From the only triple axel landed by a female American skater at the Olympics to the USA’s first men’s single medal in luge at the Games, U.S. athletes are making history in the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Athletes from 92 nations are fiercely competing for a chance to stand on those coveted Olympic podiums in Pyeongchang, South Korea. There are 15 different sporting activities and a total of 102 events.
Team USA already has 21 Olympic medals. Here’s a look at the winning Olympians.
Jamie Anderson, women’s snowboard slopestyle
Team USA’s Jamie Anderson took home the gold in the 2018 Winter Games after she performed in less-than-perfect weather conditions.
“I was trying to keep the spirits high, like, ‘Let’s run it,'” the 27-year-old athlete said, according to the Associated Press. “A handful of the girls were like, ‘No, it’s not safe,’ and things like that. It’s not like what we’re doing is safe, anyhow.”
Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall, women’s cross-country skiing
The U.S. women’s cross country team won its first ever medal – and it was gold.
Led by Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall, the women’s team pulled off a huge upset and won the Olympic event, beating out the Swedes and Norwegians.
The women’s historic win comes more than 40 years after Bill Koch won the only other Olympic medal in cross-country skiing – silver.
Red Gerard, men’s snowboard slopestyle
The conditions for the men’s snowboard slopestyle were less than ideal, but 17-year-old Red Gerard made it through the swirling winds to capture the United States’ first gold medal of the 2018 Olympics.
Gerard reportedly overslept before his event because he stayed up too late watching Netflix and had to borrow his roommate’s jacket when he couldn’t find his own. Still, Gerard, the underdog, overcame the odds and made it to the top of the podium with a score of 87.16.
Chloe Kim, women’s snowboard halfpipe
At 17, Chloe Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic snowboarding gold medal during the Winter Games. Kim dominated two amazing runs on the women’s snowboard halfpipe, earning her the first place spot on the medal podium.
Kim’s Olympic dreams were realized with a special family member cheering her on in person – her South Korean grandmother. Kim’s parents emigrated to the U.S. from South Korea, making her Olympic debut in Pyeongchang all the more special.
Mikaela Shiffrin, women’s giant slalom
Mikaela Shiffrin trailed the competition after her first ride down the slope but powered through her final run to take the top time and win the women’s giant slalom, her second career Olympic gold medal.
The 22-year-old won her first gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the women’s slalom.
David Wise, men’s halfpipe
With the most technically precise run ever seen in the sport of halfpipe skiing, David Wise won the gold for the U.S. He scored a 97.2 in the event, beating out his American counterpart.
Four years ago, Wise won gold on the halfpipe in the Sochi Olympics.
Shaun White, men’s snowboard halfpipe
Winning his third Olympic gold medal, snowboarder Shaun White made history in the 2018 Games as he scored America’s 100th Winter Games gold medal.
“The Flying Tomato” is the first American male to win gold in three different Winter Games as well; he won his previous two medals in Turin in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010.
White, 31, had a near perfect score of 97.75 on his final run on the halfpipe. He started off strong on his first run, but fell on his second of three attempts.
Team USA, women’s hockey
In a dramatic shootout, the United States women’s hockey team defeated rival Canada 3-2 to win their first gold medal since 1998.
American Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson broke the deadlock in the shootout’s sixth round and goalie Maddie Rooney stuffed the last two Canadian shooters to clinch the victory.
Jamie Anderson, women’s snowboarding big air
Her second medal win of the Games, Jamie Anderson clinched a silver medal during the big air event in the second week of the Games. The Team USA snowboarder was in first place until Austria’s Anna Gasser’s final run.
The silver is Anderson’s third Olympic medal.
Alex Ferreira, men’s halfpipe
Coming in behind his American teammate, Alex Ferreira won silver in the Olympic men’s halfpipe event. He had led in the event after the first two runs, but was unable to beat David Wise’s third run score.
Ahead of the Olympics, Ferreira and Wise got matching tattoos of the Pyeongchang Games logo.
Lauren Gibbs and Elana Meyers Taylor, women’s bobsled
Driver Elana Meyers Taylor and brakeman Lauren Gibbs took silver in women’s bobsled — coming in second to Germany’s Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz.
It was Meyers Taylor’s third Olympic medal: she nabbed silver at the 2014 Games in Sochi and bronze at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Jamanka and Buckwitz, her brakeman, finished their four runs in 3 minutes, 22.45 seconds. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs were second in 3:22.52, the 0.07-second margin is the closest between first and second in any Olympic women’s bobsled race.
Nick Goepper, men’s freestyle skiing slopestyle
Nick Goepper added a silver medal to the bronze he won four years ago in Sochi. Goepper, now 23, fought depression and went to rehab in the wake of those Games, USA Today reported.
“I came to this Olympics wanting a different color, wanting the gold, but coming away with the silver is so thrilling,” he said while speaking to ABC News. “I couldn’t be more stoked.”
Norwegian skiier Oystein Braaten and Canadian skiier Alex Beaulieu-Marchand won the gold and bronze medals, respectively.
John-Henry Krueger, men’s 1,000-meter short-track speedskating
John-Henry Krueger, 22, took silver in the men’s 1,000-meter short-track speedskating event. His win marks the first U.S. speedskating medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Krueger finished second behind Canada’s Samuel Girard.
“There were so many thoughts rushing through my head,” Krueger said after medaling.
Krueger’s win comes four years after he was forced to withdraw from the U.S. Olympic trials because he came down with swine flu.
Chris Mazdzer, men’s luge
Mazdzer competed in both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, placing outside of the top 10.
Americans have been second in doubles luge twice.
Mikaela Shiffrin, women’s Alpine combined
Mikaela Shiffrin notched her second medal of the 2018 Games, taking home the silver in the women’s Alpine combined. The 22-year-old finished behind Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin.
Shiffrin captured a gold medal in the giant slalom earlier in the Olympic Games, taking her career total to three.
Arielle Gold, women’s snowboard halfpipe
Despite a dislocated shoulder, Arielle Gold earned the bronze medal for the United States in the women’s snowboard halfpipe competition – joining her teammate Chloe Kim on the podium.
Gold, 21, similarly injured her shoulder ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, causing her to miss the Sochi games.
Maia and Alex Shibutani, ice dance figure skating
American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, affectionately known as the Shib Sibs, took home the bronze medal after a near-flawless ice dance free skate, racking up 192.59 points. Canada finished with gold and France with silver.
The Shibutanis squeaked out the bronze finish over teammates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohuse by just five points.
Brita Sigourney, women’s freestyle skiing halfpipe
Brita Sigourney entered the Olympics as one of the top-ranked women skiers and was able to edge out teammate Annalisa Drew for the bronze medal in the freestyle halfpipe.
Canada’s Cassie Sharpe won the gold, and France’s Marie Martinod won the silver.
Lindsey Vonn, women’s downhill skiing
In what was likely her final Olympic downhill run, Lindsey Vonn took home the bronze medal in women’s downhill skiing. The 33-year-old became the oldest female medalist in Alpine skiing at the Winter Games.
“If you think what’s happened over the last eight years and what I’ve been through to get here, I gave it all and to come away with a medal is a dream come true,” Vonn, who missed the 2014 Sochi Games after tearing ligaments in her right knee, said. “You’ve got to put things into perspective. Of course, I’d have loved a gold medal but, honestly, this is amazing and I’m so proud.”
Vonn finished third behind Italy’s Sofia Goggia and Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway, who took home the gold and silver, respectively.
Team USA, figure skating team event
The United States’ figure skating team won the bronze medal – thanks in part to flawless performances from Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu.
Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple axel in the Olympics. Rippon landed both of his triple axels.
Siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani also propelled Team USA to the podium with their free dance. Teammates Alexa Scimeca-Knierim, Chris Knierim, Nathan Chen and Bradie Tennell also medaled following the event.
Team USA, women’s speedskating team pursuit
Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Mia Manganello and Carlijn Schoutens took bronze for women’s team pursuit. It was Team USA’s first Olympic medal in the event since it began in 2006.
Bergsma, Bowe and Manganello defeated Canada to clinch the medal in a B final.
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah, Ryan Gaydos, Stephen Sorace, Zoe Szathmary and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
St Vincent volcano: Around 16,000 people flee communities after eruption of La Soufriere | World News
About 16,000 people have had to flee their ash-covered communities after a volcano erupted on the Caribbean island of St Vincent.
The eruption of La Soufriere on Friday has transformed the island’s usual lush towns and villages into a gloomy, grey landscape.
It was the 4,000-ft volcano’s first major eruption since 1979.
Thousands of residents have had to evacuate their homes and seek shelter with as many belongings as they could stuffed into suitcases and backpacks.
It comes after a strong sulphur smell was unavoidable on Saturday as ash blanketed large parts of the island.
There have been no reports of anyone being killed or injured by the initial blast or those that followed.
The had government ordered people to evacuate the most high-risk area around the volcano before the eruption after scientists warned that magma was moving close to the surface.
Government authorities delivered water, food and supplies to the shelters where many had fled to.
The island’s international airport remained blanketed in ash and smoke on Saturday making the runway barely visible.
Western Australian towns evacuated after tropical cyclone barrels down with 100mph winds | World News
A tropical cyclone has hit the western coast of Australia with winds of more than 100mph (170km) and much of the area put on “red alert”.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Meteorology, Todd Smith, said cyclone Seroja was now at category two but had reached “category three cyclone intensity” with damaging winds which would continue into the night.
Emergency services opened shelters in preparation for the high winds and coastal flooding.
Category 2 #TCSeroja rapidly moving southeast. Impacts to the west coast of WA begin this afternoon and inland parts this evening and overnight. Dangerous conditions including destructive wind gusts, intense rainfall and a dangerous storm tide. Latest info https://t.co/bku7VbhoZa pic.twitter.com/UD1DrGfve9
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) April 11, 2021
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said in a bulletin: “There is a possible threat to lives and homes.
“You need to take action and get ready to shelter.”
The DFES has so far put five coastal towns on “red alert”.
Some towns north of Perth were evacuated while sandbags were being made available to residents further down the coast.
A category three classification can see wind speeds of up to 170mph (224km).
After touching down on the north western town of Geraldton (124 miles/200km north of Perth) and dumping more than 10cm of rain in just two hours, tropical cyclone Seroja headed inland, lessening slightly in intensity.
However, officials were still braced for a “high degree of damage” to buildings in the area.
A spokesman for the Western Australia emergency services department explained that buildings were not constructed to withstand such strong winds in a region as it typically too far south to fall into the path of cyclones.
Russia: Inside the Kremlin’s military build-up along the Ukraine border | World News
At the Maslovka railway station just south of the Russian city of Voronezh, there’s a small military camp, a few trucks and a tent.
The clearing in front is rutted thanks to the steady unloading of military equipment in recent weeks.
A soldier recognises us from the day before.
“Hello spies,” he said.
Russia’s military build-up in Crimea and along the border with Ukraine has hardly been subtle.
It has coincided with the breakdown of the latest ceasefire in the simmering conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
More and more videos have appeared on social media of Russian troop movements – artillery convoys along the bridge connecting Russia with Crimea; trains loaded with weaponry coming from as far east as Siberia.
These sightings from ordinary Russians alongside warnings from Ukrainian generals preceded the Russian military’s announcement of exercises in the region and sent alarm bells ringing across Western capitals.
The kit unloaded at Maslovka is headed to a nearby training ground, which has been turned into a huge military field camp.
It stretches for around a mile and a half and backs right onto a neighbourhood of dachas, the weekend homes of mostly Voronezh city-folk who tell us the build-up began in late March.
We accidentally drive right in, though the soldiers make no effort to come after us.
There are a large number of military trucks, row after row of tents, troops milling about.
The sign at the entrance is one that most Russian conscripts remember from military service – “Difficult on exercise, easier in the fight”.
The site was first identified through open source methods by the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) in Moscow.
“It looks more like preparing for an offensive operation, not just to protect our land,” CIT’s Ruslan Leviev told us in Moscow.
But he does not believe it’s a prelude to war.
“It looks like a show of force to put pressure on the Ukrainian government, to show your posture on the international stage, to show your position to the new American administration.”
Locals pottering around their dachas hardly spare a thought for the military build-up next door.
“If Zelensky (the Ukrainian president) isn’t a fool, then nothing will happen. If he is a fool, anything could happen,” said Nina, a pensioner who we meet watering her garden.
“‘Anyway, it’s not him who decides things, it’s the Americans.”
She does not want to give her surname.
“I hope I haven’t revealed any military secrets,” she added.
“There are always exercises here, every summer,” said Yuri, a local guard.
“Stop all this talk of war.”
But there are not exercises on this scale.
Neither here nor elsewhere along Russia’s border with Ukraine.
Not since the annexation of Crimea has Russia beefed up its presence there to this extent, re-deploying an air brigade from near the Estonian border and sending 10 naval vessels from the Caspian to reinforce the Black Sea fleet.
In response, the US has announced it will send two warships into the Black Sea.
The German chancellor asked Vladimir Putin this week to wind down the military build-up.
This Sunday after consultations with his US counterpart, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted the same.
It does not appear to be happening.
The Russian position is clear. What happens on Russian soil is Russia’s business.
It is hard to argue with that.
The UK 🇬🇧 & US 🇺🇸 firmly oppose Russia’s campaign to destabilise Ukraine. @SecBlinken & I agreed Russia must immediately de-escalate the situation & live up to the international commitments that it signed up to at @OSCE. Our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty is unwavering.
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) April 11, 2021
But ostentatious muscle-flexing around Ukraine is not an option for the West to ignore – the stakes are too high, they are for all involved.
Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky may clamour for fast-track NATO membership but he will not get it.
For all their loud protestations over NATO’s possible eastward-creep, the Kremlin knows that.
US President Joe Biden may declare his unwavering support for Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and integrity but he will be wary of walking anywhere near potential conflict with Russia.
And surrounded as he is by Russian forces, president Zelensky knows re-taking the country’s eastern Donbas region, parts of which are held by separatists, is wishful thinking as is any large-scale fight with his powerful neighbour to the East.
It is of course hard to know what Russia is playing at but they seem to be eyeing the long game.
Coercive diplomacy to extract concessions in negotiations on Donbas, a powerful display of military muscle for the new US administration to take note of while the de facto annexation of the separatist regions of Ukraine chugs along apace.
According to Russian state news agency Ria Novosti, 420,000 people in the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics have already received Russian passports.
Russia is aiming for one million by parliamentary elections this September.
“It’s unifying their legislation with the Russian one, it’s providing them with the Russian vaccine, it’s providing them with passports. It doesn’t mean Russia wants to annex them,” said Maxim Samorukov from the Moscow Carnegie Institute.
“At least in the near future,” he added.
It also provides quite the justification for full-scale intervention should Russia’s calculus change.
President Putin has said allowing Ukrainian troops along Russia’s border with the separatist regions could lead to a Srebrenica-type massacre – the 1995 genocide of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Bosnian Serb forces.
Dmitry Kozak, Russia’s representative in negotiations on Ukraine, has threatened that a Ukrainian assault on Donbas would be a ‘”self-inflicted gunshot wound in the foot and to the head”.
“If the Srebrenica massacre takes place there, we will have to stand up for their defence,” he said.
Sharp rhetoric to match an aggressive display of military might.
All in the interests of deterrence? Perhaps.
But also an indication that eight years of sanctions has hardly served to deter Russia from at the very least flexing its muscles, if not more.
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