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Gift of John H. Hauberg 91.1.71

It was meant to be a friendly wager with a cultural twist: Seattle Art Museum and Denver Art Museum each bet a temporary loan of a work of art on the Super Bowl.

But SAM has withdrawn its original choice of artwork,"Forehead Mask" by the Nuxalk First Nation, at the request of the Nuxalk, and has replaced it with a different piece.

Jude Freeman / Wikimedia Commons

It's every Olympic athlete's worst nightmare. After years of preparing, training and fundraising, an accident just weeks before the Olympic Games derailed everything for Roberto Carcelen of Seattle.  

But the cross-country skier insists on competing at the Sochi Olympics despite a doctor's advice not to.

Florangela Davila

It isn’t just the Seahawks and the Broncos who are facing off in the Super Bowl on Sunday. The big game ups the ante for the teams' superfans — those over-the-top, devoted individuals who are fixtures off the field.

So how do the two teams' super fans match up? We teamed up with Colorado Public Radio to get up close and personal with four of these off-the-charts characters.

Dirk Heldmaier / Wikimedia

The Northwest contribution to U.S. Olympic team goes beyond athletes. A bunch of top coaches, ski tuners, wax technicians and physical therapists from here are Sochi-bound, too. And then there's the cross-country ski coach from Bend, Oregon who is heading to Russia, but not with Team USA.

J.D. Downing runs the XC Oregon race team and training camps in Bend. Now he's wearing several additional hats, including head coach and "chef de mission" for the 2014 Dominica Olympic Team. Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, Dominica is a former French and British colony in the Eastern Caribbean.

Gift of John H. Hauberg 91.1.71

When the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl on Sunday, the directors at two art museums will be paying close attention to the outcome of the game.

The Seattle Art Museum has bet the Denver Art Museum a temporary loan of a major work of art. The winner gets to display the loser's art, which will be on loan for three months.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A University of Washington professor has come up with a 10-minute test to measure the fervor of your Seattle Seahawks fandom.

Psychologist Anthony Greenwald's test is designed to measure the strength of one’s support for a team over another.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Post-game interviews of NFL players are almost always predictable and boring. They go something like this:

Reporter: "Congratulations. How did you guys turn the game around?"

Player: "One play at a time. The team stuck together. We worked hard. The good Lord was with us. The fans were great. Hi, Mom!"

In 20 seconds Sunday night on Fox-TV, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gave one of the most memorable post-game interviews ever — and not just because he shattered the stereotype about how players behave in that situation.

Sarah Brunson / U.S. Freeskiing

It's not just the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl that will make for an exciting February for Northwest sports fans. The Winter Olympics start just days later, and more Northwest athletes have punched their tickets to the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will face the best defense they've met all season when they play Richard Sherman's Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

It will be a matchup between the NFL's No. 1 offense, led by Manning, against the NFL's No. 1 "D," led by Sherman, when the AFC's Broncos (15-3) take on the NFC's Seahawks (15-3) on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Matt Slocum / AP Photo

Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and Seattle's top-ranked defense forced two late turnovers, lifting the Seahawks into their second Super Bowl with a 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC championship Sunday.

Seattle will meet Denver for the NFL title in two weeks in the New Jersey Meadowlands. It's the first trip to the big game for the Seahawks (15-3) since they lost to Pittsburgh after the 2005 season.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

How would you describe the rivalry between football foes Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers? Share your answer below.

John Campbell

Next month, Sochi, Russia will host athletes from more than 85 nations at the Winter Olympics. Some of those countries might surprise you. They get no snow or have no mountains.

Remember the Disney movie "Cool Runnings?" It immortalized the Jamaican bobsled squad. Team Jamaica is coming back for more this year.

And so is the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. territory will likely be represented by a Whitman College student who calls Sun Valley, Idaho home.

Robert Whitney

Athletes headed to next month's Winter Olympics in Russia can be expected to leverage any advantage that nature or nurture provides, though only a select few could bring the advantage of having a sibling teammate.

Siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen grew up in Washington’s Methow Valley, flanked by former Olympic skiers as neighbors. An enviable 120-mile Nordic trail system starts practically at their doorstep.  

Tom Banse

The month of January promises to serve up lots of excitement, angst and pressure for the many Olympic hopefuls from the Northwest. They’ve got about three weeks left to qualify for a spot on the U.S. team bound for the Winter Olympics which begin in Russia in early February.

More than two dozen skiers, snowboarders and skaters from Oregon, Idaho and Washington have a plausible shot at making the U.S. Olympic team in 2014. Relatively few American athletes have secured their Olympic berths so far. Most slots are still up for grabs.

University of Washington

The University of Washington has announced that Boise State’s Chris Petersen will be the Huskies’ next football coach. Petersen leaves Idaho after 13 years, during eight of which he served as the Broncos' head coach. 

Washington made the announcement official with a press release Friday morning. It marked the end of the first successful effort to lure Petersen out of Idaho. His name had been linked to numerous other jobs the last few years. Two undefeated seasons and three national coach of the year awards helped raise his stock nationally. 

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