The 2022 Winter Olympics have now drawn to a close. Sunday night’s closing ceremony dazzled the small crowds of in-person attendees. It was a fitting close to a memorable event, with music, theater, fireworks, and more. The games saw over 300 medals awarded across 109 events in the 15 sports of the Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee is already moving forward with plans for future Olympics, but now is a good time to reflect on what just happened.
Norway Makes Winter Olympics History
One of the biggest stories of the Olympics this year was the record-breaking performance of Team Norway. The Norway Team beat the record for most gold medals won at a single Winter Olympics with 16. This marks the second time in a row that Norway took the top spot in the medal table. Their staggering 39 medals won at Pyeongchang’s 2018 Winter Olympics was equally impressive as this year’s haul of 37 medals in total.
Russian Controversy Continues
Norway beat out the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), which took second place in the medal count with 32. Russian athletes have been required to compete under the name ROC since a 2019 state-sponsored doping scandal banned the nation from formally competing under their flag. The ban is expected to expire in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
However, certain events of the 2022 Olympics are renewing accusations regarding Russia’s doping practices. The most recent scandal centers on Kamila Valieva, a Russian figure skater who placed fourth in women’s singles. She also took first place in the short program and fifth place in free skating. Her performances helped lead the ROC team to a gold medal.
These achievements have been marred by scandal after the 15-year old skater tested positive for banned medication. A test revealed that she had taken Trimetazidine, a banned heart medication. Additionally, her tests were positive for hypoxen and L-carnitine, two other heart medications that are not banned. The United States Anti-Doping Agency commented that this combination would be intended to increase endurance and oxygen efficiency, providing a competitive edge.
The response from Valieva herself was that she had accidentally taken some of her grandfather’s heart medication, an excuse that many of her competitors aren’t buying. The US team, in particular, is upset that medals haven’t been awarded for the women’s team, even where they placed second. The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone awarding medals in any event where Valieva was in the top 3 to await the results of an ongoing investigation.
More Major Upsets of the 2022 Olympic Games
Kamila Valieva falling to fourth place in the women’s singles was likely the most significant upset of the games. She had been considered, by most, to have been the frontrunner going in. There were plenty of other unexpected outcomes in other events as well..
The USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin skied out of three races despite her reputation as one of the best skiers of all time. This comes after having skied out just two races in the last four years of international competition. Shiffrin also competed in the mixed team parallel event where the US took fourth place.
The men’s hockey quarter-finals saw the US take on Slovakia, where the US carried a 2-1 lead into the final minute of play. Slovakia then tied the game with a last-minute goal and went on to win the tie-breaking shootout, advancing to the semi-finals. There, they lost to Finland, who then beat out the ROC to take the gold. Finland’s first Olympic Hockey gold in history.
China was heavily favored to take the skiing mixed aerials event, performing admirably, but ultimately star skier Jia Zongyang fumbled a landing. This allowed for Chris Lillis to lead Team USA to the gold in the event’s debut Olympic Games.
The US men’s speed skating team went into the event a strong favorite, having recently set a world record in December. However, the team only took bronze following an unexpected defeat in the semi-finals by the ROC, who was then beaten by Norway in the finals.
Samuel Ikpefan Bears Nigerian Flag at Closing Ceremony
The sole competitor representing Nigeria at the 2022 Olympic Games, Samuel Ikpefan, has been the focus of much Nigerian state news. He carried the Nigerian flag during the closing ceremonies, with 2018 bobsleigh competitor Seun Adigun carrying the flag during the opening ceremonies.
Ikpefan is the first Nigerian skier to compete at the Winter Olympics, finishing 73rd out of 88 in the qualifiers and not advancing to the next round. Nigeria news has been celebrating the fact that the nation has been represented in two winter Olympics in a row.
Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull dead at 84; First NHLer to score more than 50 goals
Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull has died at the age of 84.
He played for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and Hartford Whalers as well as the World Hockey Association’s Winnipeg Jets over a 23-year pro career.
The NHL Alumni Association announced his death this morning.
In 1961, he helped lead the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup in 23 years.
Hull was the first player in the NHL history to score more than 50 goals in a single season. He set the record of 54 in 1966 and broke it by four goals a couple of seasons later.
Along with Chicago teammate Stan Mikita he helped popularize the curved hockey stick blade in the NHL.
His subsequent defection to the Winnipeg Jets of the WHA in 1972 was the catalyst that helped shatter the NHL’s stranglehold on players. It also started the escalation of salaries that now make Hull’s once record-setting million-dollar payday look like small change.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.
Super Bowl 57: Chiefs, Eagles meet for title in Arizona
By David Brandt
Patrick Mahomes finally got the best of Joe Burrow.
All he needed was a little shove.
Harrison Butker made a 45-yard field goal with 3 seconds left — after Cincinnati’s Joseph Ossai was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for shoving Mahomes after he was out of bounds — and the Chiefs beat the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC championship game to make it back to the Super Bowl.
Kansas City will face the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.
The Eagles opened as a 1 1/2-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
There are no shortage of storylines: Kansas City coach Andy Reid goes against his old team — which he led to Super Bowl 39 — in a game that’s also the first matchup of Black starting quarterbacks in the Super Bowl with Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts.
On top of that, there’s a brother-against-brother showdown between Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce.
“ Officially done being a Chiefs fan this season!! ” Jason Kelce tweeted immediately after the Chiefs won.
The Chiefs have been making deep postseason runs on a regular basis ever since Mahomes came to town as the franchise quarterback.
This was their fifth straight trip to the AFC title game and will be their third Super Bowl appearance in that span. They beat the 49ers for the NFL title in the 2019 season, but lost to the Bucs the following season.
The Eagles clobbered the Niners 31-7 in the NFC title gameearlier Sunday. They’ve looked dominant in the playoffs so far, also beating the New York Giants 38-7 in the divisional round.
Philadelphia is back in the Super Bowl five years after beating the New England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4, 2018.
Now a mostly new generation of Eagles — led by coach Nick Sirianni and Hurts — will come to Arizona to try and win another title.
The Chiefs-Bengals game looked as if it was going to overtime before Ossai’s ill-advised play. Mahomes — who was playing on a badly sprained ankle — was running to get a first down in the final seconds as Ossai desperately tried to track him down.
Mahomes was out of bounds when Ossai gave him a shove, sending both players tumbling to the turf. The ensuing 15-yard penalty was enough to push Butker into field-goal range and the kick split the uprights.
A distraught Ossai sat on the bench with his head in his hands, well after the game was over.
The Bengals and Chiefs were playing for the fourth time in less than 400 days and Cincinnati had won the previous three meetings — all by three points. This one was decided by a field goal, too, and all Burrow could do was watch.
The Bengals lost to the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl and they just missed another chance at returning to the title game.
NO DRAMA IN NFC
Oddsmakers thought fans were in for some close conference championship games.
They’ll have to settle for a 50% success rate.
The NFC title game was a blowout. Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was injured in the first quarter when Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick drilled his right arm on a play that was ruled a fumble. The Eagles recovered that fumble and the injury proved to be a game-changer.
With Purdy hurt, San Francisco turned to 36-year-old journeyman Josh Johnson, who couldn’t do much before eventually leaving with a concussion. Purdy came back into the game, but could barely throw, and the Eagles cruised to the win.
The 49ers dealt with quarterback injuries all season, losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo before turning to Purdy, a seventh-round draft pick out of Iowa State. Purdy stepped into a starter’s role in December and won his first seven games before Sunday’s injury.
Here’s a few things to know about the upcoming Super Bowl:
WHAT’S THE UPCOMING SCHEDULE?
Pro Bowl flag-football game, 3 p.m. EST, ABC/ESPN
Super Bowl LVII, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. EST, Fox
RIHANNA AT HALFTIME
Rihanna will take center stage as the headline act for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.
With sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Rihanna ranks as one of the best-selling female artists ever. Her most recent album was 2016′s “Anti.” Rihanna last performed publicly at the Grammy Awards in 2018.
The singer said she turned down a similar opportunity for the 2019 Super Bowl that was ultimately headlined by Maroon 5. At the time, many artists voiced support for Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality against Black people and minorities by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.
Country music star Chris Stapleton will sing the national anthem, while R&B legend Babyface will perform “America the Beautiful.”
PRO BOWL MAKEOVER
The Pro Bowl is getting a major makeover this year after the NFL eliminated its full-contact all-star game and replaced it with weeklong skills competitions and a flag football game.
The flag football contest is Feb. 5 in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium, one week before the Super Bowl.
The Pro Bowl debuted in January 1951 in Los Angeles and stayed there for 21 seasons before the game moved to different cities from 1972-80. Hawaii hosted from 1980-2009, and the game has had several homes in the years since, including Miami, Phoenix, Orlando and Las Vegas.
“The game was kind of silly, I guess,” Saints two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk said back in September when the news was announced. “Guys weren’t out there playing true football. Hopefully, there’ll be a lot of interactions with the fans and guys will get their opportunity to go out there and show some skills. I could see that being a good change.”
AP Entertainment Writers Jake Coyle and Jonathan Landrum Jr. and AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this story.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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