Winter Olympics | KNKX

Winter 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.

Now that the Winter Olympics have you pumped about snow sports, you might head into the hills for some real, live athletic feats. Conveniently, a ski area in north central Washington state has set up a luge sledding course.

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 first Olympic medals of the 2018 Winter Games are up for grabs this weekend. Pacific Northwest athletes in action include short track speedskaters Aaron Tran and J.R. Celski of Federal Way, Washington, in the men's 1500m and cross country skier Erik Bjornsen from Washington's Methow Valley in men's skiathlon.

The U.S. Olympic Committee officially announced the members of the 2018 Olympic Team Friday morning. Ten athletes from Oregon and Washington made the cut. Additionally, two snowboarders and two skiers raised in the Pacific Northwest will compete at the PyeongChang Games for other countries.

The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea runs from February 8-25.

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.

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

The U.S. Olympic bobsled team will be named on Monday—and there is a good chance there will be a Pacific Northwest athlete on the team. That’s unusual because the only World Cup-class bobsled track in the Western U.S. is in Utah.

Fractured bones, busted knees and concussions are just a few of the job hazards for professional ski racers. Olympians Tommy Ford and Laurenne Ross of Bend, Oregon, have had their share of spectacular crashes.

They've each bounced back from potentially career-ending injuries to compete this winter for spots on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team.

Courtesy of Roberto Carcelen

A Peruvian-American Olympic cross-country skier is looking forward to a big welcome when he returns home to Seattle this weekend.

Seattle Olympian Roberto Carcelen finished dead last in his race at the Winter Olympics, but what happened to him afterward could illustrate the Gospel phrase that says "the last shall be first."

Athletes with ties to the Northwest won three gold and two silver medals at the Winter Olympics that just wrapped up in Russia.

Short track speedskater J.R. Celski of Federal Way, Wash., led Team USA to a silver medal in the men's 5000-meter relay Friday, ending a medal drought in the discipline for the Americans. Russia took the gold.

Petr David Josek / AP Photo

More Olympic hardware is coming home to the Northwest, but it comes via a heartbreaking loss. 

Team Canada beat the U.S women’s ice hockey squad 3-2 Thursday in Sochi. That means the U.S teammates, including Hilary Knight of Sun Valley, receive silver medals.

Tom Banse

At the winter Olympics in Sochi, the U.S. has collected no medals so far in speedskating, an uncharacteristic result. The Americans' best remaining hope for hardware rests with short track speedskater J.R. Celski and the men's relay team.

A college ski racer from Sun Valley, Idaho says she is "immensely relieved" just to finish her first Winter Olympic race in one piece.

A snowboarder raised in Sun Valley, Idaho soared over better known and more experienced rivals to grab the gold medal in women's halfpipe at the Winter Olympics.

The Northwest has its first Olympic gold medal from the 2014 Sochi Games. Snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington of Bellevue, Idaho triumphed in the women's halfpipe Wednesday.

Jamie Anderson's win in the slopestyle snowboarding competition has given the U.S. a sweep of the event following Saturday's win by Sage Kotsenburg.

Anderson's near-flawless run clinched the women's gold.

The Associated Press reports:

Sage Kotsenburg of the United States won the first gold medal of the 2014 Olympics on Saturday, soaring to victory in the men's snowboarding slopestyle final.

Kotsenburg had a score of 93.50 to edge Staale Sandbech of Norway. Mark McMorris of Canada, who barely made the finals, took bronze.

Canadian Max Parrot, who topped qualifying on Thursday, missed the podium. He washed out at the end of his first run and his second run wasn't quite crisp enough. Parrot finished fifth.

David Nogueras / OPB

When Team USA marched into the stadium for the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, they were swathed in the warmth of the Northwest, quite literally. The wool to make the U.S. parade uniform sweaters came from a sheep ranch in rural Oregon.

The Team USA sweater is a colorful patchwork of patriotic symbols and Olympic rings. The symbolism runs deeper for Oregon rancher Jeanne Carver. Her Imperial Stock Ranch sold the 8,000 pounds of homegrown wool to garment maker Ralph Lauren Corp.

Sara Melikian / Flickr

The Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks had one. Professional baseball teams have them. And the U.S. Olympic women's ice hockey team found one in Tacoma. We’re talking about a mental skills coach.

And some of this coach's advice to U.S. Olympians could help the average recreational athlete, too.

Professor Colleen Hacker is taking a break from teaching exercise science and sports psychology at Pacific Lutheran University to travel to Russia with the U.S. men's and women's hockey teams for the Winter Olympics. Hacker's job title is “mental skills coach.” And what is that exactly?

Sergei Kazantsev / Wikimedia

 

The 2014 Winter Olympics begin next week amid persistent concerns about security.

Recent bombings in Russia have stoked worries, but local athletes and coaches are expressing confidence they'll be safe in Sochi. Not a single member of this year's U.S. Olympic Team has changed his or her mind about going to Sochi because of the terrorism threat. 

Still, as American athletes leave for Russia this weekend, some are leaving their families behind.

Jude Freeman / Wikimedia Commons

It's every Olympic athlete's worst nightmare. After years of preparing, training and fundraising, an accident just weeks before the Olympic Games derailed everything for Roberto Carcelen of Seattle.  

But the cross-country skier insists on competing at the Sochi Olympics despite a doctor's advice not to.

Sam Morrison

In order for the Winter Olympics to take place in Sochi, Russia, there must be snow.

One Northwest snow-making expert has been working at the Russian resort zone for nearly two months now, helping ensure a snow-covered Olympics.

Sarah Brunson / U.S. Freeskiing

It's not just the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl that will make for an exciting February for Northwest sports fans. The Winter Olympics start just days later, and more Northwest athletes have punched their tickets to the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

John Campbell

Next month, Sochi, Russia will host athletes from more than 85 nations at the Winter Olympics. Some of those countries might surprise you. They get no snow or have no mountains.

Remember the Disney movie "Cool Runnings?" It immortalized the Jamaican bobsled squad. Team Jamaica is coming back for more this year.

And so is the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. territory will likely be represented by a Whitman College student who calls Sun Valley, Idaho home.

Robert Whitney

Athletes headed to next month's Winter Olympics in Russia can be expected to leverage any advantage that nature or nurture provides, though only a select few could bring the advantage of having a sibling teammate.

Siblings Erik and Sadie Bjornsen grew up in Washington’s Methow Valley, flanked by former Olympic skiers as neighbors. An enviable 120-mile Nordic trail system starts practically at their doorstep.  

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