We liked it so we put five rings on it

Here at The Slant, we embrace the Olympics with Leslie Jones-level enthusiasm. So we’re eager to see a few things unfold, including Korean culture at the opening ceremony, North and South Korea marching together, and whether or not all those Russian athletes will be allowed to compete.

This year, Team USA is sending their most diverse delegation yet—which admittedly isn’t that diverse, with Black and Asian American athletes making up only ~8% of the total 243.

Hoping for a Mirai-cle

That said, international relations are cool and all, but let’s focus on what this is all about—the athletes.

First the figure skaters, due to heavy personal bias:

  • Mirai Nagasu. Nagasu is the second American woman to land her triple Axel in competition (after Tonya Harding). So how hard is it, you ask? HARD AF. It’s the only jump that you enter going forward and requires three and a half rotations (all other triple jumps require three).

  • Nathan Chen. AKA the king of quads (four rotations, also hard AF). He’s the first male skater to land four quad jumps in competition, so the medal podium seems likely. If he wins gold he’ll set the record for youngest male skater to win that award. He also has a secret weapon—a costume designed by Vera Wang.

  • Karen Chen (they’re not related, you racists). Chen trains under Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, won the 2017 National Championships, gets mad air during her jumps, and also wrote a book (not really related).

  • Vincent Zhou. Don’t sleep on this San Jose native. Zhou made silver behind Nathan Chen at at the 2017 U.S. Nationals, and is the youngest Olympian at age 17. He’s also a part-time poet on his Instagram account, @artworkofthemind.

  • Alex and Maia Shibutani (AKA the “ShibSibs”) represent the US in ice dancing. The sibling duo are Olympic veterans who placed ninth at Sochi in 2014.

Additional Team USA’ers to watch

  • Chloe Kim is America’s snowboarding sweetheart and the only athlete to win three gold medals in the X Games before the age of 16. She’s also wildly charming and the Super Bowl commercial commemorating the sacrifices her father made WILL make you cry.

  • Filipino American speed skater JR Celski is a Olympic veteran. In fact, he's already won two bronzes in Vancouver and one silver in Sochi: a showing his idol Apolo Ohno would be proud of.

  • Aaron Tran saw short track speedskating on TV when he was 10, and the rest is history. He’ll be representing Team USA on short track speedskating… when he’s not busy gulping down donuts and oreos.

  • Thomas Insuk Hong also represents the U.S. in short track speedskating, and has trained in both the U.S. and Seoul, where he was born. He’s placed in multiple world championships and will make his Olympic debut this year.

  • And finally, Filipino American snowboarder Hailey Langland, who will rep the US in a new event: snowboarding big air. Langland's the first US woman in X Games history to land a "cab 1080 double cork": spinning 3 times and inverting twice.

For additional coverage and wine-fueled jokes, read my commentary on the first figure skating event below. Other than that, enjoy the opening ceremonies and go Team USA!

Chery Sutjahjo, editor, who may injure herself in the coming weeks from trying out her old tricks

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