Between going fast on slopes, U.S. Alpine skier Ross uses music to slow down

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Music can be a very good way of relieving stress. We all know this because we tend to feel good when we’re warbling the lyrics to a song that we like while we’re taking a shower or driving down a highway.

So it’s no surprise that at least one U.S. Olympian – alpine skier Laurenne Ross – takes to playing music in order to disconnect from the grind that comes with being an Olympic athlete. According to her official U.S. Ski Team bio, the Canadian-born and Oregon-raised Ross plays the violin, guitar and piano in addition to singing.

“In skiing, I feel like I have a lot of pressure on me,” she says in a video for NBCOlympics.com. “When I play my music – I kind of feel like that’s a good way to let go of all that pressure.

“I find a bit of meditation in both things, but they are very different…They are both passions, they’re very different, but they are both things that I’m really connected to.”

Ross, the 2013 U.S. Nationals champion in the super-G, is one of four first-time Olympians on this year’s U.S. women’s Alpine skiing team along with Mikaela Shiffrin, Julia Ford and Jacqueline Wiles.

The Games run in her family, as her grandfather, Allan Purvis, helped the Canadian men’s hockey team win the gold medal at Oslo in 1952.

For Sochi, she’s qualified in three Alpine disciplines – the super combined (Feb. 10), downhill (Feb. 12), and super-G (Feb. 15). To learn about how Ross got started in skiing, NBCOlympics.com’s Joe Battaglia has more.

Lebanese Alpine skier prepares for second Olympics

Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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