Matthias Hangst/Witters via USA TODAY Sports

400 days until the Sochi Games

Leave a comment

It’s back, that feeling deep in your chest that rises when the Olympics are around the corner. Surely it’s too early. It feels like just yesterday we were listening to the Spice Girls play out the last chords of London. But soft, what light through yonder window breaks: it is Sochi, a mere 400 days away.

We’re not sure we’ve ever seen a more exciting Games than London offered, including world records and career milestones from all-time greats like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, a three-peat from the U.S. women’s soccer team, and another victory at the medal table for the good ol’ US-of-A.

But for those who like cold weather sports (I’m especially a fan of the winter biathlon), you can look forward to Lindsey Vonn staking her claim as the world’s best alpine skier, Shaun White going for his own three-peat in the snowboard halfpipe, and  Yevgeny Plushenko aiming to be the first figure skater in nearly a century to medal in four straight Games.

So come back often for more news every day on the (steadily approaching) Sochi Games. February 7, 2014 will be here faster than you think. Also, Rio is only 1310 days away, incase anyone was counting.

Swimmer Reece Whitley named Sports Illustrated’s Sportskid of the Year 2015

Reece Whitley
Leave a comment

Swimmer Reece Whitley, who earned two silver medals at the World Junior Championships earlier this summer, was named Sports Illustrated Kids’ Sportskid of the Year for 2015.

Whitley, a breaststroker, stands 6’8” at age 15 and is a sophomore at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia. His 100m breaststroke time is 17th in the country, and his 200m time is 10th. He is the youngest swimmer to be ranked that high in both events.

“Making an impact on a young swimmer at a meet is probably more important than the times that you swim,” Whitley told SI Kids. “All these records are meant to be broken, but if you change a kid’s life or if you put a smile on a kid’s face because you took a picture with them, that never dies.”

“Getting to know Reece a little bit, he’s incredible,” 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps commented. “The guy is very talented, he’s super relaxed, super outgoing. He’s seeing results, he’s having fun, he’s enjoying himself. He’s a stud.”

Phelps has been known to call out “studs” in the past who do well in Olympic years. After the 2011 World Championships, Phelps told Jimmy Fallon that Missy Franklin was a stud, too. Then, at the 2012 Olympics, Franklin picked up four gold medals and a bronze.

Whitley beat out other four finalists for the title: taekwondo athlete Natalie Hershberger, 11; speedskater Cooper McLeod, 14; rock climber Ashima Shiraishi, 14; and cross country/ track and field athlete Harper Russell, 15.

MORE Olympics: Three U.S. ice dance teams into Grand Prix Final

Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan remembers slain Colorado officer, a childhood friend

Nancy Kerrigan
Leave a comment

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Former figure skating champion Nancy Kerrigan remembers the Colorado police officer who was killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic as loyal, caring and a true friend.

She told media outlets that Garrett Swasey was “one of my best friends” as they grew up together practicing figure skating in Melrose, Massachusetts. Before he became a police officer, Swasey was a junior national couples ice dancing champion.

An emotional Kerrigan says she wasn’t surprised he took a career path where he helped others first. She says he always had fun and did everything with a smile.

Swasey’s father has told the Boston Globe that his son moved to Colorado in the 1980s to pursue competitive figure skating and became an officer six years ago.

MORE: Hanyu, Miyahara into Grand Prix final with wins at NHK Trophy