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Johnny Weir, more Olympians among Google’s trending athletes of 2018

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Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White were the third- and fourth-most Google-trending athletes in the world in 2018.

The full list:
1. Tristan Thompson, Basketball
2. Alexis Sánchez, Soccer
3. Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skiing
4. Shaun White, Snowboarding
5. Khabib Nurmagomedov, MMA
6. Kawhi Leonard, Basketball
7. Naomi Osaka, Tennis
8. Philippe Coutinho, Soccer
9. Conor McGregor, MMA
10. Harry Kane, Soccer

The list is based on search terms that had the highest spike in 2018 compared to 2017. Which would explain why Winter Olympians would outrank the likes of LeBron James and Tom Brady.

In the U.S., “Olympic medal count” ranked ninth in trending news, just behind the royal wedding. White and Vonn were Nos. 2 and 3 on the U.S. athletes top 10, with Chloe Kim in eighth and NBC Sports figure skating analyst Johnny Weir in 10th as the only retired athlete on the list.

Google also published a Year in Search video that included Mirai Nagasu and Kim.

In 2016, the Rio Olympics was the top trending sporting event, while Michael Phelps was the No. 3 trending person behind Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with Simone Biles in fifth and Ryan Lochte ninth.

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Shaun White’s old coach heads China snowboarding toward Beijing Olympics

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Bud Keene, who coached Shaun White at three Olympics, now leads Chinese snowboarders en route to the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

“I signed a contract with China to win a medal in 2022. So, that’s the goal,” Keene said Thursday before a World Cup big air event inside the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing, according to Xinhua News Agency.

While Keene helped White to two of his three Olympic halfpipe golds, the Vermont native is in charge of big air and slopestyle teams for China.

The Chinese are best known for their halfpipe riders, including Liu Jiayu, who took silver behind American Chloe Kim in PyeongChang for China’s first Olympic snowboarding medal. Five other Chinese finished in the top 10 in men’s and women’s halfpipe since 2010, but China has yet to enter a rider in an Olympic slopestyle or big air contest.

“We have a mountain to climb,” Keene said, according to Xinhua. “There’s no question about that. But we’re gonna climb it one step once a time.”

Keene and White both said they parted amicably after White’s disappointing fourth-place finish at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Keene said in 2016 that they accomplished all they could together, and the coach wanted to invest more time in grass-roots snowboarding and instructing. He guided New Zealand freeskiers and snowboarders in PyeongChang, where that nation earned its second and third Winter Olympic medals (in ski halfpipe and snowboard big air).

China, which has rivaled the U.S. in Summer Olympic medals, earned between eight and 11 medals at the last six Winter Olympics, challenging some traditional European powers. More than half of its Winter Games medals came in short track speed skating, including 10 of its 13 golds.

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MORE: Shaun White takes his longest break from snowboarding

Shaun White eyes his longest break from snowboard contests

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Shaun White said he has no plans to compete in snowboarding this season, which would mark the first time he goes a full year without entering a contest.

“I normally take every season after the Olympics off to clear my head,” White said in a statement via his team. “This time around I’ll be filling my time with skateboarding.”

White said in July that he would lighten his snowboard schedule as he returns to skateboarding competition. The triple Olympic halfpipe champion is considering a Tokyo 2020 run in the new Summer Olympic sport.

White entered his first skateboard contest in years in September and called his performance “pretty terrible,” but not surprising given it was his first-ever bowl event.

White earned five X Games skateboard medals between 2005 and 2011, but all of those came in vert, which is not on the Olympic program.

“Honestly, I am here to see how things go,” White said at the September event in Marseille, according to Agence France-Presse. “I haven’t made a decision either way [on 2020], I just figured, want to have some fun, skateboard, come to France and then hopefully make a decision come new year if I’m really going to go for it or not.”

As for snowboarding, White has typically eased off in post-Olympic years. In 2010-11 and 2014-15, his only contest was the Winter X Games, according to World Snowboarding, whose results show that White’s longest break from contests was 11 months.

White has said he would like to go for a fifth Winter Games in Beijing in 2022. He would be 35, older than any previous Olympic snowboarding champion. He’s already the oldest halfpipe medalist.

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