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Olympic Year in Review: Headlines

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OlympicTalk takes a look back at the year in Olympic sports this week. Today, we review enduring news stories.

U.S. Ski Team Prospects Die in Avalanche

Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, two U.S. development-level Alpine skiers, died in an avalanche while freeskiing in Austria on Jan. 4.

Their deaths shocked the winter sports community and led to an outpouring of remembrances and support from U.S. skiers such as Olympic champions Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn.

Boston 2024 becomes Los Angeles 2024

The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Boston as its 2024 Olympic bid city Jan. 8, ending a domestic competition since the USOC sent letters to 35 cities gauging interest in potential bids in February 2013.

However, setbacks plagued Boston’s first-ever Olympic bid, most notably a lack of public support and most importantly the refusal of Boston mayor Marty Walsh to sign a document that could put taxpayers at risk if there were cost overruns.

The bid ended July 27.

Los Angeles, one of the other three finalist cities, stepped in quickly. That city’s bid became official Sept. 1, two weeks before an International Olympic Committee bid submission deadline.

L.A. 2024 is up against Budapest, Paris and Rome as it seeks to end a U.S. drought of hosting the Olympics that’s dated to 2002 (Winter Games) and 1996 (Summer Games). The IOC will vote to choose the 2024 host city in September 2017.

Miracle on Ice Reunion

All living members of the Miracle on Ice team gathered in Lake Placid, N.Y., for the first time since the 1980 Winter Olympics for a 35-year reunion in February.

The event came together after the team lost its first player, Bob Suter to a heart attack Sept. 9, 2014.

On Feb. 21, the remaining 19 players sat and spoke during a chronological ceremony at Herb Brooks Arena, spliced with video of the Miracle on Ice, the 2004 film “Miracle” and the coach Brooks saying before the Olympics that the U.S. was unlikely to win a medal.

Ronda Rousey Becomes a Superstar

Rousey made more headlines in a matter of seconds in the UFC Octagon this year than during her entire judo career that included a 2008 Olympic bronze medal, the first medal earned by a U.S. female judoka.

She won two fights in a combined 48 seconds before being upset by Holly Holm on Nov. 15 with a vicious kick to the head for a knockout. Rousey had not lost on such a big stage since the Beijing 2008 Games.

Camille Muffat Dies in Helicopter Crash

Muffat, the French 2012 Olympic 400m freestyle swimming champion, died along with French Olympic bronze medalist boxer Alexis Vastine and eight others while filming a reality TV show in Argentina on March 9.

Marathon Oddities

St. Louis: Winner DQ’d for cheating.
Boston: Runner finishes the following morning.
San Diego: Oldest woman to finish a marathon.
World Championships: First teenage gold medalist.
Berlin: Eliud Kipchoge misses world record by 63 seconds after shoe malfunction.
Nairobi: Runner-up DQ’d for cheating.
Bangkok Half: Wrong distance.
London 2016: A British astronaut plans to run the 26.2-mile race in space.

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods split

The 2010 Olympic downhill champion and 2016 Olympic hopeful ended a nearly three-year relationship, announcing their breakup May 3.

Vonn and Woods were often seen together at Woods’ golf tournaments, Vonn’s ski races (notably Woods missing a tooth while at Vonn’s most notable victory of the year) and at least one Denver Broncos football game.

Vonn started her 2015-16 season off well with four December victories. Woods has fallen outside of the top 400 in the Official World Golf Ranking, has no return date from a back injury and is extremely unlikely to qualify for the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years.

Rio Olympic Countdown

Rio Olympic organizers unveiled the 2016 Olympic competition schedule, torch design and torch relay details this year.

They also spent plenty of time dealing with issues such as water quality and athlete air conditioning.

Beijing 2022

The IOC chose Beijing over Almaty, Kazakhstan, to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in a close July 31 vote. Beijing will become the first city to hold a Summer Games and a Winter Games.

It will mark the third straight Olympics in East Asia, following the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Russian Doping

The prevalent use of performance-enhancing drugs in Russian track and field was a story throughout the year, from the bans of Olympic and World track and field champions in January to the entire nation being banned by the IAAF on Nov. 13.

Russia has plenty of work ahead if it’s to be reinstated before the Rio Olympics.

Oscar Pistorius Appeal

The first double amputee to run in the Olympics was released after serving less than a year in prison in October, to spend the remainder of a five-year term under house arrest.

However, Pistorius was convicted of murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in an appeals court Dec. 3 and was released on bail ahead of an April sentencing date.

Kaitlyn Farrington
, Snowboarding
Haile Gebrselassie, Track and Field
Dominique Gisin, Alpine Skiing
Katie Hoff, Swimming
Nicole Hosp, Alpine Skiing
Hannah Kearney, Freestyle Skiing
Cindy Klassen, Speed Skating
Steven Langton, Bobsled
Liu Xiang, Track and Field
Mario Matt, Alpine Skiing
Nick McCrory, Diving
Paula Radcliffe, Track and Field
Benjamin Raich, Alpine Skiing
Maëlle Ricker, Snowboarding
Abby Wambach, Soccer
Jordyn Wieber, Gymnastics
Lauryn Williams, Bobsled

Olympic Year in Review: Winter Sports | Summer Sports | Photos | Social Media

Olympic Year in Review: Social Media

Cross-country skiers
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OlympicTalk takes a look back at the year in Olympic sports this week. Today, we review social media.

Gracie Gold’s ‘whimsical’ day trip with Taylor Swift

U.S. figure skating champion Gracie Gold enjoyed an Instagrammed day trip to Santa Catalina Island off the California coast with pop star Taylor Swift, among others, in January.

“It was just one of those whimsical things,” Gold said. “Just a casual text from Taylor Swift, no biggie.”

It looks like Gold wasn’t the only U.S. Olympic medalist to meet up with Swift this year.

U.S. cross-country skiers bring ‘Uptown Funk’ 

The U.S. cross-country ski team pulled off the closest thing the Winter Olympic world has seen to U.S. swimming’s “Call Me Maybe” video.

The skiers created an “Uptown Funk” music video over three weeks in Switzerland and Sweden with choreography by reigning World team sprint champion Jessie Diggins.

The video was played more than a half-million times on Facebook in the first 24 hours.

Michael Phelps announces engagement, fiancée’s pregnancy on Instagram

Michael Phelps kept his social media followers in the know regarding his family life, notably his engagement to longtime on-again, off-again girlfriend Nicole Johnson on Feb. 21.

Then, on Nov. 18, Phelps posted an Instagram with Johnson announcing she was 12 weeks pregnant.

That lines up for Phelps to become a father before the Rio Olympics. Stay tuned to his social channels.

Liu Xiang retires on Weibo

Liu Xiang, China’s first Olympic track and field champion, announced his retirement via social media, to his 32 million followers on Weibo on April 7.

In the 1,400-word post, the Athens 2004 110m hurdles champ said he was ”truly unwell and old and can no longer run and jump with you. Although it’s sad, although it’s painful, I really have no other choice,” according to track and field’s international governing body.

In comparison, Usain Bolt has 3.8 million Twitter followers and 16.9 million Facebook page likes.

@Caitlyn_Jenner breaks Twitter record

Caitlyn Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion formerly known as Bruce Jenner, broke President Barack Obama‘s record for fastest Twitter account to reach one million followers June 1.

Jenner’s account broke the one million mark about four hours after its first tweet, an image of the new Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair.

John Orozco’s heartfelt post

U.S. Olympic gymnast John Orozco tore his right Achilles for a second time in June, four months after his mother’s death, and questioned his career, life and faith on social media.

“I just keep asking myself ‘why is this happening right now?'” Orozco wrote. “‘Where’s the lesson in this?’ I’m counting my blessings and weathering this storm because it’s the only choice I have.”

Shawn Johnson gets engaged on Wrigley Field

Olympic champion gymnast Shawn Johnson was in for quite the surprise after throwing a ceremonial first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game in July, and it was all posted on social media.

Boyfriend Andrew East, a Kansas City Chiefs long snapper, got down on one knee and proposed to Johnson.

Usain Bolt and the Segway Cameraman

The only man to take down Usain Bolt in the last two years was a CCTV cameraman at the World Track and Field Championships on Aug. 27.

In the viral moment of the year, the world’s fastest man was briefly grounded at the Bird’s Nest on his victory lap after winning the 200m at the World Championships.

“They tried to kill me. I don’t know what’s going on,” Bolt said on the BBC, adding later on Universal Sports, “accidents happen.”

Bolt tumbled to the track and somersaulted, with a smile, and quickly got back up. He anchored Jamaica to the 4x100m relay title two days later.

“I have a few cuts, but it’s nothing I haven’t done to myself in training,” Bolt said on BBC radio. “I wasn’t looking. I was waving to the crowd, and I just felt something take me out.”

The cameraman, Song Tao, presented Bolt with a red bracelet after Bolt’s 200m medal ceremony the following day.

They shook hands, and Bolt patted Song on the back.

“The important thing is that he is OK,” Song said via a translator, according to the Guardian. “I’m fine and ready to get back to work.”

YouTube Star beats Usain Bolt

Technically, Bolt did lose a race in 2015 — to 8-year-old YouTube trainer Demarjay Smith on Ellen in a head-to-head parking lot duel in October.

Bolt, wearing jeans, did not back down, even though the starting blocks were positioned backwards. Smith clearly false-started, but Bolt didn’t call it back.

They sprinted for about 15 seconds, with Bolt unable to catch Smith and pulling up before the finish line, holding the back of his right leg.

“I got cramps,” Bolt said. “You got lucky, man. I want a rematch, though.”

Viktoria Komova’s steroid comments and apology

Viktoria Komova, the Olympic all-around silver medalist, reportedly apologized to U.S. gymnasts for accusing them of taking steroids in a post on a Russian social media site.

Komova and her Russian teammates have been regularly beaten by the U.S. since 2011, when Komova tearfully took all-around silver at the World Championships behind Jordyn Wieber.

Olympic Year in Review: Winter Sports | Summer Sports | Photos | Social Media

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Michael Phelps’ fiancée was 12 months pregnant, rather than 12 weeks.

Olympic Year in Review: Photos

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OlympicTalk takes a look back at the year in Olympic sports this week.

Today, we review 50 memorable images of the year, courtesy of The Associated Press, Getty Images, national governing bodies, international sports federations and social media.

Here were last year’s 50 memorable photos.

Check out more of this week’s year-in-review posts here:

Olympic Year in Review: Winter Sports | Summer Sports | Photos | Social Media

Four Hills Tournament ski jumping
1/4: World champion ski jumper Severin Freund takes off at the Four Hills Tournament in Innsbruck, Austria.
Boston Herald
1/9: The morning after Boston was named the 2024 U.S. Olympic bid city.
Lindsey Vonn
1/19: Lindsey Vonn celebrates after breaking the women’s World Cup wins record.
Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn
1/19: Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn kiss after Vonn breaks the women’s record for World Cup wins in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Gracie Gold, Frank Carroll
1/23: Gracie Gold is weirded out by coach Frank Carroll at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski
2/1: Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski cover the Super Bowl.
Bode Miller
2/5: Bode Miller crashes in the World Championships super-G.

Mikaela Shiffrin
2/14: Mikaela Shiffrin en route to winning the World Championships slalom.

Yuzuru Hanyu
3/28: Yuzuru Hanyu at the World Figure Skating Championships.
Javier Fernandez
3/28: Javier Fernandez reacts to winning the World Figure Skating Championships.

To the world we say @barackobama #USPresident #ForeverFaster

A photo posted by Usain St.Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) on

London diver
5/3: An intruder dives at the FINA London World Series.
Jordan Burroughs
5/21: Jordan Burroughs wrestles a Cuban opponent in Times Square, New York.
Mo Farah
7/9: Mo Farah reacts after winning a 5000m race in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Daryl Homer
7/14: American Daryl Homer floats at the World Fencing Championships.

Lisandra Guerra
7/18: Cuban track cyclist Lisandra Guerra ends up with a piece of wood in her arm from a fall at the Pan American Games.
Pan American Games boxing
7/21: Boxing at the Pan American Games.

Boston 2024
7/28: The morning after the Boston 2024 bid is dropped.
Water Polo
8/7: The U.S. women’s water polo team celebrates its World Championship.
Alzain Tareq
8/8: Alzain Tareq, 10, of Bahrain competes at the World Swimming Championships.

8/8: Katie Ledecky wins the World Championships 800m freestyle.

Michael Phelps
8/8: Michael Phelps reacts after winning the 100m butterfly at the U.S. Championships.
Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin
8/23: Usain Bolt outleans Justin Gatlin to win the World Championships 100m by .01.
Rolanda Bell
8/24: Rolanda Bell of Panama falls in a 3000m steeplechase heat at the World Championships.
Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin
8/27: Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin share a laugh after the World Championships 200m.
Ashton Eaton
8/29: Ashton Eaton breaks the decathlon world record.

8/30: The U.S. women’s 4x400m relay team does “Charlie’s Angels.”

9/17: Pau Gasol leads Spain past France at EuroBasket, clinching an Olympic berth.

Alison, Bruno, Phil Dalhausser, Nick Lucena
9/30: Beach volleyball stars Alison and Bruno and Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena face off on a helipad in Florida.

10/3: Usain Bolt at Oktoberfest in Munich.

Arthur Zanetti
Unknown date: Brazil gymnast Arthur Zanetti performs on still rings on Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro in a promo shoot. (Adidas)
Kohei Uchimura
10/28: Kohei Uchimura falls off high bar at the World Championships.
Kohei Uchimura
10/28: Kohei Uchimura and Japan celebrate winning the World Championships team title.
Gabby Douglas
10/29: Gabby Douglas performs on balance beam at the World Championships.

Uneven bars
10/31: A four-way tie for gold on uneven bars at the World Gymnastics Championships.

Canadian curler Brad Gushue after this fall at a competition.

work hard in silence let your success be the noise {14 Worlds Medals| 3years}

A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

Lindsey Vonn
12/4: Lindsey Vonn wins a World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Canada.
Lindsey Vonn
12/12: Lindsey Vonn with Santa Claus after winning a World Cup giant slalom in Sweden.

Olympic Year in Review: Winter Sports | Summer Sports | Photos | Social Media