Americans Who Won Medals in Ski and Snowboard Events at Beijing 2022

The United States had its best showing at a Winter Olympics since 2006 at the 2022 Beijing Games. Team USA won 24 medals, including eight gold, and finished fourth on the Olympic medal table behind Norway, Germany, and the People’s Republic of China. American athletes won 14 medals in ski and snowboard events at the Games.

Surprisingly, alpine ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin didn’t contribute to Team USA’s medal count. A three-time Olympic medalist and 73-time winner on the World Cup stage, Shiffrin was disqualified from three of the five individual events in which she participated and narrowly missed out on a bronze medal on the final day of competition in the mixed team parallel. Ryan Cochran-Siegle was the lone American to win a medal in the 30 individual alpine skiing events.

Alex Hall and Nick Goepper won gold and silver, respectively, in the men’s slopestyle skiing event on February 16. Hall, who finished 16th in the event at the Pyeongchang Games in 2018, scored an impressive 90.01 in his first run and remained in first place through the duration of the event. Goepper won his third Olympic medal with his second-place finish.

Team USA also won a pair of medals in aerials skiing. The team of Ashley Caldwell, Christopher Lillis, and Justin Schoenefeld won the gold medal in the mixed team aerials on February 10. The victory was notable not only because it was the Olympic debut of the event, but also because it was the first aerials medal for the US since Jeret Peterson won a silver medal in the men’s event in 2010.

Lillis received the highest individual score of all competitors in the event for his double full-full-double full, and Schoenefeld secured the gold for the Americans by executing a clean back double full-full-full. Megan Nick added a second medal for Team USA in aerials with a third-place finish in the women’s individual event.

David Wise and Alex Ferreira added to the Americans’ medal count on February 19 with a silver and bronze medal, respectively, in men’s skiing halfpipe. Wise, who won gold in the event in each of the past two Winter Olympics, finished with a score of 90.75 in the event. He was 2.25 points back of Olympic champion Nico Porteous of New Zealand. Ferreira, who won silver in 2018, settled for bronze.

Jessie Diggins won a pair of medals in cross country skiing. The American won bronze in the women’s sprint even on February 8, and won a silver in the women’s 30-kilometer mass start on the final day of competition. Colby Stevenson won silver in the men’s big air event and Jaelin Kauf won silver in women’s moguls.

Julia Marino won Team USA its first snowboard medal in the slopestyle event on February 6. It was a redemption of sorts for Marino, who finished 11th in the event four years prior. Lindsey Jacobellis won gold three days later in the women’s snowboard cross. Jacobellis also redeemed a past performance at the Olympics. The 36-year-old cost herself a gold medal at the 2006 Turin Games by showboating near the finish. She won a second gold medal at the Beijing Games with teammate Nick Baumgartner in the debuting mixed team snowboard cross event.

Finally, Chloe Kim won gold in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe on February 10. Kim, who also won gold in 2018, is the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic snowboard halfpipe titles.

The Process for Obtaining a Class A Skydiving License

The adventure sport of skydiving, which involves jumping from an airplane and deploying a parachute on the way down, provides a rush of adrenaline and an unparalleled perspective of the earth’s surface. When individuals acquire a taste for skydiving, they often pursue a certification, allowing them to jump alone. Due to the potential risks, obtaining a skydiving license involves multiple steps.

The most common certification process involves accelerated freefall (AFF), an industry training standard nationwide. While some skydiving schools offer instructor-assisted deployment (IAD) training, this involves lower jumps and does not offer true freefall potential until around the sixth jump. This type of training is much less common than AFF.

Before embarking on a skydiving course, an individual might consider going on a tandem jump, which can be done with no previous training or experience. During a tandem jump, an individual will partner with an instructor who has undergone rigorous training that likely includes 500 jumps and multiple hours of freefall time. The pre-flight training generally consists of an orientation, some equipment briefing, and a description of what to expect during landing.

A tandem dive before beginning a course can ensure the person wants to pursue certification. That first experience is enough for some jumpers, and they will know this before investing their time and money in a full course. For other people, a tandem jump will only whet their appetite for more. Those individuals can then enroll in a certification course, which likely comprises four to six hours of classroom learning.

During academic training, students learn how to operate skydiving equipment and how to troubleshoot when problems arise. Then, they participate in assisted jumps supervised by an instructor certified through an agency such as the United States Parachute Association (USPA). During an accelerated freefall (AFF) dive course, students practice modern procedures, skills, and maneuvers to ensure their safety.

In addition to packing their parachute, students learn procedures for jumping from a plane at lower altitudes. This allows them to complete dives even when aircraft issues prevent planes from flying higher. Once students have completed their instructor-assisted freefalls, they are ready to jump alone. To receive an “A” license from the USPA, students need to have 25 total dives. Once the instructor clears a student for self-supervision, they will complete the remaining 25 skydives as solo dives.

During this stage of training, students continue practicing the basic flying skills they have learned, this time without the assistance of instructors. Students will plan and execute their dives, demonstrating confidence and competence with skills, equipment, and landing. Once they have completed at least 25 skydives, students must demonstrate various freefall skills and maneuvers on a final “check dive” and pass a final written exam.

An ”A” license with the USPA qualifies skydivers to skydive at any USPA affiliate dropzone around the world. Additionally, they can begin skydiving with friends and even practice building mid-air formations. To enroll in an AFF skydiving certification course, individuals must be at least 18 years old and weigh less than 225 pounds.

State Park Hiking Trails Near Aurora, Colorado

Hiking enthusiasts living in or visiting the Aurora, Colorado, area have a plethora of trails to choose from, including those in nearby national and state parks.

Cherry Creek State Park is a park in Aurora built around an 880-acre reservoir. The park consists of 12 miles of multi-use trails, most of which encompass easy, rolling terrain for hikers at any skill level. The Cherry Creek Trail is one of the park’s most popular, and is a paved, pet-friendly, 4.75-mile path with American with Disabilities Act-compliant access. With entry points at Cherry Creek Crossing and the Cottonwood Creek trail head, Cherry Creek Trail is part of an extensive regional trail system extending from Denver to Castlewood Canyon.

Additional trails at Cherry Creek State Park include the Butterfly Hill Trail and the Prairie Loop Nature Trail. Other notable activities at the park, meanwhile, include horseback riding, camping, and ice skating.

Plains Conservation Center is also located within Aurora city limits. The outdoor education facility and nature area has dedicated itself to educating children about the importance of Colorado’s prairies and ongoing conservation efforts. The location includes more than 1,100 acres of short-grass prairie land that offer memorable views of the Rocky Mountains.

The Plains Conservation Center nature center provides visitors with trail maps and the area’s gentle terrain allows hikers to take in all of the natural wonders, with animal sightings ranging from coyotes to pronghorn antelope. Bird watchers, meanwhile, can enjoy species such as bald eagles and red-tailed hawks. Of course, the prairie is also home to numerous prairie dogs. With this in mind, hikers should be aware that neither pets nor horseback riding are permitted at the Plains Conservation Center.

Douglas County’s Castlewood Canyon State Park offers an array of trails between half a mile and four miles in length, many of which can be connected for hikers interested in a longer day on the trails. Like Cherry Creek State Park, many of the park’s trails follow along Cherry Creek as it flows through the floor of Castlewood Canyon.

While Castlewood Canyon State Park offers a number of year-round, pet friendly trails, the East Canyon Trail is an exception. Closed from November through May, the trail is environmentally sensitive. Visitors must stay on the trail at all times and are not allowed to climb or rappel any of the rock formations.

The Royal Arch Trail is located just outside of Boulder. While the short, 3.1-mile trail is typically heavily trafficked, individuals should be aware that it is rated as a rather difficult hike. Hikers interested in the beautiful wildflowers and snowshoeing opportunities provided by the trail should be prepared for nearly 1,400 feet of elevation gain. The trail also provides stunning views of the Boulder area, though hikers will first need to complete the climb up Sentinel Pass, which accounts for much of the elevation gain.

Of course, the primary attraction of the Royal Arch Trail is the arch itself. Located at the end of the trail, Royal Arch is a large, unique rock formation surrounded by flowers and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Additional hiking locations throughout the Aurora, Colorado, region include Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Bluffs Regional Park, Piney Creek Trail, and High Line Canal Trail.

MLB No-Hitters and Perfect Games

In the sport of baseball, pitchers can enjoy a variety of achievements that indicate exceptional performances, most notably no-hitters and perfect games.

A Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher can record a no-hitter by completing a regulation game without yielding a hit to the opposing team. A single pitcher must finish all nine innings in order to receive credit for the game, although multiple pitchers can share joint credit if a no-hitter is maintained over the duration of a full game.

As the designation suggests, a no-hitter is only concerned with whether any opposing players reach base by way of a hit. A pitcher can still receive credit for a no-hitter if they walk batters, intentionally or otherwise, or if a batter reaches base via error.

A no-hitter may also be credited to a pitcher regardless of fielder’s choice scenarios. This means that if a defensive player cleanly fields a ball and opts to throw out a runner at second or third base instead of the player running to first base, the pitcher is not charged with giving up a hit. Batters can also reach base in a no-hitter following a wild pitch on strike three or as a result of catcher’s interference.

With these exceptions in mind, it should be noted that it is possible for a team to score runs against a pitcher that throws a no-hitter. In fact, there have been two instances of MLB pitchers receiving credit for both a no-hitter and a loss in the same game.

Ken Johnson threw a nine-inning no-hitter in 1964 as a pitcher for the Houston Colt .45s. It was a clean game for Johnson entering the top of the ninth in a 0-0 tie, but a series of errors and ground outs advanced Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds around the bases. Houston failed to score in the bottom of the ninth, resulting in a 1-0 loss and a no-hitter for Johnson, who finished with nine strikeouts and just two walks on the day.

Johnny Vander Meer is the only MLB player to pitch no-hitters in consecutive starts, a feat he achieved in 1938. In 1965, Jim Maloney became the first pitcher in nearly five decades to complete an extra innings no-hitter. He nearly managed the feat twice in one season, having given up a hit in the 11th inning earlier in the year. Nolan Ryan holds the league record with seven career no-hitters.

As one might surmise, a perfect game allows for less leeway compared to a no-hitter. To achieve a perfect game, pitchers cannot allow a single opposing player to reach base by any means. Throughout 218,400 games and 150 years of play, MLB pitchers have combined for just 23 perfect games, with no pitcher achieving the feat more than once. Don Larsen is the only pitcher to throw a perfect game in the postseason, which he achieved in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees.

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