Steven Holcomb’s mother honors son, teammates with speech after accepting Olympic silver medals

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Steven Holcomb‘s teammates and his family were honored in a medal reallocation ceremony at the Team USA Awards last month, after being upgraded to Sochi Olympic silver medals after the disqualifications of Russian sleds due to doping.

Holcomb, who in 2010 drove the first U.S. bobsled to Olympic gold in 62 years, died in his sleep in May 2017 at age 37.

In 2014, Holcomb and Steven Langton rode to two-man bronze. Holcomb, Langton, Curt Tomasevicz and Chris Fogt teamed for four-man bronze. The Russian sleds that originally finished first were later disqualified for doping and the results adjusted.

Holcomb’s mother, Jean Schaefer, capped the ceremony with a speech in front of a room of Olympians and Paralympians. The full transcript from her speech at the awards show, which aired on NBC on Sunday:

I am honored to be the voice of Steven tonight. I tried to imagine what Steven would say and what he would be feeling. I think Steven would be feeling extreme excitement and pride — silver medals for his team and for his country. The reward of dedication and just plain hard work. A sense of satisfaction to be recognized as competitors with integrity. A deep gratitude to his teammates, Chris, Steve, Curt, with whom he shares this honor. Gratitude. Gratitude to the team behind the team, the USOPC. Gratitude to the Bo-Dyn project, who first recognized there is a need for a competitive bobsled. Gratitude to [former U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton CEO] Darrin Steele for his leadership and his support. Gratitude to Coach Brian Shimer, who is so much more to Steven than just a coach. He’s a true friend. And, finally, gratitude to [U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Marketing and Communications Director] Amanda Bird, who always kept his family up to date. Finally, I’d like to share with you: these are the flowers from the medal ceremony in Sochi. They were carefully packed in a silver shoe box — yes, silver — to journey all the way from Russia to Steven’s mom in Colorado. They say so much about Steven Holcomb as a man. He was thoughtful, dedicated, kind. A man who had a passion for the bobsled. We love you, Steven, and we miss you. Thank you.

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McKayla Maroney, Tonga flagbearer among viral Olympic stars of 2010s decade

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NBCSports.com looks back at the 2010s this week. Here are 10 viral Olympic moments that defined the decade …

Vancouver 2010: Alexandre Bilodeau wins Canada’s first home gold, hugs brother
Canada went gold-less at both the 1976 Montreal Games and the 1988 Calgary Winter Games. A lot of thought was put into which athlete would earn its first title in Vancouver. It ended up being Bilodeau, who upset the defending champion and embraced his older brother, Frederic, who has cerebral palsy.

Vancouver 2010: Jon Montgomery’s celebratory drink after skeleton title
The Canadian came from behind to stun Latvian Martins Dukurs for gold. The scruffy car salesman/auctioneer then drank from a beer pitcher on a victory march through the Whistler ski village in one of the iconic moments of the Games.

London 2012: Queen/James Bond Opening Ceremony
Who could forget the Queen’s royal entrance into the London Olympic Stadium, “parachuting” in from above with the help of 007. Danny Boyle, the Oscar winner who directed the Opening Ceremony, originally thought an actress — perhaps Helen Mirren — would play the Queen in the skit, if approved by the royal family. “They came back and said, ‘We’re delighted for you to do it, and Her Majesty would like to be in it herself,’” Boyle said in 2013.

London 2012: McKayla Maroney not impressed
Stunned and upset that she was beaten for the Olympic vault title, Maroney became one of social media’s first major memes for her smirk on the podium. “I remember doing the face for literally two seconds,” Maroney said later. “Like, if you watch the video, it’s two seconds. And I remember thinking, did I just make a face? Because it’s natural. I do it all the time. I have pictures of me when I’m little doing it. I have it on my Mac computer when I’m like 13.”

Sochi 2014: Four-ring Opening Ceremony
By the third Olympics of the decade, everybody knew about hashtags. Among the more memorable #SochiProblems was an Opening Ceremony glitch where five snowflakes were supposed to open into five interlocking Olympic Rings. Only four did, leaving one snowflake that ended up looking like an asterisk. Organizers later made light of the mishap in the Closing Ceremony.

Sochi 2014: Johnny Quinn busts through bathroom
The U.S. bobsledder tweeted at 4:16 a.m. ET, “I was taking a shower and the door got locked/jammed…. …With no phone to call for help, I used my bobsled push training to break out. #SochiJailBreak.” And so Johnny Quinn became a social media sensation. He capitalized, training with a SWAT team (after the Games) and becoming a public speaker. Quinn, a former NFL preseason wide receiver, told his story in front of Fidelity Investments, school assemblies and LiftMaster, a suburban Chicago company whose products include garage-door accessories.

Rio 2016: Michael Phelps’ face
The swimming ready room in Rio became such a hit that a constant live stream was added to NBCOlympics.com’s wall-to-wall coverage. Phelps authored the best moment, stewing with a disgusted look as rival Chad le Clos shadow boxed in front of him. “I always know there’s two cameras in the upper right-hand corner right before I walk out, and I’m like sitting there, like spitting water,” Phelps said later. “As I’m making a face, I was like, yep, that’s on camera. … Someone will pick that one up tomorrow.”

Rio 2016: Usain Bolt’s mid-race smiles for cameras
In his last Olympics, the world’s fastest man created the most buzz while caught in still images in semifinals. Photos of Bolt — smiling while looking back at his 100m semifinal competitors mid-race — and exchanging glances with Andre De Grasse in the 200m semis — lit up social media. Tack them on to Bolt’s other viral moments, from crossing the finish line at the 2013 World Championships as lightning struck to getting run over by a Segway at the 2015 Worlds.

PyeongChang 2018: Tonga flag bearer Pita Taufatofua
Taufatofua actually debuted his shirtless, oiled-up Opening Ceremony appearance in Rio as a taekwondo athlete. But his journey to becoming a dual Summer/Winter Olympian is the stuff of legend. He traversed the globe picking up Olympic cross-country skiing qualifying points in Finland, Australia, Colombia and finally Iceland, clinching a spot thanks to the sport’s very lenient structure for athletes from nations without a Winter Olympic tradition. In PyeongChang, he braved near-freezing temperatures to again go shirtless at the Opening Ceremony. He then finished outside the top 100 in his ski race.

PyeongChang 2018: Here Comes Diggins!
The U.S.’ first Olympic cross-country skiing title changed the lives of not only Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, but also NBC Olympics analyst Chad Salmela. The exuberant call from Salmela, who knew fellow Minnesota native Diggins since she was in high school, became the name of a new flavor at Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour in Diggins’ hometown of Afton.

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BEST OF 2010s: Summer Olympians | Winter Olympians | Teams
MOMENTS: Summer Olympics | Winter Olympics | Paralympics | Viral

Kaillie Humphries grabs another win as U.S. bobsled driver

Kaillie Humphries
AP
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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — Kaillie Humphries’ first two races for the U.S. could not have turned out better.

Humphries improved to 2-for-2 on the young season, winning another women’s bobsled World Cup race at Mount Van Hoevenberg on Saturday. The former top Canadian driver who joined the U.S. program earlier this year teamed with Lauren Gibbs to finish two runs in 1 minute, 54.03 seconds.

It was Humphries’ first time winning back-to-back golds since January 2016, and the first time any women’s driver has opened a season with two straight wins since Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. prevailed in the first three events of the 2014-15 season.

Germany’s Kim Kalicki drove to the silver medal in 1:54.18, or 0.15 seconds behind Humphries. Canada got the bronze, with Christine De Bruin getting her sled across the line in 1:54.25. Brittany Reinbolt was the next-best U.S. finisher after Humphries, teaming with Sylvia Hoffman to place eighth in 1:55.28.

Earlier Saturday, Canada’s Justin Kripps won the season’s opening World Cup four-man bobsled race, prevailing at Mount Van Hoevenberg for the second consecutive year.

Kripps and his team of Ryan Sommer, Cameron Stones and Benjamin Coakwell finished two runs in 1 minute, 49.50 seconds. Latvia’s sled driven by Oskars Kibermanis was second in 1:49.89 and Austria’s Benjamin Maier drove to the bronze in 1:49.97.

It was only the second time in the last 17 World Cup four-man races that Germany failed to medal — the other being last year, also in Lake Placid. The top German finish in four-man was a tie for fourth between drivers Francesco Friedrich and Johannes Lochner.

The sled driven by Codie Bascue was sixth to lead the U.S. contingent. There is a second four-man race in Lake Placid on Sunday, after last weekend’s opening event of the season saw two two-man races and none of the four-man variety.

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