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PyeongChang 2018 Olympics

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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.

Photos: 2018 Winter Olympics: Mikaela Shiffrin wins gold in women's giant slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States has won the gold medal in the women's giant slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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

Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States has won the gold medal in the women's giant slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

>> MORE: Who is Mikaela Shiffrin?Photo gallery

>> Read more trending news 

Kim Jong Un impersonator thrown out of Olympic hockey game

By now, many have seen the Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump impersonators at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but the antics didn’t stop at the opening ceremony. 

>> Read more trending news 

An Australian man who only identified himself as “Howard” dressed up as the North Korean dictator. He made an appearance at the Korea-Japan hockey game on Wednesday, but his presence caused a bit of a stir when he walked over to the Korean cheerleaders. It seemed as though they were less than impressed with him.

While several found it amusing, at least one observer expressed concern.

“I kept thinking one thing: what happens to a North Korean cheerleader who laughs at a Kim Jong Un impersonator when she gets home?” 

Yahoo Sports spoke to the impersonator after he was removed. The man said he lives in Hong Kong, is not Korean and doesn’t speak Korean.

“(I wanted to) enjoy the game, meet the cheerleaders, which I did, and create some good political satire,” he said.

The impersonator claimed he was kicked multiple times by the men who took him out of the arena.

“They shouted something in Korean. I wasn’t sure what it was,” he said, “and then the police got involved and they dragged me away – they said for my own safety.”

“Howard,” for his part, said he came for a cause of peace between the U.S. and North Korea. He is the same man who posed with a Donald Trump impersonator at the opening ceremony.

“This is seen as the peace Olympics, so let’s hope that peace endures and those two idiots stop launching missiles and insults at each other on Twitter,” he said. “I guess everybody has a cause, you know? I have an advantage to advance this cause. I was born with this face.”

According to the impersonator, he was only removed until after the cheerleaders left the game and because his presence offended some of the more conservative spectators.

Olympic baby: Michael Phelps welcomes son

He’s not even competing this year, but Michael Phelps is making Olympic headlines.

The record-holding medal-winner announced via Instagram that his family has added another bundle of joy.

Phelp’s wife Nicole gave birth to the couple’s second son, Beckett Richard Phelps, the “Today” show reported.

The Olympian made the announcement via Instagram.

The couple’s first son, Boomer, is 1 and can be seen holding his little brother, USAToday reported. “Boomer” posted to “his” Instagram account too, saying he can’t wait to hold the newborn.

>> Read more trending news 

Phelps is the most decorated Olympian, CNN reportedAccording to Olympics officials, Phelps has been awarded 23 gold, three silver and two bronze medals over his career as an Olympian. He competed in the 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Games.

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 7

Take a look at the action from the latest competitions at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games

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

Canadian figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Meagan Duhamel is using her platform at the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang to draw attention to South Korea’s notorious dog meat farms.

>> Read more trending news 

Duhamel, who along with her partner, Eric Radford, won gold in the Pyeongchang team figure skating event, already adopted a dog from South Korea last year and brought back a second one for adoption in Canada. She plans on rescuing another dog from a meat farm before she leaves South Korea this year.

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

Last year the two-time world champion pairs skater brought home a black and brown miniature dachshund mix with big golden eyes, big ears and bowed legs named Moo-tae. Duhamel helped rescue the little dog from a dog meat farm. The 2-year-old Moo-tae now lives with the champion skater and her husband, coach Bruno Marcotte, in Montreal.

“Most of the time, he just wants to sit in everybody’s arms,” she told The Associated Press. “He doesn’t even care to play, he just walks up to everybody and wants to be held.” 

>> Related: 2018 Winter Olympics: Who is Shaun White?

Dog farms date back thousands of years in Asia, although fewer Koreans are eating dog meat these days. Still, some 2 million dogs are raised on South Korean dog meat farms every year.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 6

Take a look at the action from Day 6 of the Winter Olympics.

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

If you watched Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s routine Sunday at the Winter Olympics, you know exactly where this is going.

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

controversial move of theirs, a lift from their “Moulin Rouge!”-inspired free program routine, was apparently a little too racy for the Olympics, and they altered it for their performance in Pyeongchang. The maneuver in question has Virtue straddle Moir’s shoulders while facing him.

>> See the original move here

>> Click here to see the altered move (at 2:09)

“What it came down to, actually, was that when we slowed it down and looked on the video, it wasn’t aesthetically that beautiful of a position, so we wanted to change it, make it a little bit better,” Moir told The Toronto Star.

Moir has reportedly called the move “suggestive” after it made headlines following the pair’s victory at the 2018 Canadian National Skating Championships in January.

>> Mirai Nagasu first U.S. female skater to land triple axel at Olympics

“We wanted to make a bit of a different statement, and if that was bringing a certain edge or sexuality or darkness or a contemporary feeling to it, mission accomplished, I guess,” Virtue said at the Vancouver championships, according to The Star.

The adjustment the couple showed off in their opening performance Sunday, which pushed Canada to win the gold medal in team figure skating, had Virtue straddle Moir’s shoulders for a shorter time before she closed the maneuver with a single-dip and dismount.

>> Read more trending news 

Virtue and Moir reconsidered the move after The Canadian Press hesitated to distribute photos depicting the risqué lift.

“I think we liked that it made a statement, and it was different and that was great for the start of the season, but for the overall vision of the program, we hope that this new position fits a little better,” Virtue told The Star.

2018 Winter Olympics: Who is Shani Davis?

Shani Davis began the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics with some controversy when he sat out of the opening ceremony. According to The Associated Press, Davis lost a coin flip to carry the U.S. flag at the ceremony. The coin flip followed a tied 4-4 vote among fellow Team USA athletes, who voted between Davis and luger Erin Hamlin. Hamilin won the toss.

>> Read more trending news 

The speedskater reacted to the results on his Twitter page that has since been made private.

“I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event. @TeamUSA dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022,” Davis tweeted, according to CNN. He included the hashtags 

#BlackHistoryMonth2018 and #PyeongChang2018 in his tweet.

Related: Shani Davis rips coin flip to determine US flag bearer at Olympics

“He was not planning to march in the first place, but he reconsidered when he was faced with the possibility of being the flagbearer,” a U.S. speedskating team spokesman told CNN.

Davis has not spoken to reporters after his training session Saturday, according to The AP.

Tweets aside, Davis, who is competing in the 1500m and 1000m in Pyeongchang, is already a four-time Olympian.

About Davis

Davis made his first Olympic team in 2002, joining the short-track team as an alternate, but he didn’t race. Born in Chicago, the 35 yea-old learned how to roller skate when he was 2. He did compete in the 2006 Torino games, where he made his official debute and won the 1000m gold. The win made him the first black athlete from any country to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Games. He also won the 1500m silver.

In the 2010 games, Davis repeated his wins, taking home gold in the 1000m and silver in the 1500m. After a lack luster 2014 appearance, Davis hopes to have a good run at the 2018 Olympics, which he has said will likely be his last.

Other interesting facts:

  • Set world record in 1000m in 2009
  • Likes to play “World of Warcraft” when not training or competing

2018 Winter Olympics: Who is Mirai Nagasu?

Mirai Nagasu made history in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games as the first American woman to land a triple axel. The Montebello, California, native returned to the 2018 games after making her debut at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

>> Read more trending news 

Nagasu started skating at age 5, when her parents took her to an ice rink instead of a golf course on a rainy day. Earlier in her career, Nagasu was comparted to Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan. When she was 14, she won the gold medal at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, making her the second-youngest female skater to have that title.

She took home the silver medal at the Championships in 2010, earning her a spot at the Vancouver Olympics. Although she finished third at the 2014 Championships, the U.S. Figure Skating federation placed Ashley Wagner, who finished fourth, on the Sochi Olympics team.

Other interesting facts:

  • Studying international business at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs 
  • Has three rescue dogs named Lincoln, Liberty and Lexi
  • Scuba-certified
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