Olympic skater representation
Why does the United States send only two female skaters, singles, for the Olympics, while we are sending three male skaters?
Whether a country gets two or three skaters at the Olympics is determined by their showing at the World Championships. Two skaters have to finish with a combined placement of 13th or better at the Worlds in order to qualify three skaters for the Olympics.
At the World Championships in March 2009 in Los Angeles, Rachael Flatt finished fifth and Alissa Czisny 11th — putting them three places short of ensuring a third skater. Flatt and Mirai Nagasu then claimed the two spots at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash., in January.
The men qualified three for the Vancouver Olympics (which started Feb. 12 and continue until Sunday) by virtue of the top two skaters finishing first and ninth in Los Angeles.
Other Olympic tragedies
It was a tragic accident when Olympic luge participant Nodar Kumaritashvili died during a practice run. How many other athletes in Winter Olympics history have been killed either practicing or participating at the Games?
Kumaritashvili, who was from the Republic of Georgia, was the fourth athlete to die during the Winter Olympics, and the first since 1992, according to the Associated Press. Polish-born luger Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypecki, who had become a British citizen, and Ross Milne, an Australian skier, were both killed in training runs at the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Kay-Skrzypecki was killed when his luge flew off the course, and Milne crashed into a tree.
During the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France, Switzerland's Nicholas Bochatay, a speed skier training for the demonstration sport, ran into a snow-grooming machine. Speed skiing has never returned to the Games.
The skinny on Kevin Skinner
Whatever happened to the country western singer who won the million-dollar prize on America's Got Talent? He was a chicken farmer.
Kevin Skinner, an unemployed chicken farmer turned country western singer from Kentucky, won Season 4 of the America's Got Talent contest last September. He sang a song by Aerosmith, Don't Want to Miss a Thing.
His prize was $1 million and a contract for a Vegas show. Earlier this month he finished a series of shows at the Foxwood Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Conn. Next up is recording a CD at a Nashville studio. He's represented by Paradigm, and has shows lined up April 10 in Prestonburg, Ky., and April 17 in Metropolis, Ill.
If you want to keep up with him, his Web site is www.kevinskinnertheofficialsite.com, and he's on Facebook. Oh, and he turns 36 on Thursday.