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.

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

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.

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

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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Olympian Gus Kenworthy rescues puppy from Korean dog meat farm

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 3:50 PM

After rescuing dogs at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy has rescued another puppy.

People reported that Kenworthy announced he and his boyfriend, actor Matthew Wilkas, rescued a puppy named Beemo. The Associated Press reported that the two visited visited a dog farm in Siheung, South Korea, Friday.

>> Read more trending news 

“This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visited to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea,” Kenworthy said in an Instagram post. “Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don’t personally agree with it, I do agree that it’s not my place to impose western ideals on the people here.”

In this Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, photo, American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy plays with a dog at a dog meat farm in Siheung, South Korea. Kenworthy saved five stray dogs during the Sochi Olympics four years ago and is adopting one of the many puppies he met Friday after finishing competition the Pyeongchang Games. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)(Ahn Young-joon/AP)

Kenworthy said that the farm he and Wilkas visited was being permanently closed due to the work of the Humane Society International and a farmer’s cooperation. The 87 dogs, some which are expecting litters of puppies, at the farm are being taken to North America, according to The AP.

Related: 2018 Winter Olympics: Who is Gus Kenworthy?

Beemo is among those dogs.

“I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks,” Kenworthy wrote. “I cannot wait to give her the best life possible!”

This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visited to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea. Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable. Yes, there is an argument to be made that eating dogs is a part of Korean culture. And, while don't personally agree with it, I do agree that it's not my place to impose western ideals on the people here. The way these animals are being treated, however, is completely inhumane and culture should never be a scapegoat for cruelty. I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in "good conditions" by comparison to other farms. The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions. When it comes time to put one down it is done so in front of the other dogs by means of electrocution sometimes taking up to 20 agonizing minutes. Despite the beliefs of the Korean public at large, these dogs are no different from the ones we call pets back home. Some of them were even pets at one time and were stolen or found and sold into the dog meat trade. Luckily, this particular farm (thanks to the hard work of the Humane Society International and the cooperation of a farmer who's seen the error of his ways) is being permanently shut down and all 90 of the dogs here will be brought to the US and Canada where they'll find their fur-ever homes. I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks. I cannot wait to give her the best life possible! There are still millions of dogs here in need of help though (like the Great Pyrenees in the 2nd pic who was truly the sweetest dog ever). I'm hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade here in Korea and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the US where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes! Go to @hsiglobal's page to see how you can help. #dogsarefriendsnotfood #adoptdontshop ❤️🐶

A post shared by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on

At the Sochi games, Kenworthy rescued a mother dog and three puppies. Although one puppy did not survive, the mother, Mamuchka, lives with Kentworthy’s mother in Telluride, Colorado, and Mishka and Jake live with Kentworthy’s ex-boyfriend, Robin Macdonald, in Vancouver.

“I’m hoping to use this visit as an opportunity to raise awareness to the inhumanity of the dog meat trade here in Korea and the plight of dogs everywhere, including back home in the U.S., where millions of dogs are in need of loving homes,” Kenworthy said.

The AP reported that the dogs on the farm will be vaccinated and quarantined on the farm until March.

In this Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, photo, American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, left, and his boyfriend Matthew Wilkas watch dogs in cages at a dog meat farm in Siheung, South Korea. Kenworthy saved five stray dogs during the Sochi Olympics four years ago and is considering adopting one of the many puppies he met Friday after finishing competition the Pyeongchang Games. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)(Ahn Young-joon/AP)

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Olympian Gus Kenworthy criticizes Ivanka Trump during closing ceremony

Published: Monday, February 26, 2018 @ 6:34 AM

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U.S. Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy had less-than-kind words for one of his fellow Americans at the closing ceremony for 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

>> PHOTOS: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Closing Ceremony

“So proud of all these people!” he said after sharing a picture. “Everybody here has worked so hard to make it to the Olympics and have the opportunity to walk in the closing ceremony!”

>> See the tweet here

“Well… Everyone except Ivanka,” he continued, mentioning the first daughter. “Honestly, tf is she doing here??”

>> Read more trending news 

Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump's daughter, led the presidential delegation in the closing ceremonies. Vice President Mike Pence appeared at the beginning of the Olympics to lead the presidential delegation in the opening ceremonies. Pence made headlines when he sat down for the Korean delegation, which included athletes from both North and South Korea.

Many criticized Kenworthy’s shot.

Others made political jokes at Ivanka Trump’s expense.

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2018 Winter Olympics: Who is Gus Kenworthy?

Published: Friday, February 02, 2018 @ 12:45 PM

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23:  Professional Skier Gus Kenworthy poses in the VIP Lounge during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen)
Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Professional Skier Gus Kenworthy poses in the VIP Lounge during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen)(Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

Gus Kenworthy, from Telluride, Colorado, is a 2014 Olympic silver medalist who was part of a U.S. slopestyle sweep.

Kenworthy gained attention after rescuing a mother dog and her four stray puppies in Sochi, Russia. 

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He contended in both halfpipe and slopestyle in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

>> More Olympics coverage at WPXI.com

In 2015, Kenworthy came out as gay. He received an outpouring of support after simply tweeting, “I am gay.”

Other interesting facts:
  • Born in London to a British mother and American father.
  • Competes in all three free skiing disciplines: halfpipe, big air and slopestyle.
  • Won seven consecutive Association of Freeskiing Professionals titles from 2011 to 2017

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U.S. women's hockey team wins Olympic gold

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 2:22 AM

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The United States has defeated Canada 3-2 to win the gold medal in women’s hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

>> PHOTOS: 2018 Winter Olympics: U.S. women's hockey team wins gold

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GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: The United States celebrates after defeating Canada in a shootout to win the Women's Gold Medal Game on day thirteen of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 22, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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