Holt Crossing Intermediate School students are all caught up this week in the Olympic spirit.
Not just the Sochi Olympics, but the winter games being held at their school.
Holt Crossing's 7th Olympic Games kicked off Friday, Feb. 7 with the opening ceremonies in the school's gymnasium.
The event included a parade of countries, the raising of the Olympic flag, the reading of the oaths for athletes and officials and the arrival of the torch carried for retired Holt Crossing physical education teacher Sharon Garver.
Garver started South-Western's Olympic tradition in 1980 at Harmon Elementary, then continued the games at Brookpark Middle School and later at Holt Crossing after the school opened in 2000. Garver retired in 2012.
"We hold the Olympics each time there is an Olympic games, so it's every two years," said Rachel Scott, Holt Crossing's current physical education teacher.
"The main goal since Mrs. Garver started this back in 1980 is to have students come together and feel a sense of belonging and togetherness," Scott said. "They are competing against each other, but we also stress the importance of sportsmanship and supporting each other."
The opening ceremonies also included a guest speaker, Kristin King Wright, who appeared via Skype.
Wright was a member of the U.S. women's hockey team that won a bronze medal in the 2006 Olympics. She graduated from Piqua High School and now lives in North Carolina.
In the Holt Crossing games, each classroom is assigned a country, with 14 countries represented in both fifth and sixth grade.
All students competed Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 10-12 in various events including basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, bobsled and the luge (each on scooters) and slalom skiing (on buddy walkers.)
Semi-finals and finals are schedule for today and tomorrow, Feb. 13-14 and gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded Feb. 18 to the top finishers in each event in both grades, Scott said.
Gold, silver and bronze sportsmanship winners also will be named in each grade, she said.
Several students were given special roles in the opening ceremonies in recognition of the sportsmanship and leadership they display daily at Holt Crossing.
"It's a really nice honor to be chosen," said sixth-grader Anthony Lowe, who was one of several students who carried and helped raise the Olympic flag.
"It's a chance to represent the whole school," said sixth-grader Trent Rivers, who was selected to read the competitors' oath.
Students are "really excited" about the Olympics, Lowe said.
"Everybody's been talking about it," he said. "It makes you even more interested in the real Olympics, too."
While sportsmanship is an important part of the Holt Crossing Olympics, "it's also very, very competitive. Everybody wants to win, that's for sure," Rivers said. "There's a lot of talk going back and forth, but it's good natured."
"I think we're really lucky to have the Olympics here at Holt Crossing," Lowe said. "There's no other school that does this. It's just going to be a fun week."
And a good way to help beat the winter blahs, Rivers said.