Getty Images

Johnny Quinn closes the door on viral Olympic career

Leave a comment

If there are any locked doors in PyeongChang, Johnny Quinn won’t be there to bust out of them.

Quinn, the U.S. bobsledder who went viral for breaking through a bathroom in Sochi, will not pursue another Olympic berth. He has retired from the sport.

Quinn, 33, said he made the decision after three-time Olympic medalist Steven Holcomb died in May.

“I really wanted to make another run at the 2018 Winter Olympics, but it just changed in circumstances,” said Quinn, whose last competition was finishing 12th in Nick Cunningham‘s four-man sled in Sochi. “After his passing, it was a re-evaluation. Things didn’t line up anymore as far as making a comeback.”

Quinn said he trained last year in advance of a possible return to the sport. He called a U.S. federation coach in summer 2016 to inform them of his interest in possibly returning for the 2017-18 season.

Quinn called that same coach this summer to say the comeback was off. He said his recent insurance venture, starting his own agency (JohnnyInsures.com), did not impact the decision.

“I’m going to miss being around the guys,” Quinn said. “Any type of team setting and the chemistry that you have between teammates, I’m going to miss that and the rush of the Olympics.”

Quinn capitalized on his Olympic breakout to become a public speaker, telling his story in front of Fidelity Investments, school assemblies and LiftMaster, a suburban Chicago company whose products include garage-door accessories.

“Breaking down the door opened the door to some opportunities,” Quinn said last year. “Had I known it was going to blow up, I would have saved some [pieces of the door], auctioned it off and give it to a charity or something.”

The U.S. Bobsled national team selection races are set for later this month, after which the World Cup team will be named. The Olympic team will be named in January, expected to be mostly or fully made up of athletes who compete in World Cups.

Two of the six push athletes from Sochi are back — Steven Langton and Chris Fogt — plus Justin Olsen, who switched from pushing to driving.

Other top contenders include recent crossover athletes like Quinn, a wide receiver who played four preseason games for the Green Bay Packers in 2008.

Cunningham said two weeks ago that Ryan Bailey, the 2012 Olympic 100m fifth-place finisher, will be in his sled for selection races. Bailey, who made the switch to bobsled last year, is back from a six-month doping ban that ended in July.

Sam McGuffie and Carlo Valdes, former college football players at Michigan/Rice and UCLA, respectively, will push for driver Codie Bascue, Cunningham said.

Langton and Fogt are with Olsen for selection races.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. bobsledders open season thinking of Steven Holcomb

Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

Nathan Chen leads Yuzuru Hanyu at Grand Prix opener (video)

Leave a comment

U.S. champion Nathan Chen hopes to become comfortable in this spot this season — ahead of reigning Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu in the standings.

The 18-year-old Chen landed two quadruple jumps in his short program at the opening Grand Prix event in Moscow, taking a 5.69-point lead over Hanyu going into Saturday’s free skate.

Two-time world champion Yevgenia Medvedeva of Russia topped the women’s short program with 80.75 points (one tenth off her world record).

Full Rostelecom Cup results are here.

Chen’s tally — 100.54 points — is the second-highest short of his flourishing international career. It would have been higher if not for two of his three jumping passes receiving negative grades of execution for wonky landings.

The Japanese megastar Hanyu fell on his final jump, a triple toe loop, on Friday. No matter, Winnie the Pooh bears rained down on the ice from the adoring crowd, many of whom traveled from Japan.

Hanyu scored 94.85 points, one month after breaking his world record short program score with 112.72 points in a small event in Canada.

“Today I made some mistakes in my short program, but overall it didn’t feel bad,” Hanyu said, according to the International Skating Union.

Hanyu, though he is the current PyeongChang favorite, has never won his season-opening Grand Prix event in seven tries.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu, who is four years older, in four of their last eight head-to-head skates.

Hanyu was better in the two biggest programs at last season’s world championships. Chen placed sixth at worlds in April, perhaps gassed at the end of his first senior season while competing on duct-taped skates.

In the women’s standings, Medvedeva topped Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy by 6.13 points.

American Mirai Nagasu landed a triple Axel that was called under rotated and fell on her other two jumping passes. She ended up ninth, two spots behind U.S. bronze medalist Mariah Bell.

In the short dance, two-time world medalists and U.S. champions Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani tallied 77.30 points.

The siblings lead by .97 over Russians Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev going into the free dance.

Russians are one-two in pairs. World bronze medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov lead Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov by 5.49.

All of the free skates are Saturday, live on Olympic Channel. A full schedule is here.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Figure skating season broadcast schedule

Rostelecom Cup
Men’s Short
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 100.54
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 94.85
3. Dmitriy Aliyev (RUS) — 88.77
11. Grant Hochstein (USA) — 67.56

Women’s Short
1. Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 80.75
2. Carolina Kostner (ITA) — 74.64
3. Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) — 69.60
7. Mariah Bell (USA) — 63.85
9. Mirai Nagasu (USA) — 56.15

Short Dance
1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 77.30
2. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 76.33
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 71.32
7. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) — 59.41

Pairs Short
1. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 76.88
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 71.39
3. Valentina Marchei/Ondřej Hotárek (ITA) — 68.48
7. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (USA) — 54.37