Olympic odds, ends & trends: It’s 3 a.m. in South Korea and bronze medalist Arielle Gold still has ‘Gangnam Style’ stuck in her head
February 23, 2018
In today's Summit Daily Olympic odds, ends & trends: Breckenridge resident and bronze medalist Arielle Gold can't get that one viral K-Pop song out of her head, an American bodybuilder becomes a bobsledder and American Olympic star Mikaela Shiffrin (and others) get a case of the pre-game pukes:
Summit stat: 3 a.m.
The time of day, Korean Standard Time, when Breckenridge resident and Steamboat Springs Olympic halfpipe bronze medalist Arielle Gold tweeted that the international hit Korean Pop song "Gangnam Style" was still stuck in her head.
"Now I know I've been here too long," Gold jokingly added in her tweet.
From bodybuilder to bobsledder
Yes, American bobsled driver Nick Cunningham has a neat story of his own, as the casual stock car racer is currently trying to convince NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take a ride down the ice with him. But Cunningham's two-man and four-man bobsled partner Hakeem Abdul-Saboor has an interesting story too.
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Abdul-Saboor is the first U.S. Olympic bobsledder since at least 1998 — and, probably, ever — to convert from bodybuilding.
"I call it bodybuilding, but I do physique," the 30-year-old Abdul-Saboor told NBC Sports. "It's not like I'm up in a Speedo in there. It's what you try to aspire to look like at the beach, so I'm wearing board shorts (in physique competitions)."
Abdul-Saboor added that he did five shows and won three titles (competitors are usually eligible for multiple physique titles at one show). That was before he was introduced to bobsled in 2015, he told NBC Sports.
Abdul-Saboor may have a nearly perfect body aesthetically, but the New Jersey native knows how to have a good time too. He and Cunningham are both fun-loving unassuming Olympic athletes who are also staples in the Lake Placid social scene frequented by Olympic hopefuls who also live and train there. In the lead up to the Olympics, while training in Lake Placid — the U.S. national bobsled team's home — Cunningham used his comedic personality as a weekly trivia host at the Lake Placid restaurant Taverna. And his bobsled partner Abdul-Saboor was frequently on the winning team.
Activate, motivate… regurgitate?
In the lead up to the Olympic Games, Summit County snowboarder Chris Corning said back when he was a young kid playing football in youth leagues down on the Front Range he'd channel his inner Bill Russell. That's because decades ago, the NBA Hall of Famer Russell was known for having such extreme pre-game jitters that he'd vomit before games.
To be fair to Corning, it's a kind of pre-game possibility that is not exactly unheard of at the highest levels of competition.
Corning added that he had outgrown the Russell-like puking element of his pre-game routine. But, apparently he isn't the only Olympian who has dealt with the same kind of nervousness in the same way.
In fact, in an article in Outside Magazine, Vail Valley ski star Mikaela Shiffrin said she was so nervous before the first run of her slalom race last Friday, that she vomited beforehand.
It shouldn't be underestimated, however, the power of the raw nerves for these elite athletes that can lead to a pre-game puke. During the women's downhill race on Wednesday, U.S. Olympic ski legend Bode Miller provided a quote that put things in perspective to the rest of us Average American Joes and Jills:
"Everyone says that the pitcher's mound is the loneliest place in sports," Miller said to viewers at home. "I would say the Olympic start gate is the loneliest place. You have hundreds of millions of people focused on you. There's no one who can help you.
"You're alone at that point. You're fully exposed."
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