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Between going fast on slopes, U.S. Alpine skier Ross uses music to slow down

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Music can be a very good way of relieving stress. We all know this because we tend to feel good when we’re warbling the lyrics to a song that we like while we’re taking a shower or driving down a highway.

So it’s no surprise that at least one U.S. Olympian – alpine skier Laurenne Ross – takes to playing music in order to disconnect from the grind that comes with being an Olympic athlete. According to her official U.S. Ski Team bio, the Canadian-born and Oregon-raised Ross plays the violin, guitar and piano in addition to singing.

“In skiing, I feel like I have a lot of pressure on me,” she says in a video for NBCOlympics.com. “When I play my music – I kind of feel like that’s a good way to let go of all that pressure.

“I find a bit of meditation in both things, but they are very different…They are both passions, they’re very different, but they are both things that I’m really connected to.”

Ross, the 2013 U.S. Nationals champion in the super-G, is one of four first-time Olympians on this year’s U.S. women’s Alpine skiing team along with Mikaela Shiffrin, Julia Ford and Jacqueline Wiles.

The Games run in her family, as her grandfather, Allan Purvis, helped the Canadian men’s hockey team win the gold medal at Oslo in 1952.

For Sochi, she’s qualified in three Alpine disciplines – the super combined (Feb. 10), downhill (Feb. 12), and super-G (Feb. 15). To learn about how Ross got started in skiing, NBCOlympics.com’s Joe Battaglia has more.

Lebanese Alpine skier prepares for second Olympics

Martina Hingis loses another Olympic doubles partner

Martina Hingis, Belinda Bencic
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Martina Hingis‘ Olympic return is off to a rough start, and the Games are still nine days away.

Hingis, the five-time Grand Slam singles champion who is set to go 20 years between Olympic appearances, has lost her slated doubles and mixed doubles partners on consecutive days. Hingis is not playing singles in Rio.

Belinda Bencic became the fourth female tennis player ranked in the top 20, and the second Swiss player of either gender in as many days, to withdraw from the Olympics on Wednesday.

Bencic, a 19-year-old ranked No. 16, is behind in training following a wrist injury suffered at Wimbledon last month, according to her social media.

On Tuesday, Roger Federer‘s withdrew from the Olympics, citing a knee injury.

Women’s top 20 players out of the Olympics
No. 5 Simona Halep (Zika concern)
No. 7 Victoria Azarenka (Pregnancy)
No. 17 Karolina Pliskova (Zika concern)

MORE: Complete U.S. Olympic team roster

Bubba Watson, U.S. golfers get pep talk from Olympic legend Dan Jansen

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The world’s best golfers are in Springfield, N.J., this week for the season’s final major, the PGA Championship, which was pushed up a couple weeks to accommodate golf’s return to the Olympics.

The four men set to represent the U.S. – Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar – attended an Olympic meeting, where they were able to try on their Team USA gear and speak with an Olympic legend, speed skater Dan Jansen. Watson left inspired.

“He’s a legend; he’s a legend for America,” Watson said. “Some of the things that he battled, he talked about what he battled. Not just winning. Who cares about winning a medal. Just what he battled trying to get there, what he battled in family life and things like that. It was pretty amazing to hear his stories and how he came through it.”

Jansen won a 1,000m speed skating gold medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, the shining moment in a career that had previously been defined by disappointment. He finished fourth in the 500m in 1984, and fell in both the 500m and 1,000m in 1988. Those mishaps came after he learned of the death of his sister, Jane, who died of leukemia the morning of the 500m final.

He just missed a medal again with a fourth-place result in the 500m in 1992, where he finished 26th in the 1,000m. Two years later, after the Winter Games shifted to be in even years not coinciding with the Summer Games, Jansen placed eighth in the 500m. But in the final event of his Olympic career, he set a 1,000m world record en route to his first and only Olympic medal.

You can see more of Jansen’s story here.

Jansen acknowledged that the golfers didn’t grow up dreaming about playing golf in the Olympics since it wasn’t in the program until recently. But now that they’re going, they’re representing their country just like everyone else on Team USA.

“All four of us are pretty passionate about it,” Watson said. “Any time you can play and represent your country to that level; obviously we represent our country this week, but to that level, a higher level, it’s pretty special.”

Watson reiterated his stance on having no reservations about going to the Rio Games, while the top four golfers in the world, and many others, pulled out, mostly due to concerns over the Zika virus.

“I mean, if they would have asked me to be the towel boy, I would have went to the Olympics. But again, my situation is different than everybody else’s. I can’t have kids. We adopted our kids and I’m not fearful of crime or anything like that. So there was no fear at all. It was a go,” he said.

The U.S. golfers are getting their custom USA gear ready:

MORE: Bubba Watson gets a jetpack to fly around the golf course