Olympic Names In The News: Mazdzer, Gerard Are Early Stars
Silver Medal-winning U.S. luger Chris Mazdzer is becoming the "hottest breakout star" at the Pyeongchang Games to date. He became the "first U.S. man to reach the podium" for luge. Mazdzer now goes from "just another face in the crowd to a sex symbol" (DENVER POST, 2/12). Meanwhile, U.S. snowboarder Red Gerard was the first American to win a Gold Medal in Pyeongchang, and the WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay writes the first Gold for any U.S. athlete at the Olympics is the "best medal." Gay: "There’s tons of attention, NBC dips you in prime time rainbow sauce, Wheaties sends you flirty messages, and you can basically goof off the rest of the Games" (WSJ.com, 2/12). ESPN's Michael Eaves noted Gerard later in the Games "will go for another medal in Big Air ... but not before he's expected to fly back to the States for TV and sponsor appearances" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 2/11).
FOLLOW THE LEADER: U.S. skier Gus Kenworthy has "embraced his role as an LGBT leader at the Olympics, even it means irking the White House." Kenworthy "released a photo on Instagram of him hugging openly gay figure skater and U.S. Olympic teammate Adam Rippon" at the Opening Ceremony -- "taking aim at a Trump administration that refuses to embrace the LGBT community." The post had the "not-so-subtle message" for the Vice President -- "Eat your heart out, Pence" (DENVERPOST.com, 2/11). Kenworthy yesterday also was asked about meeting Pence, who led the U.S. delegation in Pyeongchang. He said, "I don't think I have any inclination for a meeting. I think in terms of distractions, that would be a much bigger distraction for me, and I'm just focused on competing" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/12). Meanwhile, NBC's Terry Gannon said, "You may have followed it on the news or social media, the back and forth with Adam Rippon and the office of Vice President Mike Pence. Adam came here and said, 'Look, from this point forward I want it to be about competition, everything that takes place on the ice. I don't want to take away the attention from any other athlete here in Pyeongchang'" ("Winter Olympics," NBC, 2/11).
LOOSE CLOTHING: South Korean figure skater Yura Min yesterday "had a wardrobe malfunction" during the team event. Min said of the hook on the back of her outfit that holds it together, "Five seconds into the routine, my hook came undone." Min then "ad-libbed the entire routine, forcing herself to keep her arms back, trying to keep her costume from coming undone" (FREEP.com, 2/11).
PEACE CORPS: American IOC member Angela Ruggiero yesterday called for the joint North Korea-South Korea women's ice hockey team to be "nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize." Ruggiero said that she would "ask others to nominate the team, which included 12 players from North Korea, which is still technically at war with the South." These Games "marked the first time an inter-Korean team had competed" at the Olympics (REUTERS, 2/11).
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Newseum in DC on Friday night held an Opening Ceremony party for Comcast/NBCU "complete with igloos, fake snow and a couple fires outside to roast marshmallows." Comcast Senior Exec VP & Chief Diversity Officer David Cohen, NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, NBC News White House Correspondent Peter Alexander and Huffington Post Global Editorial Dir Howard Fineman were among those in attendance (POLITICO.com, 2/10).