Nick Goepper

Nick Goepper set for Sochi Olympics in ski slopestyle

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Nick Goepper locked up a spot on the first U.S. Olympic Team in slopestyle skiing at the second Olympic selection event in Copper Mountain, Colo., on Saturday.

“It’s a dream come true,” Goepper said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “It’s super fun. The Olympics add a bit more pressure, but we’re just out here trying to get creative and have fun.”

Goepper, the rare freeskier out of Indiana, took second with 89.20 points in the first of his two runs. It held up until Norway’s Andreas Haartveit posted 92.80 late in the second run. Australian Russ Henshaw took third.

Goepper, the reigning Winter X Games champion, won in Breckenridge last week without ski poles due to a broken hand. He met U.S. Olympic Team selection criteria being the top American finisher in the first two Olympic selection events.

No American man other than Goepper has finished on the podium in either of the first two selection events. Ski slopestyle is making its Olympic debut.

Earlier, Canadian Dara Howell won the women’s ski slopestyle. No U.S. women have reached Olympic selection criteria yet, but four women are halfway there through two of five events.

Darian Stevens and Grete Eliassen were second and third behind Howell. Howell won with an 87.60 second run, bettering Stevens’ 85.40 and Eliassen’s 83.40.

Maggie Voisin, who was third last week on her 15th birthday, was fourth Saturday with 80.00 points. Devin Logan, who won last week, did not reach the finals in Copper Mountain.

Up to three slopestyle skiers per gender who have had two top-three results over five Olympic selection events will be named to the Olympic team. If more than three athletes, in either gender, have had two top-three results, tiebreaker rankings come into play.

A skier’s best two results will be combined to create tiebreaker rankings. The next Olympic selection event for slopestyle skiing is in Breckenridge in January.

Here are the Olympic selection tiebreaker ranking standings in ski slopestyle after two of five selection events, only counting those with top-three results:

Men’s Ski Slopestyle
1. Nick Goepper — 200 (two top-three results)

Women’s Ski Slopestyle
1. Maggie Voisin — 140
2. Devin Logan — 136
2. Darian Stevens — 136
4. Grete Eliassen — 102

Sigourney, Blunck win ski halfpipe at Copper

Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic logo unveiled

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The logos for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games were unveiled at one of Beijing’s iconic Olympic venues — the Water Cube, where Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in 2008.

Beijing will become the first city to host a Summer and a Winter Olympics in February 2022.

The logos unveiled Friday — which replace the Candidate City logo used when Beijing beat Almaty, Kazakhstan, in a 2015 IOC members vote for the 2022 Games — are named “Winter Dream” (Olympics) and “Flying High” (Paralympics), according to Xinhua News Agency.

The designs were chosen from 4,506 worldwide submissions, according to Chinese media.

“The Olympic emblem was initially drawn on the idea of the Chinese character ‘dong’ (winter) in the bid emblem, with the character rendered in Chinese calligraphy representing Chinese culture,” designer Lin Cunzhen said, according to the Xinhua. “Meanwhile, a pattern combining ice sports and snow sports was used to represent the Olympic Games.”

More from Beijing 2022:

The upper part of the emblem resembles a skater and its lower part a skier. The ribbon-like motif in between, full of rhythm, stands for the host country’s rolling mountains, Games venues, ski courses and skating tracks. The ribbons, as artistically expressed in the emblem, give a touch of festivity and are an indication that the Games coincide with the celebrations of the Chinese New Year.

The Water Cube will become the Ice Cube for the 2022 Olympics, hosting curling. The Bird’s Nest will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as it did for the 2008 Olympics.

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MORE: Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic promo video

The emblem for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games is shown after being unveiled at a ceremony at the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, in Beijing, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
The emblem for the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympic Games is shown after being unveiled at a ceremony at the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, in Beijing, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Indian luger set for 6th (and likely last) Olympics

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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Shiva Keshavan is probably not going to medal at the PyeongChang Olympics.

That doesn’t make him irrelevant.

His name gets heard globally once every four years, because of his story: A guy from India, where there is no great winter sports legacy to speak of, goes to the Olympics — in luge of all things.

When he competes in PyeongChang, it’ll be his sixth and almost certainly final time as an Olympian. He’s never finished better than 25th at an Olympics, and he won’t be a podium contender in February.

Ask him if it was worth it, and he doesn’t hesitate before saying yes.

“I didn’t do this for other people to look at my story,” Keshavan said. “I did it for myself. I did it to improve myself and I feel that I’ve come a long way. Until now I’ve learned a lot, traveled the world, met people all over the world and I’ve been privileged to do that. And, well, if other people look at me, I know they’ll respect me for what I did.”

Keshavan was doomed by sled problems and finished 31st in a 35-slider Nations Cup event Thursday night at Mount Van Hoevenberg, meaning he won’t be in Friday’s World Cup. Only the top 15 from the Nations Cup advanced.

But that doesn’t deter him. It never has.

Keshavan’s attitude has been infectious among other sliders for years, and it’s clear he’ll be missed if this — as he expects — is the end of his Olympic journey.

“It really is kind of like a community that you’re a part of, and it’s something that’s really hard to let go,” said longtime U.S. luger Chris Mazdzer, one of the many on the luge circuit who considers Keshavan a good friend. “It is a lot of fun traveling, competing all around the world with a great group of people.”

Keshavan is sort of an unofficial member of many national teams.

Keshavan calls Lake Placid his home track, even though it’s 7,000 miles from the Himalayan region that is his actual home.

When he finished Thursday night, Australians and Ukrainians were among the first to offer him words of congratulations. And last week Keshavan got help from a Croatian just so he could compete.

Keshavan’s sled broke, so Daria Obratov offered hers.

It was way too small for Keshavan, and not exactly contoured for him, but he used it anyway to finish the Nations Cup race in Calgary — which essentially clinched his spot for PyeongChang.

“Although we represent different countries, the Olympic spirit knows no boundaries,” Obratov said.

Keshavan made his Olympic debut as a 16-year-old at Nagano in 1998, when he placed 28th. He’s been an Olympic regular since, placing 33rd in Salt Lake City in 2002, 25th at Torino in 2006, 29th at Vancouver in 2010 and 37th at Sochi.

He’s always been somewhere around five or 10 seconds behind the gold medalists.

He comes much closer in World Cup races, where sliders compete in two runs instead of the Olympic four. And he hasn’t exploited the system — even though he’s not exactly an Olympic medalist, he is competitive.

Besides, he’ll be a six-time Olympian. That’s more of a legacy than he ever envisioned.

“I gave my best,” Keshavan said. “Maybe that’s the thing I want to be remembered for: He gave his best and he never gave up.”

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