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Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 14

Check out some memorable moments from Day 14 of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

U.S. women's hockey team wins Olympic gold

The United States has defeated Canada 3-2 to win the gold medal in women’s hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

>> PHOTOS: 2018 Winter Olympics: U.S. women's hockey team wins gold

>> Read more trending news 

Photos: 2018 Winter Olympics: U.S. women's hockey team wins gold

Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998 at Nagano, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory.

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 13

Check out the latest action from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter games.

How did 'average' skier Elizabeth Swaney make it to the 2018 Winter Olympics?

One skier who competed in the women's halfpipe at the 2018 Winter Olympics really stood out – but not for her skills.

>> Watch her halfpipe run here

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

American Elizabeth Swaney, a member of Hungary's team who finished in last place Monday after a qualifying run that Deadspin described as "thoroughly average," apparently was able to game the Olympics' quota system to get to Pyeongchang. She also met another requirement – cracking the top 30 at a World Cup event – because many of those events featured fewer than 30 competitors.

>> All the curling stones used in every Olympics have come from the same small island

“The field is not that deep in the women’s pipe, and she went to every World Cup, where there were only 24, 25 or 28 women,” International Ski Federation judge Steele Spence told the Denver Post. “She would compete in them consistently over the last couple years, and sometimes girls would crash so she would not end up dead last."

>> Read more trending news 

The 33-year-old from California was able to snag a spot on Hungary's team instead of the more competitive U.S. team because her grandparents are Hungarian, Deadspin reported. She also skied for Venezuela, where her mother is from, in World Cup events.

>> Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA wins Olympic gold medal in women's giant slalom

In Pyeongchang, Swaney didn't attempt any fancy tricks and finished last – but she didn't fall.

"It is an honor to compete at the Olympics, and I am really excited to compete among other amazing women from across the world," Swaney said, according to Reuters.

She added: "I hope this can be a platform to inspire others."

VP Mike Pence ready for secret meeting with North Korea, but North backs out

Vice President Mike Pence was ready for a secret meeting with North Korean officials at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, earlier this month, but the North backed out, according to news outlets.

>> Read more trending news 

Pence attended the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 as part of a five-day trip to Asia and was seated near Kim Jong-un’s sister, but did not speak to her, creating a media sensation.

The North canceled the meeting just two hours before Pence was scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and another North Korean state official, Kim Yong Nam, on Feb. 10 after Pence announced new sanctions against the North Korean regime during his trip and rebuked it for its nuclear program, according to the Washington Post, which was the first to report on the secret meeting.

“North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics,” the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said in a statement, according to The Hill.

>> Related: NBC apologizes for comment about Japan, South Korea during Olympics opening ceremony

News of the secret meeting comes as relations between the communist north and democratic south seem to be thawing in recent weeks with the announcement last month from Kim Jong-un that he was sending a delegation to the Olympics. He sent his sister to lead the group.

“We regret [the North Koreans'] failure to seize this opportunity," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. "We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses, or for mourning a young American’s unjust death."

>> Related: Olympic gold medalist, skater Meagan Duhamel, uses platform to spotlight dog meat trade

Pence said he planned to use his trip to the Olympics to prevent North Korea from using the games as a ploy for favorable propaganda on the communist regime.

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 12

Check out the latest action from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic games.

All the curling stones used in every Olympics have come from the same small island

Few people quite understand what exactly curling is, but every four years, people across the world suddenly find themselves invested in a sport that, at first glance, can be described as people pushing rocks across ice with brooms.

>> On Rare.us: A French ice dancer somehow kept her cool in the Olympics’ latest wardrobe malfunction

For those who are using this year’s go-around to learn what they can about the sport, here’s a fun fact to tell at the next watch party: Olympic curling rocks aren’t just any old bits of earth; they all come from the exact same kind of stone from the exact same place.

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

According to the Huffington Post, the curling stones are made from a specific kind of granite that can only be located on a deserted island off the coast of Scotland. 

>> Read more trending news 

The island — Ailsa Craig, also known as “Paddy’s milestone” — is a volcanic plug, meaning it coalesced over an extinct volcano, apparently leaving the granite in the perfect condition to make curling stones. All the stones used during the Olympic Winter Games are produced by the only company with rights to the Ailsa Craig granite: Kays of Scotland, which has been creating the stones since 1851. According to the Huffington Post, thousands of tons of two varieties of stone are removed from the ground once every decade: a blue hone granite, which is impenetrable by ice and water and makes up the insert and running band of the curling stone, and a green granite that composes the body of the stone. There is apparently a third variety, red hone granite, but it isn’t used in curling stones.

Read more here.

Olympic curling star's husband handles stress by double-fisting beers at 9 a.m.

One doesn’t normally associate pressure with curling -- oh sure, placement, guarding and furious sweeping are crucial to a team’s success -- but the husband of Canadian women’s team skip Rachel Homan was experiencing plenty of anguish during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Gangneung, South Korea. 

>> Read more trending news

What better way to calm your nerves than to have a beer or two? Or, three or four?

Even if it’s 9 a.m.

As Homan tried to lift Canada back into medal contention against Japan -- the women’s team is in sixth place after Monday’s competition -- Shawn Germain was seen hoisting beers and heading back to the concession stand for refills, SB Nation reported.

“You can judge all you want,” Germain tweeted. “The stress level is high, I’m not a drunk, I’m just Canadian.”

Germain knows about athletic competition, having competed as a hockey player in the ECHL. He missed the end of Canada’s match against Japan because he was fetching more beers, SB Nation reported. 

Canada’s 8-3 victory against second-place Japan was a big win and kept the team’s medal hopes alive. 

If the Canadians reach the medal round, the stakes will be higher and nerves will be taut.

One can only wonder how Germain will react.  It could be a stressful day for people from the Great White North, but they remain supportive.

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 10

Check out the latest action from the 2018 Pyeongchang games.

Simidele Adeagbo makes history at Winter Olympics

Simidele Adeagbo, a former track star at the University of Kentucky, made Winter Olympics history this weekend as the Nigeria native became the first African female athlete to compete in skeleton.

>> Read more trending news

“Competing in the Olympics has been one of the most inspiring and proudest moments of my life,” Adeagbo said on her website. “It was a dream that started a long time ago and to be able fulfill that dream for myself, for Nigeria, and for future Olympians was so much more than I could have asked for.”

Adeagbo was one of four Nigerians who competed in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. It’s the first year Nigeria has sent athletes to the winter games.

Adeagbo finished in last place with a combined time of 3:36.78, but even qualifying was a significant accomplishment as she first touched a skeleton sled last September. It seemed much more likely that her Olympic path would be through track and field.

Adeagbo was a four-time All-American at Kentucky. She still holds the school record in the outdoor triple jump (44 feet/5 inch). She narrowly missed a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in the triple jump.

Adeagbo graduated from Kentucky in 2003.

“Ultimately, for me, this is about breaking barriers in sports,” Adeagbo said. “It’s about making history and leaving a legacy. It’s about moving sport forward. That’s so much bigger than just me being an Olympian. This will open doors and unlock the potential of future generations of athletes.”

Here's why Olympic figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu's fans throw Winnie the Pooh bears on the ice

In one of the strangest stories that we’ve seen out of the 2018 Winter Olympics, beloved bear Winnie the Pooh is making a comeback.

>> Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz wows with 'Game of Thrones' costume

The lovable bear is the unofficial mascot of Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu. Every time Hanyu takes to the ice, he keeps a stuffed bear on the side of the rink for good luck, often bowing to the toy before performing, Time magazine reported. Fans know of Hanyu's love for the character and throw Winnie the Pooh bears onto the rink. The carefree bear has proved to be a pretty effective spirit animal for Hanyu, who is considered by some to be the best figure skater in history.

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

And the bears aren’t wasted, either. After Hanyu leaves the ice, the stuffed animals are collected and donated to local charities.

Too racy for the Olympics? Figure skaters Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir tone down controversial lift

The 23-year-old won a gold medal in Pyeongchang on Saturday, making him the first male skater since 1952 to win back-to-back Olympic golds. In a New York Times profile of the star, the paper wrote that thousands of Hanyu’s fans traveled to South Korea to see him compete. Some of them wore Winnie the Pooh hats while others donned Winnie the Pooh costumes.

>> Olympic figure skater Yura Min suffers wardrobe malfunction, handles it with class

>> Read more trending news 

And the story of Hanyu’s gold medal performance has the kind of storybook twists and turns that you might expect from something a lot more dramatic than Winnie the Pooh. In the months leading up the games, when he should have been entering his final round of preparation, Hanyu suffered an injury to his ankle that threatened his performance. But, in a comeback story for the ages, the Japanese star managed to return with a vengeance, cementing himself as the greatest ice skater in the world. And, Winnie the Pooh was there on the sidelines for the entire thing.

Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz wows with 'Game of Thrones' costume

“Game of Thrones” fans from around the world were loving German Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz’s costume at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Fentz was clearly not on the fence when it came to a tribute to the character Jaime Lannister, and neither were people on the internet when it came to voicing positive opinions about it.

>> Too racy for the Olympics? Figure skaters Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir tone down controversial lift

The Olympian also skated to the “Game of Thrones” soundtrack.

Here's what fans had to say:

>> Olympic figure skater Yura Min suffers wardrobe malfunction, handles it with class

Even commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir were into it.

>> Read more trending news 

“It was not his best, but a Lannister always pays his debts,” Lipinski said. “This music gets me.”

Curling controversy: 'Burned rock' fans flames during fiery match

Controversy during the Olympics is not new, but it is certainly rare in the sedate sport of curling. 

>> Read more trending news

A “burned rock” foul in the women’s match between Canada and Denmark, would not be swept away very easily Friday.

The controversy began in the fifth end, or period, when a Danish player touched a stone, a foul that is called a burned rock, The Washington Post reported.

>> Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics -- Day 8

Canada had three options when the foul was called: Ignore the foul, remove the stone from play, or rearrange the stones to the position the team believed they would have been if the stone had not been disturbed, the Post reported.

Canadian skip Rachel Homan opted to remove the stone, which is considered the most aggressive action, the Post reported. Canada, which trailed at that point, scored four points to take a 6-4 lead.

Denmark, however, later tied the score and emerged with a 9-8 victory in overtime. After the match, Danish skip Madeleine Dupont said she disagreed with Homan’s decision.

“I wouldn’t have done it, but we’re different that way,” she told the Post. “I’m not going to be mad about it. She can choose to do whatever she wants.”

Homan said she was within her rights and was following the rules.

“There are options, and we’ve burned rocks in the past and they’ve come off,” she told the Post. “Burning a rock is not something that you can do. So obviously, we’ve done it in the past and they just happened to do that then. So it’s just the rules, I guess.”

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 8

Check out the latest action from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic games.

Pita Taufatofua finishes Olympic cross country skiing race standing up

What could be better than carrying your country’s flag at the Pyeongchang Olympics while shirtless? For Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua, finishing the 15-kilometer individual race in cross country skiing ranks just as high. And yes, he was properly dressed for the event.

>> Read more trending news

Taufatofua, 34, told The Associated Press that he was glad he didn’t wipe out on the course, particularly during the final approach that took place in front of the grandstand.

“Please God, not in front of everyone,” Taufatofua told the AP when asked what he was thinking. “Don’t give me my first fall.”

Taufatofua finished the race standing up and placed 114th out of the 119 competitors. Two racers finished behind him and the other three either were disqualified, according to the AP.

The race was won by Dario Cologna of Switzerland.

Sexual misconduct allegations against Shaun White resurface in PyeongChang

Shaun White’s third run during Tuesday’s men’s halfpipe finals was historic.

>> Read more trending news 

Through the eyes of snowboarding and Winter Games novices and pros alike, White achieved the impossible with a 97.75 score and earned his third goal medal at the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang.

Fans in the United States and all over the world saw White break down in tears, struck by his accomplishment and near flawless performance. 

While nothing should take away from this moment, but the full picture of White needs to be addressed in light of the #MeToo movement.

The day of the halfpipe finals, a lawsuit filed in May 2016 by the former drummer of White’s band “Bad Things” that alleged several disgusting claims of sexual misconduct resurfaced along with the question, “Why has White been exempt from the #MeToo conversation?”

>> Related: Photos: 2018 Winter Olympics: Shaun White Wins Gold

For months, women and victims of sexual violence have come forward against celebrities in Hollywood, politicians, coaches, general managers and one disgraced Olympic team doctor alleging sexual misconduct and society has mostly listened and done due diligence to investigate.

But when it comes to star athletes, the rules appear to be different.

>> Related: Photos: 2018 Winter Olympics: Chloe Kim Wins Gold 

The lawsuit, which was settled, alleged White became hostile after the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi and sent the former drummer pictures of male genitalia and several pornographic videos and referred to the victim as “bitch” regularly.

Many of the messages sent from White to the victim are on record and White has admitted to sending them.

The lawsuit also claims White forced the victim to drink vodka, to change clothes because they weren’t to his liking and stuck his hands in his pants and forced the victim to smell them among other claims.

>> Related: 2018 Winter Olympics: Who is Mirai Nagasu?

The alleged victim sought wages in the lawsuit that were withheld from her during her time with “Bad Things.” The lawsuit claimed all members had pay taken away to cut costs in January 2014, but all pay was restored to the male members shortly after. The victim, the only female member of the band at the time, did not have her pay restored by White. The lawsuit states White “believed she ‘did not need the money.’” 

White settled the lawsuit in May 2017.

After winning his third Olympic gold medal Tuesday, White attended a press conference where not one female reporter was called on by the U.S. Olympic Committee for the duration of White’s availability. 

>> Related: Finland snowboarding coach keeps calm by knitting during competition 

ABC News’ Matt Gutman who was called on asked White if he thought the allegations would tarnish his career. White brushed off the allegations from the lawsuit settled last May as “gossip”, even though— as stated above— he has admitted to sending lewd and suggestive items to the victim.

“I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip,” White said. “I don’t think (the allegations will tarnish my career). I am who I am and I’m proud of who I am and my friends love me and vouch for me.”

Gutman asked if White thought the allegations were merely “gossip” as a follow up, the U.S. Olympic Committee moderator brushed off the question and asked reporters to only ask about White’s gold medal.

>> Related: Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA wins Olympic gold medal in women's giant slalom

The encounter from White’s press conference and tweets from sports journalists can be seen below:

Olympic figure skaters dedicate performance to slain Florida high schoolers

Two Olympic figure skaters for Team USA learned of the tragic school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, just before their performance.

>> Read more trending news 

On Wednesday afternoon, a gunman, who authorities say was 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, killed 17 people at the Florida high school. Authorities charged Cruz with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Related: Who is Nikolas Cruz, accused gunman in Florida high school attack?

The news swiftly reached Pyeongchang, South Korea, where American athletes like figure skating partners Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim are currently competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The married couple are the only U.S. pairs skaters at the games.

NBC reported that, after hearing the news, Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim decided to dedicate their final Olympic skate to the victims of the shooting.

“We wanted to skate for the 17 children that died in the Florida shooting, and today was much more than about us,” Scimeca-Knierim said. “We wanted a tribute to the U.S. for their loss. Unfortunately, we had a lot of mistakes, but I think our motivation was to skate for those who were lost.”

Related: Florida school shooting suspect charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder

The Associated Press reported that, after her performance, Scimeca-Knierim said she was “emotionally drained.”

“I kind of put pressure on myself and wanted to honor those who were lost today.

“We are so privileged and lucky to be doing what we are doing, and it’s so sad that 17 people died in the United States. I told Chris today he’d need to be so much stronger than me.

“I am disappointed with the way we performed today, but so many people at home are hurting because their children have died,” she said. “I was not focused on it while we were skating, but now that we are done, after we’ve skated, there's an emotional hurt. I am overwhelmed.”

The couple’s performance can be viewed at the NBC Olympics website.

Related video: At Least 17 Dead, More Than A Dozen Injured In Florida High School Shooting

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 8

Check out the latest action from the 2018 Pyeongchang games.

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