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#pounditThursday, January 20, 2022

Articles tagged: 2018 Winter Olympics

Canadian skater Meagan Duhamel dropped phone in toilet before her competition

Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel found herself in a bit of a sticky situation before her scheduled competition on Wednesday.

In the hours leading up to her mixed pairs short program event, Duhamel tweeted that she dropped her phone into a toilet … that was unflushed.

The bad luck did not end there for the 32-year-old Duhamel though. Within 30 minutes of her first tweet, she revealed that she had a wardrobe mishap of sorts as well and almost boarded the wrong bus to the Olympic venue.

Rest assured though, Duhamel is a seasoned professional. She won two world championships in 2015 and 2016 with partner Eric Radford and already took home the gold with Radford on Monday as part of the mixed team event. So come Wednesday’s competition (following Duhamel’s streak of lousy luck), the pair finished with a strong 76.82 score, putting them in third place and in position for another medal heading into the long program later this week.

Still, this all seems reminiscent of stories we heard from the last Olympics.

Image via Meagan Duhamel on Instagram

Speedskater Kim Boutin cries during medal ceremony after getting death threats

Kim Boutin push

Canadian speedskater Kim Boutin should have experienced one of the happiest moments of her life when she received an Olympic medal on Wednesday, but the moment was bittersweet for her in the wake of what unfolded the day before.

Boutin crossed the finish line in fourth at the women’s 500 meter event on Tuesday, but she ended up taking home the bronze when judges disqualified South Korean Choi Min-jeong for interference. Many fans were furious and felt Boutin initiated the contact, which led to angry comments and even at least one reported death threat toward Boutin on social media.

As she accepted her bronze medal on Wednesday, Boutin had tears streaming down her face.

While some angles appeared to show that Boutin initiated contact with Choi the second time Choi tried to pass her, the onus is on the passer to avoid making contact. Judges felt that Choi failed to do that.

Whether the right call was made or not, it’s unfortunate that the result led to such backlash. No one deserves to be threatened over a speedskating race — no matter what the circumstances.

Italian skater Ondrej Hotarek hilariously gets left hanging by pairs partner

Italian figure-skating pair Ondrej Hotarek and Valentina Marchei have some solid chemistry on the ice but not quite as much off of it.

Hotarek and Marchei competed in Wednesday’s pairs short program event. As the two celebrated their score afterwards, Hotarek went in for a high-five only to be hilariously given the cold shoulder by his partner (no pun intended).

Talk about the longest three seconds of Hotarek’s life.

The duo’s 74.50 score was good enough for seventh place overall. But that had to be the most awkward high-five attempt between teammates that we’ve seen since Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

NBC analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo apologizes for Opening Ceremony remark

NBC Olympics

It has been several days since Joshua Cooper Ramo was pulled from NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics for a controversial remark he made during the Opening Ceremony, and the analyst has finally issued an apology.

On Wednesday morning, Ramo expressed regret over a comment he made about how much of an example Japan has been for Korea culturally and technologically.

While serving as an Asia correspondent for NBC, Ramo basically said on Friday that South Korea would not be where it is today without Japan’s positive influence.

“Every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation,” he said.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the history of the two nations, Japan occupied Korea from 1910-1945. It was a period of extreme difficulty for the nation and led to the split of the country into North and South Korea, so you can understand why Ramo’s remarks were considered offensive.

NBC addressed Ramo’s comment in an apology given on the air the day after the Opening Ceremony.

Norway’s curling pants are perfect for Valentine’s Day

The Norwegian men’s curling team really brought the fashion to the Winter Olympics on Wednesday.

The curlers, who have a history of rather bold fashion choices, wore a truly remarkable set of pants to celebrate Valentine’s Day in South Korea.

The Norwegians have previously worn all sorts of patterned trousers, so this isn’t a new development. It is, however, great to see a theme mixed in here. In fact, these special pants are somehow a little more low-key than their regular Olympic apparel.

You might think that these are hands-down the wildest outfits of the Olympics, but this unlikely ski team is definitely giving them a run for their money.

Image via r/olympics

Ayumu Hirano felt he deserved gold medal ahead of Shaun White

Shaun White

The runner-up to Shaun White in the men’s halfpipe thinks he should have been the one atop the podium instead.

Ayumu Hirano, the 19-year-old who nearly bested White with a score of 95.25 on his second run, felt that he had done enough to take the gold medal ahead of White.

“Yes, I do, but the result is the result,” Hirano said via ESPN when asked if he felt he should have won. “And whatever I do, whatever I say, the result cannot be changed.

“There are no big differences between us, what we did. Under this condition, on this pipe it’s very, very difficult to mark higher than [White] did. But perhaps I have some room to improve on the height and the perfectness, perfect landing.”

You have to wonder if Hirano feels the same way as some of White’s other rivals with regard to how the American is treated by judges. While he doesn’t sound like he’s going to raise a stink over this, Hirano definitely doesn’t sound thrilled, but you can understand why he wouldn’t be after coming so close but not being able to pull it off.

Alex Ovechkin takes shot at NHL commissioner Gary Bettman over Olympics

Alex Ovechkin

The landscape of Olympic hockey looks a lot different in PyeongChang than it looked four years ago, and that is largely because the NHL decided it will not allow its players to compete in the Winter Games. Something tells us Alex Ovechkin is still a little bitter about that.

Ovechkin, who has spoken in the past about how important winning an Olympic medal would be to him, was asked on Tuesday if he has been watching the Olympics. He used the opportunity to take a shot at NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Ovechkin’s mother played basketball for Russia and won two Olympic gold medals, so you can understand why a chance to do the same means so much to him. He tried to fight the NHL’s decision last year but eventually waved the white flag.

“I wanted to make this statement so that my words are clear and nobody misunderstands what I am saying. The Olympics are in my blood and everybody knows how much I love my country,” Ovechkin said in a statement last September. “Ever since I was a kid and all the time I have played in the NHL, NHL players have played in the Olympic Games. We never have to make choice between our team and our country my whole career. I love the Capitals and my teammates here as much as I love my country and I know all the other NHL players feel the same for their teams. We should not have to be in position to make this choice.”

No one is expecting any type of “Miracle on Ice” situation with NHL players not allowed to compete in PyeongChang, but their exclusion has led to some heartwarming moments for other hockey players. That’s one silver lining Ovechkin and others can focus on.

Red Gerard flies to Los Angeles for media tour mid-Olympics

Red Gerard

Red Gerard is making the most of his down time in between Olympic events.

The 17-year-old American snowboarder became an instant celebrity at the PyeongChang Games after taking home gold in the men’s slopestyle event on Saturday. The Ohio native is not scheduled to compete again until next week’s men’s big air event. In between competitions at the Olympics, Gerard decided to fly to Los Angeles to take advantage of his newfound fame.

Gerard posted on his Instagram story Tuesday to show he was on a plane and, later, checked into a Hollywood hotel. The snowboarder even was a guest on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

It is definitely a bold move for Gerard to do a media tour during the Games (and adding an extra 27 hours or so of travel time in the process) instead of waiting until afterwards. But after that incredible slopestyle performance, credit to him for striking while his celebrity iron is hot.

Shaun White catches heat for violating American Flag Code

Shaun White flag

Shaun White represented the United States in incredible fashion by winning a gold medal for the country in the Olympics. He was so proud after winning gold in the halfpipe on Wednesday that he pulled out the American flag upon learning he had won the competition, and he held it behind him.

White was emotional in his celebration and clearly proud — as evidence by him pulling out the flag. But while he was celebrating, White got careless with the flag and let it drag on the ground behind him. He even inadvertently stepped on it.

White’s careless behavior while enjoying his moment of triumph did not sit well with some Americans who were upset that White violated United States Flag Code, which states that the flag should never touch the ground.

(more…)

Michael Phelps shouts out Shaun White on his ‘redemption’ gold medal

Michael Phelps gold

Shaun White was the talk of Twitter and mentioned by many other professional athletes after he won the gold medal in the men’s halfpipe at the Olympics in PyeongChang on Wednesday. But there was one shoutout that stood out more than the others.

Michael Phelps sent a congratulatory tweet to White in which he mentioned “comeback” and “redemption.”

The parallels between the careers of the two Olympic athletes are notable.

Phelphs delivered below expectations at the 2012 Olympics in London with four golds and two silvers. After retiring, he decided to come back and compete in Rio, where he won five golds and a silver, including winning gold in the 200 meter butterfly to avenge a previous loss.

Similarly, White had a disappointing showing at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi after winning gold in the halfpipe in 2010 and 2006. He bounced back with a vengeance in 2018 and reclaimed gold, which is why he was so emotional he was crying afterwards.