LONDON – Great Britain broke their duck on snow at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and now they are gunning for further glory in Pyeongchang.
Snowboarder Jenny Jones won Team GB’s first Winter Olympic medal on the snow, as opposed to ice, claiming the bronze in the women’s slopestyle.
Her success has rejuvenated the British freestyle ski and snowboard program and has led to optimism that more medals can be won at Pyeongchang next month.
In a country where mountains and snow are a rarity, many of the young athletes with Olympic hopes have learned their moves on artificial or indoor ski slopes.
Speaking at one such facility north of London, British snowboarder Jamie Nicholls said he has his sights set on a podium finish in South Korea.
Nicholls, along with cousin Katie Ormerod, is seen as one of the hottest young snowboarders in the sport and is an example of the athletes benefiting from heavy investment in winter sports programs, including British Ski and Snowboard.
UK Sport – a British government organization – and the National Lottery have contributed over 5 million pounds ($6.66 million) to improve facilities and opportunities for British athletes.
Nicholls, who grew up near Bradford and has been skiing on indoor slopes since the age of seven, hopes to improve on his sixth place finish in the slopestyle in Sochi.
“I would love to get higher than sixth place this time and higher than sixth is a good chance of a medal so definitely give it a go,” he said.
Any thoughts of being daunted by the attention and scrutiny at an Olympics were dismissed by Nicholls, who loves competing in front of a camera.
“If it is not on film I don’t try as hard, if you know what I mean. If it is on camera then I try really, really hard. Doing competitions it is good to show off.”
Another Briton who made the men’s slopestyle final in Sochi is Billy Morgan. The 28-year-old stressed the importance of the British team being friends and not having the pressure associated with competing for some of the bigger winter Olympics nations.
“I think some people will be holding stuff back (for the Olympics). I think the Canadians especially,” he said in October.
“They will be holding some tricks back because, mainly, they have to compete between the others in their nation because they are all going for the podium. They don’t want the other guys knowing what they have been up to.”
“Luckily for us we are all ‘shred-homies’ and we just ride together all the time and we don’t have to hide things from each other.”
Morgan and his fellow ‘shred-homies’ will have two cracks at Olympic glory this time around, as Big Air snowboarding has been introduced to the program for the first time.
For many of the athletes who have been competing in Big Air for a long time, this is a very welcome addition to the Olympics and gives them a second crack at a medal.
It also represents another chance for Great Britain to punch above their weight and bring more medals home from Pyeongchang.
Reporting by Jack Tarrant;
Irish Pm Calls For Urgent Restoration Of Northern Ireland Government
DUBLIN – Ireland’s Prime Minister called for the urgent restoration of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government on Monday after talks to end a year-long political stalemate broke down yet again last week.
Both the British and Irish governments have said they want to get the talks back on track but neither have suggested when Irish nationalists Sinn Fein and the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) should return to the negotiating table.
The British province has been without a devolved executive for over a year since Sinn Fein withdrew from the compulsory coalition with their arch-rivals that has been central to a 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of violence there.
“The (Irish) government will continue to engage with the parties in Northern Ireland and the British government to support the urgent formation of a new executive,” Varadkar said in a statement after meeting with Sinn Fein and speaking to British Prime Minister Theresa May by phone.
Before meeting Varadkar, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said there should be no delay in resuming talks that she and both governments believe were close to a successful outcome before the DUP pulled out over a disagreement on additional rights for Irish-language speakers.
DUP leader Arlene Foster reiterated her call for London to take further financial control of the region, saying her party remained committed to devolution “but not at any price”.
Britain has already had to take steps toward governing the region directly for the first time in a decade and many fear a return to full British direct rule would further destabilize a delicate balance between nationalists and unionists.
Britain has said it is absolutely committed to restoring the power-sharing administration and Varadkar repeated on Monday that his government did not want to see the introduction of direct rule across the border.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin;
Sylvester Stallone Dead Hoax – Rocky Actor Tells Fans He’s ‘alive And Well’ After Rumours Of His Death Sweep Social Media
SYLVESTER STALLONE has put the bizarre rumour he is dead to bed as he tweeted declaring he is “still punching” this evening.
The Rocky star told fans to “ignore this stupidity” and confirmed he is “alive and well” after the rumour swept the internet.
The actor confirmed to fans he is still alive after a rumour of his death took off today
He added: “Remember to always grab LIFE by the throat and do not let go until you succeed.”
This isn’t the first time he has had to bat of rumours of an early demise – Facebook users reported seeing a fraudulent message in September 2016 claiming Stallone had been found dead at his LA home.
It was later exposed as a hoax after it emerged it was linked to a website known for creating and sharing celebrity death hoaxes.
But the rumour has now returned to social media a year-and-a-half later.
He added on an inspirational message as he said he is still ‘alive and well’
AP:Associated Press Wild online rumours are claiming Sylvester Stallone is dead again
The return of the hoax appeared to have been sparked by him sharing a fan poster for Creed II – the next instalment in the Rocky film series.
After seeing Sly’s face on the advert, some people on social media – still convinced that he was dead from the last hoax – reacted with confusion.
RIP messages began to circulate online, with some claiming Sly had died from prostate cancer.
The rumour was fuelled by fake news articles being shared online
Twitter users were seen asking each other if the Rocky star had really passed away as the Chinese whispers spread like wildfire.
One wrote: “Is Sylvester Stallone dead or is Facebook lying again?”
Another wrote: “Omg I thought Sylvester Stallone was dead!! I hate the Internet”
Starving Lion Chews Off Its Own Tail In Hellhole Chinese Zoo
A STARVING lion was forced to chew off its own tail after it froze in a Chinese zoo’s water hole.
Tourists visiting Taiyuan Zoo, in Shanxi Province, during the Lunar New Year holidays spotted the malnourished animal pacing around in circles.
A starving lion in Taiyuan Zoo, in Shanxi Province, is believed to have chewed off its own tail
The emaciated beast was kept inside the cage with a lioness who looked equally hungry.
Visitors accused the zoo of abuse and demanded to know why the lion was missing half of its tail.
A Taiyuan Zoo spokesman explained that the lion fell asleep with its tail inside an artificial drinking hole, which frozen in the cold temperatures.
The tail suffered tissue damage and bled, so the lion “bit it off”, the spokesman added.
AsiaWire Visitors became deeply concerned when they saw the emaciated lion pacing around its room
The staff member said employees discovered the injury and the lion was put on a course of medication to help stop its bleeding.
However, the zoo did not respond to accusations that the two lions were underfed and malnourished.
Social media users on China’s Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo said the lions looked “depressed”, pacing around their tiny enclosure.
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