams were awarded surprise grab bag gifts, which ranged from t-shirts and sweatshirts to speaker systems and DVD players.  All teams walked away with an Olympic participation medal.

Graduate business administration major C.J. Carlisle was one of the participants on the winning team.  She and a few of her friends signed up for team U.S.A. with the intentions of winning and having a good time.

“It’s what you make it,” she said. “We knew we were going to have a great time so we made sure it was a great time.  I definitely recommend students coming to the late night events.”

For more information on upcoming student late night events and how you can register you can visit the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, or go online to the Rec’s webpage.

For more information on Richard Bubin, check out

Contact Chelsey Milkovich at [email protected].