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Kenya has its first Olympic Alpine skier

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Kenya qualified its first Olympic Alpine skier.

Sabrina Simader, a 19-year-old born in Kenya and reportedly raised in Austria since age 3, will become the second athlete from any sport from the African nation to compete in a Winter Olympics.

Simader confirmed via email that she is entered to fill Kenya’s single Alpine skiing quota spot for PyeongChang.

“My roots are Kenyan, but I have the Austrian mentality,” Simader said, according to Reuters. “I didn’t live there, but I‘m very proud of my Kenyan roots. I‘m looking forward to representing Kenya enormously. The Olympics have been my dream since I was small.”

Simader made her World Cup debut last January, believed to be the first Kenyan to race on the world’s top circuit. She also raced at the world championships with a best finish of 39th.

“Simader’s zeal to compete in PyeongChang is a wake-up call to Kenyans to diversify to additional Olympic sports other than track and field,” Paul Tergat, the Kenya Olympic Committee president and former marathon world-record holder, said, according to Xinhua News Agency. “Kenya is a sporting nation, and there is need to grow other disciplines so that athletes can compete in other marginal sports outside our traditional stronghold.”

The first Kenyan Winter Olympian was cross-country skier Philip Boit, who competed in 1998, 2002 and 2006 with a best finish of 64th and will accompany Simader in PyeongChang, according to Xinhua.

In 1998, Boit was last of 92 skiers in the 10km event. Gold medalist Bjorn Daehlie waited at the finish line for Boit, who crossed more than 20 minutes after the Norwegian legend.

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MORE: PyeongChang Olympic schedule daily highlights

Top curling video and social media moments

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For nearly three straight weeks, curling dominated the Olympic airwaves, and while the U.S., Sweden and Canada all came away with gold medals, there were still plenty of highlights away from the ice.

In the mixed doubles tournament, fans were introduced to Team USA’s #HamFam, Matt and Becca Hamilton, who became instant sensations. Matt was even confused for some other celebrities, as people tried to nail down exactly who he looked like.

And he got to “meet” his hero, Aaron Rodgers… of course only through Twitter (for now!)

 In the women’s tournament, fans were introduced to Japan’s “sunshine team,” who were all all smiles on the way to their bronze medal win.

Three Stars from men’s hockey at the Olympics

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NBC Olympics staff selected three special performers from the enitre men’s tournament at the Olympics.

FIRST STAR
Eeli Tolvanen, Finland: The 18-year-old winger was the undisputed breakout star of the men’s tournament. Even though Finland was eliminated in the quarterfinals, Tolvanen’s tally of nine points still ranked second overall as he averaged nearly two points per game. He scored in his Olympic debut and also tallied two assists against eventual silver medalist Germany. He followed that up with two scores against Norway. Tolvanen paced his team past an energized South Korean team in the qualification playoffs, assisting in Finland’s opening three goals. After a sizzling Olympic performance, Tolvanen could be on his way to the NHL to help the Nashville Predators chase the Stanley Cup once again.

NBCOlympics.com: OAR defeat Germany to win hockey gold 

SECOND STAR
Nikita Gusev, Olympic Athletes from Russia: The Vegas Golden Knights prospect tallied four goals and eight assists in just six games throughout the 2018 Winter Games. He also struck twice when it mattered most, helping OAR force OT in the gold-medal game. Trailing 3-2 in the final frame and playing shorthanded, Gusev was able to sneak a backhanded shot into the back of the net to knot the score with less than a minute remaining. Then, in the extra session, it was Gusev who made a beautiful cross-ice pass to set up the golden goal by Kirill Kaprizov.

NBCOlymipcs.com: Canada claim bronze with 6-4 over Czech Republic

THIRD STAR
Ryan Donato, United States: The 21-year-old Boston Bruins prospect was bright spot for Team USA despite the disappointing finish. The sniper lifted his team to a crucial preliminary-round victory over Slovakia, grabbing both goals in a 2-1 victory. He came back to haunt Slovakia again with two more scores in the qualification playoffs, and though the United States’ tournament came to an end in the quarterfinals against the Czech Republic, Donato notched one last goal in the 3-2 loss to finish with a team-leading five goals and six points. Donato, along with fellow collegiate athletes Troy Terry and Jordan Greenway, surprised many with their contributions on the ice. If management had known of their game-changing impact in advance, the American roster might have included more NCAA players.