100 Olympic storylines 100 days out from PyeongChang

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Here are 100 storylines (in no particular order) from now through the beginning of the PyeongChang Olympics on Feb. 8 and the Closing Ceremony on Feb. 25 …

1. Lindsey Vonn‘s comeback after missing the Sochi Olympics. PyeongChang likely marks her final Winter Games.

2. Mikaela Shiffrin, now the world’s best overall Alpine skier, eyes multiple gold medals.

3. Will Russia be allowed to compete after its Sochi doping scandal? An IOC decision is slated in December.

4. The Jamaican bobsled team could have its first female Olympic sled. It would be driven by a U.S. Olympian.

5. The first Olympic bobsled team from Africa?

6. The U.S. Olympic Trials, starting with curling in two weeks.

7. The best rivalry in team sports?

8. North Korea has qualified athletes, but will it participate? North Korea boycotted the previous Olympics in South Korea in Seoul in 1988.

9. U.S. ice dance. Perhaps the country’s best shot at a figure skating medal (team event aside), but which of three couples gets it?

10. Learning about PyeongChang and South Korea. These are the nation’s first Winter Games. With about 50,000 people, PyeongChang is the smallest host since Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994.

11. A Stanley Cup winner molding South Korea’s first Olympic men’s hockey team.

12. 20 years since the 1998 Nagano Olympics — the first Games with women’s hockey and snowboarding. The Olympics of Tara LipinskiPicabo Street.

13. The Grand Prix Final in December, which will likely determine the Olympic medal favorites.

14. Nightly chaos in short track.

15. A revamped Shaun White seeking a third halfpipe gold after crashing in Sochi. White recently crashed in training and needed 62 stitches.

16. PyeongChang is about 50 miles from the DMZ, which raises security concerns.

17. Olympic men’s hockey rosters. They will look a lot different this year, but still some familiar names.

18. Two great shots at the first medal in U.S. biathlon history.

19. An even stronger bid for the first U.S. cross-country skiing medals since 1976.

20. A new era for U.S. Nordic combined following the retirements of medalists Bill Demong and Todd Lodwick.

21. A 45-year-old Japanese ski jumper celebrated in Poland with a rap song.

22. Ted Ligety stoking his rivalry with perhaps the greatest ski racer of all time.

23. The Olympic torch relay through South Korea the next 100 days. Reportedly scheduled to be carried by a giant underwater robot called “Crabster” on Friday.

24. Viral moments. Any athletes busting through bathroom doors, smirking on the medal stand or pulling social media pranks.

25. The new medal events — snowboard big air, mixed doubles curling, mass start speed skating and an Alpine skiing team event.

26. The new events mean snowboarder Jamie Anderson could win twice as many gold medals as in Sochi.

27. They also caused a 1994 U.S. Olympian to unretire.

28. The second edition of the figure skating team event. Russia dominated in Sochi, but Canada is now a real rival.

29. Bode Miller at his sixth Olympics, but his first as part of the NBC Olympic team.

30. The first Winter Olympians born in the 2000s. Some U.S. candidates are here.

31. The last man to finish the most grueling event — the 50km (31-mile) cross-country ski race on the final day of the Games.

32. The U.S. women’s hockey national team is currently at 24 players. The Olympic roster size is 23.

33. Canada’s snowboarding superstar returning from a near-death experience.

34. Can Canada three-peat as Olympic men’s hockey champion without NHL players?

35. Kelly Clark, 34, taking on girls half her age in the halfpipe. Eyeing gold medals 16 years apart.

36. The most decorated Korean-born athlete in Olympic history competes for a different country. How will he be received?

37. Figure skating, Alpine skiing and snowboarding, among other events, live in primetime on the East Coast due to the 14-hour time difference.

38. Curling pants.

39. Apolo Ohno, the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian with eight medals, returning to call short track for NBC in South Korea.

40. Russian figure skater Yevgenia Medvedeva, on the most dominant run since Katarina Witt.

41. One more Olympics for Swiss ski jumping wizard Simon Ammann, who won his first of four gold medals way back in Salt Lake City in 2002. The Harry Potter comparisons immediately followed.

42. With Sage Kotsenburg retired, the next U.S. male slopestyle star.

43. Vonn’s pursuit of the World Cup wins record. She’s nine victories shy. The Alpine season schedule is here.

44. The viral running back who turned to bobsled.

45. He beat Usain Bolt in a relay. Now he’s bobsledding.

46. Julia Mancuso‘s return from a 2 1/2-year absence for a final Olympic run.

47. Mirai Nagasu trying to win her second U.S. figure skating title — 10 years after her first — and make her second Olympic team after just missing Sochi.

48. The surprise U.S. freeskiing gold medalist in Sochi is in a fight just to make it to PyeongChang.

49. Potentially, six quadruple jumps in one men’s figure skating program.

50. Maame Biney, a U.S. short track speed skater from a very unlikely birthplace.

51. Which nation will win the most medals?

52. The Grand Prix Final in figure skating in December, which will be the biggest indicator of Olympic medal favorites.

53. Which three female singles skaters make the U.S. Olympic team? We’ll know after the U.S. Championships in early January.

54. Eric Heiden‘s niece could make the biathlon team.

55. The most gold medals awarded in Winter Olympic history — 102.

56. The leading goal scorer from the 2006 U.S. men’s hockey team is back.

57. The first U.S. gold medal. It might not come until 48 hours after the Opening Ceremony in women’s slopestyle snowboarding.

58. Jason Brown skating to “Hamilton.”

59. The heaviest Olympic medals are the heaviest of all time.

60. Does anyone other than her light the Olympic cauldron?

61. Perhaps the most versatile winter sports athlete has a name similar to that of USA Swimming’s biggest star.

62. Canada looks to sweep the moguls titles again with a trio of sisters and a dominant Québécois known to wear a lucky undershirt that states, “It’s Good to be the King.”

63. Dutch speed skaters. They won two-thirds of the medals in Sochi and dominated the most recent world championships.

64. Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir bringing flair to figure skating broadcasts this fall and winter.

65. Sochi silver medalist Gus Kenworthy going for two freestyle skiing gold medals, two years after coming out.

66. Will we see 2006 and 2010 Olympic snowboard cross champion Seth Wescott make a late bid for the U.S. team at age 41?

67. The next Jim Craig?

68. One of South Korea’s top gold-medal hopes competes in Iron Man-inspired gear.

69. Still waiting on the Sochi pairs gold medalists to decide if they will defend.

70. U.S. biathlete Lowell Bailey, who nearly retired to become a cattle farmer and then won a landmark world title.

71. Minnesota sisters competing for different countries.

72. The oiled-up, shirtless Tongan flag bearer from Rio. Yes, he wants to compete in PyeongChang.

73. The service members on Team USA. In particular, bobsledders who served in Baghdad and in Afghanistan.

74. The noise inside the short track venue. Apolo Ohno can vouch that it’s a national sport in South Korea.

75. The first gold medalist. It will be a female cross-country skier.

76. The devoted followers of Yuzuru Hanyu, who litter the ice with Winnie the Pooh.

77. The U.S. speed skating team trying to rebound from its suit fail in Sochi. No medals for the first time since 1984.

78. Marcel Hirscher‘s comeback for the one prize that has eluded him.

79. Speed skater Heather Bergsma has a shot at three gold medals. Only one U.S. Winter Olympian has done that at a single Games — Eric Heiden.

80. The hottest ticket of the Winter Games. Could be the figure skating exhibition gala, if Yuna Kim performs.

81. The figure skating community rallying around Gracie Gold.

82. Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who turns 44, looks to up his record of 13 career Winter Olympic medals.

83. Norway’s Marit Bjoergen, a 37-year-old mom, looks to break Bjoerndalen’s record.

84. The Olympic snowboarding selection event series this December and January. The women’s team of four will be hard to make — Olympic champions Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter, X Games champions Chloe Kim and Elena Hight and world champion Arielle Gold are among those in the mix.

85. Nathan Chen fulfilling his nationally televised prediction at age 10.

86. An Alpine skier from Kenya. Sabrina Simader was born there before moving to Austria at age 3.

87. An Alpine skier from Mexico. The enigmatic Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe wants to become the oldest Winter Olympian ever.

88. The “bobsled battle royale” renewed between Canadian Kaillie Humphries and American Elana Meyers Taylor. Humphries passed training partner Meyers Taylor for gold on the final run in Sochi.

89. High-speed crashes in bobsled, skeleton, luge, skiing, snowboarding and speed skating.

90. Aerials world champion Ashley Caldwell landing “The Daddy.”

91. Erin Hamlin, the first U.S. Olympic singles luge medalist, slides toward retirement.

92. Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir looking to cap their comeback with a gold.

93. After two golds and two silvers, what does Shani Davis have left at age 35?

94. Amanda Kessel‘s comeback from a life-altering concussion.

95. Again, competition the day before the Opening Ceremony. Mixed doubles curling and the figure skating team event kick it off.

96. Missing Steven Holcomb.

97. The U.S. men’s hockey team plays rival Russia on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7:10 a.m. ET. The full hockey schedule is here.

98. Will it be Olympic glory or more heartbreak for Lindsey Jacobellisarguably the greatest snowboarder ever.

99. The return of Vic Wild, the U.S.-born Alpine snowboarder who won two golds for Russia in Sochi.

100. Looking ahead to the Paralympics from March 8-18.

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MORE: PyeongChang Olympic schedule daily highlights

Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
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Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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Lara Gut-Behrami wins Killington giant slalom, and the overall title race may be on

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Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami rallied from third place after the first run for her 35th career World Cup victory, taking a giant slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Saturday.

Gut-Behrami, 31, earned her fifth World Cup giant slalom win and first in six years. She prevailed by .07 of a second over Italian Marta Bassino combining times from two windy runs. Sweden’s Sara Hector, the Olympic champion and first-run leader, ended up third.

“Last two years I’ve been getting better in GS again,” said Gut-Behrami, who won the GS at the last world championships in 2021. “Last year I was struggling with my health. I was all the time sick.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Gut-Behrami’s best events are downhill and super-G, so a strong start to the season in GS could put her on a path to winning the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. She previously lifted that crystal globe in 2016.

Reigning World Cup overall champ Mikaela Shiffrin, who previously placed second, third, fourth and fifth in Killington giant slaloms, finished 13th after winning the season’s first two races, slaloms in Finland last week. It marked her lowest World Cup GS finish since December 2019.

“[Finland] was a spectacular weekend,” Shiffrin, who has not had much recent GS training, said after her 10th-place opening run Saturday. “Every race is a different story.”

Shiffrin won all five World Cup slaloms in Killington dating to 2016 and will go for her 50th career World Cup slalom victory across all venues on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC and Peacock).

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