PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games Are Just 100 Days Out
November 1 marks 100 days until the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
NBC begins coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Games on Feb. 8, 2018 with the Opening Ceremony on February 9 2018.
Team USA hopes to bring home a lot of hardware with its star athletes.
Shaun White, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in halfpipe wants to compete in his fourth Olympics. He won gold in the Men’s halfpipe in the 2006 and 2010 Winter Games but fell short of medaling during the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.
“I’m so thankful for Sochi, ’cause it really taught me a lot about myself, and about competition, and– to be honest, you know, I– I’d never gone to an Olympics and lost before. So it was a very, you know, eye opening experience. And to be happy for someone else for winning, you know what I mean? It was– it was very– hard, but eye opening,” White said.
White recently suffered a setback, crashing during training in New Zealand. He suffered no broken bones, but doctors told him to take some time off.
Milford’s Karly Shorr also suffered a setback on her road to the winter games. On Instagram the snowboarder shared with fans she broke the talus bone in her ankle. However, the good news is she does not need surgery and hopes to recover in time for Olympic trials in January. Shorr competed in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and finished sixth in slopestyle.
Other Michigan athletes attempting to make the snowboarding team include Zoe Kalapos, Eric Beauchemin, Kyle Mack and Jake Vedder.
Jamie Anderson won gold in the first Olympic slopestyle competition in Sochi.
Chloe Kim, 17, is referred to as the future of women’s snowboarding. She mathematically qualified for the 2014 games but at age 13 was too young to compete. Kim won back to back X Games halfpipe titles in 2015 and 2016.
Lindsey Vonn wants to compete in another Olympic games. Vonn, 32, competed in her first Olympics in 2002. A serious knee injury kept her from competing in 2014 and defending her gold-medal title in downhill skiing.
“The stakes are higher, the pressure’s higher, you know, and I of course want to succeed more than I do for any other race. So, for these Olympics it’s probably going to be the most amount of pressure, and the most excited that I’ve ever been for a race in my entire life. And I am looking forward to that,” Vonn said.
Mikaela Shiffrin was the youngest Olympic slalom gold medalist when she won in Sochi at age 18.
“I think at this point. having a gold medal already is a bit more fuel. Its motivation for sure, it adds expectations from outside for sure, but right now I’m not really focused on what other people are expecting of me. I have big goals for myself so I think it’s enough to just focus on what I’m expecting of myself and to work hard towards those goals and see what happens,” Shiffrin said.
In figure skating, Nathan Chen, 18, is considered a rising star. He became the first figure skater to complete five quadruple jumps in a single program during the US. Championships in January. He won the national title.
“It would be a dream come true to be on top of that podium, hearing my national anthem played for me at the Olympic games. I’ve seen obviously, a lot of footage of athletes on top of that podium from the U.S. with that national anthem. Even I get chills from that, so I can’t even imagine what it would be like for myself to be up there,” Chen said.
Chen is from Salt Lake City, Utah and trains in California.
In the last year, Chen did spend some time training under coach Marina Zoeuva at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton.
Zoeuva is the same coach who helped Meryl Davis and Charlie White achieve their own dreams of Olympic gold four years ago in Sochi. Davis and White announced earlier this year they will not be competing this season.
Zoeuva also trains ice dance duo, Maia and Alex Shibutani, one of three strong ice dance teams hoping to represent the United States in PyeongChang.
“We’re really looking forward to competing South Korea I think because of how our first Olympics went. We learned so much but we also know that we’ve grown so much so it will be really exciting to compete our sports biggest stage again,” Maia Shibutani said.
Maia and Alex Shibutani won back to back national championships. The brother-sister duo placed ninth during the Winter Olympics in 2014 and are eying a spot on the podium in South Korea.
“I think that the lead up to the games is going to be really exciting because we’ve been through it now and we know what to expect. And this time around we’re also doing some different things where we have a real appreciation for the opportunity. And not that we didn’t have an appreciation for the Olympic experience the first time around, but having the opportunity to do it again, we’re very grateful for that,” Alex Shibutani said.
Close competitors are Madison Chock and Evan Bates who train at the Novi Ice Arena. They placed eighth in Sochi and are also attempting to get on the podium during the 2018 Winter Olympics. They won silver at the U.S Championships this year and in 2016. They won the title in 2015.
“The Olympics is something that the both of us have dreamed about since we were children and to have been a part of one Olympics and two Olympics already is a dream come true. To be going after PyeongChang is huge,” Chock said.
“And the Olympic dream is still burning inside of us. We’ve been to the Olympics before, but now I think our goals have changed and we really want to bring home a medal for our country,” Bates said.
The third ice dance team is Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue who train in Montreal, Quebec. They have won the bronze medal at the US Championships four times.
“Off the ice, it’s definitely on our mind; it’d definitely something we’re working towards with our life coach and working on our mental training, because we have to prepare the best we can, even though it’s an unknown experience. We have to address all of the feelings we think we might have around that Olympic moment, helping to prepare ourselves the best we can,” Hubbell said.
“The Olympics aren’t until February. There’s a lot of planning, a lot of training. To say that we’re only focused on February, we’re missing out on everything that’s going to happen before hand. We’ve got a lot of competitions to prepare for and they’re all very important, both in our selection process and to ourselves as a team,” Donohue said.
In women’s figure skating, Ashley Wagner, is a three-time U.S. Champion and silver medalist from the 2016 World Championships. She finished sixth during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Two metro Detroiters are training to make the Olympic team for the second time. Jessica Kooreman of Melvindale, a short track speed skater, finished fourth in Sochi in the 1000 meter and sixth in the 1500 meter race. Kelly Gunther, a long track speed skater also competed in Sochi. She is from Clinton Township.
NHL players will not compete for Team USA during this Winter Olympics, for the first time since 1998. While the team has not yet been announced, the coaching staff has ties to metro Detroit.
Head Coach Tony Granato was an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings. Chris Chelios, a four-time US Olympian and former Red Wings player, is an assistant coach for Team USA.
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