Pope Francis, Thomas Bach

IOC president Thomas Bach meets Pope Francis (photos)

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International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach reportedly discussed the importance of sport in society and its contribution to building a more peaceful and better world in a private meeting with Pope Francis on Friday, according to the IOC.

Bach, the German elected as IOC president in September, stopped by the Vatican during a trip to Italy.

Here’s how the IOC described the meeting:

In a private audience, the Pope stressed the contribution that the Olympic movement can make to peace building and mutual understanding, and the values that sport can deliver.

President Bach emphasised sport’s ability to build bridges and the example that the Olympic Games and especially the Athlete’s Village can give to the world in showing how different cultures can live together in harmony.

The Pope also congratulated President Bach on his election as President of the IOC – which took place in his home town of Buenos Aires in September.

Bach will present Pope Francis with the gold Olympic Order, the highest IOC award, on Saturday.

Here are photos of their meeting, via The Associated Press:

source: AP

source: AP

source: AP

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Men’s snowboard big air preview

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Now that Anna Gasser of Austria has successfully captured the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s snowboard big air, it’s almost time to crown the first-ever Olympic champion on the men’s side.

Big air snowboarding has progressed tremendously in recent years, and there’s been a lot of build-up to these Olympics, so expect heavy tricks to come out quickly in the final.

Or as Mark McMorris put it: “There’s probably [going to be] some mind-boggling s—.”

Every time there’s a big air event, there’s always talk about “quads” — a type of trick that features four inverted flips. It’s such a progressive trick that only two riders have landed a quad in competition, only a few others have done it in training, and many are hesitant to even try.

Read the full preview at NBCOlympics.com

Karen Chen shares disappointment, thanks fans

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Karen Chen was the last U.S. figure skater to make her PyeongChang debut (and her Olympic debut for that matter). A mistake on her opening jump in the short program left her in 10th place going into the free program. Two days later, her free skate also had technical mistakes, and she finished 11th overall. While Team OAR won its first Olympic gold of the PyeongChang Games and got a silver to boot, the U.S. women were plagued with falls and technical errors, and Chen was no exception.

NBCOlympics.com: Alina Zagitova is Olympic Athletes from Russia’s first gold medalist of PyeongChang

Just hours after the ladies’ event concluded, Chen took to Instagram to share her frustration, disappointment and newfound perspective.

Chen, 18, is the youngest woman on the 2018 U.S. figure skating team. Chen was born and raised in Fremont, California, she cites gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, who is also from Fremont, as a mentor. Unlike most in the world of figure skating, Chen makes her own costumes and choreographs her own programs. Last season, Chen won the U.S. national championship. She skated an inconsistent 2017-18 season, but her third place finish at nationals was enough to land her a spot on Team USA.