11 Team USA Athletes To Keep An Eye On

11 Team USA Athletes To Keep An Eye On

Team USA Has Some Pretty Cool Athletes...

With the 2018 Winter Olympics underway, national pride is at an all-time high. Before I name my top 11 standouts of Team USA, I want to give a shoutout to all of the Team USA athletes and thank them for representing our country so well on an international stage. With that being said, here are the standouts that I would keep my eye out for for the next couple weeks.

1. Gus Kenworthy

Freestyle skier Kenworthy made a name for himself when he came out during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, most famous for adopting stray puppies and bringing them back to the US. Kenworthy, figure skater Adam Rippon, and speed skater Britanny Bowe are the three out U.S. athletes representing the LGBT community.

2. Jamie Anderson

Not much has to be said except that Jamie Anderson repeated as a snowboard Slope Style gold medalist and is one of the best slope style snowboarders in the world on a consistent basis.

3. U.S. Women's Ice Hockey Team

After fighting for equal pay and earning what they deserve, the Women's national team is on a quest to finally win gold. The US hasn't won a gold medal since the inaugural games in Nagano, Japan in 1998. From 18-year-old Cayla Barnes, to veteran Hilary Knight, the US team is a force to be reckoned with.

4. U.S. Men's Ice Hockey Team

Since NHL players are no longer playing in the Olympics, this Men's national team has a chip on their shoulder to prove to the country and themselves that they deserve to be representing the US and that they deserve a gold medal.

5. Red Gerard

17-year-old Red Gerard won gold in the men's snowboard Slope Style, and it was the US's first medal, and gold medal of the 2018 Olympic Games. That's a pretty sweet milestone for a rookie.

6. Hailey Langland

One of the youngest, if not the youngest member of the Olympic team has to fight for the spotlight between veteran Olympian teammates Jamie Anderson and Jessika Jensen. After placing just outside the top 3 in slope style, Langland hopes to redeem herself during the Big Air competition.

7. Julia Marino

Another Olympic rookie, 20-year-old Julia Marino didn't place as well as she wanted in slope style, even though she won gold in slope style at the 2017 X Games, but like Hailey Langland, had the chance to redeem herself in the Big Air competition.

8. Chloe Kim

17-year-old Chloe Kim is also a snowboarder but is a master at halfpipe. After being too young to compete in the Olympics in 2014, she placed second in the superpipe event in the 2014 X Games.

9. Chris Mazdzer

An American Legend: Mazdzer was the first US man to EVER medal in the singles luge in the history of the Olympics. He won silver, after coming in 13th place in both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics.

10. Maame Biney

Born in Ghana, 18-year-old Maame Biney and her father moved to Virginia to help her live a better life, and I think that plan worked out pretty well. Most known for her infectious smile and energy, Biney is also the first black woman to qualify for the US Speedskating team*.

*Erin Jackson made the US Speedskating team in women's long track shortly after Biney.

11. Mikaela Shiffrin

22-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin is ready to take the Olympics by storm. Shiffrin holds the title of Overall World Cup champion and previously won gold in slalom in the Olympics and World Championships. At 18 years old (and 345 days), she became the youngest gold medalist in slalom in alpine skiing history in the Olympics.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Golden Retrievers:

Mid-Major College Basketball Team Stuns NCAA Tournament Favorite, Top Overall Seed Virginia

It’s the most hyped up, exciting time of the year for sports fans. That’s right, it’s the 2018 NCAA Tournament. This weekend, a handful of power conference and smaller conference college basketball teams took the basketball courts in eager anticipation for a chance to survive and advance toward winning a national championship. However, for top seeded teams, it is also the one opportunity for small, mid-major conference teams to make a name for themselves on national television and become villains to those filling out their brackets.

This has been the case so far. Already, two 13 seeded NCAA men’s basketball teams, the University of Buffalo Bulls and the Marshall Thundering Herd, did damage to every college basketball/sports fans’ brackets, respectively pulling off wins over Arizona and Wichita State, respectively. March madness is alive and well.

But just when the tournament couldn’t get any more wild and crazy, it did last night. The top seeded Virginia Cavaliers, coached by Tony Bennett (not to be confused with the legendary singer), traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the America East conference tournament champions the University of Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers. A lot of people counted on Virginia to not only win that game, but to advance to the National Championship and ultimately win it. UMBC punched their ticket to the Big Dance by hitting a game-winning jump shot in the America East tournament final against Vermont. Nobody thought they had a chance.

But the players on UMBC truly believed in themselves and their coach, Ryan Odom. The Cavaliers, best known for their excellent play on defense, found themselves surprisingly tied at 21 at the half. Once the second half began, the game got out of reach. The Retrievers played at a faster pace, with more energy, and kept knocking down two-point and three-point jump shots, while giving the Cavaliers a taste of their own medicine: Virginia was held to 54 points the ENTIRE game! In blowing out Virginia 74-54, UMBC became the first ever 16 seed in the tournament to win against a number one seed. Brackets now are totally busted.

UMBC’s road to the tournament was a strange one. They lost to UAlbany by 44 points earlier in the season, and they clinched a spot in the tournament thanks to a game-winning three point shot over the heavily favored top seed, the Vermont Catamounts. And yet, the team had very high levels of confidence, and didn’t feel phased by the underdog label placed on them. The Retrievers did end up losing to Kansas State in the next round, but their performance against Virginia will be remembered as one of the greatest upsets in college basketball and sports history. Once again, the Retrievers, like the other underdog teams who won, proved that the NCAA tournament is the wildest, craziest, up in the air nationally televised sports event ever. Look for them again next season.

Cover Image Credit: thegamblersreport.com

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Jordy Nelson Is The True Packer That Green Bay Will Never Forget

A letter to one of the best to wear green and gold.

This past week, the Green Bay Packers released Jordy Nelson, a truly devastating day for any Packers fan. As what I would call myself, a super fan, I was quite distraught when hearing the news of Nelson's release. Because of this, I have decided that it would be best to get my sadness out through writing an open letter.

Dear Jordy,

The past 10 years have been incredible. Words can not describe how thankful the entirety of Packer nation is to have been able to share the last decade with you. Whether it was coming in clutch during plays, or that infectious smile, you were always able to make your own fans happy, and never disappointed.

When you came into the league, I figured I was around 9 years old. Though your role was not big in your first couple of years in the league, many people knew you'd be destined for some kind of big role on the Pack. As a kid on the playground in 5th grade, I saw your breakout game in Super Bowl XLV and, instantaneously, I wanted to be Jordy Nelson in many games of playground football.

As the years went on, you continued to get better, to the point where you even made yourself into the "got milk?" poster boy all across Wisconsin. Each day in middle school, I remember walking into the cafeteria, seeing a cardboard cut out of you holding milk and would get some milk of my own, just to be like you.

Eventually, you became one of the premier receivers in the NFL, and there was nothing better than watching that Rodgers-Nelson connection week in and week out. In total, we saw you guys combine for 70 touchdowns in your time with the team, while setting team records left and right.

When you tore your ACL in the 2015 season, we were all devastated. It seemed as though you were going to be primed for another big year, and instead, you were forced to watch from the sidelines. However, you did not take this time for granted. You put maximum effort and time into training the young receivers on the team in order to help the squad succeed, and they did.

Following that season, you were your old self, and it was so awesome to have you back. I remember countless "Jordy!" celebrations in my basement on your way to becoming the NFL's comeback player of the year.

Despite a low year this past season, you were still one of the unquestioned leaders on the team, and a teacher to many. Even though you ended up being released, you will forever be remembered in Green Bay.

You define what a true Packer is. You are hard working, humble, and willing to sacrifice for the team. You are unquestionably one of the greatest Packers to ever do it, and even though there was no storybook ending to your time in Green Bay, no one will ever have the same impact that you did.

Thank you for everything, White Lightning, for inspiring kids all over Packer nation, and being a true role model in everything you do. We wish you nothing but the best in your next ventures, and can't wait to see you continue to tear up the NFL.


Packer fans everywhere

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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