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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Ginny Fuchs hopes to emerge from OCD, tearful Olympic experience

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None of the boxers at this week’s U.S. Olympic Trials competed at a prior Olympics, but flyweight Ginny Fuchs remembers the specifics of her one Olympic experience in Rio.

Fuchs, who won the 2016 Olympic trials but failed to clinch a spot at the Games in international qualifiers, was nonetheless named team captain and brought to Rio as a sparring partner.

She had mixed feelings. Watching from the crowd as Claressa Shields repeated as Olympic champion on the final day of the Games was motivating. Fuchs had toyed with turning professional but, after talking to Shields, decided to forge another four years as an amateur for another chance to become an Olympian.

The Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony, two weeks before that Shields final, was too much for Fuchs to bear. She could not stay in the Athletes’ Village nor march with the U.S. delegation at the Maracana.

“I remember watching the Opening Ceremony at the place I was at with everybody,” she said. “I couldn’t watch. It was hard for me to watch. I went back to my room, cried and went to bed.”

Fuchs is favored to win the 51kg/112-pound division this week at Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles, La., with finals streaming live on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday (4-7 p.m. ET). It’s one of five women’s Olympic weight classes, up from three in 2012 and 2016, the first two editions of the Games for female boxers.

No boxer can clinch an Olympic spot this week, but failing to make a final would all but end Tokyo hopes.

Fuchs’ toughest opponent in this Olympic cycle — which included an undefeated 2017 and a 2018 World bronze medal among more than 130 fights — may be herself. Fuchs has been open about struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

It started in fifth grade.

“I can remember the first time I was on the school bus, and I was looking at the ground and looking at everybody’s backpacks on the floor,” said Fuchs, a 31-year-old from the Houston area. “And an instant thought came in mind, like, Oh my god. Everybody’s backpack is getting contaminated by this dirty floor on the bus.”

She cited a more recent example: spending up to 40 minutes washing her hands searching for that “perfect clean feeling.” Fuchs found boxing via a boyfriend after she was kicked off the LSU cross-country running team as a freshman walk-on for damaging school property in a prank.

She said the disorder hit her hardest this year. In January, she was driving to a Walmart three times a day to buy cleaning supplies, according to The New York Times.

She underwent intensive therapy and skipped October’s world championships, where she could have established herself as a clear Olympic gold-medal favorite.

“I still am going to probably do therapy for the rest of my life,” Fuchs said. “Maybe not as intense as I’m doing it right now, but it’s almost like training for boxing.

“You’ve got to keep training to keep winning in boxing. So I’ve got to keep training my OCD thoughts and how to handle and manage it. … Boxing is giving me hope almost. Like OK, outside the ring and in my room and the bathroom, I feel like [OCD] controls me and feel trapped. But I have this environment in this space in the gym, in the boxing ring, where I can be myself. And not let it attack me in a way where I can still enjoy life and not be trapped.”

Should Fuchs make the final of her division in Lake Charles, she will advance to a January camp and tournament, after which the U.S. roster for Olympic qualifying will be named.

If selected, Fuchs would head to a North and South American Olympic qualifying event in early spring in Buenos Aires to clinch the spot she could not secure four years ago. If necessary, she could get a second chance at a global qualifier in May in Paris.

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Yulia Efimova has lawyer ready if Russia ban affects her

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Yulia Efimova, the Russian swimmer who earned two Rio Olympic silver medals after initially being excluded from the Games for serving a prior doping ban, is bracing for another legal fight after the latest sanctions against her nation.

On Monday, Russia was banned from the 2020 and 2022 Olympics and the next four years of world championships in Olympic sports due to more recent anti-doping violations. However, its athletes can still compete as neutrals, if meeting specific anti-doping criteria, similar to how they did at the PyeongChang Winter Games.

Efimova was initially barred from the Rio Olympics under an IOC mandate that any Russian who previously served a doping ban would be ineligible due to the country’s anti-doping violations at that time.

Efimova appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which ruled that IOC stipulation unenforceable. She went on to earn 100m and 200m breaststroke silver medals and develop a rivalry with American Lilly King, who said Efimova should not have been eligible.

It’s unclear from Monday’s ruling whether Efimova will be allowed to compete as a neutral, should Russia accept the sanctions or any appeal to CAS by the nation be denied.

“I will behave in a similar way,” to 2016, Efimova said, according to RT.com. “I have already hired a lawyer. There is a rule that a person can’t be punished twice for the same offense. If you violate a driving code or instigated a brawl you will not be punished twice for that. I hope it will work, but I cannot be sure of [a positive outcome].

“Right after my race at the Rio Games, I said that this doping controversy was not over, it was just the beginning, and we would have problems in the future. It was quite clear. And with every new year the situation is only getting worse and worse.”

Efimova, 27 and the two-time reigning world 200m breast champion, was banned 16 months between 2013 and 2015 after testing positive for a steroid. A FINA panel ruled that Efimova was not intentionally trying to cheat but was negligent in failing to read the label of a GNC store supplement.

“Yes, long ago I made a doping violation,” Efimova said this week, according to RT. “But there are a great number of U.S. and European athletes who have a similar situation regarding doping, and they are competing without any restrictions. If you want to introduce those regulations, they must be equally applied to all athletes, not only Russian competitors.”

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