TIME olympics

Obama and Canadian Leader Make Beer Bet on Olympic Women’s Hockey Final

president-obama-beer
Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

The real question is what kind of beer we’re talking about here

President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday that they’ve bet each other a case of beer for each game as the U.S. and Canada face off in the Olympic Women’s Hockey finals this week.

Neither of the presidents, who announced their wager on Twitter, indicated just what kind of beer was on the line, though Harper did specify Canadian beer. So if the U.S. women emerge victorious, be on the lookout for Labatt Blue empties littering the White House lawn.

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Must-See Photos from Day 15 of the Sochi Olympics

Figure skating, nordic combined skiing and more from the 15th day of the Sochi Olympics.

Figure skating, nordic combined skiing and more from the 15th day of the Sochi Olympics.

TIME olympics

4 Diet Secrets of the U.S. Olympics Women’s Hockey Team

From left: U.S. forward Hilary Knight (21) skates ahead of Finland's Emma Nuutinen (96) during the second period in a women's hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, on Feb. 8, 2014.
From left: U.S. forward Hilary Knight (21) skates ahead of Finland's Emma Nuutinen (96) during the second period in a women's hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, on Feb. 8, 2014. Brian Cassella—Zuma Press

What’s fueling the American women’s hockey players in their quest for gold?

Canada may hold the hockey title, but on Thursday the U.S. women’s team will put up a serious fight for the gold medal. It will be the fourth time the rival teams have battled it out on Olympic ice. After earning a bronze in 2006, the U.S. suffered a disappointing loss to Canada in 2010 in Vancouver. After that, they got serious about winning Olympic gold–and that included reinventing not just their training, but also what they ate.

“They were working with a lot of products – recovery drinks, and a lot of bars,” says Alicia Kendig, sport dietician for the U.S. Olympic Committee who was assigned to work with the team on the players’ nutrition needs. “I wanted them to start thinking basic, to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. I wanted them to think of their food intake as a way to recover and fuel their activity – and that it didn’t have to come in a bottle or a wrapper.” Given their short burst of play and their indoor training environment, Kendig focused on giving the athletes foods that kept their energy up and protected them from stiffening up on the bench.

VIDEO: Meet Team USA: Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux

Here’s what she added to the players’ diets to get them to the gold medal game:

Beans and Lean Meats

Blood tests showed that about 20% to 30% of the players had low levels of serum ferratin, a stored form of iron. Iron is critical for bringing oxygen to cells and muscles; it produces the hemoglobin in red blood cells that binds to oxygen and ferries it to cells throughout the body. Iron also produces myoglobin, which feeds hard-working muscles with the oxygen they need.

Dropping below recommended levels of iron, which for the average woman range from 15 to 18 mg per day, can lead to fatigue, overall weakness and decreased immune function (which can make you more susceptible to colds and infections).

So Kendig, who prefers to get players to eat their nutrients rather than stock up with supplements, keeps the hockey team’s menus filled with high iron foods such as lentils, spinach, meats, and pumpkin seeds.

MORE: Russian Men’s Hockey Team Crashes Out of Olympics
Fish and Leafy Greens

Like most Americans, the women hockey players had slightly low levels of vitamin D. Because they train indoors, and play a winter sport, about 40% had lower than recommended levels. While the skin can make adequate amounts of vitamin D from sunlight, the hockey players don’t spend much time outdoors in the winter. So Kendig focuses on adding rich sources of D to their diet, from dark leafy greens like spinach and kale to salmon, cheese, and eggs.

Chocolate Milk

A childhood favorite, it’s also a go-to beverage for elite athletes. Milk contains whey protein, which is a form of protein that the body absorbs quickly, and sugar from the chocolate. “For recovery, you need the combination of protein and sugar,” says Kendig, who has it ready for the players when they come off the ice. “As soon as they see it, they want to drink it.”

Beta Alanine

This amino acid is actually made by the body, but in recent years elite athletes have turned to it as a way to speed up their recovery. Kendig says the American hockey players experimented with the supplement this season, but only about half a dozen continue to take it since many don’t like its taste, and others don’t like the idea of using supplements.

For its fans, beta alanine can keep muscles from getting stiff and sore between bouts of exercise, when lactic acid released by tired muscles starts to build up. Hockey players are especially vulnerable to the effects of lactic acid, since they skate in 45-second to one-minute sessions, then spend several minutes on the bench.

So far, Kendig’s changes seem to be doing the trick; with the U.S. women just one game away from a guaranteed medal, she hopes her message spreads to more elite athletes, not just Olympians. “A lot of athletes train to eat, but they should be eating to train,” she says. “That’s the whole purpose of food.”

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See Highlights from Day 14 of the Sochi Olympics

Russian men's ice hockey team crash out.

Russian men’s ice hockey team crash out.

TIME olympics

Russian Figure Skater Takes a Fall, and More Surprises from the Ladies Short Program

Russia's Yulia Lipnitskaya loses her balance during the ladies short program of Figure Skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, on Feb. 19, 2014.
Russia's Yulia Lipnitskaya loses her balance during the ladies short program of Figure Skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, on Feb. 19, 2014. Wang Lili—Xinhua/SIPA USA

Russian figure skating star Yulia Lipnitskaya fell on her triple flip, which cost her an automatic one point deduction and lowered her technical score for the jump before Japan’s Mao Asada also took a spill leaving her in sixteenth place

The marquee event of Winter Olympics skating, the ladies’ event, got off to a dramatic start Wednesday as overnight sensation Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia went head-to-head with the reigning Olympic champion, Queen Yuna Kim of Korea.

In the confrontation between experience and exuberance, years and youth, experience proved the victor. Kim, who has only skated at two events this season due to injury, took to the ice in Sochi and floated through her program as if no time had passed since her record-setting, gold-medal winning routines in Vancouver four years ago. Earning 74.92 points for a quiet, lyrical program set to Send In the Clowns, the Korean wooed the judges with her trademark presentation, outscoring the 15-year-old Lipnitskaya on skating skills, transitions and timing.

MORE: Team Figure Skating at the Winter Olympics: What You Need to Know

Lipnitskaya, skating hours after the Russian men’s hockey team failed to earn a spot in the medal round, finally showed some of the strain from the international and national attention she received following her stellar skating in the team event. She fell on her triple flip, which cost her an automatic one point deduction and lowered her technical score for the jump. Showing her age, the teen couldn’t hide her disappointment, refusing to look up in the kiss and cry when her scores came up.

Her teammate, Adelina Sotnikova, who before Lipnitskaya stole the stage was Russia’s rising star, emerged from the younger teen’s shadow to plant herself in second with an inspired skate to Bizet’s Haanera.

MORE: Meryl Davis and Charlie White Win First Ice Dance Gold for U.S.

Italy’s Carolina Kostner, who at 27 is among the oldest competitors in the field, enthralled with a balletic performance to Ave Maria to finish in a surprise third place.

But perhaps the biggest shock of the night came from Japan’s Mao Asada, the silver medalist from Vancouver and the only woman performing a triple axel. Asada, who made history in 2010 as the first woman to land two of the forward-take off jumps in Olympic competition, hasn’t landed one this season, and continued the streak in Sochi. Her fall, and turning another triple jump into a double, cost her precious points; she finished 16th among the 30 skaters.

MORE: Ashley Wagner’s Suit of Armor

Americans Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds and all skated clean programs to finish fourth, sixth and seventh, respectively, which puts them in good position to move on to the podium. Gold was slightly more tentative than she was at nationals, and admitted to being more nervous about skating the short program, which contains eight required elements, than the free program.

TIME olympics

Russian Figure Skater Takes a Fall, and More Surprises from the Ladies Short Program

Russia's Yulia Lipnitskaya loses her balance during the ladies short program of Figure Skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, on Feb. 19, 2014.
Russia's Yulia Lipnitskaya loses her balance during the ladies short program of Figure Skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, on Feb. 19, 2014. Wang Lili—Xinhua/Sipa USA

It was a tough night for some of the sports’ favorites, while unforgettable routines came from unexpected places

The marquee event of Winter Olympics skating, the ladies’ event, got off to a dramatic start Wednesday as overnight sensation Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia went head-to-head with the reigning Olympic champion, Queen Yuna Kim of Korea.

In the confrontation between experience and exuberance, years and youth, experience proved the victor. Kim, who has only skated at two events this season due to injury, took to the ice in Sochi and floated through her program as if no time had passed since her record-setting, gold-medal winning routines in Vancouver four years ago. Earning 74.92 points for a quiet, lyrical program set to Send In the Clowns, the Korean wooed the judges with her trademark presentation, outscoring the 15-year-old Lipnitskaya on skating skills, transitions and timing.

MORE: Team Figure Skating at the Winter Olympics: What You Need to Know

Lipnitskaya, skating hours after the Russian men’s hockey team failed to earn a spot in the medal round, finally showed some of the strain from the international and national attention she received following her stellar skating in the team event. She fell on her triple flip, which cost her an automatic one point deduction and lowered her technical score for the jump. Showing her age, the teen couldn’t hide her disappointment, refusing to look up in the kiss and cry when her scores came up.

Her teammate, Adelina Sotnikova, who before Lipnitskaya stole the stage was Russia’s rising star, emerged from the younger teen’s shadow to plant herself in second with an inspired skate to Bizet’s Habanera.

MORE: Meryl Davis and Charlie White Win First Ice Dance Gold for U.S.

Italy’s Carolina Kostner, who at 27 is among the oldest competitors in the field, enthralled with a balletic performance to Ave Maria to finish in a surprise third place.

But perhaps the biggest shock of the night came from Japan’s Mao Asada, the silver medalist from Vancouver and the only woman performing a triple axel. Asada, who made history in 2010 as the first woman to land two of the forward-take off jumps in Olympic competition, hasn’t landed one this season, and continued the streak in Sochi. Her fall, and turning another triple jump into a double, cost her precious points; she finished 16th among the 30 skaters.

MORE: Ashley Wagner’s Suit of Armor

Americans Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds and all skated clean programs to finish fourth, sixth and seventh, respectively, which puts them in good position to move on to the podium. Gold was slightly more tentative than she was at nationals, and admitted to being more nervous about skating the short program, which contains eight required elements, than the free program.

TIME olympics

Jamaican Bobsled Team Slides Into Last Place

Jamaica's Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon speed down the track during the two-man bobsleigh event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
Jamaica's Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon speed down the track during the two-man bobsleigh event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, at the Sanki Sliding Center in Rosa Khutor February 16, 2014. Fabrizio Bensch—Reuters

The Sochi games are the bobsled team's first Olympics appearance since 2002

The storied Jamaican bobsled team that inspired the 1993 film Cool Runnings slid into last place Monday after three heats of the two-man bobsled at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The two-man team, made up of 30-year-old Marvin Dixon and 46-year-old Olympic veteran Winston Watts, was technically 29th out of 30 teams after three heats, and the only team behind Jamaica was the Serbian squad, which did not start the race. With a time of 1:57.23, they are a full 4.41 second behind the leading Russian pair.

The team first appeared in the 1988 Calgary Games, but hadn’t qualified since the 2002 Games before qualifying for the Sochi games. They’ve attracted a lot of attention this year, partially because of the novelty of hailing from a subtropical climate, as well as the 1993 classic Disney film. And if Jamaica’s performance in Monday’s qualifying bobsled rounds didn’t get the team noticed, maybe dance moves will suffice:

TIME olympics

Did Bode Miller Delay Grieving His Brother’s Death?

Bode Miller arrives on the podium during the Men's Alpine Skiing Super-G Flower Ceremony.
Bode Miller arrives on the podium during the Men's Alpine Skiing Super-G Flower Ceremony. Alexander Klein—AFP/Getty Images

Research doesn’t support the idea that people put off grieving, but bereavement does come in unexpected waves

When U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller broke down on camera Sunday during an interview following his bronze-medal-winning run in the Super G, viewers decried the insensitivity of the probing reporter. A former Olympic ski medalist herself, correspondent Christin Cooper took the opportunity to ask about Miller’s recently deceased brother Chelone–after Miller brought it up. Cooper then asked Miller, with tears in his eyes, about a pre-race moment in which he seemed to be talking to someone as he stared into the sky. Miller became so overcome with emotion that he couldn’t finish the interview, moved to a nearby barrier, and dropped to his knees to compose himself.

“You sometimes don’t realize how much you can contain that stuff until the dam breaks and then it’s just a real outpouring,” Miller told Matt Lauer the next day.

Miller’s reaction highlighted one of the most challenging questions in grief research – do people experience delayed grief, and how long after can such sadness re-emerge to blindside those who have suffered loss?

MORE: Bode Miller Defends Reporter Who Brought Him to Tears

“Grief is always tidal. People have the capacity to delay that response but they don’t have the capacity to deny,” says Jackson Rainer, head of psychology at Valdosta State University and author of Life After Loss: Contemporary Grief Counseling and Therapy. And any strong emotion – whether joy, anger, frustration or sadness – can break the dam and send the emotions flooding through.

That might have been case for Miller. One of the first skiers to compete, he watched medal-contender after medal-contender either skid off the course or finish behind him. Knowing how much his brother, Chelone, a promising snowboarder, wanted to compete in Sochi, Miller was already emotional when he arrived for the post-race interview on NBC.

PHOTOS: Must-See Photos From Day 12 of the Sochi Olympics

These waves may be more frequent and more intense immediately after the loss, as the first raw feelings of abandonment and bereavement start to emerge and those who have lost struggle to find ways of handling their overwhelming feelings. But there is no time limit to these waves, and they can occur at any time, even years after the loss, depending on the individual and on the circumstances. That’s what the latest studies suggest, contrary to older notions that bereavement that continues too long – beyond a year or so – can be signs of trouble for depression or other mental health problems. “The idea that after a year, you should be beyond the loss is something that’s inaccurate,” says Ann Rosen Spector, a clinical psychologist in Philadelphia and retired from the faculty at Rutgers University. “Nothing really ends in that year.”

MORE: Meryl Davis and Charlie White Win First Ice Dance Gold for U.S.

It’s possible that the intensity of the emotional episodes gets reduced over time, but grief, says Rainer, isn’t a finite experience. “We don’t do very well in our American culture with helping people to grieve,” he says. “We look at bereavement as an event rather than as a process. This is a process, and Bode Miller will miss his brother for the rest of his life.”

“I don’t think you ever build up so much scar tissue that you can never have what’s called an outburst,” says Spector. “Sometimes it’s like a domino effect and for whatever reason, everything hits, and missing that person overwhelms you.”

The healthiest way to manage grief? There isn’t a one size fits all formula, as psychologists are learning. For some, talk therapy can help, by giving grievers an outlet for reminiscing and remembering the person they lost until the memories become warmer and less painful. For others, time may be the only healer; studies don’t always show that grief counseling, for example, helps people to overcome their loss more quickly or with less psychic pain. “If you are going to be attached, one of the things that is going to happen is loss,” says Spector. “You don’t have to have an outburst, or cry at the funeral. You will always feel the loss but it doesn’t mean you can’t both grieve and create or strengthen other relationships so the loss doesn’t feel so dire.”

TIME olympics

Awe-Inspiring Photos from Day 13 of the Sochi Olympics

Cross country skiing, hockey and more from the 13th day of the Olympics.

Cross country skiing, hockey and more from the 13th day of the Olympics.

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