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Red Gerard takes flight _ then comes back to the Olympics

Red Gerard takes flight _ then comes back to the Olympics

For Red Gerard, 'big air' has less to do with vaulting himself off the snowboarding jump, more to do with the journey he's been on since he became an Olympic gold medalist. The surprise champion has logged some 18,000 airline miles on a post-victory tour that took him from Pyeongchang to Los Angeles to New York, and now, back to South Korea. Ten days after his victory on the slopestyle course, Gerard returned to the snow Wednesday, where he qualified for the final of the big air contest — the newest, highest-flying snowboarding event at the games. 'I slowly, definitely figured out what was coming with it all,' Gerard said of the spoils of being an Olympic champion. 'But I had no clue what was going to happen because I never really saw myself winning a gold medal.' But he surrounded himself with people who did. They had a victory plan all along. And so, Gerard went on 'The Jimmy Kimmel Show,' sat with Kelly and Ryan, interviewed on 'CBS This Morning.' There was a photo shoot with 'People.' A video interview with 'Time.' A big spread with 'Sports Illustrated.' The list goes on. His agent, Ryan Runke, can barely keep up with all the phone calls. Sponsorship and media opportunities are flooding in, and the mission isn't so much about grabbing everything he can, but finding the right fit. 'We wanted to strike first and fast,' Runke said. Gerard's story is custom-made for the 5-minute TV hit. One of seven siblings, his family moved from Cleveland to the mountains of Colorado when he was young, and that's when his snowboarding career started humming. At the slopestyle contest, his brothers brought the party to the mountain, shotgunning beers at 8:30 a.m . One sister, Tieghan, has a popular food blog that still boasts nearly double the number of Instagram followers as Red. (Though Red has spiked from 91,000 to 241,000 over the past 10 days, and the gap is closing). There's also the feature park he built in his backyard , where he still takes runs and where neighborhood kids are invited to come and ride any time. 'That's a real big hit,' Gerard said. 'You guys love that one.' Add Olympic gold to the mix and you get ... this. While Gerard is hardly the first Olympian with a chance for multiple medals, his opportunity to cash in is different because slopestyle came on the third day of the Olympics, followed by a 10-day gap, and then qualifying for big air. The final is Saturday. Instead of hanging around the village, taking selfies at speedskating and checking out hockey games, Gerard's people had him strike well before the U.S. audience starts focusing on March Madness and other pursuits. He also didn't have as much competition, since most of the rest of the U.S. athletes were stuck in South Korea for, you know, the Olympics. 'He hit the window at the right time, and that's a key to success when you're trying to cut through the clutter,' marketing expert Joe Favorito said. 'He's been able to do these things. Might he miss some things that are going on in the Olympic village? Sure. But he's young enough that he can go experience that the next Olympic cycle if he's still competing.' What about preparing for big air? Gerard only missed a single day of training. He's 17, far better suited to bounce back from the jet lag than he might be in 20, or 10, or four years down the road. 'If I didn't do good in this event, it's like, 'Whatever,' I really don't care too much,' he said. 'If I'm being totally honest with you guys, I never really wanted big air to be in the Olympics.' He's more a fan of slopestyle, where the course includes three jumps and a variety of rails and bumps at the top — a large canvass over which a good rider can showcase all his skills. Big air is the 'Short Attention Span Theater' event of the Olympics — a 3-second exhibition of who can throw the single best trick. But the Olympics wanted more snowboarding, and who was 17-year-old Red Gerard to say 'No?' And besides, there are other benefits to sudden fame. 'I was kind of on board with it,' he said, 'because I knew I'd get a lot of airline miles.' ___ More AP Olympics: https://wintergames.ap.org

Canada's world champion women slump out of medal contention

Canada's world champion women slump out of medal contention

Despite entering the Pyeongchang Olympics as world champions and the favorites to win gold, Canada's women's curling team has been eliminated from medal contention after a shocking loss to Britain. It's an unwanted first for Rachel Homan and her teammates. No Canadian team has ever left the Olympics without a medal in men's or women's curling since the sport was reintroduced to the Winter Games in 1998. 'They played really well — they put the rocks in the right spots and we really didn't,' Homan, Canada's 'skip,' or captain, said after the stunning 6-5 defeat. 'Obviously, (we're) a little bit disappointed. We wanted to try to qualify and make the playoffs for Canada, but we gave it all we had. We never gave up and that's the way it goes sometimes. It's sport.' Canada entered the final end, or period, of the match up 5-4, but the British team had an advantage known as the hammer, which means they were allowed to throw the final rock. The Brits quickly crowded the center of the target, known as the house, with stones. Homan tried to remove the rocks by throwing a fast-moving stone. But she didn't quite nail the shot, leaving two Canadian stones close to the center of the house. Homan then faced a difficult final shot, which had to make its way around a cluster of rocks to the bullseye. It came up short of the target. And it was games over for Holman's team. Canada's uneven performance during the Games rocked the curling world, particularly Canadians who are by far the most feverish curling fans on the planet. The Canadian spectators at the Gangneung Curling Centre, normally the second-rowdiest bunch in the arena next to the hometown crowd of Koreans, fell unusually silent as the players reached over to shake their opponents' hands in gracious defeat. The Canadians were struggling to keep up from the start of the games, losing their first three matches and falling to last place. They managed to rally back to the middle of the pack, but faced fierce competition from the rest of the teams. Though Canada has long dominated the sport, the strong performance from other countries at Pyeongchang has proven that curling is no longer entirely Canada's domain. The Korean women's team, considered a longshot to reach the medal round, is now in first place. 'Especially on the women's side, every single team that was here earned the right to be here and are all amazing,' Canada's Lisa Weagle said. Though the pressure their homeland heaped on them to get the gold was intense, the curlers denied they'd let the lofty expectations rattle them, saying they stopped going on social media and reading articles about themselves after arriving in Pyeongchang. 'They are way harder on themselves than anyone else is,' coach Adam Kingsbury said. 'I'm well aware of the pressure that's being placed on them, but they're in a bubble. So any time they're in a competition, that pressure and that intensity and that fire you see — that comes from within.' The women still have another round of matches later Wednesday to determine who heads into the semifinals. Sweden is currently sitting in second place, followed by Britain. ___ More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

Voracek's 2 late goals rally Flyers past Canadiens in OT

Voracek's 2 late goals rally Flyers past Canadiens in OT

Suddenly short-handed, the Philadelphia Flyers aren't going to let a few injuries stop them. Jakub Voracek scored the tying goal with 1:25 left in regulation and then got the game-winner 1:26 into overtime to lift the Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night. Voracek also had an assist and Nolan Patrick had the other goal for Philadelphia, which improved to 7-0-2 in its last nine games. The Flyers, third in the Metropolitan Division, pulled two points behind second-place Pittsburgh and three behind first-place Washington. 'That's a nice way to get two points,' Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol said. It's even better, perhaps, considering the state of the Flyers. The Flyers were without forward Wayne Simmonds, who will be out for 2-to-3 weeks after suffering an upper-body injury in Sunday's win over the New York Rangers. Simmonds joins a growing list of injured Flyers. Starting goalie Brian Elliott had surgery Feb. 13 for a core muscle injury and is expected to miss up to five more weeks. Backup Michal Neuvirth, who was elevated to No. 1 last Tuesday after Elliott's injury, will be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks after suffering a lower body injury in Sunday's game. 'You just have to dig in,' Voracek said. 'We have to find a way to win games. We've got to keep finding a way.' Philadelphia acquired goalie Petr Mrazek from Detroit on Monday night for a pair of draft picks to fill the void. Mrazek backed up Alex Lyon on Tuesday. Lyon, appearing in his fifth career game, made 25 saves for his second victory. 'He took care of business and was a big part of us winning a hockey game,' Hakstol said of Lyon. 'We're going to need contributions from everybody in our lineup.' Oskar Lindblom replaced Simmonds, who has 20 goals and 37 points, and didn't register a point in his NHL debut. 'Those are big shoes to fill, but I don't think anybody spends too much time thinking about the injuries or who's out of the lineup,' Hakstol said. Paul Byron and Jeff Petry scored for Montreal, which lost its sixth straight. The Canadiens' NHL-worst road record fell to 8-19-2. With Lyon pulled for an extra attacker, Voracek sent the game to overtime with a slap shot from the point that deflected off Montreal's Max Pacioretty and through goalie Carey Price's five-hole. 'It's not ideal, that's for sure,' Price said of giving up the late tying goal. 'Pretty good game up to that point. That pretty much sums it up, really.' Voracek netted the game-winner when he skated to the slot and fired a wrist shot past Price's glove side. 'We would have liked to prove something on the road, but we weren't able to,' Pacioretty said. 'We were close tonight and it goes off my stick and goes in for the tie, so it's tough.' Price played in his 552nd game for the Canadiens to move past Patrick Roy for second all-time in games played among Montreal goalies. Jacques Plante tops the list with 556. Byron scored his 14th of the season after a pretty assist from Tomas Plekanec with 11:15 left in the third period to put Montreal up 2-1. Petry opened the scoring with 2:13 left in the first period when he deflected Karl Alzner's shot from the point past Lyon. The Flyers tied it on the power play 7:18 into the second period when Patrick, replacing Simmonds on Philadelphia's top extra-man unit, one-timed Claude Giroux's pass from the slot past Price's glove side. NOTES: Montreal C Phillip Danault returned for the first time since suffering a concussion on Jan. 13. ... The teams wrap up their season series Feb. 26 at Montreal. ... LW Nicolas Deslauriers, who signed a two-year contract extension on Monday, won a one-sided fight with Brandon Manning in the second period. ... The Flyers have not played short-handed in three straight games, becoming the first team to do so since the league started keeping power-play and penalty-kill stats in the 1977-78 season. ... Flyers C Travis Konecny struggled to get through the game after blocking a shot with his skate with 5:02 left in the first period. UP NEXT Canadiens: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday night to open a four-game homestand. Flyers: Host Columbus on Thursday night.

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There is a lot of in-game action every week, and we’re airing it right here. To find out when your team’s game is being aired, click the link above.
There is a lot of in-game action every week, and we’re airing it right here. To find out when your team’s game is being aired, click the link above.
There is a lot of in-game action every week, and we’re airing it right here. To find out when your team’s game is being aired, click the link above.
Vonn third in likely final Olympic downhill race American skier Lindsey Vonn took bronze in the women's downhill in what was likely her final Olympic downhill race. Italy's Sofia Goggia grabbed gold, while Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway claimed silver.