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Olympics

Shaun White And Chloe Kim Win Gold Medals

The two biggest names in American snowboarding have won gold medals at the Olympics. Riding legend Shaun White and 17-year-old phenom, Chloe Kim proved victorious in the mountains of PyeongChang last week. White became the first U.S. man to win gold in three separate winter games, while Kim became the most talked about athlete on the world’s biggest stage.

Shaun White Makes History

White has been on a strongly publicized redemption tour after a disappointing outing at the 2014 Olympics. So, when White took to the ramp on Wednesday, he knew he had to lay it all on the line. Although he never doubted himself, White momentarily lost the lead to Ayumu Hirano. American fans wondered if White had one more trick left in his bag, and the 31-year-old certainly delivered.

White left viewers in awe, landing a pair of 1440s, a trick that he allegedly never landed in a competition. For his efforts, White was awarded with a score of 97.75. His score was significantly better than Hirano’s and the rest of the field. Not only was his win a personal milestone, it was a historic gold for America as well – White’s performance resulted in the country’s 100th gold medal in the Winter Games.

Chloe Kim Arrives

With such high expectations placed on her, it’s hard to believe Chloe Kim is not even old enough to buy a pack of cigarettes. But on the mountains, her age and lack of experience did not seem to matter. Kim won gold for her performance in the women's snowboard halfpipe event. Her first run on the hill earned her a score of 93.75, good for a sizable lead over the remaining field. Other competitors valiantly attempted to upstage Kim, but her final score of 98.25 was good enough for her first gold medal. The record-setting win has already resulted in numerous sponsorship deals for Kim.

What Team USA Hockey Could Have Looked Like At Olympics

When the NHL decided to not participate in the upcoming Olympics, the league may have robbed Team USA of its best chance to win a gold medal since 1980. The last time Team USA Hockey took the ice, it was an older unit including the likes of Ryan Callahan, Dustin Brown, and Ryan Miller. And unsurprisingly, the team disappointed; failing to medal as Canada eventually won gold. The 2018 Olympic team is a collection of amateur and ex-NHL players, leaving many to wonder just how good of a squad the country could have produced if pro players were participating.

USA’s Rising Stars

The NHL pulling its athletes from the Olympics could not have happened at a worse time for U.S. hockey. The league has seen an explosion of young superstars since the last winter games. Scottsdale’s Auston Matthews was the number one overall picked in the 2016 draft, and tallied 40 goals in his first season. He was the most-hyped American prospect since….. the year prior. Massachusetts’ own, Jack Eichel was selected behind Connor McDavid in the 2015 draft. The 21-year-old Eichel has more career goals than McDavid so far in his young career. Eichel and Matthews would have joined a Team USA lineup ripe with talent. The Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau is top-five in league scoring this season, and Canucks’ winger Brock Boeser leads all rookies in goals. Veterans like Patrick Kane and Ryan Kesler would’ve provided the perfect nucleus for a U.S. squad looking for its first gold medal in nearly forty years.

Projected Lineup

Line 1: Johnny Gaudreau – Auston Matthews – Pat Kane

Line 2: Blake Wheeler - Jack Eichel – Phil Kessel

Line 3: Max Pacioretty – Joe Pavelski – Brock Boeser

Line 4: Vincent Trocheck – Ryan Kesler – T.J. Oshie

D1: Ryan Suter – Seth Jones

D2: Zach Werenski – John Carlson

D3: Cam Fowler – Shayne Gostisbehere

G: Jonathan Quick – John Gibson

Great Britain Has High Hopes For Pyeongchang Games

Great Britain believes it can make a name for itself during the snowboarding and skiing competitions at the upcoming Olympic games. Snowsports England  launched an effort to get more citizens on the slopes and so far, its efforts have proven successful. The nation now boasts several top athletes determined to bring medals back home.

Great Britain’s Olympic Preparation

At the center of Great Britain’s hopeful emergence in the sport is 19-year-old Maisie Potter. The Bangor, North Wales native is an all round snowboarder, who already has nearly ten years of experience. She has been named the Overall Women’s British Champion three times. Potter participated in the World Cup circuit for the first time this year and she hopes it has provided her with the proper experience to compete with the best boarders from around the world.

UK snowboarder Jenny Jones rose to fame in 2014 when she won the country’s first medal in the Paralympics in Sochi. She helped inspire up and coming riders from the nation, including Dave Ryding and Aimee Fuller; both are set to participate in Pyeongchang. This is a welcomed sight for Great Britain after its extensive efforts to promote winter sports participation. The Go Ski Go Board initiative was one of the first platforms launched in support of future Olympic athletes in 2013. The rapid growth the country has seen in its athletic roster can be traced directly back to these enterprises.

Olympics Schedule

In other news, a schedule of the events that will take place at the Olympics has been released. Here is a look at the first three days of competition:

Sat, 2/10: Men’s snowboard slopestyle final (8 pm), Women’s qualifying snowboard slopestyle (11:30 pm)

Sun, 2/11: Women’s final snowboard slopestyle (8 pm), Women’s qualifying snowboard halfpipe (11:30 pm)

Mon, 2/12: Women’s snowboard halfpipe final (8 pm), Men’s qualifying snowboard halfpipe (11 pm)

Click here for a complete Winter Olympics schedule of events.

U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team Finalized

The 2018 U.S. Olympic snowboard team is officially in place as the world gets ready for the winter games that begin in two weeks. The snowboard roster consists of 16 boarders that are under the age of 21; instantly making Shaun White the veteran of the group. Here’s a look at the snowboard team as it gears up for the opening ceremony on February 9th.

Halfpipe Competitors

Men: Shaun White, Jake Pates, Chase Josey, and Ben Ferguson

Women: Kelly Clark, Chloe Kim, Maddie Mastro, and Arielle Gold

A total of 26 riders will suit up for team USA and none is more famous than Shaun White. The 31-year-old has been on the road to redemption these past four years after failing to medal in the last Olympic games. White’s solution was to re-focus his efforts on only one event: men’s halfpipe. After a radical change to his diet and training regimen, White appeared ready to dominate the sport once again. Then, he suffered an injury during a practice run that required more than 60 stitches to his face. All eyes will be on White when he takes the slope in PyeongChang.

Big Air Participants

Men: Kyle Mack, Chris Corning, Red Gerard, and Ryan Stassel

Women: Jamie Anderson, Hailey Langland, Julia Marino, and Jessika Jenson

The U.S. men’s and women’s teams have high hopes for the Big Air event that is making its Olympic debut. Four years ago, Jamie Anderson took home a gold medal in the inaugural slopestyle event. Could she make it two-for-two in new Olympic events with a gold in Big Air? Both Julia Marino and Hailey Langland are making their debuts in the winter games, but enter as two of the favorites for Big Air. As for the men’s side, Chris Corning is the favorite after a terrific year on the slopes. Ryan Stassel is the only male of the group who is not a first-time Olympian. 

Russian Controversies Surround 2018 Winter Olympics

Discussing a possible banning of the Russian national anthem at the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics is premature, the International Olympic Committee says. An early week report from The New York Times cited a source close to the IOC which indicated the organization was considering a ban of the country’s anthem. The IOC has since clarified its stance, saying it is not pursuing such an extreme penalty at this time.

IOC And Russia At Odds

After lifetime bans were handed out to two Russian skiers caught doping prior to the Sochi games, friction between the country and IOC was anticipated. Tensions escalated after the IOC failed to identify the substance that the athletes tested positive for. The committee then quickly nullified the results of both the 2014 Olympic skiers. One of the skiers took home a gold and silver medal in Sochi.

While a positive drug test breaks one of the IOC’s most sacred regulations, the committee stated that it will do its due diligence before deciding on any further ban against the country. This is not the first time that Russia has come under scrutiny on sports’ biggest stage though. A World Anti-Doping Agency report alleged that doping was prevalent among Russian athletes from 2011 to 2015. The most recent statement coming from the country stated it was continuing to work with the IOC to resolve any remaining issues before the start of the PyeongChang games.

Skier Banned For Doping

Russian cross-country skier, Alexander Legkov was slapped with a lifetime ban after testing positive for a banned substance prior to the 2014 games. Legkov and fellow-skier, Evgeniy Belov were the first two athletes marked as suspicious by the IOC. The organization failed to specify what substance the pair tested positive for, but informed the athletes that they will not be allowed to participate in any Olympic games moving forward. Legkov has since vowed to fight the ruling in an effort to clear his name.