Step right up: the Nanjing 2014 Video Booth

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The athletes’ village at any Olympics is always a hub of camaraderie, bonding and hijinks – Johnny Quinn’s Olympic bathroom escape, anyone? The Youth Olympic Village at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics is apparently no exception.

The International Olympic Committee is doing its part to promote those good times with the Nanjing 2014 Video Booth, into which step village residents for solo and group interviews. And if you want a good example of what happens when you ask a bunch of teenagers – who happen to be among the world’s best athletes – to interview themselves, this video of Americans Tyler Merkley, Myles Marshall and Kenneth Brinson is a great example.

All three are track-and-field athletes: Merkley competes in discuss, Brinson in hammer and Marshall in the 800m; Marshall’s father, John Marshall, competed in the same event at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

The first video prompt is to say hello in their native language. Easy enough, the guys nail it with two hellos and a ‘sup.

Next up, their favorite part of living in the Young Athletes Village: The friendly volunteers, meeting new people from distant countries, comfy beds – and, of course, the all-you-can-eat environment.

“And I like all the free food,” says Merkley. “Free food’s delicious.”

Their victory dance? Better to watch than read about – and definitely worth the watch.

The last two questions highlight a universal truth about teenagers in that, when you ask three teens a serious question, you’ll get answers that range from the sarcastic to the refreshingly honest.

Where do they want to be in 10 years? Apart from the competing in the Olympics, they just want the basics.

“Hopefully I’ll still be running track and doing something great in the track world,” says Marshall. “And alive. Yeah.”

What does it take to be a true champion? Hard work and dedication, says Marshall, and setting goals high, says Merkley.

“I think the biggest thing would probably be, believe in yourself and surround yourself with good people who are trying to accomplish high goals like what you want to do,” says Brinson, a hammer athlete.

That earnest response earns an approving nod from Merkley – who follows that up with a mockingly tender shoulder pat.

And scene.

Oleksandr Abramenko, Ukraine’s top Winter Olympian, tears knee, career in question

Oleksandr Abramenko
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Aerials skier Oleksandr Abramenko, who won both of Ukraine’s medals over the last two Winter Olympics, is out for the season after a knee ligament tear and said he might not return to competition at all, according to Ukrainian media.

Abramenko, 34, won gold at the 2018 Olympics — Ukraine’s second-ever individual Winter Olympic title after figure skater Oksana Baiul in 1994 — and silver last year.

He competed once this season, placing 10th at a World Cup in Finland on Dec. 4, and then flew with the Ukrainian national team to stay in Utah ahead of World Cups in Canada in January and at the 2002 Olympic venue in Park City this weekend. The area also hosted many Ukraine winter sports athletes this past summer.

Abramenko missed the competition in Canada two weeks ago due to injury and then wasn’t on the start list for today’s aerials event in Park City. He is set to miss the world championships later this month in Georgia (the country, not the state).

Abramenko said he needs surgery, followed by a nine-month rehabilitation process, similar to an operation on his other knee six years ago, according to Ukraine’s public broadcaster. He said he will see how the recovery goes and determine whether to return to the sport at age 35, according to the report.

Abramenko is already the oldest Olympic men’s aerials medalist and come the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games will be older than all but one male aerialist in Olympic history, according to Olympedia.org.

At last year’s Olympics, Abramenko, Ukraine’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, was hugged after the aerials final by Russian Ilya Burov, who finished one spot behind Abramenko for a bronze medal. A week later, Russia invaded Ukraine.

A week after that, Abramenko posed for a photo sitting on a mattress in a Kyiv parking garage with his wife and 2-year-old son published by The New York Times.

“We spend the night in the underground parking in the car, because the air attack siren is constantly on,” Abramenko texted, according to the newspaper. “It’s scary to sleep in the apartment, I myself saw from the window how the air defense systems worked on enemy missiles, and strong explosions were heard.”

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Freestyle skiers in World Cup action on NBC Sports, Peacock

Ski Halfpipe
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Olympic gold medalists David Wise and Alex Hall headline World Cup freestyle skiing and snowboarding stops in the U.S. this weekend, airing on NBC Sports and Peacock.

Wise, who last Sunday won his fifth X Games Aspen ski halfpipe title, led the qualifiers into the final at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix in California.

He’s joined in the 10-man final by U.S. Olympic teammates Aaron Blunck and Birk Irving. The women’s ski halfpipe final includes the top three from last week’s X Games — Brit Zoe Atkin, Canadian Rachael Karker and American Svea Irving. Olympic champion Eileen Gu of China is out after suffering a knee injury in an X Games training crash.

The ski slopestyle finals include the reigning men’s and women’s Olympic gold medalists — Hall, plus Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland.

The marquee snowboarders in Mammoth finals are Olympic big air silver medalist Julia Marino (slopestyle) and X Games silver medalist Maddie Mastro (halfpipe). Two-time Olympic champion Chloe Kim is taking the season off, and another double Olympic champion, Jamie Anderson, is pregnant.

Aerials and moguls skiers are competing in their lone U.S. World Cup stop in Park City, Utah.

The moguls fields including Olympic gold medalists Walter Wallberg of Sweden, Mikael Kingsbury of the U.S., Perrine Laffont of France and Jakara Anthony of Australia. Olympic silver medalist Jaelin Kauf is the standout American.

The aerials include every member of the U.S. team that took gold at last year’s Olympics — Ashley Caldwell, Chris Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld.

Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding World Cup Broadcast Schedule

Day Event Time (ET) Platform
Saturday Moguls 11 a.m. CNBC, Peacock
Ski Halfpipe 3 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Sunday Ski Slopestyle 12 p.m. CNBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Aerials, Dual Moguls 2 p.m. NBC, Peacock
Snowboard Halfpipe 2 p.m. CNBC, Peacock

All NBC and CNBC coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

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