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

Leave a comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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

Fan voting starts for U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced finalists Monday for the organization’s Hall of Fame.

Fans can vote as part of a process that selects five Olympians, three Paralympians and one team from a final list of 15 Olympians, nine Paralympians and three teams. Other voters include U.S. Olympians and Paralympians, national governing bodies and multisport organizations, the USOPC board, select members of the media, and USOPC corporate partners.

The nominees are:

Olympic:

  • Gary Anderson, shooting: Gold medalist in 1964 and 1968
  • Greg Barton, canoe/kayak: First American to win kayaking gold (1988)
  • Laura Berg, softball: Center fielder, gold medalist in 1996, 2000 and 2004
  • Anne Donovan, basketball: Center, gold medalist in 1984 and 1998
  • Lisa Leslie, basketball: Second player to win four Olympic golds (1996-2008)
  • Nastia Liukin, gymnastics: 2008 all-around gold medalist, five total medals
  • John Mayasich, ice hockey: Gold medalist in 1960, leading scorer on silver-medal team in 1956
  • Misty May-Treanor, beach volleyball: Gold medalist (with Kerri Walsh Jennings) in 2004, 2008 and 2012
  • Jonny Moseley, freestyle skiing: Gold medalist in moguls in 1998
  • Apolo Anton Ohno, short-track speed skating: Eight medals in 2002, 2006 and 2010
  • Mark Reynolds, sailing: Gold medalist in 1992 and 2000
  • Angela Ruggiero, ice hockey: Gold medalist in 1998, other medals in 2002, 2006 and 2010, all-time leader in games played
  • John Smith, wrestling: Gold medalist in 1988 and 1992
  • Dara Torres, swimming: 12 medals from 1984 (age 17) to 2008 (age 41)
  • Brenda Villa, water polo: Gold medalist in 2012, other medals in 2000, 2004 and 2008

Paralympic:

  • Cheri Blauwet, track and field: Seven medals in three Paralympics, several major marathon wins
  • Candace Cable, track and field, Nordic skiing, alpine skiing: First American woman to win medals in summer and winter
  • Muffy Davis, cycling, alpine skiing: Four medals in skiing before switching to cycling and winning three golds
  • Bart Dodson, track and field: Eight gold medals in 1992 alone, 20 medals total over five Paralympics
  • Greg Mannino, alpine skiing: Six gold medals and 12 total over five Paralympics
  • Erin Popovich, swimming: 14 gold medals and 19 total over three Paralympics
  • Marla Runyan, Para track and field, Para-cycling, Olympic track and field: Six Paralympic medals, first legally blind American to compete in Olympics
  • Chris Waddell, alpine skiing, track and field: 12 Paralympic medals in skiing, one in track and field
  • Trischa Zorn, swimming: 52 medals, including 38 gold, over seven Paralympics

Team:

  • 1996 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball: Led by Leslie (19.5 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game), Katrina McClain (8.2 rebounds per game) and Teresa Edwards (7.3 assists per game)
  • 1998 U.S. Olympic women’s ice hockey: Upset Canada 3-1 in final, team included Ruggiero, Cammi Granato and Tricia Dunn
  • 2010 U.S. Olympic four-man bobsled: Won gold medal with driver Steven Holcomb and push athletes Steve Mesler, Curtis Tomasevicz and Justin Olsen

Fan voting continues at TeamUSA.org until Sept. 3.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

What to watch in Olympic sports this week

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The 2019 Nordic World Ski Championships extend into its second week of competition in Seefeld, Austria. The U.S.’ cross-country Olympic gold medalist, Jessie Diggins, is still in search of her first podium finish at this year’s event after picking up two medals at worlds in 2017.

Her best result at the event so far has been a fifth place finish with teammate Sadie Bjornsen in the women’s team sprint.

The men’s and women’s relays, the must-see races at worlds in cross-country, kick off with the women on Thursday, February 28. Watch live on TV or streaming with Olympic Channel at 7:00 a.m. ET. The men put their skis on the start line for the relay on Friday, March 1 at 7:15 a.m. ET, with live coverage on OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold. The race will also air on TV at 7:30 a.m. ET on Olympic Channel.

Another top event this week, the 2019 Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships begin on Friday, March 1 where reigning world champion, the U.S.’ Elana Meyers Taylor, returns to the track where she has finished on the podium five times in her career, including an Olympic bronze-medal finish at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Last November in the Whistler chute, Meyers Taylor posted a first-place finish in her event at the North American Cup. Riding along for the majority of this season with Meyers Taylor has been rookie brakewoman Lake Kwaza, but in the final World Cup event of the season this past week, Meyers Taylor reunited with her 2018 Olympic teammate Lauren Gibbs for a second place finish in Calgary.

The women’s bobsled competition begins on Saturday, March 2 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Watch live on TV or streaming on Olympic Channel.

The World Cup tour for Alpine ski racing resumes this weekend with speed events for both the men and women. Both tours will compete in downhill and Super-G, but in separate locations. The men’s tour heads to Kvitfjell, Norway while the women’s tour makes camp in Sochi, Russia.

The men’s downhill opens competition on Friday, March 1 at 5:00 a.m. ET. Stream the event live on OlympicChannel.com or with an NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass.

World Cup gymnasts descend on Greensboro, North Carolina on Saturday, March 2 for the American Cup All-Around event. Coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. ET live on TV and streaming with Olympic Channel, and shifts to NBC at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Check out the full schedule of Olympic sport events on TV and streaming this week on NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel, OlympicChannel.com and NBC Sports Gold.   

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP — Kvitfjell, Norway; Sochi, Russia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 5:00 a.m. Men’s Downhill Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 2:30 a.m. Women’s Super-G Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 a.m. Men’s Downhill Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Sunday 1:00 a.m. Women’s Super-G* NBCSN
2:30 a.m. Women’s Super-G Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
5 a.m. Men’s Super-G Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
4:00 p.m. Women’s Super-G* NBCSN

*Same-day and next day delay

JUNIOR ALPINE SKIING CHAMPIONSHIPS — Val di Fassa, Italy

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 3:30 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
8:00 a.m. Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) OlympicChannel.com
Tuesday 3:30 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 1) OlympicChannel.com
8:00 a.m. Men’s Slalom (Run 2) OlympicChannel.com

BOBSLED AND SKELETON WORLD CUP — Calgary, Alberta

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 12:30 a.m. Four-Man Bobsled (Run 2)* NBCSN

*Encore presentation

BOBSLED AND SKELETON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Whistler, British Columbia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 8:00 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 1 OlympicChannel.com
9:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 2 OlympicChannel.com
10:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 1* Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 2* Olympic Channel
Saturday 2:30 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Run 1 Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
4:00 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Run 2 Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
8:00 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 3 OlympicChannel.com
9:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Final Run OlympicChannel.com
10:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Run 3* Olympic Channel
11:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Final Run* Olympic Channel
Sunday 2:30 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Run 3 Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
4:00 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Final Run Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
5:30 p.m. Two-Man Bobsled: Final Run* NBCSN
7:00 p.m. Team Event Olympic Channel OlympicChannel.com
11:00 p.m. Women’s Bobsled: Final Run* NBCSN

*Same-day delay

FREESTYLE SKIING WORLD CUP — Shimao Lotus Mountain, China; Shymbulak, Kazakhstan

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 12:30 a.m. Aerials Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
2:30 a.m. Moguls OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
5:00 p.m. Moguls* Olympic Channel
Sunday 12:30 a.m. Team Aerials Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
2:30 a.m. Dual Moguls OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Dual Moguls* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

NASTIA LIUKIN CUP, AMERICAN CUP GYMNASTICS — Greensboro, North Carolina

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Friday 7:00 p.m. Nastia Liukin Cup Gymnastics Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
Saturday 11:30 a.m. American Cup Gymnastics Olympic Channel Olympic Channel
1:00 p.m. American Cup Gymnastics NBC NBC
11:00 p.m. Nastia Liukin Cup Gymnastics* NBCSN

*Next-day delay

LUGE WORLD CUP — Sochi, Russia

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Monday 11:00 p.m. Men’s Singles (Run 2)* NBCSN

*Encore presentation

NORDIC WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS — Seefeld, Austria

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 10km Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
10:15 a.m. Ski Jumping: Women’s NH Team Final OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 10km* NBCSN
2:00 p.m. Ski Jumping: Women’s NH Team Final* Olympic Channel
Wednesday 8:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 15km Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
10:15 a.m. Ski Jumping: Women’s NH Final Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Thursday 1:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 15km* NBCSN
2:00 a.m. Ski Jumping: Women’s NH Final* NBCSN
5:00 a.m. Nordic Combined: NH Ski Jumping Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 4x5km Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
9:00 a.m. Nordic Combined: Indiv. 10km Cross-Country Ski Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Friday 7:15 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 4x10km Relay OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 4x10km Relay* Olympic Channel
10:00 a.m. Ski Jumping: Men’s NH Final Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
Saturday 5:00 a.m. Nordic Combined: NH Team Ski Jumping OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:00 a.m. Nordic Combined: NH Team Ski Jumping* Olympic Channel
6:15 a.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 30km OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. Cross-Country: Women’s 30km* Olympic Channel
8:30 a.m. Nordic Combined: 4x5km Cross-Country Relay Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold
10:00 a.m. Ski Jumping: Mixed Team Event OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
1:00 p.m. Ski Jumping: Mixed Team Event* Olympic Channel
Sunday 7:00 a.m. Cross-Country: Men’s 50km Olympic Channel Olympic Channel/NBC Sports Gold

*Same-day and next day delay

SNOWBOARDING WORLD CUP — Baqueira Beret, Spain

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 7:30 a.m. Snowboard Cross OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold

WORLD ALLROUND SPEED SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS — Calgary, Alberta

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 2:00 p.m. Day 1 NBC Sports Gold
10:00 p.m. Day 1* Olympic Channel
Sunday 2:00 p.m. Day 2 NBC Sports Gold
10:00 p.m. Day 2* Olympic Channel

*Same-day delay

TOKYO MARATHON — Tokyo, Japan

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Saturday 7:00 p.m. From Tokyo, Japan Olympic Channel Olympic Channel

TRACK CYCLING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS — Pruszkow, Poland

Day Time (ET) Event TV Stream
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. Day 1 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 p.m. Day 1* Olympic Channel
Thursday 12:30 p.m. Day 2 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 p.m. Day 2* Olympic Channel
Friday 12:30 p.m. Day 3 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
9:30 p.m. Day 3* Olympic Channel
Saturday 11:00 a.m. Day 4 OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
6:00 p.m. Day 4* Olympic Channel
Sunday 6:00 a.m. Day 5 (Semifinals) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
8:00 a.m. Day 5 (Finals) OlympicChannel.com/NBC Sports Gold
3:00 p.m. From Pruszkow, Poland* NBCSN

*Same-day delay