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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Olympics

Mikaela Shiffrin: Olympics were a ‘massive success’

Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin had some ups-and-downs to her 2018 Winter Olympics, but looking back on things, she views the Games as a “massive success.”

Shiffrin began the Olympics with a gold medal in the giant slalom on Thursday. The following day she competed in the slalom — her best event — and came in fourth, which was a disappointment.

After that, Shiffrin decided to sit out Saturday’s super-G and the downhill on the following Wednesday so she could focus on the combined on Thursday. She won silver in that event.

Initially expected to compete in five events and do well in several of them, Shiffrin had to cut out two events and medaled in two. She’s proud of what she accomplished even if it’s not quite what she was hoping for before the Olympics began.

“Sitting here with you, I can look back and say this was a massive success. I’m pretty over the moon about it,” Shiffrin told NBC’s Mike Tirico in an interview that aired on Friday night in the US.

Shiffrin also said the weather conditions, which pushed several events back on the schedule and ultimately led her to drop out of two events, was the toughest thing for her to deal with.

“That was the most difficult part of this Games for me. The schedule changes, and then having back-to-back races in my two best events, especially with my strongest event being held second. That was maybe the most difficult thing for me. I don’t think I could have done any better (in the slalom).”

Shiffrin finally realized that much of what happened was out of her control, and she’s learned to accept that and be proud of what she was able to accomplish given the circumstances. She now has two golds and a silver in her Olympic career. The two Olympic gold medals tie her for the most ever by an American alpine skier.

Considering what her initial reaction was to her slalom performance last week, she’s come a long way in changing her feelings about things.

Mr. T gives pep talk to US curling team ahead of gold-medal match

Mr T WWE

Before their gold-medal match against Sweden on Saturday, the United States men’s curling team got hyped up by Mr. B.A. Baracus himself.

In the hours before the competition, the team posted a video on Twitter of famed actor and media personality Mr. T calling them on the phone to wish good luck and offer them a pep talk.

Curler Tyler George seemed especially thrilled in a tweet of his own as well.

Of course, most of the guys on the team were probably just kids when the now-65-year-old Mr. T was at the height of his fame in the 1980s. But it’s still a cool gesture nevertheless from the veteran actor and pop culture giant, who may now have a new favorite sport beyond just wrestling.

Russian bobsledder who failed doping test once wore anti-doping shirt

Olympics PyeongChang

File this one under “life comes at you fast.”

Russian bobsled pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva failed a doping test last week, the country’s federation announced, the second Russian athlete to do so during the Winter Olympics.

Making this all the more awkward? Via Greg Walters of Vice News, Sergeeva appeared in an online video prior to the Olympics wearing a shirt that proudly proclaimed “I Don’t Do Doping.”

Unsurprisingly, the video that featured this apparel has swiftly been taken off Youtube.

Russia had already been troubled by a state-sponsored doping operation that resulted in many athletes — and the federation itself — being officially banned from the Olympics. The first doping allegation of these Games has already created an awkward situation, but there will be no such issue here, as Sergeeva’s Russian bobsled team finished 15th, well out of medal contention.

Ron Rivera awkwardly learns how to curl (Video)

Ron Rivera

Olympic fever has inspired Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera so much, he’s taking a curling lesson.

Rivera hit up the Charlotte Curling Club on Friday for a formal lesson in the sport, and, well, it’s safe to say his form is a work in progress.

Look, he’s getting a little better with each video. Nobody becomes a star overnight. Maybe he’d be even better if he got his hands on an awesome pair of pants.

The United States men’s curling team will go for a gold medal early Saturday morning against Sweden. We can only assume Rivera will be staying up late to cheer them on.

Britney Spears shouts out Jocelyne Lamoureux over aptly-named goal

US womens hockey

The gold medal-winning U.S. women’s hockey team named a key shootout move after a Britney Spears song, and have duly been rewarded for it with a shoutout from the singer herself.

The shootout move that resulted in Jocelyne Lamoureux’s winning goal was named “Oops, I Did it Again” by the team, and that did not go unnoticed by Spears herself.

Naturally, Lamoureux was a bit excited.

It turns out Spears has been a surprisingly frequent celebrity figure in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Who saw that coming?

Russian skater Alina Zagitova shows love to Yuzuru Hanyu after gold medal victory

After winning gold in the women’s singles competition on Friday, Alina Zagitova had to shout out the gold medalist of the men’s competition too.

The 15-year-old Russian figure skater put together a stunning performance in her free program to finish with a total score of 239.57 and take home the gold medal. Speaking with the media after her triumph, Zagitova showed love to Japanese men’s counterpart Yuzuru Hanyu, who himself won individual gold last week. Here is what she had to say, per Jackie Wong of Rocker Skating:

The two figure skating phenoms also appeared to have met face-to-face earlier in the PyeongChang Games, according to images posted by fans on Twitter.

When you also consider the extent of what Hanyu, who is only 23 himself, battled through to win his gold, it’s easy to see why there’s a deep mutual respect between the two young stars as they both now sit atop their sport.

Jocelyne Larocque apologizes for taking off silver medal

Jocelyne Larocque medal

Canadian hockey player Jocelyne Larocque issued an apology for taking off her silver medal after losing the gold medal game to the United States 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

“I want to apologize to the IOC, IIHF, the PyeongChang Olympic Organizing Committee, Canadian Olympic Committee, Hockey Canada and most especially to my teammates and our fans for removing my silver medal after it was presented to me,” Larocque said in a statement.

“In the moment, I was disappointed with the outcome of the game, and my emotions got the better of me. I meant no disrespect – it has been an honour to represent my country and win a medal for Canada. I’m proud of our team, and proud to be counted among the Canadian athletes who have won medals at these Games. Being on the podium at the world’s biggest sporting event is a great achievement and one that I’m thankful I was able to experience with my teammates.

“For all fans, young and old, please understand this was a moment in time that I truly wish I could take back. I take seriously being a role model to young girls and representing our country. My actions did not demonstrate the values our team, myself and my family live and for that I am truly sorry.”

Larocque’s actions received widespread attention, but many understood that her reaction was reflective of her immediate disappointment over losing. She even said as much after the game, explaining that they wanted to win gold.

An apology from Larocque probably was not necessary, but this should satisfy those who were upset by her actions.