Caitlin Cahow

Caitlin Cahow discusses being part of U.S. delegation to Sochi (video)

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Caitlin Cahow, one of two openly gay athletes part of the White House’s delegation to the Sochi Olympics, said she’s proud to be representing American diversity in Russia.

“I think that the president’s been very open about his feelings about Russian policies,” Cahow said on TODAY on Thursday morning. “I think he’s been very open about his feelings about LGBT policies here at home, too. I’m going over to Sochi representing a country that has made the most dramatic shifts on some of these issues in the last few years, and I’m very proud to be representing that kind of diversity.”

Cahow, 28, won bronze and silver at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics as a defenseman on the U.S. women’s hockey team but was not in the running to make the 2014 Olympic Team.

She joined tennis legend Billie Jean King and Olympic legends Bonnie BlairBrian Boitano and Eric Heiden on the delegation announced Tuesday. 

“I had a member of the White House call me, and that was kind of a surprise to get on my cell phone an unknown number,” Cahow said. “So I answered it, and I heard the news. I was elated. I was thrilled.”

In June, a law was passed in Russia banning the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations toward minors. Cahow said there are a lot of issues she looks to stand for while in Sochi.

In the interview, Matt Lauer brought up the black-power salute by John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

“Honestly, I think that my John Carlos moment right now is going to Russia and being present and representing the United States,” she said. “Like I said before, this delegation represents so much more than just LGBT diversity. We have a really remarkable diversity in the United States. I think that’s what all of the athletes in Sochi and the delegation will be demonstrating.”

Cahow, a Harvard graduate, said she believes the Olympics and politics will always be intertwined.

“It’s really hard to divorce the two,” she said. “What I would say is that the great thing about the Olympics is that every two years we get the opportunity not only to be inspired by amazing human achievement, but to hold the mirror up to our own faces and say what can we be doing better?”

Vladislav Tretiak: Ex-NHL star should be Russia flagbearer

John Shuster, 30 pounds lighter, rallies for 4th Olympic curling berth

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John Shuster is going to a fourth Olympics. It’s one more chance to prove Urban Dictionary wrong.

Shuster, 30 pounds lighter since his second straight Olympic failure in Sochi, led a team that beat Heath McCormick‘s squad at the U.S. Olympic Trials finals in Omaha on Saturday night.

Shuster, Tyler GeorgeMatt Hamilton and John Landsteiner lost the opener of a best-of-three finals series on Thursday.

They came back to deliver in a pair of must-win games, 9-4 on Friday night and 7-5 on Saturday, after spending each day at the Omaha Zoo.

The new-look Shuster — leaner and, at least this weekend, clutch — would astonish those who know him by scenes at the last two Olympics.

After taking bronze in 2006 as a role player, he led the last two U.S. Olympic teams to 2-7 records in 2010 and in 2014. Last place in Vancouver, where he was benched after an 0-4 start. Next to last place in Sochi.

After the last Olympics, the former bartender from Chisholm, Minn., was left off USA Curling’s 10-man high performance team.

He took it as motivation to get in shape.

Shuster, a father of a 2- and a 4-year-old who once said, “If I don’t have pizza three or four times a week, I’m not happy,” now totes meal replacement shakes. He’s starting to enjoy Olympic lifting.

Shuster, George, Hamilton and Landsteiner, all absent from that USA Curling high performance list, formed their own team. They became Team USA in their first season together and represented the Stars and Stripes at worlds in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Their results — fourth, third and fifth —  marked the best string of U.S. men’s or women’s finishes at that level in a decade.

Shuster is set to join Debbie McCormick as the only Americans to curl at four Olympics. The sport was part of the first Winter Games in 1924, then absent as a medal sport until 1998.

“I don’t think it’s about the four Olympics for me,” Shuster said on NBCSN. “What this is about — and what I’m about — is getting my teammates to now. I have two new Olympians on this team, and I know how special that is.”

George, the 35-year-old vice skip for Shuster, led a team that lost to Shuster in the 2010 Olympic Trials final. The liquor store manager from Duluth, Minn., is going to his first Winter Games.

As is the 28-year-old Hamilton, whose younger sister qualified for PyeongChang earlier Saturday.

Landsteiner, a 27-year-old corrosion engineer, played with Shuster since 2011, including in Sochi.

Alternate Joe Polo can go 12 years between Olympic appearances after taking bronze on that Torino team.

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MORE: U.S. Winter Olympic Trials broadcast schedule

Katie Ledecky wins race by 54 seconds, breaks record

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Katie Ledecky is back at Stanford and back to pulverizing distance races.

The sophomore and five-time Olympic champion won a 1,650-yard freestyle by 54.45 seconds at a meet at Texas A&M on Saturday night.

The runner-up was in a different heat; Ledecky won her heat by 1:02.16.

Ledecky lowered her own American record, clocking 15:03.31. She had the previous mark of 15:03.92 set last Nov. 20.

Ledecky had every swimmer lapped in the 25-yard pool before the halfway point and ended up lapping everyone twice.

The men also raced a 1,650 on Saturday. The winner clocked 15:18.95, which was 15.64 seconds slower than Ledecky’s time.

Full results are here.

The 1,650 is the longest race on the NCAA program, while the longest race at the Olympics and world championships is the 1500m.

The No. 2 woman all-time in the 1,650 is triple 2008 Olympic medalist Katie Hoff, a full 21.04 seconds slower.

Ledecky owns the 1500m world record, too, 13.4 seconds faster than any other woman in history.

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MORE: Michael Phelps’ discussion with Katie Ledecky after 2017 Worlds