On Thanksgiving, Team USA Olympic hopefuls talk family

Image Credit: NBCUniversal

As you share Thanksgiving with your family, hear from a number of Team USA Olympic hopefuls on what family means to them in this series of NBC Olympics promos. 

Don't forget to tune in when the Winter Olympics begin on Feb. 8 on NBC!

Mikaela Shiffrin, Alpine Skiing

Jessie Diggins, Cross-Country Skiing

David Wise, Freestyle Skiing

Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skiing

Shaun White, Snowboarding

Nathan Chen, Figure Skating

Tucker West, Luge

Hilary Knight, Hockey


Figure skaters explain how they're celebrating Thanksgiving while at Skate America

Image Credit: 2017 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

On Thanksgiving Day, when many of us are digging into our turkey dinners and watching football, the U.S. Olympic figure skating hopefuls will be doing something else: practice. Thursday is the first pre-competition practice day in Lake Placid, New York, which is hosting the sixth and final stop of this fall’s Grand Prix series. NBCOlympics.com asked the skaters how they’re celebrating the holiday and if they’ll have the chance to do so at all.

Nathan Chen is the 2017 national champion.

"Only my mom will be coming up to Lake Placid with me. Both my sisters are in San Jose so they’ll be at nationals. I’ll be able to see them then. I’m pushing toward the Games and assuming I make the Games, I think I’ll be able to see all my family there, or at least most of it. That’ll be fun."

Chen doesn’t plan on doing anything special, but will probably get dinner with his mom. Will he eat turkey? “Maybe turkey. Who knows? Good protein,” he said.

Brother and sister duo Maia and Alex Shibutani won ice dance gold at Skate America in 2016 and are the 2017 U.S. national champions.  

Alex: "It’ll be nice because we grew up on the east coast and I think there are a couple people that were involved early in our skating career and family friends that will be driving up. But it’s not exceptional. We’re there to compete and focus on putting out two great performances and doing our best."

Maia: "Beyond that, I think that it’s Skate America and the team from the U.S. is larger than normal. It’ll be nice to be together even though we’re all at a competition. It’s a part of the schedule and it’s a part of this year, but we all get to do what we love. That’s a practice day, but we’ll probably just spend the day with our family and teammates."

Ashley Wagner is the 2012, 2013, and 2015 national champion.

Wagner plans on doing dinner on Thanksgiving with her mom and brother.

Adam Rippon is the 2016 U.S. national champion.

"This year I am spending Thanksgiving in Lake Placid at Skate America. My mom and my brother are going to be there. My goal is to feed all my competitors a lot of turkey so they’ll be extra tired for the competition the next day."

Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier are the 2017 national pairs champions.

Brandon: "We were hoping to get to get together with our families in Colorado and Florida on Thursday, have dinner, and then we’ll fly in for the event (joking). Holidays right now are obviously not a priority for us. We’re Americans, so of course we’re gonna celebrate Thanksgiving in our own way Thursday night and do a small, little thing. Keep it light, because we are in competition mode."


Russians stripped of Sochi Olympic skeleton medals

Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports


Who is Red Gerard?

Image Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC Sports

Name: Red Gerard
Country: United States
Age: 17
Sport: Snowboarding
Disciplines: Slopestyle, Big Air
Stance: Regular
2016/17 WST slopestyle ranking: 8th

Accolades

  • 2016/17 FIS World Cup slopestyle season champion
  • 2017 Mammoth Grand Prix slopestyle winner
  • 5th place, 2016 Burton U.S. Open slopestyle

Olympic experience
Gerard has not previously competed at a Winter Olympics. PyeongChang would be his first appearance.

Olympic outlook
The first order of business for Gerard is to qualify for the U.S. Olympic slopestyle team, which appears to be as deep as it's ever been. By winning the first U.S. selection event, which was held during the 2016/17 season, he has put himself in a good position to do that. Assuming he makes the team, the young and ever-improving Gerard could emerge as a dark horse contender to crack the slopestyle or big air podium in PyeongChang.

Potential Olympic records
If Gerard were to earn a medal in PyeongChang, he would potentially be the youngest American snowboarder to ever do so. The record is currently held by Kelly Clark, who was 18 years old when she earned gold at the 2002 Olympics. (Gerard is two months younger than Chloe Kim, the 2018 favorite in women's halfpipe.)

Signature
Part of a young up-and-coming core of American slopestyle riders, Gerard has been rapidly improving in recent years. Although he's small in stature, that hasn't stopped him from landing triple corks. Having a terrain park in his backyard has also enabled him to learn some technical rail tricks.

Snowboard beginnings
The sixth of seven children in his family, Gerard was snowboarding with his older siblings when he was just 2 years old. A few years later, the family moved from Cleveland to Colorado and built a terrain park in their backyard. Able to use that backyard park for near-constant training, Gerard eventually began entering amateur contests and had some success. He started competing in pro contests in 2015, and during his first full season on the pro circuit (2015/16), he scored top-five finishes at Dew Tour and the Burton U.S. Open.

2016/17 season recap
Gerard finished fourth at the Laax Open and reached the final at the Burton U.S. Open, but his most consequential result was a victory at the Mammoth Grand Prix, an event which doubled as the first official qualifier for the U.S. Olympic slopestyle team. The win at Mammoth sets him up nicely to lock up a spot on the team for PyeongChang if he has another strong showing at one of several upcoming selection events. Thanks in part to his aforementioned results at Laax and Mammoth, Gerard also ended the season as the FIS World Cup champion for slopestyle and earned his first Crystal Globe.

Off the snow
Gerard embraces the action sports lifestyle, with activities such as skateboarding, surfing and snowmobiling among his favorites things to do outside of snowboarding.

Social media
Instagram: @redgerard
Twitter: @RedmondGerard
Facebook: Red Gerard


Who is Devin Logan?

Image Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC Sports

Name: Devin Logan
Country: United States
Age: 24 (will turn 25 on 2/17/18)
Sport: Freeskiing
Disciplines: Slopestyle, Halfpipe
2016/17 AFP slopestyle ranking: 7th
2016/17 AFP halfpipe ranking: 11th
2016/17 AFP overall ranking: 1st

Accolades

  • 2014 Olympic slopestyle silver medalist
  • 2-time X Games slopestyle medalist (1 silver, 1 bronze)
  • 2017 World Championships halfpipe bronze medalist
  • 6-time AFP overall champion (2011, 2012, 2014-2017)

Olympic experience
At the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Logan won a silver medal in the inaugural freeski slopestyle event. She had tried to qualify for the U.S. halfpipe team as well but narrowly missed the cut.

Olympic outlook
Logan is the only female skier attempting to make the U.S. Olympic team in both halfpipe and slopestyle. She'd be a medal contender in either event.

Potential Olympic records
If Logan earns a halfpipe medal in PyeongChang, she could potentially become the first skier to win medals in both slopestyle and halfpipe, the two freeskiing events currently on the Olympic program.

Signature
Because she competes at a high level in all three of the major freeskiing disciplines (halfpipe, slopestyle and big air), Logan is considered to be one of the most well-rounded female freeskiers.

Ski beginnings
Growing up in Vermont, Logan had easy access to Mount Snow and was competing on skis at a young age. She tried moguls and ski ballet, but was particularly drawn to Alpine racing. Her two older other brothers had gotten into freeskiing though, and they ultimately convinced Logan to follow in their footsteps.

In 2010, Logan was invited to the junior world championships, where she won bronze medals in both halfpipe and slopestyle. Two years later, she took gold in slopestyle.

Just before her 18th birthday, Logan earned her first X Games invites for both halfpipe and slopestyle. "That was the year [2011] when I finally broke through and people and sponsors started noticing me," she says.

Road to Sochi
A knee injury cost Logan the 2012/13 season and nearly put her Olympic hopes in jeopardy. During her rehab time, she became a certified judge, which helped her understand the intricacies of what she and other skiers are being evaluated on in their runs. When she made her comeback the following season, it was Olympic qualifying time, and she used that knowledge she had gained to help land a spot on the U.S. Olympic slopestyle team.

Since Sochi
Logan has won four consecutive AFP overall titles — which factor in skiers' results across the board in halfpipe, slopestyle and big air — dating back to 2014. In total, she's won six of the last seven overall titles. Though she hasn't been dominant in any one particular discipline, she has consistently posted solid results in whatever she competes in.

2016/17 season recap
Logan had several podium finishes throughout the season. Most notably, she won bronze medals at X Games Norway (for slopestyle) and the world championships (for halfpipe). She also finished second at the Olympic test event for freeski halfpipe that was held in PyeongChang.

Off the snow
From age 7 through 12, Logan played quarterback on a boys' Pop Warner football team. She also played soccer and was on her high school team.

Quotes
"Within my sport recently, my greatest influence has been Devin Logan. Since I joined the pro team a few season ago, we have become really close friends. She just reminds me every day to always have fun and really enjoy every moment/opportunity I am given." — Maggie Voisin on U.S. Freeskiing teammate Devin Logan

Social media
Instagram: @devinlogan
Twitter: @dlogan
Facebook: Devin Logan


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