Cash cow: Kaitlyn Farrington finds unusual way to fund Olympic training

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Kaitlyn Farrington’s parents did whatever they could to help their daughter make it to Sochi. As this video from NBC Olympics.com reveals, affording Olympic-level training meant selling off cows from the family farm in Sunny Valley, Idaho.

In fact, the 24-year-old women’s halfpipe competitor admits that it cost them all of their cows.

” … Every week before [a] snowboard trip – on Wednesdays, I think – was the cattle sales. We’d load a cow up into the trailer before I went to school, and he’d take it to the cattle sale and sell it.  And that was my money to go on that weekend trip to go compete,” Farrington told NBCOlympics.com. “We don’t have any cows left after the whole thing happened. Both my parents were just so supportive and knew that I loved snowboarding so much.  And so they wanted to see me do well.”

Much like fellow U.S. halfpipe contender Arielle Gold, this will be Farrington’s Olympic debut. Joining mainstays Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter may seem intimidating on paper, but the group insists they’re very close, with Clark noting that they “genuinely care about one another.”

“I don’t think anyone tries to keep secrets about [the tricks they’re working on],” Farrington said. “I think watching somebody do something inspires [me]. If you’ve never done that trick, you want to do it or make yours better because [you think], ‘Wow, that was awesome. I wish mine was like that.’”

When asked about her other favorite sports, Farrington named golf and surfing because they provide her with such humbling experiences (being that she isn’t very good at them).

Considering the sacrifices her family made to help her get to this level, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that she values being humbled every now and then.

Clark took gold at X-Games while Farrington came in third.

Kobe Bryant announces retirement but remains in contention for Rio team

Kobe Bryant
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Veteran basketball player and 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from professional basketball after the end of this season. However, ESPN reported that the chairman of USA Basketball, Jerry Colangelo, said that Bryant “remains in contention for Team USA spot for Rio 2016.”

In the form of a poem titled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune, Bryant wrote:

This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

Bryant played on the U.S. national team from 2007 to 2012. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics he scored 20 points in the gold medal game to win gold over Spain. He helped the U.S. men to gold again in 2012, then said that it would be his last Olympics.

But he’s changed his tune in recent months. Bryant told the Associated Press in November that he’d like a shot at another Olympics.

“I would like to play,” Bryant said. “I think it’d be awesome. A beautiful experience.”

If he were selected and won again, Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony would become the first U.S. male basketball players to win three gold Olympic medals.

In the AP interview Bryant spoke glowingly of his Olympic teammates. “It would mean the world to me to be around those guys,” he said. “I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it’s just us being together, that would be fun.”

He also said he believes he’d be an asset to the team, stating, “I feel like I can add value from a leadership perspective and a defensive perspective. I can still move extremely well defensively.”

Bryant’s age will likely be a concern, as his 38th birthday is just two days after the gold-medal game on August 21st, 2016.

Colangelo said that they will be looking at “all of our players” this season, and Bryant’s retirement announcement “doesn’t have any bearing” on whether he’d be selected for the 2016 Olympic team.

The 12 player team will be selected in June 2016.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins back-to-back slalom races at Aspen World Cup

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“I think there’s something special about Aspen,” Mikaela Shiffrin told NBC after winning two slalom races in as many days.

After Saturday’s history-making win, when Shiffrin won her first World Cup race in the U.S. and was the first American woman to win a slalom race at the Aspen World Cup stop, the twenty-year-old won again by a large margin. After winning by 3:07 seconds on Saturday, Shiffrin told reporters, “I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again.”

But on Sunday her lead over the second place finisher, Frida Hansdotter of Sweden, wasn’t much shorter: 2:65 seconds. And this was with an early mistake that left her off balance for a moment in her final run.

In third place was Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic.

Watch Shiffrin’s final run:

This weekend also saw a podium finish for American Travis Ganong. Racing the downhill event at Lake Louise yesterday, Ganong finished third behind Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who is recovering from an Achilles injury that prevented him from competing the majority of the last season, and Peter Fill of Norway. Ganong cAksel Lund Svindal of Norwayouldn’t quite repeat his success in the Super G event on Sunday, finishing fourth.

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