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Dutch Breaks Record, American Lands Jump, Norway Leads Medal Count

2018-2-12

This is What’s Trending today …

The Winter Olympics are supposed to be cold, but not this cold. During the first weekend of competition in South Korea, strong winds and icy conditions forced the cancellation of many outdoor events.

But, there was still a lot going on.

Red Gerard, of the United States, jumps during the men's slopestyle final at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Red Gerard, of the United States, jumps during the men's slopestyle final at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Amid the strong winds, American Red Gerard crashed on his first two runs in the snowboard slopestyle event. In his third run, the 17-year-old stayed on his feet and completed a series of jumps to win the first gold medal for the U.S. at the PyeongChang Games. He became the youngest Olympic snowboarder ever to win a gold medal.

And figure skater Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to successfully perform a triple axel jump at the Olympics. This complex jump requires a skater to begin jumping from a forward position and complete three and a half turns in the air before landing.

Only two other women ever have landed a triple axel at the Olympics. Japan’s Midori Ito did it in the 1992 Games in Albertville, France. And Mao Asada – also from Japan – completed the jump at both the 2010 Games in Vancouver, Canada, and the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Nagasu’s parents are immigrants from Japan. After her performance Sunday, she said, "Maybe it's the Japanese genetics — but lucky for me I'm American, so I'll be the first U.S. lady.”

Also this weekend, Dutch speedskater Sven Kramer broke his own Olympic record in the men’s 5,000-meter event. He became the first man to win three straight gold medals in the event.

Nineteen-year-old Perrine Laffont became the first French woman to win a gold medal in moguls in the 26-year history of the event.

And Norway, a country of just over 5 million people, continues to lead the medal count at the Games. After three days of competition, Norway has nine medals. Germany, the Netherlands and Canada are tie for third. All three have won seven medals so far.

And that's What's Trending Today.

I’m Ashley Thompson.

Caty Weaver adapted this story for Learning English from AP, Reuters, and VOA news reports. ­­Ashley Thompson was the editor.

What do you think are some of the most important Olympic stories so far? Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.

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Words in This Story

amid - preposition. in or into the middle of (something)

figure skater - n. an ice skater who performs various jumps, spins, and dance movement

snowboard - n. a board like a wide ski that is used for sliding down hills of snow while standing

tied - adj. having an equal number of points in a contest