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2018 Winter Olympics: Who is Aja Evans?

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 9:26 AM

2018 Winter Olympics: Aja Evans

Bobsledder Aja Evans has competed in the 2018 and 2014 games. She won a bronze medal in Sochi, her first Olympics.

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Evans was born in Chicago to a family of athletes. Her father, Fred Evans, won a national collegiate title in swimming in 1975, making him the first African American swimmer to do so. Her brother, Fred played eight seasons in the NFL and her uncle, Gary Matthews, and cousin, Gary Matthews Jr., played in MLB.

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Evans began as a track and field athlete and attempted to make the 2008 Olympic team. 

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 27: Bobsledder Aja Evans poses for a portrait during the Team USA PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics portraits on April 27, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)(Harry How/Getty Images)

In 2016, she tried again to make the team for the Rio Games, but tore nearly 90 percent of her ACL. When she didn’t make the team, she turned her attention to bobsledding, where she’s found success.

Other interesting facts:
  • Five-time All-American in the shot put at the University of Illinois
  • Won three Big Ten titles while at the University of Illinois
  • Set start record at the 2012 USA Bobsled National Push Championships
  • Posed in ESPN’s Body Issue in 2014

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All the curling stones used in every Olympics have come from the same small island

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 7:48 AM

Tempers Flare During Olympic Curling Match

Few people quite understand what exactly curling is, but every four years, people across the world suddenly find themselves invested in a sport that, at first glance, can be described as people pushing rocks across ice with brooms.

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For those who are using this year’s go-around to learn what they can about the sport, here’s a fun fact to tell at the next watch party: Olympic curling rocks aren’t just any old bits of earth; they all come from the exact same kind of stone from the exact same place.

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According to the Huffington Post, the curling stones are made from a specific kind of granite that can only be located on a deserted island off the coast of Scotland. 

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The island — Ailsa Craig, also known as “Paddy’s milestone” — is a volcanic plug, meaning it coalesced over an extinct volcano, apparently leaving the granite in the perfect condition to make curling stones. All the stones used during the Olympic Winter Games are produced by the only company with rights to the Ailsa Craig granite: Kays of Scotland, which has been creating the stones since 1851. According to the Huffington Post, thousands of tons of two varieties of stone are removed from the ground once every decade: a blue hone granite, which is impenetrable by ice and water and makes up the insert and running band of the curling stone, and a green granite that composes the body of the stone. There is apparently a third variety, red hone granite, but it isn’t used in curling stones.

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Adam Rippon won’t be joining NBC as 2018 Olympics correspondent after all 

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 12:59 PM

What You Need To Know About Adam Rippon

Audiences won’t be seeing much more of Adam Rippon during the 2018 Winter Olympics after all.

USA Today previously reported that the 28-year-old figure skater had accepted a job as a correspondent with NBC, but it appears Rippon has changed his mind.

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Rippon’s decision to decline the offer stems from the fact that he would have to relinquish certain privileges were he to make the jump from Olympian to TV correspondent.

“I am so flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent, but if I took this opportunity, I would have to leave the Olympic team and I would have to leave the (Olympic) Village,” Rippon initially said in an interview with NBC Sports Network, via USA Today. “It’s so important to me, you know. I worked so hard to be on this Olympic team, and my teammates and my friends were there for me during my events, and that meant so much to me, that I really feel like I need to be there for them during their events.”

Related: 2018 Winter Olympics: Who is Adam Rippon?

Rippon said on Twitter he found out about the offer on the social media platform. He also repeated similar comments about his decision to turn down the offer.

Rippon, the first openly gay athlete to qualify for the Winter Olympics, has garnered the attention of milllions through his candid and colorful interviews. He earned a bronze medal in team competition, and he finished in 10th place in the singles competition, a big accomplishment that has left him extremely proud.

“To come away from this Olympic Games to skate three clean programs in the midst of what seems like a lot going on, and a top-10 finish in the individual event and a bronze medal (in the team event), I think this is sort of like a dream Olympic Games for me,” Rippon told reporters after his men’s free skate event Saturday. “I think I’ve shown the world that I’m a fierce competitor, but I think I’ve shown them that I’m also a fierce human being.”

While he’s used his platform as an Olympic athlete to speak out against Vice President Mike Pence and his stances on the LGBT community, Rippon doesn’t want his sexuality to distract from the person he is.

“I’ve gotten a lot of attention I think just for being myself. I think that a lot of people, when they come to a competition, are afraid to be themselves no matter who they are,” he said. “I think one thing that I want people to come away with from this competition is that I’m not a gay icon or America’s gay sweetheart — I’m just America’s sweetheart, and I’m just an icon. And if you have a personality like mine, it’s for everybody.”

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Here's why Olympic figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu's fans throw Winnie the Pooh bears on the ice

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 7:50 AM

A skating girl collects Winnie The Pooh toys off the ice following Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan's performance during the men's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Julie Jacobson/AP
A skating girl collects Winnie The Pooh toys off the ice following Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan's performance during the men's short program figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)(Julie Jacobson/AP)

In one of the strangest stories that we’ve seen out of the 2018 Winter Olympics, beloved bear Winnie the Pooh is making a comeback.

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The lovable bear is the unofficial mascot of Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu. Every time Hanyu takes to the ice, he keeps a stuffed bear on the side of the rink for good luck, often bowing to the toy before performing, Time magazine reported. Fans know of Hanyu's love for the character and throw Winnie the Pooh bears onto the rink. The carefree bear has proved to be a pretty effective spirit animal for Hanyu, who is considered by some to be the best figure skater in history.

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And the bears aren’t wasted, either. After Hanyu leaves the ice, the stuffed animals are collected and donated to local charities.

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The 23-year-old won a gold medal in Pyeongchang on Saturday, making him the first male skater since 1952 to win back-to-back Olympic golds. In a New York Times profile of the star, the paper wrote that thousands of Hanyu’s fans traveled to South Korea to see him compete. Some of them wore Winnie the Pooh hats while others donned Winnie the Pooh costumes.

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And the story of Hanyu’s gold medal performance has the kind of storybook twists and turns that you might expect from something a lot more dramatic than Winnie the Pooh. In the months leading up the games, when he should have been entering his final round of preparation, Hanyu suffered an injury to his ankle that threatened his performance. But, in a comeback story for the ages, the Japanese star managed to return with a vengeance, cementing himself as the greatest ice skater in the world. And, Winnie the Pooh was there on the sidelines for the entire thing.

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Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz wows with 'Game of Thrones' costume

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 6:59 AM

Paul Fentz of Germany performs during the men's free figure skating final in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Morry Gash/AP
Paul Fentz of Germany performs during the men's free figure skating final in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)(Morry Gash/AP)

“Game of Thrones” fans from around the world were loving German Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz’s costume at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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Fentz was clearly not on the fence when it came to a tribute to the character Jaime Lannister, and neither were people on the internet when it came to voicing positive opinions about it.

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The Olympian also skated to the “Game of Thrones” soundtrack.

Here's what fans had to say:

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Even commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir were into it.

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“It was not his best, but a Lannister always pays his debts,” Lipinski said. “This music gets me.”

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