Though the Winter Olympics are sometimes looked at as the “little brother” of the Summer Games — there’s no basketball, track and field, or gymnastics! — the events always prove to be entertaining.
And though there’s one extra knock on the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Games — NHL players won’t be competing — it’s all but certain Americans will still find themselves glued to the action. NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Sochi Games averaged 21.4 million viewers, which is a number comparable to the viewership of an early-round NFL playoff game or a much-hyped regular season game, an impressive feat considering the Games span 17 nights.
With the competitions based around less-heralded sports such as curling, speed-skating, and snowboarding, there are always a few breakout stars. In the 2014 Sochi Games (can you believe it’s been four years?), the U.S. had T.J. Oshie, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Sage Kotsenburg — not to mention the incredible commentary of Johnny Weir.
With this year’s Games less than one month away (they’ll run Feb. 9-25), we thought some of you could use a primer on a handful of the key United States athletes who will compete in South Korea. Here are 10 home-grown athletes who will likely dominate NBC’s coverage.
The Houston Astros jumped out to a 1-0 series lead over the New York Yankees with a 2-1 win in the series opener in Houston Friday night.
It was a pitchers’ duel early on, with New York’s Masahiro Tanaka and Houston’s Dallas Keuchel both stymying batters. Keuchel amassed six strikeouts in his first four innings of work, and Tanaka had a no-hitter through three.
Ken Giles, who is now 35/39 on save opportunities this year, closed out the game. Bird drilled a solo shot to right field to put the Yankees on the board with two outs in the ninth inning, but Giles struck out Jacoby Ellsbury to end the game.
Keuchel got the win, while Tanaka, who was marvelous in defeat and only gave up four hits in six innings of work, took the loss.
Game 2 will take place Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Luis Severino and Justin Verlander are the expected starting pitchers. The game will air on Fox; it is the lone game in this series that will not appear on FS1.
The No. 2 Clemson Tigers suffered a massive upset Friday night at the hands of the Syracuse Orange. Syracuse won, 27-24, claiming the victory at home. The Orange fans stormed the field after the upset.
Spurs swingman Kawhi Leonard has missed the team’s training camp and preseason with a left thigh injury. It isn’t clear yet when he will be fully recovered, but we do now know that Leonard will miss some regular season time.
Clemson junior quarterback Kelly Bryant, the heir apparent to Deshaun Watson, left the Tigers’ game against Syracuse in the first half Friday. Bryant had to be helped off the field after taking a brutal hit from Syracuse lineman Chris Slayton. Slayton slammed Bryant, who was scrambling, to the turf.
At the half, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told ESPN Bryant suffered a concussion.
The American League Championship Series was a pitcher’s duel early on. In the first three innings, New York’s Masahiro Tanaka didn’t allow a hit, and Houston’s Dallas Keuchel amassed five strikeouts.
In the fourth, however, the Astros became the first team to get on the board in the series.
Jose Altuve singled, then stole second base, narrowly beating the throw. Then, with the speedy Altuve in scoring position, Carlos Correa singled on a line drive to left field. Correa brought Altuve home, putting Houston up 1-0.
Sorry, Ashley Judd — Drake is the most famous Kentucky basketball fan on the planet. The Wildcats super fan is a fixture at the basketball program’s biggest events.
Friday, the program had its Big Blue Madness event, and of course, Drake was there. He even spoke to the crowd and gave a hug to his friend, head coach John Calipari. He also wore a hoodie that read “Kentucky Dad.”
“I want my players and anyone out there to know if you want to emulate excellence, yet maintain humility, emulate Drake,” Calipari told the Courier-Journal. “If you want to emulate a strong drive, embracing the biggest stage and the goodness of a compassionate heart, you emulate Drake.”
In case you’re wondering, no — Drake didn’t put up any jumpers at this Big Blue Madness.
The talented NFL longsnapper and musician Jon Dorenbos had a serious health scare last month. After the Eagles traded him to the Saints, Dorenbos had a physical with his new team. Doctors discovered the 37-year-old had an aortic aneurysm.
Thursday, Dorenbos shared details of his emergency open heart surgery.
Roger Federer is one of the greatest tennis competitors of all-time. Klay Thompson is one of the greatest shooters in the history of basketball. So, any athletic competition between these two would be a treat.
It appears there is potential for a legendary ping-pong match between the two. It started with Warriors coach Steve Kerr relaying a conversation between the athletes that happened last week in Shanghai.
Steve Kerr relayed a convo between Roger Federer and Klay Thompson. Klay: How's your ping pong game? Federer: Pretty nice Klay: Mine, too