Michael J. Fox and the Olympics

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Michael J. Fox has attended at least two Olympics, making appearances at the Winter Games in his native Canada — Calgary 1988 and Vancouver 2010.

Fox was 26 years old in 1988, three years after he starred in “Back to the Future” and one year before “Back to the Future Part II” came out.

He reportedly flew to the Calgary 1988 Winter Games by private jet to watch skiing and a Canada-Sweden preliminary round hockey game.

He left the Canada-Sweden hockey game, tied 2-2, with 31 seconds left “because his bodyguards feared if he left when the game ended he would be mobbed by admirers,” according to United Press International, citing the Calgary Sun.

”It’s driving me crazy to leave here with only 31 seconds to go,” Fox said, according to the report. ”The game was simply incredible, and I hate to leave.”

The game ended in a tie. Canada went on to finish fourth in the hockey tournament in Calgary.

Fox returned for a more publicized visit to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver. He was featured in and narrated a Canadian TV intro for Olympic hockey (video here).

He was seen at the U.S.-Canada men’s and women’s hockey gold-medal games in the final week of competition.

During a break in the action late in the women’s final, the Rogers Arena [then called Canada Hockey Place] speakers began blaring Huey Lewis and the News‘ “Power of Love.” Several seconds into the song, the arena’s large video screens cut to a shot of Fox in the crowd.

A roar ensued. Watch the video here at 1 hour, 40 minutes, 57 seconds, and listen closely for the crescendo, though the broadcast feed did not show Fox on the screen.

“It was really strange to see Canadians waving flags,” Fox said of Vancouver 2010 while at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. “They don’t do it very often.”

Fox returned for the men’s gold-medal game on the final day of competition in Vancouver, a game also won by the Canadians. Here’s video evidence of his appearance at the 1:14:10 mark.

Fox then migrated to BC Place for the Closing Ceremony, where he followed fellow Canadian actors William Shatner and Catherine O’Hara in a skit.

He rose from underneath the arena floor stage, surrounded by an electronic display of the Canadian flag on the floor, and introduced himself, “My name is Mike,” eliciting a standing ovation.

Here’s his speech:

Not only was I born in Canada, I was raised in British Columbia.

It’s true I’ve lived in the States for almost 30 years now, but I know I’ll always think of Team Canada as my home team.

I mean, hey, if I have a bad hair day, I wear a toque. If I’m extra hungry, I put some back bacon in my poutine. And if I’m watching the U.S. and Canada play hockey, I’m sorry, I’m wearing a maple leaf on my sweater.

But it doesn’t really matter where you live or where you’re born, Canada is a big tent, and if you’re good at something, we will claim you.

Even you, the Olympic athletes, curlers and cross-countrys, bobsledders and biathletes, skiers and skaters, you’ve come to Vancouver, you spent time among us, you’ve competed on the world stage here in Canada, and that makes you Canadians, too.

Canada is my home, and now it’s your home, too.

MORE VANCOUVER 2010: Stephen Colbert at the Vancouver Olympics

Finn Christian Jagge, 1992 Olympic slalom champion, dies at 54

Finn Christian Jagge
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Finn Christian Jagge, the surprise 1992 Olympic slalom champion, has died at age 54, according to Norway’s Olympic Committee.

Jagge’s wife, Trine-Lise Jagge, posted on Facebook that he died of an acute illness.

Jagge, then 25, won the slalom at the Albertville Games in Savoie, France, stunning defending champion Alberto Tomba of Italy. Jagge had the fastest first run by 1.07 seconds and relegated Tomba to silver by .28 of a second after the second run. Tomba was going for his fourth straight Olympic gold medal.

Jagge’s father won a Norwegian record 42 national tennis championships. His mother competed in Alpine skiing at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, according to Olympedia.org.

Jagge won his first Norwegian national title at age 18. After knee and back injuries, he won seven World Cup slaloms in the 1990s, retiring in 2000.

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Posted by Trine-Lise Jagge on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, Olympian, world champion snowboarder, drowns in spearfishing accident

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Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, an Olympian and world champion snowboarder, drowned while spearfishing on Australia’s Gold Coast on Wednesday.

A police spokesperson said a 32-year-old man, later identified as Pullin, was unresponsive when taken from the water and died despite receiving CPR from lifeguards and emergency treatment from paramedics.

The accident happened at Palm Beach around 10:40 a.m. local time. Pullin had been diving on an artificial reef when he was found by a snorkeler.

“Another diver was out there and located him on the sea floor and raised the attention of nearby surfers who sought lifeguards to bring him in,” police said. “He didn’t have an oxygen mask. We understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef.”

Pullin competed in Olympic snowboard cross in 2010, 2014 and 2018 with a best finish of sixth. He won back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2013. He carried Australia’s flag at the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2014.

“We are all in shock today as one of the most beloved members of our close snow sport community, Chumpy, has sadly lost his life in what appears to be a tragic accident,” Snow Australia CEO Michael Kennedy said in a statement. “He was a mentor to so many of our younger snowboarders, giving up his time to coach and provide advice to our future Olympians. His loss will be felt right across our community.

“We know it won’t just be here in Australia that Chumpy’s legacy will be remembered, but throughout the international snowboarding community. It wasn’t just his ability to deliver results that will be missed, but his leadership and the path that he laid for so many.”

His parents owned a ski and snowboard shop in the Australian Alps, where Pullin began riding at age 8. Older friends gave him the nickname “Chumpy,” and it stuck.

Pullin, who spent time as a frontman for the surf-reggae band love Charli, often brought a guitar with him while traveling for competitions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.