Feb 6, 2013, 12:33 PM EST
The competition in Sochi starts a year from today, but with nationals and World Cup events happening as we speak, the competition is already heating up. We still don’t know who will compete in the Winter Olympics next February, but here’s a look at some of the top questions we’ll be asking all year.
Can Shaun White Three-peat?
White has won the last two Olympic titles in halfpipe, and the last six X Games titles in superpipe, but it still seems like everyone is nipping at his heels, most notably fourteen-year-old Japanese phenom Ayumu Hirano, who finished with silver in Aspen last month. White will also face Finland’s Markus Milan and America’s Scotty Lago. but we’re sure White will have something new up his sleeve for Sochi.
How well will Lindsey Vonn do in Sochi after the injury?
Questions will linger about Vonn’s conditioning coming off such a serious knee injury – she tore two right knee ligaments and fractured a bone in her shin – but as Christin Cooper told NBC Nightly News on Tuesday, “she’s gonna work as hard as anybody ever has to be in shape to win medals in Sochi.” We expect world champ Tina Maze of Slovenia to inspire her recovery, and expect nothing but the best from Lindsey.
Can Evan Lysacek be the first man to repeat in figure skating singles since 1952?
He can. Absolutely, so long as he’s healthy. The Vancouver champ missed this year’s nationals with a groin injury, but said he’s 100 percent now and ready to make a run for a second gold in Sochi. He’ll likely be facing-off against three-time medalist Yevgeny Plushenko, who recently had back surgery, and a host of worldwide up-and-comers including Javier Fernandez of Spain and new American national champ, Max Aaron.
What about Yuna Kim?
The South Korean star is also looking to repeat, and looked great in Germany back in December, winning gold at her first event in more than eighteen months. She should lock up a spot in Sochi at worlds in March, and definitely looks to shine on the ice again, but Americans Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold, who were both impressive at U.S. nationals last month, might have something to say about that.
How will the Russians do at their first hometown Winter Games?
The Russians have always been one of the most formidable nations at the Winter Games, but disappointed themselves and Vladimir Putin by only winning fifteen medals in Vancouver; and only three gold. They’ll aim for the top of the medal table in Sochi with stars like Plushenko, a hockey team led by NHL stars Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin, speed skater Ivan Skobrev, and just about everyone on cross-country skis.
How on earth can I enjoy the Olympics more?
With more events, obviously. Twelve to be exact, which means there’s 36 more medals to be won (by the U.S.) and an exponential amount of excitement to be had. Here’s the list:
Figure skating: team event.
Snowboarding: men’s and women’s slopestyle, men’s and women’s parallel special slalom
Freestyle Skiing: men’s and women’s slopestyle; men’s and women’s halfpipe
Ski jumping: women’s normal hill
Biathlon: mixed relay
Luge: team relay
Dec 13, 2013, 8:02 AM EST
The extra snow saved from last winter may not be needed during the Sochi Olympics due to high amounts of snow already and a favorable forecast for more. “There’s normally no snow there in December, but it has snowed ahead of schedule,” said Roman Vilfand, director of the Russian Meteorological Office, according to Reuters. “There is…
Dec 13, 2013, 7:48 AM EST
The 1996 Olympic Stadium may be getting the boot, but Centennial Olympic Park could be receiving an upgrade. The Atlanta Business Chronicle published a slideshow of proposed changes to the area most famous for being the site of a bombing during the 1996 Olympics. In the above video, NBC 11 in Atlanta followed up on the report…
Dec 12, 2013, 4:54 PM EST
Shaun White took a conservative halfpipe run to open the Olympic season. It was still unbeatable in qualifying at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships on Thursday. The two-time reigning Olympic champion scored 91.40 points in his first of two runs in Breckenridge, Colo., putting his hand down at the bottom of the pipe in an otherwise…
Dec 12, 2013, 3:44 PM EST
Canada’s women’s hockey team is on a three-game winning streak against the U.S., will play the Americans on Thursday night and are preparing for the Olympics in two months. Now, the three-time reigning Olympic champions must replace their head coach. Dan Church abruptly resigned for personal reasons Thursday, according to Hockey Canada. Assistants Danielle Goyette and Lisa Haley…
Dec 12, 2013, 3:08 PM EST
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted to being “way too aggressive” in his years of denying doping allegations but said that he was “singled out” for being combative. Armstrong, who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles last year, said he would still dope if he had to do it over again because most…
Dec 12, 2013, 12:49 PM EST
The end of Evan Lysacek‘s Olympic comeback leaves a gaping hole for U.S. men’s figure skaters to attempt to fill. Lysacek is an Olympic and world champion with five Four Continents Championships medals and two Grand Prix Final medals. No other active U.S. men’s skater has finished better than fifth at an Olympics or World Championships.…
Dec 12, 2013, 10:25 AM EST
Seth Wescott knows a thing or two about coming back to win Olympic gold. In 2006, the man from Maine passed Slovakian Radoslav Zidek in the second half of the first Olympic snowboardcross final and edged him out for victory by less than the length of a snowboard. In 2010, Wescott moved from last place…
Dec 12, 2013, 9:22 AM EST
The U.S. women’s bobsled team, fresh off unprecedented success at last week’s World Cup stop, made more changes to its lineup going into this weekend’s races in Lake Placid, N.Y. The U.S. went 1-2-2 in Park City, Utah, on Saturday. It marked the first time the U.S. swept a women’s bobsled podium since 2001, the…
Dec 11, 2013, 4:09 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn plans to compete in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21 as her comeback from major knee surgery continues. The Olympic downhill champion will skip this weekend’s World Cup stop in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The World Cup stops for a slalom in between St. Moritz and Val d’Isere, but Vonn said in October she didn’t…
Dec 11, 2013, 2:14 PM EST
2006 Olympic champion Hannah Teter‘s bid to make a third U.S. Olympic Team is off to an inauspicious start. Teter, 26, was the biggest name not to qualify for the women’s snowboard halfpipe final at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo., on Wednesday. She took 16th in qualifying, where the top eight advance to…
Dec 11, 2013, 11:02 AM EST
Moscow-based TV journalist Vladimir Pozner will be a correspondent for NBC Olympics’ late-night show with Bob Costas during the Sochi Games. “With his deep Russian roots and American upbringing, Vladimir Pozner is uniquely qualified to provide a Russian outlook to our audience during the Sochi Olympics,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics. “At yet another significant moment in…
Dec 11, 2013, 10:10 AM EST
Four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson scrutinized doping in track and field and the popularity of the sport outside Usain Bolt at a forum in Doha, Qatar, on Wednesday. “You are never going to have a situation where no one cheats — athletics is a microcosm of real life, and in real life you will always have people who…
Dec 11, 2013, 9:37 AM EST
An emerging medal contender in the super-G is out for the season after suffering a major knee injury in a race last weekend. Italy’s Sofia Goggia, who was fourth in the super-G at the World Championships in February, suffered a rupture of the cruciate ligament and a meniscus lesion on her left knee in a downhill crash…
Dec 10, 2013, 5:46 PM EST
U.S. Olympic qualification for snowboarding and freeskiing will be among the toughest of all sports. It begins in Breckenridge, Colo., this week. The Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships, which run Wednesday through Sunday, are the first of five stops in this trials process. The others are on the U.S. Grand Prix schedule — Copper Mountain, Colo.,…
Dec 10, 2013, 2:08 PM EST
Dreaming of NFL players in the Olympics? While any possibility is far, far away, the International Olympic Committee provisionally recognized football’s international sports federation Tuesday. “On behalf of the IOC, we are delighted to welcome the IFAF [International Federation of American Football] into the Olympic Family,” said IOC sports director Christophe Dubi, according to a press release.…
Dec 10, 2013, 1:43 PM EST
Specific areas for protests or demonstrations have been set aside for the Sochi Olympics by Russian Games organizers, the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday. “People who want to express their opinions or want to demonstrate for or against something,” IOC president Thomas Bach said, according to The Associated Press. “This is a measure we welcome so that…
Dec 10, 2013, 12:05 PM EST
An outpouring of social media support followed Evan Lysacek‘s announcement that he would not defend his Olympic figure skating title. They came from fellow figure skaters, of course, but also the U.S. Olympic community. The widespread well wishes showed the level of admiration and respect for Lysacek across the Olympic landscape. Here’s a selection of posts:…
Dec 10, 2013, 9:53 AM EST
Call him Sir Bradley Wiggins. The 2012 Olympic and Tour de France champion was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. “I can’t remember what she said or what I said,” Wiggins said, according to Sky Sports. “It’s probably more nervous going up there and doing something like that being in an Olympic…
Dec 10, 2013, 9:35 AM EST
Rosa Khutor, a Sochi Olympic mountain cluster venue, is set to officially open for ski season Saturday. But four days before that, and less than two months before the Olympics, an avalanche warning was issued for the mountains near the Russian Olympic host city. “Avalanches could cause blackouts, disruption of communications, housing services and transportation,”…
Dec 10, 2013, 8:22 AM EST
Evan Lysacek will not defend his Olympic figure skating title. Lysacek, 28, was unable to recover fast enough from a torn labrum in his left hip to qualify for the Sochi Olympics, he said on TODAY on Tuesday morning. The Chicago Tribune first reported the news overnight, saying Lysacek would not compete at all this season.…
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