Robin Williams

Robin Williams and the Olympics (video)

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Robin Williams ran the 800m in 1:58 and opened his first “Saturday Night Live” monologue by talking about the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics.

Williams, who died Monday at 63, had several ties to the Olympics and Olympic sports.

They began when he attended (Larkspur, Calif.) Redwood High School and ran for the cross-country and track and field teams. Commenters here have discussed Williams’ running exploits.

On Feb. 11, 1984, Williams hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the first of three times. He opened his monologue with jokes about the Winter Olympics.

Later in the show, Williams dressed as a bobsledder for a sketch.

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In 1996, Williams went on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno on the day after the Atlanta Olympic Closing Ceremony. Other guests included the first men’s Olympic beach volleyball champions, Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes.

source: Getty Images
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In 2002, Williams joked about the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics with very not-suitable-for-work language.

Also in 2002, Williams’ double for ice skating in “Death to Smoochy” was two-time Olympic silver medalist Elvis Stojko.

Later in 2002, Williams was part of San Francisco’s video presentation in a failed attempt to win the U.S. bid for the 2012 Olympics over New York (New York won the bid, and London later won the Games). From The New York Times:

Robin Williams delivered a taped 2012 weather report for San Francisco, describing a map in which San Francisco is “paradise,” and New York is “hot, caliente! I see swimmers crawling for joy in the triathlon, marathoners hardly breaking a sweat on the Golden Gate bridge.

On the Dan Patrick Show last year, Williams was asked what sports movie he would make that hasn’t been made. He immediately told the story of Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 Rome Olympic marathon barefoot, then successfully defended his gold medal four years later.

Perhaps Williams’ legacy with the Olympics, though, should be a group of videos he narrated in 2000 and 2002, titled “Celebrate Humanity,” which can be found here.

NBC Olympics, Universal Sports announce Youth Olympics coverage

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

MORE: How Gracie Gold landed in Philadelphia, thoughts competitive return

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