100 Olympic storylines 100 days out from PyeongChang

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Here are 100 storylines (in no particular order) from now through the beginning of the PyeongChang Olympics on Feb. 8 and the Closing Ceremony on Feb. 25 …

1. Lindsey Vonn‘s comeback after missing the Sochi Olympics. PyeongChang likely marks her final Winter Games.

2. Mikaela Shiffrin, now the world’s best overall Alpine skier, eyes multiple gold medals.

3. Will Russia be allowed to compete after its Sochi doping scandal? An IOC decision is slated in December.

4. The Jamaican bobsled team could have its first female Olympic sled. It would be driven by a U.S. Olympian.

5. The first Olympic bobsled team from Africa?

6. The U.S. Olympic Trials, starting with curling in two weeks.

7. The best rivalry in team sports?

8. North Korea has qualified athletes, but will it participate? North Korea boycotted the previous Olympics in South Korea in Seoul in 1988.

9. U.S. ice dance. Perhaps the country’s best shot at a figure skating medal (team event aside), but which of three couples gets it?

10. Learning about PyeongChang and South Korea. These are the nation’s first Winter Games. With about 50,000 people, PyeongChang is the smallest host since Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994.

11. A Stanley Cup winner molding South Korea’s first Olympic men’s hockey team.

12. 20 years since the 1998 Nagano Olympics — the first Games with women’s hockey and snowboarding. The Olympics of Tara LipinskiPicabo Street.

13. The Grand Prix Final in December, which will likely determine the Olympic medal favorites.

14. Nightly chaos in short track.

15. A revamped Shaun White seeking a third halfpipe gold after crashing in Sochi. White recently crashed in training and needed 62 stitches.

16. PyeongChang is about 50 miles from the DMZ, which raises security concerns.

17. Olympic men’s hockey rosters. They will look a lot different this year, but still some familiar names.

18. Two great shots at the first medal in U.S. biathlon history.

19. An even stronger bid for the first U.S. cross-country skiing medals since 1976.

20. A new era for U.S. Nordic combined following the retirements of medalists Bill Demong and Todd Lodwick.

21. A 45-year-old Japanese ski jumper celebrated in Poland with a rap song.

22. Ted Ligety stoking his rivalry with perhaps the greatest ski racer of all time.

23. The Olympic torch relay through South Korea the next 100 days. Reportedly scheduled to be carried by a giant underwater robot called “Crabster” on Friday.

24. Viral moments. Any athletes busting through bathroom doors, smirking on the medal stand or pulling social media pranks.

25. The new medal events — snowboard big air, mixed doubles curling, mass start speed skating and an Alpine skiing team event.

26. The new events mean snowboarder Jamie Anderson could win twice as many gold medals as in Sochi.

27. They also caused a 1994 U.S. Olympian to unretire.

28. The second edition of the figure skating team event. Russia dominated in Sochi, but Canada is now a real rival.

29. Bode Miller at his sixth Olympics, but his first as part of the NBC Olympic team.

30. The first Winter Olympians born in the 2000s. Some U.S. candidates are here.

31. The last man to finish the most grueling event — the 50km (31-mile) cross-country ski race on the final day of the Games.

32. The U.S. women’s hockey national team is currently at 24 players. The Olympic roster size is 23.

33. Canada’s snowboarding superstar returning from a near-death experience.

34. Can Canada three-peat as Olympic men’s hockey champion without NHL players?

35. Kelly Clark, 34, taking on girls half her age in the halfpipe. Eyeing gold medals 16 years apart.

36. The most decorated Korean-born athlete in Olympic history competes for a different country. How will he be received?

37. Figure skating, Alpine skiing and snowboarding, among other events, live in primetime on the East Coast due to the 14-hour time difference.

38. Curling pants.

39. Apolo Ohno, the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian with eight medals, returning to call short track for NBC in South Korea.

40. Russian figure skater Yevgenia Medvedeva, on the most dominant run since Katarina Witt.

41. One more Olympics for Swiss ski jumping wizard Simon Ammann, who won his first of four gold medals way back in Salt Lake City in 2002. The Harry Potter comparisons immediately followed.

42. With Sage Kotsenburg retired, the next U.S. male slopestyle star.

43. Vonn’s pursuit of the World Cup wins record. She’s nine victories shy. The Alpine season schedule is here.

44. The viral running back who turned to bobsled.

45. He beat Usain Bolt in a relay. Now he’s bobsledding.

46. Julia Mancuso‘s return from a 2 1/2-year absence for a final Olympic run.

47. Mirai Nagasu trying to win her second U.S. figure skating title — 10 years after her first — and make her second Olympic team after just missing Sochi.

48. The surprise U.S. freeskiing gold medalist in Sochi is in a fight just to make it to PyeongChang.

49. Potentially, six quadruple jumps in one men’s figure skating program.

50. Maame Biney, a U.S. short track speed skater from a very unlikely birthplace.

51. Which nation will win the most medals?

52. The Grand Prix Final in figure skating in December, which will be the biggest indicator of Olympic medal favorites.

53. Which three female singles skaters make the U.S. Olympic team? We’ll know after the U.S. Championships in early January.

54. Eric Heiden‘s niece could make the biathlon team.

55. The most gold medals awarded in Winter Olympic history — 102.

56. The leading goal scorer from the 2006 U.S. men’s hockey team is back.

57. The first U.S. gold medal. It might not come until 48 hours after the Opening Ceremony in women’s slopestyle snowboarding.

58. Jason Brown skating to “Hamilton.”

59. The heaviest Olympic medals are the heaviest of all time.

60. Does anyone other than her light the Olympic cauldron?

61. Perhaps the most versatile winter sports athlete has a name similar to that of USA Swimming’s biggest star.

62. Canada looks to sweep the moguls titles again with a trio of sisters and a dominant Québécois known to wear a lucky undershirt that states, “It’s Good to be the King.”

63. Dutch speed skaters. They won two-thirds of the medals in Sochi and dominated the most recent world championships.

64. Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir bringing flair to figure skating broadcasts this fall and winter.

65. Sochi silver medalist Gus Kenworthy going for two freestyle skiing gold medals, two years after coming out.

66. Will we see 2006 and 2010 Olympic snowboard cross champion Seth Wescott make a late bid for the U.S. team at age 41?

67. The next Jim Craig?

68. One of South Korea’s top gold-medal hopes competes in Iron Man-inspired gear.

69. Still waiting on the Sochi pairs gold medalists to decide if they will defend.

70. U.S. biathlete Lowell Bailey, who nearly retired to become a cattle farmer and then won a landmark world title.

71. Minnesota sisters competing for different countries.

72. The oiled-up, shirtless Tongan flag bearer from Rio. Yes, he wants to compete in PyeongChang.

73. The service members on Team USA. In particular, bobsledders who served in Baghdad and in Afghanistan.

74. The noise inside the short track venue. Apolo Ohno can vouch that it’s a national sport in South Korea.

75. The first gold medalist. It will be a female cross-country skier.

76. The devoted followers of Yuzuru Hanyu, who litter the ice with Winnie the Pooh.

77. The U.S. speed skating team trying to rebound from its suit fail in Sochi. No medals for the first time since 1984.

78. Marcel Hirscher‘s comeback for the one prize that has eluded him.

79. Speed skater Heather Bergsma has a shot at three gold medals. Only one U.S. Winter Olympian has done that at a single Games — Eric Heiden.

80. The hottest ticket of the Winter Games. Could be the figure skating exhibition gala, if Yuna Kim performs.

81. The figure skating community rallying around Gracie Gold.

82. Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who turns 44, looks to up his record of 13 career Winter Olympic medals.

83. Norway’s Marit Bjoergen, a 37-year-old mom, looks to break Bjoerndalen’s record.

84. The Olympic snowboarding selection event series this December and January. The women’s team of four will be hard to make — Olympic champions Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter, X Games champions Chloe Kim and Elena Hight and world champion Arielle Gold are among those in the mix.

85. Nathan Chen fulfilling his nationally televised prediction at age 10.

86. An Alpine skier from Kenya. Sabrina Simader was born there before moving to Austria at age 3.

87. An Alpine skier from Mexico. The enigmatic Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe wants to become the oldest Winter Olympian ever.

88. The “bobsled battle royale” renewed between Canadian Kaillie Humphries and American Elana Meyers Taylor. Humphries passed training partner Meyers Taylor for gold on the final run in Sochi.

89. High-speed crashes in bobsled, skeleton, luge, skiing, snowboarding and speed skating.

90. Aerials world champion Ashley Caldwell landing “The Daddy.”

91. Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist, slides toward retirement.

92. Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir looking to cap their comeback with a gold.

93. After two golds and two silvers, what does Shani Davis have left at age 35?

94. Amanda Kessel‘s comeback from a life-altering concussion.

95. Again, competition the day before the Opening Ceremony. Mixed doubles curling and the figure skating team event kick it off.

96. Missing Steven Holcomb.

97. The U.S. men’s hockey team plays rival Russia on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7:10 a.m. ET. The full hockey schedule is here.

98. Will it be Olympic glory or more heartbreak for Lindsey Jacobellisarguably the greatest snowboarder ever.

99. The return of Vic Wild, the U.S.-born Alpine snowboarder who won two golds for Russia in Sochi.

100. Looking ahead to the Paralympics from March 8-18.

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MORE: PyeongChang Olympic schedule daily highlights

Erin Hamlin nears end of historic U.S. luge career

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Erin Hamlin is looking forward to normalcy. She is getting married next summer in her hometown. She is thinking about career moves. She is trying to figure out the rest of her life.

It is probably her last luge season. It is definitely her last Olympic season.

As such, it would be easy to fall into the trap of saying that winning a gold medal at PyeongChang in February would be the only thing that makes this season a success.

It’s important, sure, but Hamlin is entering her 13th year of World Cup racing with a much broader view and insisting that she’s going to enjoy whatever time she has left on her sled.

“I’m not going to hyperfocus myself on one result or bust,” Hamlin said. “Very likely, it’s going to be my last time in a lot of places, sliding on a lot of tracks. So I think more so, it’s going to be a lot of soaking it all in.”

That process starts Saturday, when the World Cup season opens in Igls, Austria.

Hamlin, who turns 31 on Sunday, is coming off the finest year of her career — she won a gold medal and two silvers at the world championships for the biggest haul ever by an American luger, got two World Cup wins and finished fourth in world rankings.

She might be going out, and there’s a chance she can go out on top.

“We’re working hard to convince her to stay,” longtime U.S. teammate Emily Sweeney said.

Sweeney knows that’s probably futile.

Sliders always tend to cycle out after an Olympics, no matter if it’s bobsled, skeleton or luge, and the Americans will see plenty of veterans take their last rides this winter.

A few U.S. sliders already retired this fall, in part because they weren’t going to have a shot at an Olympic berth.

For her part, Hamlin hasn’t officially said this is the end.

“There’s never really as concrete of a plan as you hope there would be, because you never know what can happen,” Hamlin said. “But at the moment, what I’m excited to do is see what other opportunities are there and what other adventures await.”

Hamlin has been in the world’s top 10 in each of the past 11 seasons — the second-longest current streak of any woman in luge, one year behind German legend Tatjana Huefner.

She won a World Cup each of the past three years, took the world title in sprint last winter and became the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist in 2014 with a bronze.

A lesson learned that season: Not expecting much can work wonders. That’s one of the reasons why PyeongChang isn’t taking up all the bandwidth in her brain.

“That’s the nature of winter sports in a Winter Olympic year, there being so much focus on the Games,” Hamlin said. “How I went into the last Olympics taught me a lot. I had no expectation of walking away from the last Olympics with a medal. At this point, goal No. 1 is to make the team and beyond that, I know if I slide as I’m capable of I can be pretty fast and I can do well.”

The schedule this season is hectic.

This weekend’s stop in Austria starts a run of five races in five weekends, with the next two in Germany followed by another in Calgary, Alberta, and then on home ice in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Dec. 15-16.

When that Lake Placid World Cup is over, the U.S. Olympic team will be named.

So when Hamlin needs an escape from all that, the wedding is there to bring her back to reality.

It will be at her parents’ home in July. It will, without question, be the social event of the season in Remsen, N.Y., where the one-time high school soccer player has annually left her tiny hometown brimming with pride.

“Pretty exciting,” Hamlin said. “It’s definitely adding a whole new aspect to an Olympic year, planning a wedding, but it’s cool. It gives me a good distraction when I need to think about something other than sliding.”

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MORE: U.S. luge head coach steps down due to Parkinson’s

Kaetlyn Osmond leads Grand Prix France as co-favorite falls (video)

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Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond topped the Grand Prix France short program, moving closer to another Grand Prix Final berth on Friday.

The world silver medalist was flawed — performing a triple-double combination rather than a triple-triple and putting a hand down on another jump landing.

She goes into Saturday’s free skate with a 1.26-point lead over Russian Maria Sotskova. Japan’s Yuna Shiraiwa is third, while the lone American Polina Edmunds is ninth.

Co-favorite Alina Zagitova of Russia fell and dropped to fifth place in Grenoble.

In the short dance, France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron improved on their personal best with 81.40 points, the third-highest all-time in an eight-year-old system.

The event continues later Friday with the pairs short and men’s short, all live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.

GP FRANCE: Full Results | TV Schedule

Osmond, 21, was a revelation last season, winning her first Grand Prix medals in four years, making her first Grand Prix Final and finishing second to dominant Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva at worlds.

She’s continued that this fall, winning her first two events in Canada to solidify Olympic medal favorite status. One Canadian woman has won an individual Olympic medal in the last 25 years — Joannie Rochette‘s emotional bronze in 2010.

Zagitova, the 15-year-old world junior champion, fell on her opening triple Lutz. Zagitova won her Grand Prix debut in China two weeks ago and ranks second to training partner Medvedeva in top scores this season.

Medvedeva, Zagitova and Sotskova are the favorites to claim Russia’s three Olympic women’s spots. Sotskova, 17, made the podium in all three of her Grand Prix starts but was a disappointing eighth at last season’s worlds.

Edmunds tallied 56.31 points Friday, stepping out of the landing of her opening triple-triple jump combination.

Still, she improved on her short program from her earlier event this season, where she scored 49.62 with errors on all of her jumps.

Edmunds, the youngest U.S. Olympic competitor across all sports in Sochi, went 20 months between competitions, missing the entire 2016-17 season due to a bone bruise in her right foot.

She is an underdog to make the three-woman U.S. team for PyeongChang that will be named after nationals in January.

Russian Elizaveta Tuktamysheva continued her string of underwhelming programs since her 2015 World title. She fell on a triple Axel attempt and singled a Lutz, plummeting to last place of 11 skaters.

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Internationaux de France
Women’s Short Program
1. Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) — 69.05
2. Maria Sotskova (RUS) — 67.79
3. Yuna Shiraiwa (JPN) — 66.05
9. Polina Edmunds (USA) — 56.31

Short Dance
1. Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) — 81.40
2. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) — 73.55
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 70.02
6. Elliana Pogrebinsky/Alex Benoit (USA) — 60.64