WEST PITTSTON, PA – I patiently wait for the Winter Olympics to roll around every four years.
Next to the Buffalo Bills and the NFL, the Winter Olympics are what I immerse myself in most.
Don’t believe me?
I stayed up until 4 a.m. Friday watching curling – a match Team USA ended up losing, by the way. Saturday night? Yup. Up until 3:30 a.m. watching USA women’s hockey take on Finland in the round robin.
This is the only sporting event that brings the entire world together. South Korea and North Korea walked together in the Parade of Nations and joined forces in women’s hockey, skating together on Saturday.
Where else do you see that?
Sure, the Winter Olympics don’t feature as big events as its summer counterpart, but for once we get to care about skeleton and the biathlon. When else would you see someone do some cross country skiing and mix in some target practice with a rifle in one race?
First, there’s the return of Shaun White. He threw down a 100 in his qualifier to make the Games and then pulled out of the X Games to rest up for Pyeongchang. White’s going to face some stiff competition in the halfpipe. The majority of the field from Aspen is back. And for some insight on what White is really up against, Chase Josey scored a 90 in Aspen, and finished fourth. That’s almost unheard of. It’ll be one of the most-exciting events to watch at these Games.
Then there’s the American alpine skiing duo of Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin. After Sunday’s postponement of ladies giant slalom, alpine skiing won’t kick off until Monday, with the men’s combined. Shiffrin will be a medal favorite slalom and giant slalom while Vonn will be the favorite in super-G and downhill. It would be a rare feat if the USA women can take home gold in all six alpine skiing disciplines (combined and the team event rounding out the group).
Red Gerard made a splash Saturday securing Team USA’s first medal, with a gold in the men’s snowboard slopestyle. Gerard became the first Olympic medalist to be born in the 2000s. Pretty impressive considering he sat in 11th place heading into his final run.
It’ll be interesting to see how the US men’s hockey team does now that the NHLers stayed behind this time around. But hey, they’re in good hands with Brian Gionta captaining the squad.
With Shiffrin sidelined in GS due to severe winds and a minus-30-degree windchill, Chris Mazder, Adam Rippon, Mirai Nagasu and Simen Hegstad Kruger stole the show on Sunday. Mazder took silver in luge, for the States’ best finish in men’s singles history. Rippon, who made headlines earlier in the week for his stance against Vice President Pence, kept the United States’ medal hopes alive in the figure skating team event. Rippon finished third in the men’s free skate portion in his Olympic debut. Then, shortly after Rippon, Nagasu was stellar in the ladies free skate portion of the event, throwing down the first triple axel by an American woman at the Olympics as the United States would later wrap up the bronze after a strong performance in ice dancing. But Norway’s Kruger had a performance to remember in the skiathlon. Kruger crashed just 200 meters into the cross-country race, fell to last place before storming back to ski to gold in his Olympic debut.
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