Youth Olympics

Youth Olympics begin with festive Opening Ceremony in Nanjing (photos)

Leave a comment

The second Youth Olympics are officially under way, following a brisk Opening Ceremony in Nanjing, China, on Saturday night.

“Dear youth athletes, these are your Games,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said inside Sports Centre Stadium. “This is your moment.”

Bach then called for an unprecedented action at an Opening Ceremony, asking the young athletes in attendance (more than 3,000 will take part overall) to take out their cell phones and “set a record for selfies.”

Four-time Olympic champion diver Chen Ruolin capped the night by lighting the Youth Olympic cauldron.

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will have coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday from 6-8 p.m. ET. (full NBC Olympics, Universal Sports coverage of the Youth Olympics here)

The ceremony included much of the standards from Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The Parade of Nations, which can take up to two hours at an Olympics, was a Parade of Flagbearers in Nanjing, taking 35 minutes.

Chinese Olympic legends, including diver Wu Minxia and hurdler Liu Xiang, brought out the Olympic Flag to be raised.

The artistic portion of the evening was a little reminiscent of the unforgettable and unparalleled Beijing 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony. Of course, it involved far fewer participants and was on a smaller scale, but the performers, fireworks and installations (including a large telescope) were top quality.

The Youth Olympics will include 222 events across 32 sports through Aug. 28. Nanjing is the second summer edition of the Youth Olympics, following the Singapore debut in 2014. Youth Olympic athletes range in age from 14 to 18.

The U.S. athlete delegation of 92 includes Opening Ceremony flag bearer Kendall Yount, a taekwondo athlete.

U.S. roster for Youth Olympics includes London Olympian

Minnesota Vikings’ curling TD celebration in NFC title game (video)

AP
Leave a comment

Curling was the highlight of the NFC Championship Game for the Minnesota Vikings.

Kyle Rudolph caught a 25-yard touchdown on their opening drive against the Philadelphia Eagles, then launched into a four-man celebration warming up for the Winter Olympics.

Rudolph rolled the football in the end zone like a curling stone, while Latavius Murray and Stefon Diggs mimicked sweepers (just without the brooms). Adam Thielen rounded out the four-man rink.

The Vikings had no other scores to celebrate. They lost 38-7, upsetting the seven out of 10 curlers on the Olympic team who hail from Minnesota.

Earlier in the last two seasons, football players celebrated touchdowns with the hurdles, the long jumpbobsled, a relay and a race walk.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for Winter Olympics

Gus Kenworthy qualifies for Olympic ski slopestyle team

Leave a comment

Two nights after taking a massive slam in the halfpipe, Gus Kenworthy bounced back to earn a spot on his second U.S. Olympic slopestyle team.

Kenworthy placed second at the final Olympic qualifier for freeski slopestyle, which was held Sunday at Mammoth Mountain. That result, combined with a victory at a selection event last weekend, qualified him for the Olympic team.

It wasn’t the smoothest week for Kenworthy, who had been trying to make the U.S. team in both halfpipe and slopestyle.

During Friday night’s final qualifier for the ski halfpipe team, Kenworthy struggled to land a run and then had a hard crash on his final attempt.

On Saturday, he placed 58th out of 63 skiers in the preliminary round of a slopestyle selection event.

It was a different story on Sunday though.

By making the slopestyle team, Kenworthy will have another shot at an Olympic medal. He won a silver medal at the last Winter Olympics in Sochi, where slopestyle made its debut, and was part of a podium sweep alongside Joss Christensen and Nick Goepper.

Earlier in the day, Goepper became the first skier to make the men’s slopestyle Olympic team. Because of weather delays throughout the week, Mammoth ended up hosting a pair of Olympic qualifiers on Sunday.

Goepper and Kenworthy were the only skiers to earn automatic nominations onto the men’s slopestyle Olympic team during the qualifying period. Two more skiers can still be added to the team as discretionary selections.

McRae Williams, the 2017 X Games silver medalist, has a strong case for one of those two spots. He finished sixth and fifth at Sunday’s two slopestyle qualifiers.

The other spot on the team looks a little more uncertain. Among the riders likely in consideration is Alex Hall, who was fourth at the final qualifier and is the next ranked skier in terms of qualifying points. It’s also possible that reigning Olympic gold medalist Joss Christensen, who just returned to competition last week after rehabbing from a torn ACL, could be in the discussion.

While Kenworthy is now assured a spot on the slopestyle team, he’s likely on the outside looking in for halfpipe. The three automatic spots have already been allocated to David Wise, Alex Ferreira and Torin Yater-Wallace, and the discretionary spot appears likely to go to Aaron Blunck.

Discretionary picks for both slopestyle and halfpipe are expected to be announced in the next few days.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings

Men’s Freeski Slopestyle
After 5 of 5 Events:

1. Gus Kenworthy, 180** (QUALIFIED)
2. Nick Goepper, 160** (QUALIFIED)
3. McRae Williams, 95
4. Alex Hall, 95
5. Quinn Wolferman, 79
6. Bobby Brown, 68
7. Noah Wallace, 60
8. Joss Christensen, 60

**Has met qualifying minimum of two top-three finishes.