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Everything you need to know about the Olympics; including athletes with Granite State ties

The Washington Post

February 08. 2018 10:07PM

Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States takes the podium during women's downhill race in the 2017 FIS alpine skiing World Cup at Lake Louise Ski Resort in December. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
NH-connected Olympians
Alpine skiing

Mikaela Shiffrin, former Lyme resident

Freydis Einarsdottir, Plymouth State student (representing Iceland)

Tricia Mangan, Dartmouth student

David Chodounsky, Dartmouth '08

Tommy Ford, Dartmouth '12

Nolan Kasper, Dartmouth '14

Andrew Weibrecht, Dartmouth '09


Sean Doherty, Center Conway resident

Clare Egan, former UNH graduate student

Emily Dreissigacker, Dartmouth '11

Susan Dunklee, Dartmouth '08

Freestyle skiing

Eric Loughran, Pelham resident

Nordic skiing

Annika Taylor, UNH '15 (representing Great Britain)

Rosie Brennan, Dartmouth '11

Patrick Caldwell, Lyme resident and Dartmouth '17

Sophie Caldwell, Dartmouth '12

Annie Hart, Dartmouth '14

Tucker Murphy, Dartmouth '04 (representing Bermuda)

Ida Sargent, Dartmouth '11

Men's ice hockey

Bobby Butler, UNH '10

Broc Little, Rindge resident

Women's ice hockey

Hilary Knight, former Hanover resident

Cali Flanagan, Hudson resident

Kacey Bellamy, UNH '09

Laura Stacey, Dartmouth '16 (representing Canada)


Laura Schuler, Dartmouth women's hockey head coach who is head coach of Canadian women's hockey team

Tim Baucom, Andrew Morehouse, cross-country skiers at UNH who are part of coaching staff for Team USA

Q: When do the Games begin?

A: Competition got underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Thursday, but the official start is today, with the opening ceremony.

Q: Who participates?

A: More than 2,900 athletes from 92 countries will compete in 15 disciplines. The program includes a record 102 events: 49 for men, 44 for women, 7 mixed gender and 2 “open” (men and women compete against each other).

The United States is sending a team of 243 athletes, the largest delegation ever sent to a Winter Olympics.

Q: Who are the Americans to watch?

A: Many Olympic veterans return, but there are also plenty of new faces on Team USA.

Skier Lindsey Vonn was unable to compete four years ago in Sochi, but the 33-year-old is determined to add to her pair of 2010 Olympic medals.

Slalom specialist Mikaela Shiffrin, a lonetime resident of Lyme, N.H., is the best in the world in her discipline.

Speedskater Shani Davis has four Olympic medals but was shut out in Sochi four years ago, so at 35 he likely is making his final Olympic appearance.

Bradie Tennell was the surprise winner of the U.S. figure skating championships in January and will make her first Olympic appearance.

Maame Biney has already made history as the first African American woman to make a U.S. speedskating roster. She competes in the short-track discipline.

The U.S. snowboarding team is as strong as ever. Kelly Clark has medaled in the halfpipe in three of the past four Olympics and was fourth in Turin in 2006. Jamie Anderson will defend her slopestyle gold. Julia Marino will make her debut in slopestyle and big air, but she already is among the best in the world in both disciplines. Shaun White hopes to bounce back after missing the medal stand in Sochi in what will probably be his last Olympic halfpipe event.

Heather Bergsma is the reigning world champion in the 1,000-meter long-track speedskating event.

Katie Uhlaender is on her fourth Olympic team in skeleton. She was fourth in Sochi.

Q: Who WON’T be there?

A: Good question. Alex Ovechkin and his NHL teammates, for starters. The NHL wanted the International Olympic Committee to insure its players during the tournament, as it did in Sochi. The International Ice Hockey Federation backed the NHL, and the IOC forbade any national team from selecting NHL players.

American Ashley Wagner was a surprise omission from the U.S. figure skating roster after Tennell’s breakout performances in Skate America and the national championships.

Russia won’t be there — as an official delegation. Russian athletes will be allowed to compete if they can show they are in compliance with anti-doping rules, but they will compete under a neutral flag and will be designated Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). An OAR participant who wins a gold medal will hear the Olympic anthem played instead of the Russian one.

Injured skiers Travis Ganong and Steve Nyman won’t compete, and Julia Mancuso — at 33, the most awarded skier in U.S. history — recently retired.

Q: What are some must-see events?

A: The first medal in short-track speedskating is awarded Saturday, and that should be a scene. Short track is South Korea’s favorite sport, and all of those races should be fun to watch.

Figure skating isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the most popular of those events are the men’s long program Feb. 17 and the women’s Feb. 23.

White competes in men’s snowboard halfpipe on Feb. 13 (qualifying) and Feb. 14 (finals). He is no longer the best in the world but he was one of the athletes who brought extreme sports into the Olympic mainstream — and he is still pretty good.

Biney likely will skate in the women’s 500-meter short-track final next Tuesday.

Skiing kicks off competition with the men’s downhill on Feb. 11. If you want to see Team USA medals, check out the women’s giant slalom (next Monday) and slalom (next Wednesday).

The United States and Canada square off in women’s hockey next Thursday, and to paraphrase the late Keith Jackson, “These teams plain don’t like each other.”

All the bobsled events are entertaining, and the United States has top teams in all three: men’s two-man (Feb. 19), women’s two-man (Feb. 21) and men’s four-man (Feb. 25).

And speaking of hockey, a women’s hockey team of both North and South Koreans plays Saturday. This diplomatic strategy angered many in South Korea, coming so close to the start of the Games. At least three North Koreans must play in each game.

Q: So how can I watch all of this?

A: NBC paid nearly $1 billion for broadcast rights, so the network won’t let a little thing like a 14-hour time difference impede scheduling. Figure skating will be held in the morning, putting it squarely in NBC’s prime-time window the day before in America. Skiing — both Alpine and freestyle — and snowboarding will also fit nicely into NBC’s schedule.

Events — some live, some taped — also will be telecast on NBC Sports Network, CNBC, USA and the Olympic Channel. And everything will be available via live-streaming — including the opening ceremony, which begins today at 6 a.m. Eastern time — at and on mobile devices with the NBC Sports app.

Winter Olympics