Lindsey Vonn’s Final Olympic Run

Lindsey Vonn is hailed as one of the most talented skiers in the world. She has won four World Cup overall championships and three consecutive titles in 2008, 2009, and 2010, plus another in 2012. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, she won gold in downhill—the first every in the event for an American woman. She has a record eight World Cup season titles in downhill, five titles in super-G, and three consecutive titles in the combined. Unfortunately, her Olympic career ended in disappointment—she failed to finish the slalom in the Super Combined.


Around ten seconds into the course, Vonn straddled a gate, sending her off the course. This inability to medal is made more frustrating by the fact that, in 2010, she led the Super Combined on the same stage—only to crash out in slalom. Vonn is the most decorated female Alpine ski race in World Cup history, and—though she does not plan to compete in further Olympic games—she plans to return to the World Cup circuit. She plans to chase down Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 race wins; Vonn currently has 81.


Though disappointing, Vonn was not upset by her Olympic finish. She told ESPN: “The miracle didn’t happen, but I gave it my best effort. Slalom is tough for me. I fought really hard, but straddling is unfortunately something I do often, which is why I don’t ski the event anymore. As much as I had a very little change of getting on the podium today, I still had a chance… such is life.” Additionally, she admitted to not putting much time into her slalom training this year. With just one day of slalom training before Christmas 2017, she was unsurprised to have seen her performance suffer.


Her Team U.S.A. teammate, Mikaela Shiffrin, took silver. The 22-year-old has won three Olympic medals. Michelle Gisin took gold while Wendy Holdener took bronze.


Elizabeth Swaney’s Transcendent Mediocrity

For sports enthusiasts, the Olympics are the place to witness some of the best athletes in the world compete. From luge to slalom, winter sports take center stage every four years—this time, in Pyeongchang. However, it appears that one athlete, though miles away from elite prowess, has fought her way into the spotlight.


Elizabeth Swaney, an American representing Hungary, captivated the world with her strikingly mediocre women’s halfpipe qualifying run. The event announcers begin her run as with the other athletes: “Elizabeth Swaney from Hungary out of Oakland, California. Now 34 in the World Cup and 13th in the half pipe at Secret Garden earlier in the year. What can she deliver on here in Pyeongchang?” However, after several attempts to crest the half pipe’s lip, their ability to take the run seriously began to deteriorate: “Will it be enough just to tempt the judges?” The video of this viral run is available via the NBC Olympics Twitter.


The 33-year-old American appears to have schemed her way on the Olympic stage. A graduate of Harvard University, she knew she would be unable to snag a spot on the competitive United States team. She originally wanted to ski for Venezuela, her mother’s home country, but switched to Hungary, the birthplace of her grandparents. In skiing for Hungary, Swaney had a better change of meeting the International Ski Federation’s requirements necessary to qualify for Olympic participation. In essence, she simply needed to show up at several international events, compete in very basic runs, and not crash.


Though many other athletes are angry with Swaney’s blatant disregard for Olympic prestige, her ability to scam her way into the 2018 Olympics is nothing short of admirable.

American Casey Larson Makes History at 2018 Olympics

19-year-old American ski jumper Casey Larson has made history. However, his Olympic debut has nothing to do with his skill and ski talent—he has become the 100,000th man to compete at the Olympics, according to historian Bill Mallon.


A former professional golfer and American orthopedic surgeon, Mallon is a leading authority on the history of the Olympic games. On Thursday evening, he calculated that Larson reached this historic milestone during his competing in the qualifying run at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Mallon has also been a consultant statistician to the International Olympic Committee and was awarded the Olympic Order in silver in 2001 for his services to the Olympic Games.


Larson, who finished 46th in qualifying, is excited about this landmark event. On the subject, he said: “I can add that to my Olympic checklist. I hope I can get some publicity about it. For my goals here, it is to make my best jump.”


Mallon’s calculation incorporated extensive research on summer and winter games since their modernization in Athens in 1896. Going into the Pyeongchang Games, he calculated that 99,983 men had competed at the games, making Thursday’s 17th male debutant the history maker.


In addition to this historic milestone, we expect to see a few additional records broken at these games. With talented athletes from 92 National Olympic Committees and a whopping 2,952 participants, we believe this is just the beginning of a spectacular winter event.

Olympics 2018: Men’s Freestyle Skiing Moguls Qualifying Scores

The Men’s freestyle skiing moguls event occurred on Thursday evening in Pyongchang. Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury finished at the top of the leaderboard in the first qualification run, posting a score of 86.07. Close behind him sit Aleksandr Smyshliaev of Russia (83.93) and Dmitriy Reikherd of Kaakhstan (81.23). The American Troy Murphy finished fourth with a score of 80.95. The remaining six athletes to make the qualifying round’s top ten are:


  1. Ikuma Horishima of Japan: 80.35
  2. Daichi Hara of Japan: 80.01
  3. Pavel Kolmakov of Kazakhstan: 79.98
  4. Philippe Marquis of Canada: 77.77
  5. Matt Graham of Australia: 77.28
  6. Sacha Theocharis of France: 76.55


In most cases, the scores are very close—less than 0.5 separates fifth and sixth place, currently. The remaining skiers who did not finish in the top 10 still have an opportunity to qualify for the finals; the second qualifying round on February 12th the yield another 10 finalists. Americans Casey Andringa, Bradley Wilson, and Emerson Smith still have a chance at stardom.


Kingsbury was a favorite for this event and is already off to an excellent start, leading the pack by more than 2 points. Philippe Marquis is currently competing despite tearing his right ACL a month prior to this qualifying round but has still finished strong. Though he is up for the challenge, he said that the moguls themselves will shift each day with additional skiing and traffic: “It will be a great challenge for me and I’ll have to be extremely smart with my decision making. I’ll probably have to adjust my speed and jumps accordingly.”


Alps Avalanche Risk at Highest in 19 Years

Year round, skiers and snowboarders from around the world flock to ski resorts in the Alps. This year, however, extreme weather and dangerous conditions have plagued riders. At the Austrian St. Anton, all road and rail access has been cut off.


The town, popular with British skiers, is the latest to suffer from extreme transportation disruption; more than 18” of snow fell over the weekend, and the same amount is due to fall again in the next 48 hours. On Monday morning, the avalanche risk across the Austrian Tirol region—which includes resorts such as St. Anton, Lech, and Ischgl—was set to five (out of five). This indicates an extremely high risk.


According to Rudi Mair, of the Tirol Avalanche Warning Service, this has not happened since the winter of 1999. That year, as some may remember, saw the largest avalanche accident in Austrian history; an avalanche at Galtür, a popular resort, killed 38 people and triggered an emergency helicopter evacuation.


Resorts across Austria and the greater Alps region have described the current weather, including the upcoming snowfall, as an emergency situation. This comes just two weeks after 13,000 tourists were stranded in Switzerland. Extreme weather in Zermatt, another resort, cut off rail and road access.


Those travelling to this part of Europe are being advised to seek alternative accommodation in lower-altitude towns and cities. Avalanche danger is not to be taken lightly, as entire resorts can be overtaken in a matter of minutes.


For reference, we have included the Avalanche Safety Risk Scale below.


Rating Risk Level Snow Stability
1 Low Very few unstable slabs. The snow pack is well-bonded and stable.
2 Moderate Unstable slabs possible on some steep slopes.
3 Considerable Unstable slabs probable on some steep slopes.
4 High Unstable slabs likely on many steep slopes.
5 Very High The snowpack is weakly bonded and very unstable.

Vermont Skiers Qualify for 2018 Winter Olympics

It appears that Vermont may, yet again, be the driving force behind the United States ski team heading to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Vermont sent thirteen competitors to Sochi in 2014, but this year will see nearly twenty Vermonters suit up for the Pyeongchang Olympics. This, however, is no surprise—Vermont routinely tops the quadrennial list of Olympians per capita. Below are a few profiles, and some recent news clips, from these Green Mountain State athletes.


Sophie Caldwall—Cross-Country Skiing

Sophie is a five-time All-American at Dartmouth College. She had a breakout performance at Sochi, finishing sixth in sprint freestyle. She is the third generation of her family to compete in the Olympic games.



Kelly Clark—Snowboarding

Hailing from West Dover, Clark is the most decorated Olympic snowboarder of all time. She won gold in Salt Lake City (2002) and took the bronze in Vancouver and Sochi. This will be her fifth Olympic games.



Ryan Cochran-Siegle—Alpine Skiing

Cochran-Siegle is making his Olympic debut this year. He is the son of 1972 gold medalist Barbara Ann Cochran.



Emily Dreissigacker—Biathlon

Dreissigacker is a former Dartmouth All-American rower, and Pyeongchang will be her first ever Olympic games. She is the fourth member of her family to compete in the Olympics; her sister competed in biathlon in Sochi, and her parents rowed in multiple games.


Devin Logan—Freestyle Skiing

Raised in West Dover, Logan qualified for the halfpipe several months ago. However, she still has a chance to earn a spot in slopestyle—she took a silver medal in this event at the 2014 Sochi games.



Liz Stephen—Cross-Country Skiing

This will be Stephen’s third Olympic appearance. Having grown up around Montpelier and Burke Mountain, she will be an asset in the Americans’ strong relay squads.


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