Olympics | KUOW News and Information

Olympics

The Winter Olympics ended on Sunday under a shower of fireworks with athletes waving flags and dancing exuberantly to K-Pop music. None of the 13 athletes with Pacific Northwest roots who competed in PyeongChang won a medal. But they seem to be coming home happy anyway.

The four-man bobsled competition at the Winter Olympics this weekend offers the last realistic chance for a Pacific Northwest athlete to bring home a medal. None of the 12 Northwest Olympians in South Korea has stood on the podium so far in these Winter Games.

If you've been watching the Winter Olympics, you may have noticed athletes native to one country competing for a different country's team. In fact, there are four Northwest-raised and trained Olympians who are competing under foreign flags.

If you're looking for an adrenaline-packed event to watch on TV during this year’s Winter Games, you’ll almost certainly be drawn to ski jumping. It’s a sport where the competitors speed down a ramp at nearly 60 mph before soaring hundreds of feet through the air.

It looks so extreme, you probably wonder how these athletes get their start.

The Winter Olympics are underway. Which event is the best? And why is sweeping better than vacuuming?

The opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will take place Friday, but the first competitions are already underway. The U.S. curling team of Matt and Becca Hamilton led off a mixed doubles tournament by defeating a team from Russia.

There was a smattering of applause for each team as they were announced. The loudest cheers were reserved for the host South Korean team, which was also on the ice as part of the mixed-doubles tournament at the Gangneung Curling Center.

Athletic talent runs in the family on the U.S. Olympic team headed to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Games. There are three sets of siblings on this year's Olympic cross-country skiing squad—two of which have Northwest roots.

The U.S. Olympic Committee officially announced the members of the 2018 Olympic Team Friday morning and the Pacific Northwest was well represented.

Ten athletes from Oregon and Washington state will travel with Team USA to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, including downhill skiers, cross country skiers, short track speed skaters, a snowboarder and one bobsledder. Additionally, two snowboarders raised in the Pacific Northwest will compete at the PyeongChang Games for other countries -- Australia and Russia.

When Team USA marches into a South Korean stadium for the Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies next month, they'll be swathed in Northwest wool. Team sponsor Ralph Lauren used wool from an Oregon ranch for the patriotic sweaters, mittens and hats.

With the Winter Olympics only weeks away, excitement is mounting for participating athletes. But that joy has been marred by recent tragedies. French skier and Olympic hopeful David Poisson was killed at the Nakiska ski area in Alberta, Canada, in mid-November after crashing through a safety barrier and hitting a tree. Weeks later, German skier Max Burkhart was also killed in Alberta, competing at the Nor-Am Cup.

The accidents, and others, leave some asking whether the risks of some winter sports are at best unreasonable and at worst immoral.

Two more Pacific Northwest athletes are heading to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

At the Winter Olympics, which get underway next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea, some of the most blistering speeds will come in the three high-adrenaline sliding sports, where top athletes zip on the ice at about 90 miles an hour.

There's bobsled, kind of like a downhill race car on steel runners.

In the luge, athletes lie back on a sled, going down the track feet first and face up.

And then there's skeleton, where racers go head-first, face-down, in a blink-and-you-miss-it blur of speed.

Co-workers move a stone down the ice at Granite Curling Club. The club rents out their facility for group parties.
Courtesy of Gil Aegerter

It will be a flurry of brooms and stones on the ice in Everett for the next week. The U.S. Curling Nationals got underway Saturday at Xfinity Arena and runs until Saturday, February 18.

Fresh off the Olympic Games, Brazil now hosts the Paralympic Games. Athletes from the Northwest are packing up this week to fly south to compete in sports such as wheelchair rugby, sitting volleyball -- and goalball.

Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Nathan Adrian received a rapturous welcome home from his hometown of Bremerton, Washington, Monday.

The three-time Olympian got the full rock star treatment from his hometown. A police cruiser escorted Adrian from his boyhood home to his high school where screaming fans lined up by the hundreds for an autograph and a picture. Bremerton’s mayor gave him a key to the city.

Seattle Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo was suspended from the U.S. National Team after her comments following a loss to Sweden in the Olympics.
Flickr Photo/Herald Post (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/a3xihe

Bill Radke speaks with Mike Pesca, host of Slate's podcast The Gist, about the decision by the U.S. National Soccer Team to suspend star goalie Hope Solo because of remarks she made during the Olympics in Rio. 

Gamers want video games at the Olympics already!

Aug 22, 2016
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REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

The next Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo in 2020. The host city made quite an entrance during the closing ceremonies Sunday night. In a pre-recorded skit, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe transformed into Super Mario and proceeded to travel to Rio via pipe. Like from the Super Mario video games.

Then, in Rio, emerging a pipe in the middle of the stadium, suddenly it's Super Mario live. He changes out of his costume and he's ... Prime Minister Abe.

 

Eight more Olympic medalists with ties to our region stood on the podium this weekend before Brazilian music brought the Summer Games to a close in Rio de Janeiro.

Portland runner Galen Rupp returns to competition at the Summer Olympics early Sunday morning. Rupp will race in the men's marathon just a week after he finished fifth in the 10,000-meter run.

Oregon's Ashton Eaton successfully defended his Olympic decathlon title Thursday night at the Summer Games in Rio. Eaton stayed on top of the leader board for nearly all of the two-day, ten event test of speed, strength and stamina.

"There was no robbery," says Rio de Janeiro Civil Police Chief Fernando Veloso, at a Thursday news conference about four U.S. swimmers who claimed to have been held up at gun point during their time at the Summer Olympics.

Speaking Thursday at a news conference about the robbery that was reported by decorated U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte, Veloso said that Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger, two of Lochte's teammates who were with him on the night in question, have now confirmed that the robbery story was a fabrication.

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET: USOC Apologizes

Fu Yuanhui, a Chinese swimmer at the Rio Olympics, made headlines this week for telling the world she was on her period.

A major budget crisis is threatening this year's Paralympic Games in Rio.

The president of the International Paralympic Committee is warning there might be cuts to athlete services at the games next month, while insisting that the funding woes won't stop the games entirely.

"Although the situation is pretty precarious, rumours that the Games may not go ahead or that sports may be cut are totally unfounded and not true," Philip Craven said in a statement Monday.

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The Olympic Games are being broadcast and streamed far beyond Rio de Janeiro. One place where the crowds watching the competition are really dedicated? One of the world's largest refugee camps, a place called Kakuma in northwest Kenya.

Some 200,000 refugees live there in a crowded and sprawling tent city overseen by the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR.

"That bullet almost hit my bed. Have mercy, please God, deliver us," a resident in a group of Rio favelas called Alemao said in a message posted Saturday on the WhatsApp smartphone messaging service.

While media attention has focused on U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and three other U.S. swimmers who were robbed at gunpoint on Sunday, violence is surging in Rio's favelas, or shantytowns, far from the games.

Eighty years ago this month, the United States competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games in Nazi Germany, with 18 African-American athletes part of the U.S. squad.

Track star Jesse Owens, one of the greatest Olympians of all time, won four gold medals. What the 17 other African-American Olympians did in Berlin, though, has largely been forgotten — and so too has their rough return home to racial segregation.

There were medals a-plenty for Northwest athletes competing at the Summer Olympics in Brazil this weekend. One runner from Portland missed out on the podium in a dramatic race, but got kudos afterwards for sportsmanship.

In a stunning upset in Olympic women's soccer Friday, Sweden eliminated defending gold medalists and reigning World Cup champions Team USA. The quarterfinal match in Brasilia went to penalty kicks after the teams deadlocked 1-1 through 120 minutes of play.

Thursday night in Rio, for the first time in history, a black woman won an individual swimming medal in the Olympics. Simone Manuel, a 20-year-old from Sugar Land, Texas, tied for the gold medal in the women's 100-meter freestyle with an Olympic record time of 52.70 seconds.

At first, it wasn't clear just what had happened in the women's 100-meter freestyle at the Summer Olympics in Rio. It's a blaze of a race that rarely puts big gaps between its finishers. But in this case, two swimmers who had matched each other stroke for stroke — Simone Manuel of the U.S. and Penny Oleksiak of Canada — came into the wall at the same instant.

All was soon made clear: Not only had these two swimmers hit the wall together; they had also set a new Olympic record of 52.70 seconds, writing their names in the record book.

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