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Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 12:40 PM
— Matt and Becca Hamilton competed in the Olympics’ first-ever mixed doubles curling event at the Pyeongchang Games. The brother-sister duo, from McFarland, Wisconsin, used to compete against each other in the sport as teens, but joined together for the 2018 Olympics.
The two make a good team. They won USA Curling Mixed Doubles National Championship in March 2017.
Matt Hamilton, 28, was first to get into the sport at age 14. His little sister followed him into curling when she was a teenager.
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 6:27 AM
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — One skier who competed in the women's halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics really stood out – but not for her skills.
American Elizabeth Swaney, a member of Hungary's team who finished in last place Monday after a qualifying run that Deadspin described as "thoroughly average," apparently was able to game the Olympics' quota system to get to Pyeongchang. She also met another requirement – cracking the top 30 at a World Cup event – because many of those events featured fewer than 30 competitors.
“The field is not that deep in the women’s pipe, and she went to every World Cup, where there were only 24, 25 or 28 women,” International Ski Federation judge Steele Spence told the Denver Post. “She would compete in them consistently over the last couple years, and sometimes girls would crash so she would not end up dead last."
The 33-year-old from California was able to snag a spot on Hungary's team instead of the more competitive U.S. team because her grandparents are Hungarian, Deadspin reported. She also skied for Venezuela, where her mother is from, in World Cup events.
In Pyeongchang, Swaney didn't attempt any fancy tricks and finished last – but she didn't fall.
"It is an honor to compete at the Olympics, and I am really excited to compete among other amazing women from across the world," Swaney said, according to Reuters.
She added: "I hope this can be a platform to inspire others."
Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 7:48 AM
— 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.
I am really Pumped watching the Winter Olympics. I am watching events I never thought I would watch before, like curling. You heard me, curling Fool!— Mr. T (@MrT) February 11, 2018
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.
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.
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.
Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 12:59 PM
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Audiences won’t be seeing much more of Adam Rippon during the 2018 Winter Olympics after all.
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.”
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.
I am flattered that NBC wanted me to work as a correspondent for them here in PyeongChang. Doing this would require me to leave Team USA and move out of the Olympic Village. I don't want to do that so I had to declined the opportunity.— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) February 19, 2018
I love being on Team USA and representing our country. My teammates were there for me during my events, and now I NEED to be there for them. I look forward to being with them, and I’m very excited for the rest of the competition. Go Team USA!!!— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) February 19, 2018
I actually found everything out about the offer via twitter HAHA 😂😂 2018 is wild girl— Adam Rippon (@Adaripp) February 19, 2018
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.
Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 7:50 AM
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — 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.
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.
And the bears aren’t wasted, either. After Hanyu leaves the ice, the stuffed animals are collected and donated to local charities.
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.
Pooh and his boo, Yuzuru Hanyu. pic.twitter.com/azcYTW5EW8— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 17, 2018
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.