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2014 Bikini Olympia – Find Out Who Qualified


2014 Bikini Olympia

The final Olympia qualifying pro show took place today and has set the field for the Bikini Olympia. The top five at the Olympia are automatically qualified for the following year’s competition. The winners of each pro show qualify with the victory. The competitors who place second through fifth earn points throughout the year and the top five highest point totals are qualified to compete in the Olympia. If there is a tie, there is currently no tie-breaker, all go to the big show. In the Bikini division six women will go to the Olympia via the Point Series due to a tie.

Keep in mind this is the list of women who have qualified, it isn’t a final list of who will compete. There will be a competitor or two who will not compete despite being qualified. Check back for the final list.

2014 BIKINI OLYMPIA QUALIFIED COMPETITORS
Ashley Kaltwasser
Yeshaira Robles
Stacey Alexander
Nathalia Melo
India Paulino
Lacey DeLuca
Vladmiria Krasova
Jennifer Andrews
Narmin Assria
Amanda Latona
Taylor Methany Bentson
Crystal Matthews
Christie Marquez
Sarah LeBlanc
Noy Alexander
Janet Layug
Sandi Forsythe
Christina Strom Fjaere
Jenee Leger
Angela Marquez
Stephanie Mahoe
Tawna Eubanks
Brittany Taylor

TOP OLYMPIA POINT SERIES TOTALS and QUALIFY FOR THE OLYMPIA:
Jessica Arevalo – 17
Dayna Maleton – 14
Candice Conroy – 13
Kelsie Clark -12
Nicola Weiterova – 11
Noemi Olah -11

Visit mrolympia.com for more information and purchase your tickets to watch the Bikini Olympia live!



Celebrate Olympic Day with a Quiz


Happy Olympic Day! Every year on June 23, Olympic Day commemorates the birth of the modern Olympic Games. The event was first introduced in 1948 and was established to help promote the Olympic Values and participation in sport across the world. More than 160 countries around the globe take part in the celebration.

2014 Olympic Day Logo

In the U.S., Olympic Day events range the gamut from small to large events. Find out what Olympic Day Events happening in your area and how you can participate.

Test your Olympic knowledge in this true or false quiz. The quiz is targeted for children 12-13 years old however I’d guess most adults wouldn’t score 100%.

TRUE OR FALSE OLYMPIC QUIZ

Q1 – Each colour of the Olympic rings represents a particular continent.
False – This is a misconception. In reality, the rings represent the union of the five continents and the coming-together of the whole world’s athletes at the Olympic Games. As for the colours of the flag, they were chosen because at least one of them (blue, black, red, yellow, green and white) can be found in each national flag.

Q2 – One of the missions of the Olympic Movement is to promote peace in the world.
True - “The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.” This is the second of the six Fundamental Principles of Olympism set out in the “Olympic Charter”, the document which governs the organisation, actions and functioning of the Olympic Movement.

Q3 – The Games host city is chosen in a draw from among the candidate cities.
False - The IOC members elect the Olympic Games host cities with an absolute majority (i.e. half the votes plus one). This happens seven years before the Games are held, at a meeting called the Session. Custom dictates that the IOC President does not take part in the vote.

Q4 – The Olympic Anthem was written by Rod Stewart, a 1980s singer.
False – The music was composed by Spiros Samaras and the words were written by Costis Palamas. The Olympic Anthem was played for the first time in 1896, at the Opening Ceremony of the first modern Olympic Games. It was later replaced by several other musical compositions (but none by Rod Stewart). It was only in 1955 that it finally became the official anthem.

Q5 The Olympic motto – CITIUS ALTIUS FORTIUS – means “Proud, tall, strong”.
False - The three Latin words mean “faster, higher, stronger”. These three words encourage the athlete to give the best of himself during competition. To better understand the motto, we can compare it to the Olympic saying: “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

Q6 – Ice hockey and figure skating were on the Summer Games programme.
Neither true nor false - Skating was on the programme of the 1908 Games and ice hockey from 1920. At this time, there was no distinction between the winter and summer Games and the events could be staged over several months. It was only from 1925 that the IOC officially decided to separate the two events.

Q7 – Pierre de Coubertin, reviver of the Games, took part in the Games under a false name.
True – His “Ode to Sport” entered under a pseudonym for the Stockholm (1912) Olympic Games, won him first prize in the Art and Literature Contest, an event on the programme at the time.

Q8 – 50kg stone-lifting was on the Olympic programme.
True – It was part of the gymnastics all-round event in 1900, as was rope climbing and the pole vault! Sports, disciplines and events… the Games programme is continuously updated. Today, the Summer Games comprises 26 sports and the Winter Games seven. In the selection criteria it is specified that only sports that apply the World Anti-Doping Code can be included or remain on the program me.

Q9 – London is the only city to have hosted three Olympic Games.
True – London hosted the Olympic Games in 1908, 1948 and 2012. Six other cities have hosted the Games twice: Athens (1896 and 2004), Paris (1900 and 1924), St Moritz (1928 and 1948), Lake Placid (1932 and 1980), Los Angeles (1932 and 1984) and Innsbruck (1964 and 1976).

Q10 – The marathon was on the programme of the Olympic Games of Antiquity.
False – The marathon was not staged at the Games in Antiquity. This race was created for the Athens Games in 1896 to commemorate the legend of the Greek soldier who, in 490 BC, ran from Marathon to announce to the people of Athens the military victory over Persia (distance: about 34.5km). At the London 1908 Games, the distance of the race was extended, from 25 to 26.2 miles (42.195km), so that it could end in front of the Royal Box. This distance then became the standard for the marathon event and has remained so until today.

Quiz and information via olympicday.fusesport.com (PDF)



Gold Medal Rematch Set in Women’s Olympic Hockey


SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Not once in the five Olympics since women’s hockey was added to the Winter Games has Canada failed to reach the final.

They’ve got three gold medals and one silver so far. All that’s left in these Winter Games is yet another game against the U.S. to determine which medal they’ll bring home from Sochi.

The unbeaten Canadians clinched a spot in the Olympic championship game on Monday for the fifth straight time, beating Switzerland 3-1 in the semifinals. Natalie Spooner scored twice and Shannon Szabados stopped 21 shots to help the three-time defending gold medalists claim their Olympic birthright.

“We feel like we’ve prepared all year for this game,” Spooner said.

The U.S. beat Sweden 6-1 earlier in the day to reach the gold medal game, which it has not won since the sport’s Olympic debut in Nagano in 1998. Canada and the United States have won every gold medal and all but one silver in the sport’s Olympic history, and they’ve met in the final of every world championship since the inaugural event in 1990.

Canada beat the U.S. in the round-robin of the Sochi Games on Wednesday — the Americans’ only loss of the tournament. Canada and the United States also played seven times in the run-up to the Olympics, with the Americans holding a 4-3 edge.

“We’ve played a lot of great games against them,” Spooner said. “It’s going to be another one of those in the final.”

Melodie Daoust also scored for Canada, and five-time Winter Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser had a pair of assists to extend her Olympic career points record.

Florence Schelling, who went to Northeastern University in Boston, made 45 saves for Switzerland in what was the closest game against Canada in Swiss Olympic history. The Swiss will play Sweden on Thursday for the bronze medal.

“I think for us, it was a great game,” said Swiss coach Rene Kammerer, who described himself as “happy to be disappointed.”

“Months ago, if we lose to Canada just 3-1, it would be a great game for us,” he said. “I’m disappointed to lose. But, hey, it’s Canada, one of the best teams in the world, and we know it.”

Spooner scored 7:29 into the game after circling behind the net, putting a high wrist shot just beyond the reach of Schelling’s glove. She made it 2-0 on a power play less than four minutes later, and Daoust needed just 23 seconds after that to give Canada a 3-0 lead.

Jessica Lutz scored for Switzerland 5:14 into the second period to make it a two-goal game, and Szabados needed several good saves to keep if from getting any closer.

via AP



Kelly Clark Leads The Way into Women’s Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe Finals


The Olympic veterans moved directly to the finals after the qualification rounds. Leading the way was American Snow Idol, Kelly Clark with a 95.00 score. Nipping at her heels was Australia’s sweetheart Torah Bright and fellow American Hannah Teter. Clark topped the scores but all that goes out the window with the finals. Twelve riders will have two runs in hopes of capturing Olympic Gold. The best score of the two will determine the next Olympic medalists. Clark, Bright and Teter have all been on the Olympic podium before.

women olympic halfpipe snowboarding

Team USA’s Kaitlyn Farrington narrowly missed the direct to finals qualification but nailed her first run in the semi-finals which puts her back in the mix once again. Unfortunately teammate, Arielle Gold had to opt out of the Games due to a reported dislocated shoulder injury. Arielle’s brother Taylor, also an olympic snowboarder, confirmed via twitter that she suffered the injury in a practice run just before the qualification run.


The finals will take place LIVE on NBCOlympics.com and broadcast later this evening on tv. This will be an incredibly competitive field with the odds-on favorite being Kelly Clark. The halfpipe conditions have been challenging for the riders so anything is possible when it comes time for the finals.

HEAT ONE RESULTS
1. Kelly Clark (USA), 95.00
2. Queralt Castellet (ESP), 93.25
3. Sophie Rodriguez (FRA), 78.50

HEAT TWO RESULTS
1. Torah Bright (AUS), 93.00
2. Hannah Teter (USA), 92.00
3. Xuetong Cai (CHN), 88.00

SEMI-FINAL RESULTS
1. Kaitlyn Farrington (USA), 87.50
2. Jiayu Liu (CHN), 81.25
3. Shuang Li (CHN), 80.00
4. Ursina Haller (SUI), 44.50
5. Mirabelle Thovex (FRA), 70.75
6. Rana Okada (JAP), 70.00

Follow live coverage on twitter @hardbodynews.



Women Ski Jump for The First Time In The Olympics


Sarah Hendrickson will be the first official woman “allowed” to ski jump in the Olympics. Mark this day down and file it away for future trivia questions. The world will finally get to see the women in the Olympic Ski Jump.


Sarah is having some fun with the history making event on twitter.




Dara Howell Wins First-ever Women’s Freestyle Skiing Slopestyle


KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — The lasting image of freestyle skiing pioneer Sarah Burke is her ever-present smile, the one that helped inspire kids across Canada to slap on their skis and open their minds.

In an event that Burke’s extraordinary vision helped bring to the Olympics, Dara Howell channeled her idol’s style.

Mouth agape after a spectacular run on slush more suited for a snowcone, Howell continued Canada’s dominance at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park by soaring to gold as women’s slopestyle skiing made a sometimes inauspicious Olympic debut.

dara howell

Canada’s Dara Howell celebrates after taking the gold medal in the women’s freestyle skiing slopestyle final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

“I said the other day that I really hope a Canadian brings home a gold medal and it will be for Sarah,” Howell said. “This medal is definitely for Sarah. She pushed the sport.”

Burke died in 2012 at age 29 following an accident while training on the halfpipe.

A charismatic and accomplished performer and one of the key players in expanding freestyle skiing’s role in the Olympics, she served as a role model to a large swath of the Canadian freestyle team, including the 19-year-old who found herself atop a podium on Tuesday.

“She always wanted to see the progression,” Howell said. “To see the girls throwing what the guys were throwing … today I feel like that’s what I did.”

Howell unleashed a switch-900 — an off-axis spin that includes 2 ½ rotations — during a run that finished with a score of 94.20, trouncing the rest of the field on a warm and sometimes frightening day.

Devin Logan of the United States took silver. Kim Lamarre earned bronze to give Canada seven medals in four days of snowboarding and freestyle skiing, including three events in which they took two of the three spots on the podium.

“We’re over the moon right now,” said Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association. “Our target was to get six total — and we still have a few events left.”

Howell’s triumph was tempered by a series of frightening crashes, including one by teammate Yuki Tsubota. That ended with Tsubota being carried off the mountain on a stretcher with a possible fractured jaw. Russian Anna Mirtova wiped out during both of her final runs and said she’s heading for knee surgery.

“It was tough conditions,” Lamarre said. “It’s not easy for speed on slushy snow. You can’t always be perfect and land everything.”

Maybe, but Logan conceded that the Canadians are more perfect than most at the moment. While the U.S. grabbed gold in both men’s and women’s slopestyle snowboarding over the weekend, Canada has dominated everything else. Slopestyle snowboarder Mark McMorris earned bronze and Canada went 1-2 in both men’s and women’s moguls.

“They’re really good as you can see,” Logan said. “They’re definitely giving us a run for the money. It helps us progress our sport. It’s nice having a little bit of a rivalry trying to beat them or one up them.”

Only Logan’s acrobatic run to an 85.40 in the slopestyle skiing finals prevented the top of the podium from being covered with the Maple Leaf flag. Logan’s medal-winning sprint included a frontside 720-degree spin in which she gamely held on while landing.

Logan, who is from West Dover, Ver. but now lives in Oceanside, Calif., turns 21 next Monday.

After a soul-testing stretch that included two comebacks from a torn ACL in her right knee, her celebration includes a trip to Las Vegas and adding a tattoo.

“Not of the Olympic rings,” she added with a laugh.

Howell’s plans are more demure, including a trip back to Canada to ski with her 99-year-old grandfather, who still finds a way to get out on the mountain near her hometown of Huntsville, Ontario, every day. The two chatted briefly after her victory, a conversation that included a lot of screaming if not a lot of detail about what Howell had just done.

“He tries his best to understand it,” she said. “I don’t think he’s got it yet.”

The same could be said for a sport that looked more than a little unpolished in its Olympic debut.

Nearly half of the 44 qualifying runs over the series of rails, jumps — and one oversized Russian nesting doll — ended with a skier face down in the snow or pulling out of self-preservation.

“On days like this, normally we wouldn’t be trying to do our gnarliest tricks because we’re getting stuck,” said American Keri Herman, who came in as a medal contender but finished 10th. “But right now, we’re at (the Olympics), so here we go, let’s do it.”

Finals
1. Dara Howell (CAN) – 94.20
2. Devin Logan (USA) – 85.40
3. Kim Lamarre (CAN) – 85.00
4. Anna Segal (AUS) – 77.00
5. Emma Dahlstrom (SWE) – 75.40
6. Yuki Tsubota (CAN) – 71.60
7. Katie Summerhayes (GBR) – 70.60
8. Silvia Bertagna (ITA) – 69.60
9. Eveline Bhend (SUI) – 63.20
10. Keri Herman (USA) – 50.00
11. Julia Krass (USA) – 42.40
12. Camillia Berra (SUI) – 30.40

See more at: http://www.nbcolympics.com

Story via AP.

(AP Photo/Andy Wong)



Julia Mancuso Wins 4th Olympic Alpine Medal


Julia Mancuso 4th medal

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — For years, Julia Mancuso’s skiing accomplishments — and there were many — were overshadowed by Lindsey Vonn’s.

When it comes to Olympic Alpine events, though, no American woman comes close.

Turning in a terrific run to lead after the downhill, then recovering from a rattling start in the slalom, Mancuso earned the bronze in the super-combined at the Sochi Games on Monday for her fourth medal at an Olympics. She already was the only U.S. female Alpine racer with more than two, which is Vonn’s total.

“Skiing and growing up with someone like Lindsey, who’s just amazing on the World Cup and breaking records left and right there — to have something that I can break records in at the same time is also fun and exciting for me,” said Mancuso, whose two-run time of 2 minutes, 35.15 seconds was 0.53 slower than champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.

“If I can keep the Olympics as my thing, that’s fine,” Mancuso said, “and I’m really proud of it.”

It sure showed Monday, the way she punched the air and screamed for joy after the slalom, did a jig on her step of the podium during the flower ceremony, then ran around with a U.S. flag, hugging family members.

She won the gold in the giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Games, then silvers in the super-combined and downhill at Vancouver in 2010. Only two other Winter Olympians from the U.S., speedskater Bonnie Blair and short track star Apolo Anton Ohno, have won individual medals at three editions of the games.

“She is everything you want your athletes to be,” said Bill Marolt, CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. “She brings herself to her best possible level of preparation and puts it all out there.”

Only four women from anywhere own more Alpine medals than Mancuso, who can increase her total over the next two weeks, starting with Wednesday’s downhill. The record of six is shared by Croatia’s Janica Kostelic and Sweden’s Anja Paerson.

The 29-year-old Mancuso, who grew up in Squaw Valley, Calif., was asked what’s different about her when she’s in an Olympic start hut.

“I feel more nervous. It’s not nerves of failure, it’s just nerves,” she explained. “There’s just a lot of emotion and knowing that, ‘This is my chance. This is my shot.'”

At the 2010 Olympics, Vonn edged Mancuso in the downhill and added a bronze in the super-G. But because of recent knee surgery, Vonn is back in the U.S. this time around, commentating for NBC instead of competing.

While Vonn’s resume includes 59 World Cup race victories and four overall titles, Mancuso’s never enjoyed that sort of success. Mancuso has seven career World Cup wins, and really struggled this season, never better than seventh.

There were problems figuring which boots to use. There was the potential for a real crisis of confidence.

In December, she took time off to gather herself with an eye to the Olympics.

“You definitely start to doubt things, for sure. … The best thing we could have done is take a break for Christmas and New Year and then get back into it,” said Chris Knight, Mancuso’s personal coach on the U.S. team. “It was like pressing the reset button for her, and it has worked.”

Knight, who’s from New Zealand, also offered a theory for why Mancuso thrives at the Winter Games.

“She loves peaking for the big events. I mean, America doesn’t know what’s going on outside of the Olympics, right?” he said.

After Mancuso’s strong downhill Monday morning gave her a nearly half-second lead on the field, she still had to deal with a steep slalom course, one that nine of 31 starters failed to complete in the afternoon. No small matter, given that it had been more than a year since she completed a full slalom.

And the last time she raced such a challenging slalom?

“It’s been a while,” U.S. women’s coach Alex Hoedlmoser said with a laugh.

But with the lights along the Rosa Khutor course gleaming off her neon orange helmet, and a gold scarf tucked under her chin, Mancuso was good enough to sneak into the medals, 0.13 behind silver winner Nicole Hosp of Austria, and 0.10 ahead of fourth-place finisher Tina Maze of Slovenia, last season’s overall World Cup champion.

“It’s really inspiring,” U.S. teammate Leanne Smith said, “for everyone here to see how much of a gamer she is, every Olympics.”

___

AP Sports Writers Andrew Dampf and Pat Graham contributed to this report.

___

Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
Photo by: (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)



Jamie Anderson Shines Bright on the Slopes of Sochi


American snowboarding Jamie Anderson took home the first-ever Olympic gold medal in Women’s Snowboarding Slopestyle. Despite being only 23-years old she has become one of the most successful women in the snowboarding. It doesn’t matter if she’s on the podium or hanging with fellow riders, she’s always wearing a smile.

Jamie Anderson Gold Medalist Snowboarder

Get to know more about Jamie Anderson on NBC OLYMPICS.

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — There was a lot of ugliness out on that supersized Olympic slopestyle course Sunday — crashes, splashes, face plants, even a cracked helmet.

As she so often does, Jamie Anderson made things look beautiful again.

The world’s most consistent rider came through big under a huge amount of pressure — “I was freaking out,” she said — riding clean on the rails and stomping down three high-flying jumps on her second, and make-or-break, trip down the mountain. She scored a 95.25 on that run to make America 2 for 2 in slopestyle’s colorful and treacherous debut on the Olympic stage.

“It’s kind of a big deal,” said the gold medalist, who earlier this winter had conceded she was heading to Russia with some reservations about what the Olympics really stand for. “This is The Event.”

Enni Rukajarvi of Finland won silver and Jenny Jones took bronze to give Britain its first Olympic medal on the snow.

A heady piece of history for Jones, the 33-year-old, one-time ski resort housekeeper from Bristol, who was unapologetic in revealing she prepared for the big day by watching “Downton Abbey” back at her place in the athletes village.

Jones calls Anderson a “hippie,” and it’s true, the 23-year-old from South Lake Tahoe, Calif., likes yoga and meditation — and granola every now and then.

“I think it’s fair to say Jamie marches to the beat of her own drummer,” American coach Mike Jankowski said. “She likes to do things her way out here.”

Much as she wanted to relax while getting ready for her final run, she said it was, indeed, a little disconcerting standing at the top of the mountain, watching rider after rider take a fall. Of the 24 runs in finals, no fewer than 17 of them included a hand drag, a fall or worse — and that wasn’t counting Austrian Anna Gasser’s failed climb back up the first embankment after she was given the ‘go’ sign a second too soon.

Isabel Derungs of Switzerland fell off a rail and face planted into the snow.

Silje Norendal, the Norwegian who handed Anderson one of her few losses two weeks ago at the Winter X Games, fell off the first rail, bobbled on the second, then washed out completely on her second jump.

Worst of all, Sarka Pancochova of the Czech Republic lost it on the first jump of her second run, the back of her head slamming against the snow. Her body skittered down the hill, flipping side to side, with her legs flopping like a rag doll. Somehow, she got up and rode down the hill under her own power. When she got there, she showed off a pencil-wide crack that ran the length of her helmet.

“Well, it seems broken, but that’s what they are for, right?” said Pancochova, who was not seriously injured, according to team officials.

Against that backdrop, and overcast skies, Anderson, who lost her balance and nearly fell on the final jump of her opening run, reached the starting gate for the second.

“I was just visualizing, like, seeing myself already landing and coming down here,” she said. “Just trying to believe.”

She made a mini-Usain Bolt pose, as if getting ready to arch an arrow, pounded on her snow pants, then took off.

On a course thought by some to be too tough for women, where even Anderson fell and hurt her back during training, she was almost flawless.

She executed her half-rotating jumps on and off the rails — the most technical part of these runs — without problem, then set up for the show: Cab 720 jump with a grab, switchback 540 with a grab, frontside 720. That’s three jumps with a total of 5½ rotations and two fancy grabs of the snowboard. The landings: All perfect. Everyone knew it, including Anderson, who spread-eagled her arms as she crossed the finish line. Safe.

“Jamie is a lot of things,” said 19-year-old Karly Shorr, who finished sixth. “Jamie is a leader. She’s an awesome person. She’s a good friend. She thinks about other people and, honestly, she’s a good competitor. She does whatever she has to do to win. She never cracks under pressure. She uses it. She lands every time.”

Jankowski said the United States came into slopestyle’s debut hoping for a pair of medals. Shaun White pulled out, which may have dimmed those chances, but Sage Kotsenburg came up with the ride of his life to win the men’s contest Saturday.

Anderson had something different riding on this outcome.

“Jamie has been the face of women’s slopestyle for quite a few years now,” Jankowski said of the four-time X Games champion who routed the competition in four of five Olympic qualifying contests this winter. “That’s all very important, but when you’re at the Olympics, you have to land your run at the right time to cement your legacy.”

Anderson will celebrate with five of her sisters, a brother, a niece and her 80-something Bavarian neighbor, Gabriela, who she calls her “spirit grandmother.”

Her mom, Lauren, was there, too, holding a red-and-yellow scarf that read “Team Every1.”

“She’s tough. She’s a go-getter. She knows how to stay calm when the tension is on, somehow,” Lauren said of a daughter who turned pro when she was 13.

Must be all that Zen-like peace she gets from yoga and meditation, right?

“No,” Mom said. “Chutzpah. She’s got that chutzpah thing.”

Via AP Lead image by Isaac Hinds at the espnW Summit



NBC Olympics Presents Olympic Gold Map to Promote Youth Involvement In Sport Across U.S.


NBC OLYMPICS PRESENTS OLYMPIC GOLD MAP TO PROMOTE YOUTH INVOLVEMENT IN SPORT ACROSS U.S.
Grassroots Television and Online Initiative as Part of NBC Olympics’ Coverage of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games

SOCHI, Russia – Feb. 5, 2014 – In partnership with the United States Olympic Committee and the winter sport national governing bodies in the United States, NBC Olympics has created a ground-breaking initiative, the Olympic Gold Map, to promote grassroots youth involvement in Olympic and Paralympic sport. The initiative will be integrated into NBC Olympics’ multi-platform coverage of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, which begin tomorrow on NBC at 8 p.m. ET.

Olympic Gold Map

During its broadcast and cable coverage from Sochi, NBC Olympics will integrate a series of short promotional features driving viewers to a special section of NBCOlympics.com, NBCOlympics.com/gold-map, which will host an overview video and provide links to the various U.S. winter sport national governing bodies.

“For years, we have been receiving letters after each Olympics from parents describing the moment when their children, watching our coverage, fell in love with one sport or another,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “We want to capitalize on that moment of maximum inspiration and help kids take the first steps towards turning their own Olympic dreams into reality.”

Users will be encouraged to select the sport or sports that have piqued their interest, and the NGB websites, in turn, will provide further information about how children can get involved in their sports, such as contact information on the nearest opportunities for coaching and training.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to join in partnership with NBC and our national governing bodies on the Gold Map initiative to encourage American children to get involved in sport at a young age,” said Scott Blackmun, Chief Executive Officer, United States Olympic Committee. “When NBC first surfaced the Gold Map idea during its bid for the rights to the Sochi Games, we were impressed by their visionary thinking, and we are very excited to see the planning put into action.”

THE OLYMPICS BEGIN TOMORROW
With more Winter Olympic events than ever before, competition for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games from Sochi, Russia, will begin one day prior to the Opening Ceremony. As a result, NBC will begin its primetime coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics tomorrow night, Feburary 6 – one night before the broadcast network provides its traditional coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday February 7. This marks the first time NBC will air Olympic primetime coverage before the Opening Ceremony, and will feature the Olympic debuts of snowboard slopestyle (men’s and women’s) and team figure skating, as well as women’s freestyle moguls.

ABOUT NBC OLYMPICS
A division of the NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s Olympic coverage. It is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history.



NBC To Premiere How To Raise An Olympian


NBC TO PREMIERE HOW TO RAISE AN OLYMPIAN PRESENTED BY P&G WEDNESDAY AT 8 P.M. ET
Special To Feature Olympians Nick Goepper, Meryl Davis, Charlie White, Mikaela Shiffrin, J.R. Celski, Amy Purdy, and Lindsey Vonn

how to raise and olympian

Stamford, Conn. – February 3, 2013 – With three days remaining until the first competition day of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, NBC will premiere the Olympic primetime special How to Raise an Olympian, presented by P&G, on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. ET.

How to Raise an Olympian is hosted by TODAY correspondent and Opening Ceremony co-host Meredith Vieira. Produced by Weiden & Kennedy for P&G, How to Raise an Olympian expands on P&G’s “Thank You Mom: Raising an Olympian” campaign and features the love, support and challenges overcome by the mothers and families of:

• Olympic freeskier Nick Goepper (mother Linda);
• Olympic ice dancing silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White (mother Cheryl and Jacqui, respectively);
• Olympic alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin (mother Eileen);
• Olympic short track speed skater J.R. Celski (mother Sue);
• Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy (mother Sheri);
• Olympic gold medalist and TODAY and NBC Olympics correspondent Lindsey Vonn (mother Lindy).

How to Raise an Olympian debuts Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. ET.

THE OLYMPICS BEGIN FEB. 6, 2014
NBC will begin its primetime coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Thursday, Feb. 6, one night before the broadcast network provides its traditional primetime coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 7. This marks the first time NBC will air Olympic primetime coverage before the Opening Ceremony. The primetime broadcast on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, is scheduled to include competition in snowboard slopestyle (men’s and women’s), in which two-time gold medalist Shaun White will compete in slopestyle’s Olympic debut; team figure skating, which is also in the Olympics for the first time; and women’s freestyle moguls.



Video: Winter Olympic Slopestyle Course Preview


The Winter Olympic slopestyle qualifiers will take place on Thursday, February 6th. If you’re curious what the course looks like check out this video from Russian snowboarder, Alexey Sobolev. It gives you unique view from the rider’s perspective while checking out the 2014 Winter Olympic course.

slopestyle course preview



Inaugural Snowboard Cross U.S. Paralympic Team Announced


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced today that 10 athletes have been nominated to the 2014 U.S. Paralympic Team to compete in the inaugural snowboard cross competition at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, March 7-16. The nominations are subject to the approval of the USOC.

sochi paralympics
In May 2012, the International Paralympic Committee announced that men’s and women’s snowboard cross for athletes with lower limb impairments would debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games as a part of the alpine skiing program.

“This is a very exciting day to name our first-ever snowboarding team for the Paralympic Winter Games,” said Kevin Jardine, high performance director for U.S. Paralympics alpine skiing and snowboarding. “We have some of the best snowboarders in the world, and this group of 10 athletes is going to make history in Sochi. Some of these athletes have been training for this moment for years, while others found the sport more recently, but the common thread that runs throughout this team is just how dedicated and passionate they are. It is going to be an honor to work with this team in Sochi.”

The U.S. enters the Games with three of the top-ranked men in the world, with Evan Strong (Nevada City, Calif.) and Mike Shea (Castaic, Calif.) sharing the current No. 1 spot on the IPC world rankings, and Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah) is tied for third with Carl Murphy of New Zealand. Shea won four of the five world cup competitions this season, while Strong won one and earned two silver medals.

On the women’s side, Amy Purdy (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colo.) are tied for the No. 2 spot on the world rankings. Purdy and Duce, the national champion, have battled back-and-forth for podium positions throughout much of the season. Duce won two silver and two bronze medals in world cup competition this season, with Purdy winning two silvers and one bronze. American Nicole Roundy (Salt Lake City, Utah) is also at the top of the rankings, sitting in fifth.

Retired Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tyler Burdick (Salt Lake City, Utah), who was wounded in Afghanistan in 2010, is the only military veteran on the team. Burdick is No. 4 on the U.S. list and ranked No. 12 in the world.

Other nominees to Team USA include: Cristina Albert (Denver, Colo.), Megan Harmon (Huntsville, Ala.) and Dan Monzo (Vernon, N.J.).

The men’s and women’s snowboard events will be held on March 14. Paralympic snowboarders compete in snowboard cross, an event where athletes race one-at-a-time down a course with features including turns, drops and berms. Each athlete completes three runs of the course with the combined time of their best two runs determining the final winner based on time.

The USOC and NBC Olympics have partnered to provide an unprecedented level of coverage for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. NBC and NBC Sports Network will combine to air 50 hours of television, starting on March 7 with the Opening Ceremony. It will be followed by daily coverage of all five Paralympic sports in the Sochi program, before the Games’ Closing Ceremony is broadcast on March 16. In addition to the unprecedented U.S. television coverage, the USOC and streaming sponsors BMW, BP, Citi, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Procter & Gamble and The Hartford will provide live online coverage at TeamUSA.org.

U.S. Paralympic Team nominees for alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, sled hockey, snowboarding and wheelchair curling will be finalized by the USOC no later than Feb. 21, the deadline to submit Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games delegation rosters to the International Paralympic Committee. Selection procedures and dates can be found at TeamUSA.org/ParalympicGames/.

2014 U.S. Paralympic Snowboarding Team nominees

Women
Cristina Albert (Denver, Colo.)
Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colo.)
Megan Harmon (Huntsville, Ala.)
Amy Purdy (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Nicole Roundy (Bountiful, Utah)

Men
Tyler Burdick (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah)
Dan Monzo (Vernon, N.J.)
Mike Shea (Castaic, Calif.)
Evan Strong (Nevada City, Calif.)

Press Release via teamusa.org/US-Paralympics



New Winter Olympic Event – Snowboard SlopeStyle


The Winter Olympics are quickly approaching and new to the Games this year will be the Snowboard Slopestyle event. The event will debut with 30 male and 24 female snobwoarders at the upcoming Sochi 2014 Winter Games. The event features athletes doing tricks at insane heights, riding rails and performing at a level worthy of an Olympic medal. It’s truly something you have to see to believe.

olympic snowboarding slope style

The competition has three rounds… Qualification, Semi-Final and Finals. Each athlete has two runs in each round and the highest score of the two determines their placing. They are scored on the variety and execution of their tricks, amplitude, difficulty and landing. The highest scoring run in the final wins.

NBC analyst, Bob Costas has referred to this new event as ‘Jackass’ stuff on a recent TODAY show interview. We respect his right to an opinion and his contributions to sports over the years but c’mon man. Bob clearly needs to spend some time on the slopes and educate himself. Matt Lauer isn’t much better as he laughs it up like a giddy toddler watching a dog eat popcorn. Thankfully the clueless duo won’t be calling the action on this event in Sochi. NBC has since pulled the interview down citing “usage restrictions” but like anything on the Internet it lives on.

The final Olympic qualifiers are schedule to take place this week in Mammoth, California. There will be two qualifiers due to events being cancelled last week in Breckenridge, Colorado. It’s been a bit of a challenge for event organizers due to lack of snow in California and too much snow in Colorado (the cause of the Breck cancellation). The U.S. team rosters should be finalized and announced this weekend. A confusing set of rules left the snowboarder out in the cold after the event was cancelled. The skiing qualification round counted for the final placings however a different set of rules didn’t allow for that to be the case in snowboarding.

Jamie Anderson slope style snowboarding dew tour

Jamie Anderson after winning the 2013 Dew Tour.

Jamie Anderson leads the women’s Snowboarding slope style heading into the final two events. Ty Walker and Jessika Jenson are close behind in the current point totals. On the Men’s side of things, Chas Guldemond leads with rockstar snowboarder Shaun White in second.

Lead image via youtube.



P&G Thank You Mom – Raising an Olympian: Amy Purdy


“Love life. Have confidence in yourself.” Simple advice but convincingly true. Those word of wisdom were what what Amy Purdy’s mother shared with her. Amy is a paralympic snowboarder and the feature of this moving video. Proctor & Gamble does a great job with their “Thank You Mom” campaign. You might remember this campaign from the Summer Olympics. It’s one that never gets old and helps to tell the story of not only athletes but also their moms.

amy-purdy

Amy shared this on Facebook after seeing the video, “Wow this turned out amazing and brought me to tears! ‪#‎thankyoumom‬ for being so loving and supportive all the wonderful things you shared in this video brought me to tears! This reminds me of how far I have come! I am who I am ‪#‎becauseofmymom‬.”



US Snowboarding Grand Prix Start List Finals – Ladies’ Snowboard Halfpipe


US SNOWBOARDING GRAND PRIX START LIST FINALS – Ladies’ Snowboard Halfpipe
What: Ladies’ Ski Slopestyle
When: Saturday, January 11, 2014
Where: Breckenridge, CO (USA)
Start Time: TBD
Number of Competitors: 8

Start Order / Bib / Name / Country
1 / 8 Holly Crawford – AUS
2 / 7 Sophie Rodriguez – FRA
3 / 6 Kelly Clark – USA
4 / 5 Arielle Gold – USA
5 / 4 Queralt Castellet – SPA
6 / 3 Elena Hight – USA
7 / 2 Kaityln Farrington – USA
8 / 1 Chloe Kim – USA



FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup 2014 Start List Finals – Ladies’ Ski Slopestyle


FIS FREESTYLE SKI WORLD CUP 2014 START LIST FINALS
What: Ladies’ Ski Slopestyle
When: Friday, January 10, J2014
Where: Breckenridge, CO (USA)
Start Time: 09:30am
Number of Competitors: 8

Start Order / Bib / Name / Country
1 / 8 Zuzana Stromkova – SVK
2 / 7 Dominique Ohaco – CHI
3 / 6 Camillia Berra – SUI
4 / 5 Yuki Tsubota – CAN
5 / 4 Kim Lamarre – CAN
6 / 3 Devin Logan – USA
7 / 2 Emma Dahlstrom
8 / 1 Keri Herman – USA



Breck Grand Prix Day One Competitors’ Lists


The start lists are set for the 2014 U.S. Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colorado. Twenty-four women will compete in the Women’s Snowboarding Halfpipe. Some of the biggest names in women’s snowboarding are scheduled to compete. Kelly Clark took the top spot on the podium at the first stop on the tour. Look for Arielle Gold, Gretchen Bleiler and Chloe Kim to give her a run for the top spot. If Elena Hight can put down a solid run in the finals, she could be a threat but has struggled to find the podium in recent events. Hanah Teter is a name you might recognize, she was the gold medal in the 2006 Olympic Games.

breck-grand-prix

US SNOWBOARDING GRAND PRIX START LIST
Women’s Snowboarding HalfPipe – Start Time 10:25am – Wednesday January 8, 2014

StartNr Bib Name Nat
1 9 Emma Bernard FRA
2 10 Arielle Gold USA
3 11 Rebecca Sinclair NZL
4 12 Yuki Furihata JPN
5 13 Shuang Li CHN
6 14 Kelly Clark USA
7 15 Xuetong Cai CHN
8 16 Alexandra Duckworth CAN
9 17 Sophie Rodriguez FRA
10 18 Elena Hight USA
11 19 Kaitlyn Farrington USA
12 20 Mercedes Nicoll CAN
13 21 Queralt Castellet SPA
14 22 Mirabelle Thovex FRA
15 23 Gretchen Bleiler USA
16 24 Holly Crawford AUS
17 25 Haruna Matsumoto JPN
18 26 Calynn Irwin CAN
19 27 Hannah Teter USA
20 28 Kelly Berger USA
21 29 Madeline Schaffrick USA
22 30 Summer Fenton USA
23 31 Maddie Mastro USA
24 32 Chloe Kim USA

The Visa U.S. Grand Prix Slopestyle will have two heats with 18 women in each. Look for Maggie Voisin, Darian Stevens, Devin Logan, Keri Herman and Grete Eliassen to make a run for the top spots. They currently hold the top five spots in the Olympic Standings.

HEAT ONE

StartNr Bib Name Nat
1 9 Eveline Bhend SUI
2 10 Kim Lamarre CAN
3 11 Camillia Berra SUI
4 12 Anna Vincenti GBR
5 13 Devin Logan USA
6 14 Maggie Voisin USA
7 15 Reiko Oka JPN
8 16 Philomena Bair AUT
9 17 Darian Stevens USA
10 18 Hitomi Sato JPN
11 19 Megan Olenick USA
12 20 Yuki Tsubota CAN
13 21 Grete Eliassen USA
14 22 Nikki Blackall CAN
15 23 Jamie Crane-Mauzy USA
16 24 Filippa Ring SWE
17 25 Nanaho Kiriyama JPN
18 26 Melanie Kraizel CHI

HEAT TWO

StartNr Bib Name Nat
1 27 Anna Willcox-Silfverberg NZL
2 28 Katie Summerhayes GBR
3 29 Alexi Micinski USA
4 30 Silvia Bertagna ITA
5 31 Giulia Tanno SUI
6 32 Julia Marino PAR
7 33 Rebecca Roberts USA
8 34 Keri Herman USA
9 35 Zuzana Stromkova SVK
10 36 Anna Segal AUS
11 37 Anna Mirtova RUS
12 38 Emma Dahlstrom SWE
13 39 Julia Krass USA
14 40 Annabel Blake AUS
15 41 Dominique Ohaco CHI
16 42 Maude Raymond CAN
17 43 Taylor Lundquist USA
18 44 Tanja Gmuer SUI

 

Photo by Isaac Hinds – Athletes Kelly Clark



The Road to Sochi Comes Back Through Breck


The second stop on the Grand Prix Tour will be in Breckenridge, Colorado on January 8-12. This is one of five events used to qualify for the 2014 Olympic Team in skiing and snowboarding. We’ll be there covering the women’s events Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

road-to-sochi

NEWS RELEASE
The Road to Sochi Comes Back Through Breck: Champions Converge Jan. 8-12 for the 2014 Sprint U.S. Grand Prix

January 8-12 at Breckenridge Ski Resort Second stop of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix Series
Spectator Schedule and Access Announced

Breckenridge, Colorado – January 4, 2014 - On the heels of the holiday hustle and bustle, Breckenridge Ski Resortwill soon be feeling the Olympic spirit once again when the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix lands in Breck, Jan. 8-12, 2014. The second stop on the Grand Prix tour is among five events being used to qualify the 2014 Olympic Team for freeskiing and snowboarding.

Having recently played host to the opening qualifier at the Dew Tour Mountain Championships, Breck is perfectly prepared and landscaped for an unprecedented, second Olympic selection event this season in the resort’s famed Freeway Terrain Park.

“We are thrilled to have the road to Sochi come back through Breckenridge and support this important event in the US Olympic qualifying process,” said Breckenridge Ski Resort Marketing Director, Kieran Cain. “This is a huge testament to our staff who have built the best pipe and slopestyle venue in the world and we are incredibly honored.”

The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix will feature most of the top international slopestyle and halfpipe athletes, including local Breckenridge and Vail Resorts Epic Team athletes Brett Esser, Zack Black, Bobby Brown, Keri Herman from the US, British freeskier James Woods and Australian Anna Segal. The event will be broadcast on NBC and NBCSN. Please check local listings for TV broadcast times

Only a handful of Olympic spots have been clinched so far, with more anticipated at Breckenridge in the third of five Olympic selection events. The final Olympic team nomination announcements will be just one week later.

This public event schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, January 8
Slopestyle Skiing Qualifiers 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Halfpipe Snowboarding Qualifiers 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 9
Slopestyle Snowboarding Qualifiers 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Halfpipe Skiing Qualifiers 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Friday, January 10
Slopestyle Skiing Finals 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Slopestyle Snowboarding Finals 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 11
Halfpipe Snowboarding Finals 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 12
Halfpipe Skiing Finals 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Spectator Access:
To access THE BASE OF SLOPESTYLE spectators can walk up to the finish cor­ral from the Peak 8 base area. Adhere to all directional signage and stay out of closed snowmobile lanes.

To access HALFPIPE OR UPPER SLOPESTYLE viewing, take Rip’s Ride and follow footpath while adhering to directional signage and staying out of closed snowmobile lanes.

Free foot passenger tickets are available from the ticket windows and from guest services staff. A foot passenger ticket is required. Visit www.breckenridge.com for updated information or any schedule changes.

Lodging
Some lodging is still available at www.breckenridge.com or by calling a Breckenridge reservation expert at (800) 536-1890.

Stay Connected
Visit Breckenridge.comfor terrain updates, snow reports, lodging deals, event details and the lowest priced lift tickets guaranteed. Stay connected all season long and learn more about Breckenridge Ski Resort at www.facebook.com/Breckenridge watch official resort videos at www.YouTube.com/Breckenridge, and follow @Breckenridgemtn on Instagram and Twitter.

Photo by Isaac Hinds – Athlete Gretchen Bleiler 



Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn Out of Sochi


In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsey Vonn announced she would not be competing in the Winter Olympics next month. She shared that she was “devastated” to make the announcement after trying to overcome a nagging knee injury.

vonn-out

Vonn shared, “I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level.”

Lindsey ended her statement with, “On a positive note, this means there will be an additional spot so that one of my teammates can go for gold. Thank you all so much for all of the love and support. I will be cheering for all of the Olympians and especially team USA!”

Announcement via Facebook Fan Page.
Photo via FB



Journey To The Olympics: Jen Hudak


Two years ago, Jen Hudak was faced with devastation both emotionally and physically. She lost her best friend, Sarah Burke and injured her knee. Jen struggled to continue skiing and focus on returning to the sport she loved since a child. The injury and death of her friend forced her to shift her focus on how she approached life.

Jen Hudak Rise

This video is part of a series by Liberty Mutual. It’s well done and as they say, “we believe with every setback, there’s a chance to come back.” Check out Jen’s story and keep up with her on twitter @JenHudak where she shares a variety of inspiring nuggets. If you’re interested in chatting with Jen you can join her in her Google Hangout this week. #askJEN on #RoadtoSochi

RISE. JOURNEY TO THE OLYMPICS

Jen also has some of THE COOLEST images on instagram. You won’t find her taking any “selfies” of her booty but rather some of the most awe inspiring scenic photos and the occasional workout.

Jen ended 2013 with the cover of Backcountry magazine. She shared, “This was shot on New Years Eve Day on 2009 and was the start of my best competition season to date. I’m pumped to finally see this image in print and to start the new year with some of that energy.”

Jen’s Social
INSTAGRAM: jenhudak
TWITTER: jenHudak
FACEBOOK:facebook.com/jenhudakski
WEBSITE: jenhudak.com



Lindsey Jacobellis Returns After Multiple Injuries


Lindsey Jacobellis is one to watch at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She made her long awaited return to the mountain just before Christmas and she showed no signs of slowing down. It was her first snowboardcross victory in close to two years. Lindsey said in post race interview that it was tough mentally to get back in the mix after two knee surgeries and a broken thumb. Understandably so and we’re stoked to see her back on track.

Lindsey Jacobellis Wins

Lindsey is a 2006 Olympic silver medalist and has won gold at the World Championships on three separate occasions. She’s a seven-time X Games Champion and is on the invited list once again this year.

Via Youtube:
LAKE LOUISE, AB.– Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) made her overdue return to the podium Saturday with her first snowboardcross World Cup victory in nearly two years in Lake Louise, AB. Jacobellis has been absent from the sport since Jan. 2012 because of a knee injury.

lindsey and cindy in california
Lindsey and Hardbody Contributor, Cindy aka “The Sports Stylist” Whitehead at the 2013 espnW Women + Sports Summit.
 

Keep up with Lindsey…
Instagram: Lindseyjacobellis
Twitter: LindsJacobellis
lindseyjacobellis.com



Sarka Pancochova Wins U.S. Grand Prix Women’s Snowboarding Slopestyle


Team USA was poised for another podium sweep at the U.S. Grand Prix Women’s Snowboarding Slopestyle but ended up falling short. Jamie Anderson, who was the leading lady heading into the finals, fell on both of her final runs and ended up out of the top spots. Instead it was Czech’s Sarka Pancochova who was victorious and the only woman to score in the 90s. Switzerland’s Isabel Derungs edged out Elena Koenz by .25 for second. Ty Walker was the highest U.S. finisher in fourth.

sarka snowboarding

Results U.S. Grand Prix Women’s Snowboarding Slopestyle:
1. Sarka Pancochova (bib #29) CZE – 92.25
2. Isabel Deurngs (bib #3) SUI – 81.50
3. Lena Koenz (bib #56) SUI – 81.25
4. Ty Walker (bib #31) USA – 78.00
5. Enni Rukajarvi (bib #1) FIN – 76.00
6. Cheryl Maas (bib #48) NED – 46.25
7. Jamie Anderson (bib #2) USA – 45.00
8. Jessika Jenson (bib #37) USA – 21.50
9. Merika Enne (bib #38) FIN – 84.33
10. Karly Shorr (bib #54) USA – 80.66

The U.S. Grand Prix Tour returns to Breckenridge on January 8-11, 2014 where the competitors will be looking to secure a spot on the first-ever Olympic slopestyle snowboarding team.



Video: Gretchen Bleiler’s Remarkable Recovery


Gretchen Bleiler is one of the top female snowboarders in the world. Over the weekend she finished in third at the U.S. Grand Prix in Copper Mtn., Colorado. Impressive by any standard but what makes her podium appearance an even bigger deal is the challenges she’s overcome.

gretch-bleiler


Xgames.com recently published a video
in conjunction with Muscle Milk (one of Gretchen’s sponsors) that tells Gretchen’s remarkable story. While warming up she suffered a broken eye-socket, broken nose and a concussion. A number of people thought this would be a career ending injury for her but she wouldn’t hear any of that. As a pro athlete, Gretchen felt there was a way to get better.

When traditional eye exercises didn’t work, Gretchen and her team created their own program. The experimental technique combines ocular rehabilitation with high-intensity strength training and conditioning. Gretchen combined physical activity while focusing on a single point. Check out how Gretchen pushed herself and got back on a snowboard. She’s got her sights set on the Sochi Winter Olympics, which she says could be her last Games.


When doctors said she wouldn’t make a full recovery from a devastating eye injury, Gretchen Bleiler created an eye-strengthening training program that had never been done before and beat the odds.

Gretchen says, “I see the Olympics as this opportunity to get better, push harder and do things you never thought you could do.” We’re not all Olympic athletes but Gretchen’s story reminds us to never give up and keep pushing through adversity.

Follow Gretchen on twitter @GretchenBleiler and use #giveMestrength in your tweets to show your support. Props to Gretchen, Xgames.com and Muscle Milk for sharing this story.

Lead image compiled from Xgames.com video.



Brita Sigourney Soars to Victory at Copper Grand Prix


Brita Sigourney stood on the podium for the second week in a row but this time as the winner. Last weekend in Breckenridge, Colorado Brita finished third at the Dew Tour. The Dew Tour was her first contest back after having knee and shoulder surgeries.

brita copper

On her second run under, Copper Mountain’s Friday Night Lights, Brita nailed a 86.60 score. The score put her in the winner’s circle once again. Second place went to Maddie Bowman with a scow of 83.20. The two are in the hunt to make the U.S. Olympic Team. Rounding out the top three was Marie Martinod from France.

winners-copperOn the Podium in Copper. 

FIS FREESTYLE SKI WORLD CUP 2014 RESULTS
Ladies’ Ski Halfpipe – Copper Mountain, CO (USA)

1. Brita Sigourney (Bib #6 – USA)
Run 1 – 85.00
Run 2 – 86.60

2. Maddie Bowman (Bib #5 – USA)
Run 1 – 83.20
Run 2 – 83.20

3. Marie Martinod (Bib #2 – FRA)
Run 1 – 78.80
Run 2 – 49.80

4. Devin Logan (Bib #4 – USA)
Run 1 – 76.80
Run 2 – 20.00

5. Annalisa Drew USA (Bib #8 – USA)
Run 1 – 72.00
Run 2 – 65.40

6. Anais Caradeux FRA (Bib #9 – FRA)
Run 1 – 69.80
Run 2 – 69.80

7. Ayana Onozuka (Bib #1 – JPN)
Run 1 – 69.20
Run 2 – 69.20

8. Angeli Vanlaanen (Bib #3 – USA)
Run 1 – 67.40
Run 2 – 67.40

9. Mirjam Jaeger (Bib #7 – SUI)
Run 1 – 66.20
Run 2 – 66.20

10. Rowan Cheshire (Bib #10 – GBR)
Run 1 – 64.80
Run 2 – 43.60

11. Katrien Aerts (Bib #12 – BEL)
Run 1 – 60.60
Run 2 – 23.80

12. Megan Gunning (Bib #11 – CAN)
Run 1 – 52.60
Run 2 – 11.40

flying-skierBrita Sigourney soars during the Friday Night Finals.

 View complete results from the event, including the men, here.

 



NIKE Unveils Team USA Winter Collection


The 2014 Winter Olympics are quickly approaching and today Nike unveiled the Team USA Winter Collection. Check out some of our favorite items in the gallery below and for the complete collection and information on all the items visit winter2014.nikeinc.com.  Stay updated on all the latest news related to the US Olympic Team on olympictalk.nbcsports.com.

team-usa-nike

What do you think of the winter apparel? Join the conversation on our Facebook page and share your thoughts.

Props to @heidiburgett / twitter.



The 411 on the 2013 Dew Tour in Breckrendridge, Colorado


The 2013 Dew Tour kicks off this week in Breckenridge, Colorado. The free, 4-day action packed festival features ski and snowboarding competitions along with live music and other rad events. If you can’t make it to the event to see all the action live, don’t worry the event will be aired on NBC and on dewtour.com.

2013 dew tour

The Dew Tour’s iON Mountain Championships have been named the first of five official Olympic Selection events. This means fans will be treated to some of the best competition in the world as athletes look to secure their spot on the 2014 Winter Olympics team. We’ll be there covering the action and checking throughout the weekend.

NBC ION MOUNTAIN CHAMPIONSHIPS INFO
Dew Tour General Information
The Dew Tour is a free 4-day action sports and lifestyle festival coming to Breckenridge, Colorado December 12-15. The event features ski and snowboarding competitions with live music and the Dew Tour Experience where fans can enjoy athlete autograph signings, giveaways, games and more as they learn more about the Dew Tour partners.

Where is the Dew Tour?
The Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships will be held at Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8, just off of the BreckConnect gondola and the Colorado SuperChair.

Spectator Info:
All athlete events are taking place at Peak 8 of the Breckenridge Ski Resort. Spectators will be able to access the Slopestyle competitions directly from the Peak 8 Base Area; Look for directional signs for detailed access.
 
For all Superpipe events, spectators can access the venue in the Freeway Terrain park via Rip’s Ride (Chair 7) at the Peak 8 Base Area. Free foot passenger tickets are available at any Peak 8 ticket window, from guest service personnel or at the chairlift. Rip’s Ride is for uphill access only, so all foot passenger spectators will be required to walk down from the venue; proper footwear is encouraged.
 
Skier/Rider access is only available from Rip’s Ride, with a short traverse over to Freeway.
 
Busses and the BreckConnect Gondola will run late for the nighttime events from the Breckenridge Transportation Center.

The following events will be featured at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships:
Men’s Ski Superpipe

Women’s Ski Superpipe

Men’s Ski Slopestyle

Women’s Ski Slopestyle

Men’s Snowboard Superpipe

Women’s Snowboard Superpipe

Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle

Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle
Nike Snowboarding Streetstyle

What can someone expect in The Dew Tour experience?
The Dew Tour Experience reflects the culture of action sports and the lifestyle of our fans through live partner brand experiences. The Dew Tour Experience will be FREE for everyone. Our partners will have plenty for Dew Tour fans to enjoy including athlete autograph signings, giveaways, activities and more.

Where can someone watch coverage of the Dew Tour?
The iON Mountain Championships can be viewed on TV via NBC and NBC Sports Network. Fans can also live stream all the action at dewtour.com. Don’t miss every competition, athlete interviews, industry insiders and behind the scenes action from Breckenridge, all on Dew Tour Live and the NBC Sports Live Extra app for iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices.

2013 Schedule of Events TV and Online (Eastern Standard Time):
Thursday, December 12
11:30am – Men’s Freeski Slopestyle Semi-Final
3pm – Men’s Snowboard Superpipe Semi-Final

Friday, December 13
11:30am – Women’s Freeski Superpipe Final
1:30pm – Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Semi-Final
5pm – Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final
7pm – Men’s Freeski Superpipe Semi-Final

Saturday, December 14
12pm – Men’s Snowboard Superpipe Final
2:15pm – Women’s Snowboard Superpipe Final
4pm – Women’s Freeski Slopestyle Final
7pm – Men’s Freeski Superpipe Final
1am – Men’s Freeski Superpipe Final (Taped)

Sunday, December 15
12pm – Men’s Freeski Slopestyle Final
3pm – Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final

More info visit dewtour.com and follow @dewtour on twitter.



Would You Do 30 Squats for A Free Subway Ticket?


Chalk this up to one of the more creative approaches to marketing the Olympics. A new vending machine has been set up in Moscow intended to get people excited for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The machine was installed outside of one of the busiest subway stations and gives people the chance to earn a free ride. Do 30 squats in front of the machine and boom – free ticket.

winter olympics promotion squats subway

This is just the first installment from Russia’s Olympic Committee. They aim to “add elements of sport into daily life.” The committee has future plans to expand on the campaign. They will turn hanging handles on buses into exercise bands and install exercise bikes that produce electricity to charge cellphones.

It’s a unique way to promote the 2014 Winter Olympics and include a fitness aspect to it. It’s great to see this type of creative marketing being used and encourage people to be active. It’ll be interesting to see how many people are willing to participate. The 30 squat task has to be completed within two minutes. While most of you could knock out 30 squats in a blink of an eye, it remains to be seen what the general public will think.

This video shows how intrigued people are by the concept.

A subway ticket is typically 30 rubles (93 cents) for a single ride. There’s more information on olympicchange.ru however I don’t read Russian so if anyone does and would like to share more on what the site says, please let us know.

Would You Squat for a Free Subway Ticket?
View Results

Lead image via Youtube.
Info for story from AFP.



Wrestling Dropped from the Olympic Games


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) opted to keep the pentathlon and remove wrestling from it’s list of Olympic events. It’s a surprising move, considering wrestling is one of the oldest Olympic sports. The board reviewed 26 sports currently on the Olympic program and by eliminating one it allows for a new sport to be added to the program.

Wrestling joins baseball, softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu for a single spot in the 2020 Olympics. Considering the removal it’s highly unlikely that wrestling would be voted into the mix. In 2005, the IOC removed baseball and softball. Rugby and Golf will be part of the 2016 Olympics games.

AP Sports writer, Stephen Wilson writes…

The IOC program commission report analyzed more than three dozen criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors.

Previously considered under the closest scrutiny was modern pentathlon, which has been on the Olympic program since the 1912 Stockholm Games. It was created by French baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement.

Modern pentathlon combines fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting—the five skills required of a 19th century cavalry officer. The sport’s governing body, the UIPM, has been lobbying hard to protect its Olympic status, and the efforts apparently paid off.

Women’s Wrestling was added to the Olympics at the 2004 Athens Games.

NEWS RELEASE
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – IOC leaders have dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program.

The IOC executive board decided Tuesday to retain modern pentathlon – the event considered most at risk – and remove wrestling instead from its list of core sports.

The decision, announced by the IOC, was first reported by The Associated Press.

The IOC board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic program. Eliminating one sport allows the International Olympic Committee to add a new sport to the program later this year.

Wrestling, which combines freestyle and Greco-Roman events, goes back to the inaugural modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Read more on the story on Denverpost.com.



Lolo Jones Makes the US National Bobsled Team


Lolo Jones was America’s sweetheart heading into the London Olympics despite others having faster times in the 100m Hurdles. Now the track star is trying her hand at the U.S. Bobsled team. Whodda thunk?  She joins a team with a mix of veterans and rookies; she’s not the only female Olympic athlete on the roster. Olympians Tianna Madison and Emily Azevedo were also named to the national team. When’s the last time the Bobsled received this much attention? It’s likely been 20 years, when NFL football star Hershel Walker earned a spot on the 1992 Olympic team.

Lolo Jones Bobsled


PRESS RELEASE
U.S. national bobsled team named

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Oct. 25, 2012) – The 2012-2013 national bobsled team is composed of a diverse roster of powerful and determined athletes who are eager to carry the momentum from last season’s success into the upcoming World Cup circuit.

This season’s women’s bobsled team is a mix of rookies and veterans. Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.) received a bye onto the team for her World Championship bronze medal performance last season and will pilot USA I. Jamie Greubel (Newtown, Pa.) won both selection races to earn her position as pilot of USA II, while Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) was named to USA III in her third season as a driver.

The six women’s bobsled push athletes named to the national team includes: World Indoor Champion and American record holder 100-meter hurdler Lolo Jones (Des Moines, Iowa), 4×100-meter relay Olympic gold medalist Tianna Madison (Elyria, Ohio), 2010 Olympian Emily Azevedo (Chico, Calif.), World Championship medalist Katie Eberling (Palos Hills, Ill.), current Lake Placid start record holder Aja Evans (Chicago, Ill.), and former University of California at Berkeley track athlete Cherrelle Garrett (Hayward, Calif.).

Reigning World Champion Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) will once again drive the men’s team USA I sled. National Guardsman Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) earned his position at the helm of USA II after sweeping team selection races, while Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) will pilot USA III.

The pool of men’s bobsled push athletes is one of the strongest yet. The selection features Holcomb’s world championship push crew of Steve Langton (Melrose, Mass.), Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.). The remaining nine athletes named to the team includes veterans Adam Clark (Owenton, Ky.), Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas), Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Laszlo Vandracsek (Phoenix, Ariz.), Chris Fogt (Alpine, Utah), Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.), Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.) and rookies Andreas Drbal (Belmont, Calif.) and Nic Taylor (Hayward, Calif.).

The skeleton national team will be named following the final selection race on Nov. 1. The World Cup tour kicks off in Lake Placid, N.Y. from Nov. 8-10.

About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW of North America, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Autism Speaks, Park City Lodging, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.



Lolo Jones Off to Strong Start in U.S. Bobsled


Lolo Jones was one of the United States’ Olympic hopefuls in track and field. Lolo came up short and failed to medal but that didn’t stop America from wanting more of Miss Jones. Now the track star is testing thing in the bobsled event. Check out the story below.

lolo jones bobsled


LAKE PLACID, N.Y.–
Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones has posted an impressive start at the U.S. bobsled team selection races.

Seeking a push-athlete spot, Jones and pilot Jazmine Fenlator finished second in the opening night of selection races Saturday, their combined two-run time of 1 minute, 57.01 seconds just 0.05 seconds behind Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans (1:56.96). It was Jones’ competitive bobsled debut.

Greubel and Evans set a track push record of 5.43 seconds. Evans won the national push championships earlier this season.

Nick Cunningham and Johnny Quinn (1:54.51) won the first series of two-man races, followed by Cory Butner and Jesse Beckom (1:54.58) and Codie Bascue and Nic Taylor (1:55.04).

Veteran pilots Steven Holcomb and Elana Meyers have byes onto the national team.

Jones was among a group of U.S. track Olympians who were invited to the bobsled team’s push championships by coach Todd Hays last month, a decision Hays said was designed for them to “share their Olympics experiences with our athletes and to help boost team morale.”

It also was a bit of a recruiting ploy. Bobsled coaches have long tried to lure athletes from the track world, noting that their combination of speed and explosiveness is perfect for sliding.

And it might be working again. Jones and Fenlator were the leaders after the first run of the competition, and Jones suddenly is finding herself in a sled that might be in contention for a World Cup team spot.

“I’m just trying to take it all in,” Jones said. “It’s a new sport for me and there’s a ton of room for improvement. … I’m coming in here trying to learn everything quickly. I’m looking forward to fixing some things and hammering it out.”

Greubel and Evans rallied in their second run, continuing a breakthrough few days for Evans. Saturday’s competition was only her third time on the ice at Mount Van Hoevenberg.

Bree Schaaf and Emily Azevedo were third in the women’s race on Saturday night, finishing in 1:57.80.

In the men’s competition, even with Holcomb having a bye, the top three sleds were separated by only 0.53 seconds, which U.S. coach Brian Shimer said is a testament to the overall depth of the program right now.

“Every single day is race day with these guys,” Cunningham said.

Skeleton team races begin on Tuesday. Bobsled races continue Friday night, with the announcement of the national team to follow.

Story via Associated Press
Image via news.com.au



Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.