Ilya Kovalchuk threw some shade at the United States after Russia’s 4-0 win in Group A play at the Winter Olympics on Saturday.
Russia — competing as the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” during the Games — got two goals from Kovalchuk to solidify their win. Afterwards, he had some words for the U.S.
Kovalchuk, who played 12 seasons in the NHL, was referring to what happened in the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. The US beat Russia 3-2 in a shootout in Group A play. T.J. Oshie scored four goals on six shots in the shootout, including the winner, which is what Kovalchuk was referring to.
No NHL players are participating in the Olympics this time around, while Russia’s professional league — the KHL — has sent theirs, giving Russian an advantage this time around. Advantage or not, Kovalchuk certainly seems pleased over the outcome from Saturday.
Gus Kenworthy received a tweet of support from Britney Spears on Saturday and completed lost his mind.
The popular singer sent the following tweet to Kenworthy, which references lyrics from her song, “Gimme More.”
Kenworthy saw the tweet Sunday in PyeongChang and freaked out.
Kenworthy will be competing in the slopestyle and looking to improve upon his silver medal finish in the event at Sochi in 2014. And at least this tweet of his did not include a jab at a White House official.
The United States men’s hockey team lost 4-0 to the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Saturday, but the real storyline came after the game.
The Americans were displeased with what they considered poor sportsmanship on the part of the Russians, including the fact that they sent out their main power play unit late in the third period with a 4-0 lead, which customarily doesn’t happen.
U.S. head coach Tony Granato was so infuriated that he refused to shake hands with his Russian counterpart Oleg Znarok.
Granato confirmed that he was particularly unhappy with how Russia handled the late power play.
“It’s four-nothing,” Granato said, via Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports.
It’s worth noting that goal difference does make a difference as far as seeding goes in the Olympic tournament. The Russians, however, couldn’t help but point out that they had some Olympic demons to sort out.
“They still play highlights of T.J. Oshie in the shootout in Sochi,” O.A.R.’s Ilya Kovalchuk said of the famous matchup in 2014. “Hopefully we can change that now.”
You may remember that Oshie became something of a national hero on account of his shootout exploits four years ago. Add in the geopolitical ramifications of a U.S.-Russia match and, while you don’t have to like it, there’s at least something behind the aggressive tactics.
What would you do if you walked off with one of the more surprising gold medal wins of the Winter Olympics?
For Czech skier/snowboarder Ester Ledecka, the answer was to hit up a KFC near the Olympic snowboard course.
Ledecka was mostly keeping to herself, offering up one comment about her choice of meal to Eddie Pells and Will Graves of the Associated Press: “Don’t tell my coaches.”
Ledecka won a gold medal in an event she wasn’t supposed to have a shot in and got a shoutout from a similarly-named fellow Olympian. We’ll go ahead and say she’s entitled to have some fast food just this once.
Katie Ledecky is sending some love from one similarly-named Olympic gold medalist to another.
Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecka shocked everyone on Saturday by winning a surprise gold medal in the women’s super-G alpine skiing competition. The dual-sport athlete beat out Austrian skier Anna Veith by a mere 0.01 seconds.
After the stunning victory, Ledecka got a fitting shoutout on Twitter from American swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky.
Word of Ledecky’s shoutout appeared to reach Ledecka by the time that she spoke to reporters afterwards as she had this to say about her U.S. counterpart, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports:
After her stretch of utter dominance at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Ledecky is probably thrilled that a namesake of hers is killing the game in PyeongChang as well. Then again, Ledecky might just be happy that she got to witness Ledecka’s out-of-nowhere run since many viewers actually did not.
Hopefully Lindsey Vonn did not look at her Twitter mentions after her disappointing performance in the super-G at the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang on Saturday.
Vonn was the first skier out of the gate in the super-G and was putting together a really good run until the end when she had a bobble and veered off the course. She ended up tied for sixth, 0.38 behind the winner, and out of medal contention.
Though many Americans were bummed for Vonn, there was a segment of the viewing population that seemed gratified by the result.
Several Donald Trump supporters were pleased to see Vonn fail to medal and let her hear it over Twitter. Take a look:
NBC had some rough luck while airing the Olympic Games on Friday night.
NBC primarily showed the women’s super-G alpine skiing event, which featured Lindsey Vonn — the biggest American female athlete at the Olympics. Vonn was first out of the gate and made a mistake, which led to her time being surpassed pretty quickly.
After the first 19 skiers had gone, NBC had essentially said that Austrian Anna Veith’s time would make her the gold medal winner, and they cut away to figure skating to show American Adam Rippon in the free program.
Sure enough, after NBC went to Rippon, Czech Republic skier/snowboarder Ester Ledecka put together a gold medal run.
Though NBC had cut away from the event, they switched back to show viewers Ledecka’s run. The only problem is that they spoiled it for viewers by saying Ledecka had won the gold before showing her run.
A few media critics such as the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jay Posner and SI’s Richard Deitsch agreed that NBC took a gamble that made sense by switching to show Rippon, who likely would generate more interest among US viewers. The mistake, as Posner said, was spoiling the result for viewers before showing it.
Though some at NBC will be kicking themselves for the mistake, you can’t fault them for their decision-making process. They had to make a choice and showed what most American viewers likely wanted to see. And it’s not like they didn’t eventually show the surprise gold medal run anyway.
Lindsey Vonn returned to the slopes at the Olympics for the first time since 2010, and her first event did not go as hoped.
Vonn competed in the super-G in South Korea on Saturday and was first to go down the course. She was doing great until the end when she had a bobble and skidded off the course. The mistake was enough to keep her out of medal contention.
After the race, Vonn acknowledged she was “disappointed” but maintained a positive attitude.
“I gave it everything I had. I have no regrets. I made a mistake on the bottom. But that’s what happens in super-G,” Vonn told NBC’s Heather Cox. “I’m disappointed but I’m not upset because all you can do is give it your best, and that’s what I did.”
Vonn was asked how much being first out of the gate hurt her. She did not make any excuses but acknowledged that put her in somewhat of a difficult position.
“I did the best I could with the information I had,” Vonn said.
Despite not medaling in the event, Vonn said she was proud of the way she competed. She’ll have another chance at a medal in the women’s downhill.
Sometimes just showing up and competing is a victory in itself. That is certainly the case for Pita Taufatofua.
Taufatofua has become a famous Olympics figure and internet sensation. At the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, he served as Tonga’s flag bearer (going shirtless and oiled up) and competed in taekwondo. For the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, Taufatofua also went shirtless as his country’s flag bearer. Even more amazingly, he competed in the 15km cross-country skiing event.
According to CNN, Taufatofua rented skis to prepare and only trained for three months! He finished 114th out of 119.
For a guy who just trained for three months before competing, finishing in 114th out of 119 really isn’t bad. He even said he would have been happy to come in last.
“I’ve come in as the last seed, so if I get a gold medal, I’ll be happy. If I come in last, I’ll be happy. I made it to the Olympics, and I got Tonga to the Olympics.”
Mexican skier German Madrazo did finish last. The two trained together along with a few others, which explains the big celebration Madrazo received upon crossing the finish line.
In what was supposed to be her best event, U.S. skiier Mikaela Shiffrin finished fourth in the women’s slalom event — a finish that she openly admitted was a huge disappointment.
Shiffrin was regarded as a heavy favorite to win gold, but finished four-tenths of a second off the pace, and her time wasn’t even good enough for the podium.
The 22-year-old admitted that her own expectations weighed heavily on her.
“I think it’s more my own expectations, knowing the magnitude of what I’m trying to do,” Shiffrin said, via Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports. “It’s less about what everyone wants to see. When I get into the start gate, it’s about what I want to accomplish. Today, I didn’t feel I was up to the challenge when I was skiing. It was a big disappointment.
“I don’t have an explanation. I’m going to be going back and evaluating the whole day … we’ll all figure out what happened today to try to avoid it in the future.”
Shiffin showed major signs of nerves before her first run. Ultimately, it sounds like she got too inside her own head and it cost her.