TIME olympics

Meet Team USA: Maia and Alex Shibutani

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani skate in the dance short program during the Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden on Jan. 10, 2014 in Boston. Matthew Stockman—Getty Images

The ice dancing brother and sister have a habit of skating their way to the top

Mac and Cheese. That’s what their first coach called them, mainly because Alex Shibutani had a habit of turning to the judges and flashing an exuberant grin, even if it meant not looking where he was going.

He’s still a bit of a ham, but now those smiles will be directed at the Olympic judges in Sochi. It’s been a long journey for Alex and his sister Maia, one of seven sibling sets competing for the U.S. at the Games, and it’s an odyssey that they’ve taken as a family.

It was Maia who started skating first, seeing it as the perfect way to express what she heard, every day at home, in music. Parents Naomi and Chris Shibutani, both former competitive musicians (she’s a pianist, he’s a flutist), always had some kind of music playing when the family was getting ready for dinner at their home, first in Boston, then in Connecticut – classical, jazz, contemporary, it didn’t matter.

After Maia learned to skate at birthday parties, she took to freestyling on the ice to lengthy CDs that Naomi put together for her. An early favorite was Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet score; tiny six-year-old Maia would think nothing of skating for 20 minutes straight to the soaring music, making everything up as she went. “People who saw her would ask, ‘Who choreographed a 20-minute program for a six-year-old?’” says Chris.

MORE: Russian Skating Icon Evgeni Plushenko Pulls Out of Olympics

For Maia, the Olympics very quickly became a goal. As soon as she could understand what the Olympics were, says Chris, she worked out when she would be old enough to compete. 2014 became the magic number. “Everything has been to pursue this dream for them,” says Naomi. “To the point that email passwords involved the number 2014.”

Soon after Maia started skating, older brother Alex did too, at first just tagging along to the rinks in Greenwich, New York and New Jersey, wherever there were coaches and ice time available. Alex entertained himself with homework or by fishing for lost change behind the skate benches. At the time, he was obsessed with Michael Jordan and basketball, and papered his bedroom walls with posters and baskets so he could practice dunks, not forgetting Jordan’s trademark tongue hanging to the side of his mouth as he grabbed some air. But given the choice between homework and skating, not surprisingly, he chose the latter, and joined Maia as a singles skater.

MORE: Lessons from The Team Event: Why It’s Tough to Be a Skater If You’re Not From Russia

It wasn’t until Alex had to pick up a team sport for his school PE requirement that Naomi thought of putting them together as a dance team. “[Their coach] said as long as they could hold hands and not kill each other, they could try it,” says Chris.

They giggled, thought it was fun and funny, and within a few months were catching the eye of Susan Kelley and Andrew Stroukoff, who competed for the U.S. in the first Olympic ice dance competition in 1976. Kelley thought the brother-sister duo could finish in the top five at juvenile nationals that year.

Apparently, he had an eye for talent. The Shibutani siblings, known as the Shib Sibs, finished second.

By then, the Maia and Alex were taking lessons from Slavka Kohout, a legendary figure skating coach who trained five-time U.S. national champion Janet Lynn. Lynn, thanks to Kohout’s meticulous focus on basic skills and strong edges, was known as a technically precise skater, and that same attention to the blade helped the Shibutanis to stand apart from their peers.

“It was all about the fundamentals of skating, and learning the edges,” says Naomi.

As elite musicians who traveled for competitions, and understood the value of experiencing great talent in person, she and Chris took their children to elite level skating competitions whenever they could. When the world championships came to Washington, D.C., the family had rink side seats. “We were right by the ice, and we felt all the teams skating around and creating this vortex of wind as they went by,” says Alex. “That was so impressive for us, being nine and 12.”

MORE: Team USA Should Be Totally Stoked By Extreme Olympics Sports

After a practice session at the event, the siblings had their first encounter with Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, then an up-and-coming U.S. dance team who finished fifth at the competition and would go on to earn the U.S.’ first Olympic medal, a silver, in 20 years at the 2006 Games. “They were our idols; we got their autographs at that competition, and they were so friendly. I’m sure they had places to go, and people to see and a competition to prepare for, but they made themselves readily available to two young kids,” says Alex.

As the siblings’ talent became obvious, their coach suggested they take advantage of summer development camps at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, a skating training mecca, particularly for novice and junior skaters. “The first time we got to the World Arena, their eyes went wide,” says Chris. There, in one chilly arena, was everything Maia and Alex wanted – top level coaches, including Olympic ice dance champion Christopher Dean, elite competitors, and tons and tons of ice time.

For Chris and Naomi, however, it meant an end to their own dream. The couple had just purchased a home in Greenwich, the one in which they planned on spending the rest of their lives. “This was the house they Maia and Alex were going to come home to during Thanksgiving break from college, and we were going to live in for 30 years, just like our parents did in their generation,” says Chris.

MORE: U.S. Ice Dancers Win Record Sixth National Title

But when their children started beating ice dance teams that had won at nationals the year before, the Shibutanis knew that Colorado Springs was where they had to be to realize their potential. They sold the house, and Chris, an anesthesiologist who earned a business degree and was then working at JPMorgan in New York; started catching JetBlue flights out of JFK Airport on Thursdays; flying to Denver; driving an hour-and-a-half; spending the weekend with the family; and flying back on Sunday. “I was a regular at JFK,” he says of the weekly trips he took for two years. “There something wonderful and pathetic about being recognized at JetBlue, Starbucks and the rental car agency.”

When the Shib sibs’ talent outgrew Colorado Springs, they auditioned in 2007 for coaches Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva at the Arctic Ice Arena in Canton, Michigan. Shpilband had put together Belbin and Agosto, and with Zoueva was attracting the top ice dance teams from around the world, including reigning Olympic gold and silver medalists, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from Canada, and Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S. “They are very unique, super unique,” says Zoueva of the brother-sister pair. “The way they feel the music, they feel it with their body and soul, and they can express what they feel.”

MORE: An Olympic Ice Storm

As brother and sister, they also have an uncanny unison that earns points from the judges. At their first senior world championships, in 2011, they shot straight to the podium, earning a bronze.

This season, they intentionally chose to skate to a medley of Michael Jackson hits for their free dance, in an effort to attract younger fans to ice dance. “People have stereotypes of turning on the television and watching figure skating – ‘oh, it’s going to be something to opera, or some music I don’t really connect with,’” says Alex. “We are trying to connect with the person who is turning on the TV, didn’t know there was figure skating on, and trying to get them to stay on that channel.”

To prepare their Jackson tribute, they flew to Los Angeles to work with Jackson’s choreographers Travis Payne and Stacy Walker, and result is a routine that never fails to get audiences dancing along with them.

Training at the same rink with the top teams in the world is also a huge motivator for the Shibutanis. “We see it as a competitive advantage for us to train with them,” says Maia of their practice sessions on the ice, which are more like the warmups for the world championships.

While the siblings were first a bit awestruck by training with these teams – they stuck to a small corner of the rink at their first practice until Moir came over and told them that they had as much right to the full ice as the world and Olympic champs – Maia and Alex can now quick step, foxtrot and moon dance with the best of them, and represent the bright future of American ice dance.

TIME russia

It’s Time to Get Over the ‘Miracle On Ice’

The U.S ice hockey team rushes toward goalie Jim Craig after their upset win over the Soviet Union in the semi-final round of the XIII Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., Feb. 22, 1980.
The U.S ice hockey team rushes toward goalie Jim Craig after their upset win over the Soviet Union in the semi-final round of the XIII Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., Feb. 22, 1980. AP

As the U.S. men's hockey team gets ready to play Russia at Sochi, Cold War clichés dominate conversation

Halfway through the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia’s Foreign Minister got so fed up with all the bad press that he decided to take up his pen and react. “In the Western media,” Sergei Lavrov wrote in an op-ed published Thursday, Feb. 13, in Russia’s Kommersant daily, “a campaign of anti-Russian information has been launched, using terminology that is in the spirit of the Cold War.” Then, for nearly 2500 words, he went on to eviscerate the West for its old-think biases. But if he felt the media was beating the dust out of the Iron Curtain before, he should brace himself for this weekend.

On Saturday, Russia and the U.S. will face off in an Olympic hockey match that is, in some fairly superficial ways, reminiscent of the so-called “Miracle on Ice” – the epic game between the U.S. and Soviet Union (not Russia) during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. In the American imagination, that game provided one of the defining narratives of the Cold War. A ragtag bunch of American college kids defeated the honed professionals of the Soviet hockey machine, who had dominated the Olympic hockey tournament for decades.

No less than three American films have been made about that upset, the first one only a year after the game was played and most recently the 2004 version from Walt Disney. It was a great story. But it has nothing to do with Saturday’s match. “Folks need to get over it,” says Vyacheslav Fetisov, the Russian hockey legend who, as a 21-year-old defenseman, played on the losing end of the Miracle on Ice. “There is really just no parallel to be made,” he tells TIME.

But at a press conference two days before the game, the members of Team USA had to deflect a stream of questions trying to tease out even the slightest parallel. “Look, guys, I wasn’t even born yet,” said T.J. Oshie, a 27-year-old center for the St. Louis Blues. “I’m not really a 100% sure on the history of all that.” But do you remember hearing about it, a reporter persisted, maybe from uncles or grandfathers? “Yeah, they talked about. But I was just a young kid,” said Oshie “I remember watching the movies.” So does the history come into play for the team at all, asked another American reporter. “You know,” said Oshie. “I really don’t think so.” It went on like that for half an hour.

In the professional sporting press, references to the Miracle on Ice have become a grating cliché, much more likely to inspire a cringe in the context of Sochi than a wistful stare into the distance. Gregg Krupa, who covers the Red Wings for the Detroit News, says that mentioning today’s political climate as some kind of motivator for any of the hockey players in Sochi would just be misleading.

During the Winter Games of 1980, the Cold War was at one of its tensest moments. The Soviet Union had just invaded Afghanistan. The United States was about to elect Ronald Reagan as President. The long period of detente between the two superpowers was being abandoned. “It was a Cold War game,” Krupa says. “Today, these guys all hang out in the States and Canada with each other, playing hockey and raising families together.”

Fetisov, now a member of the Russia’s upper house of parliament, was one of the players who broke down the barriers to make that possible. In the late 1980s, he began pushing the Soviet government to let him play in the NHL, and he was threatened in response with banishment to the Ukrainian minor leagues. Only when the Soviet Union was on the brink of collapse was he allowed to play abroad, and he went on to win two Stanley Cup trophies in a row for the Red Wings in 1997-1998. Following in his footsteps, most of the players on the Russian national team today also play for the NHL, including the team captain, Pavel Datsyuk, who also plays for the Red Wings.

“I don’t know what the comparisons are motivated by, but they just don’t make sense,” says Fetisov. “It’s a different game, a different world we’re living in. The Soviet Union is gone.”

That is the message that Russia’s government has been trying to get across in these Olympics, and many of the officials involved have said they are succeeding. Konstantin Ernst, who designed the opening ceremony, said afterward that it had shown, “the real Russians, untainted by decades of propaganda and the Cold War.” To drive home the point, President Vladimir Putin visited the American House in Sochi’s Olympic village on the eve of Saturday’s game.

So it’s little wonder that parallels drawn in the media between that game and the Miracle on Ice – and between Russia and the Soviet Union – have gotten officials so upset. It seems to have the same effect on some of the players in Team USA. “We’re just out there playing hockey,” says David Backes, captain of the St. Louis Blues. “Whether that solves any of the political tensions, I doubt it. But really what we want to do is write our own chapter on Saturday.” After 34 years, maybe they can even close the book.

TIME olympics

Must-see Photos from Day 9 of the Sochi Olympics

Coaches dressed as chimpanzees, freestyle skiing, hockey and more.

Coaches dressed as chimpanzees, freestyle skiing, hockey and more.

TIME History

17 Memorable Kisses Throughout History

Smooches to remember in time for Valentine's Day

  • Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss

    Rodin's The Kiss
    Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    One of the most famous depictions of love in art, this marble statue illustrates Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini, two lovers from Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Their kiss is so passionate, you would not know that they were condemned to hell after their affair. The duo was originally part of doors he designed called The Gates of Hell until 1886, “when Rodin decided that this depiction of happiness and sensuality” did not fit, sculpted a separate statue, and exhibited it in 1887, according to the Musée Rodin in Paris. A version of The Kiss was supposed to be displayed in Chicago in 1893, but the couple’s embrace was deemed too erotic for public viewing.

  • Thomas Edison’s The Kiss

    In this 1896 film, May Irwin and John Rice, actors in the New York stage comedy The Widow Jones, reenact a 19-second-long kiss from the show. Shot by Edison’s Vitascope cinema projector, it is considered to be the first movie kiss. Not everyone found it romantic, however, like painter John Sloan, who reportedly wrote, “Magnified to Gargantuan proportions and repeated three times over, it is absolutely disgusting.”

  • Hershey’s Kisses

    Hershey To Challenge Kraft Foods With Cadbury Bid
    Bloomberg/Getty Images

    The tear-drop chocolates date back to 1907, and now Hershey’s plant in West Hershey, Pennsylvania, can produce up to 70 million of them a day. For Valentine’s Day, Hershey’s makes more than 8 million pounds of Hershey’s Kisses and sells more than 800 million individual Hershey’s Kisses. Over the years, the bite-sized treats have been wrapped in different colors and have been worn like a bra by “I Kissed a Girl” singer Katy Perry on the Jul. 7-21, 2011, cover of Rolling Stone.

  • V-J Day in Times Square Kiss

    VJ DAYAlfred Eisenstaedt / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images
    Alfred Eisenstaedt / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

    The caption for Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph in the August 27, 1945, issue of LIFE was “In the middle of New York’s Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers.” (Read more about the photograph at LIFE.com.) In 2012, CBS News identified the sailor and nurse in the photo as George Mendonsa, a retired fisherman from Rhode Island, and Greta Friedman, and brought them together again in Times Square.

  • The Kiss of Death

    The Godfather: Part II
    Paramount

    Some kisses are far from romantic. In The Godfather Part II (1974), mob boss Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) kisses his brother Fredo (John Cazale) in Havana and reveals that he knows Fredo had betrayed him: “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.” TIME’s Richard Corliss called the scene, “one of the most powerful kisses in movies: the kiss that kills.”

  • KISS

    Kiss Album Cover Portrait Session
    Ginny Winn—Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    Between the band members’ “signature makeup, explosive stage show and anthems like “Rock And Roll All Nite” and “Detroit Rock City,” they are the very personification of rock stars,” The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wrote about 2014 inductee KISS. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley started rocking out in 1972 and became one of the most popular bands of the 1970s. While Peter and Ace peeled off in the 80s, the band continued to rock out at Super Bowl XXXIII, the 2002 Winter Olympics, the American Idol finale in 2009, and even graced the cover of Playboy magazine in 1999. Still performing today, KISS claims to have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide over a 40-year career.

  • World Leaders Kiss

    Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and East German leader Erich Honecker
    Helmuth Lohmann—AP

    In honor of the 30th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic in 1979, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German President Erich Honecker shared a “fraternal kiss” (also once referred to as a “Kremlin kiss”) — an expression of solidarity exchanged between Eastern Bloc pols when the Soviet Union existed. There was a Dmitri Vrubel mural of this moment on the Berlin Wall captioned “God help me to survive this deadly love affair.”

  • Al and Tipper Gore Kiss

    Vice President Al Gore kisses his wife Tipper Gore
    Robert Nickelsberg—Liaison/Getty Images

    The Vice President Al Gore made headlines when he hugged his wife Tipper tightly and kissed her for three whole seconds — which felt like forever — at the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 17, 2000. Back then, TIME wrote, “The sheer carnality of the kiss — the can’t-wait-to-get-back-to-the-hotel-room urgency, the sexual electricity flowing south — was riveting.” Political commenters called the kiss both a calculated attempt to humanize Gore and a statement of monogamy intended to show that he was his own man and not like his boss, Bill Clinton, who had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Gore did not win the 2000 presidential election, however, and the couple separated a decade later.

  • Ray Bourque’s Stanley Cup Kiss

    Ray Bourque
    Brian Bahr—Allsport/Getty Images

    After more than 20 years in the NHL, Ray Bourque kissed and cradled the Stanley Cup for the first time on June 9, 2001, after helping the Colorado Avalanche defeat the New Jersey Devils before he retired that summer.

  • Britney and Madonna Kiss

    Britney Spears and Madonna
    John Shearer—WireImage / Getty Images

    Britney Spears and Madonna shocked the world by French-kissing — or playing “tonsil hockey,” as TIME’s Joel Stein described it — at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2003. Critics compared it to Michael Jackson smooching Lisa Marie Presley at the 1994 ceremony. The image was apparently so appalling to some people that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had to apologize for placing it on the front page of the newspaper. And viewers who saw Miley Cyrus twerk on stage at the awards a decade later will chuckle at The Los Angeles Times description of the Britney-Madonna kiss: “The fact that this yawn-worthy Madonna shock tactic became the central topic of the show’s post-mortems indicates how low the once-essential showcase has sunk.”

  • Post-Stanley Cup Riots Kiss

    Vancouver Kiss
    Rich Lam—Getty Images

    The fiery riots in Vancouver, Canada, could not subdue the fiery passion between Australian native Scott Jones and Alexandra Thomas, who were photographed making out on the ground in the middle of the street during the chaos that broke out on June 15, 2011, after the Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. In the picture, taken by Getty Images photographer Rich Lam, Jones was trying to calm Thomas down after the two had been overwhelmed by the surge of police, The Toronto Star reports. Jones’s father Brett summed up the moment best on his Facebook page: “How’s that for making love, not war?”

  • World Leaders Don’t Kiss

    Benetton Ad
    Martin Bureau—AFP/Getty Images

    Presumably inspired by the Brezhnev-Honecker kiss, the clothing company United Colors of Benetton’s 2011 ad campaign for its UNHATE Foundation featured digitally manipulated images of world leaders kissing, including Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel locking lips with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, President Barack Obama with Chinese President Hu Jintao, and Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-il with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The image of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a high-profile Egyptian imam Ahmed el-Tayeb was removed after the Vatican condemned it as “offensive” to the Pope and Catholics in general. In a statement, the company defended the campaign as “symbolic images of reconciliation – with a touch of ironic hope and constructive provocation.”

  • The Obamas on The Kiss Cam

    Barack and Michelle Obama are pros at posing for the cameras, yet they did not expect to appear on the “Kiss Cam” at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. during an Olympic men’s exhibition basketball game between Team USA and Brazil on July 16, 2012. The first couple did not kiss when the camera zoomed in on them during the first half of the game — which reportedly prompted boos. But when it came around in the second half, the President kissed the First Lady so passionately that NBC’s Al Roker joked, “Mr. President, get a stadium!”

  • The Fastest Runner Kiss

    Usain Bolt
    Bob Thomas—Getty Images

    World champion Jamaican runner Usain Bolt kisses the track after winning the 100m and 200m races in record times at the London Summer Games on Aug. 9, 2012–a first in Olympic history. “I am a living legend,” he told The New York Times.

  • The Longest Kiss

    World's Longest Continuous Kiss
    Pornchai Kittiwongsakul—AFP/Getty Images

    The Guinness World Record for the longest kiss is 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds, achieved by Ekkachai Tiranarat and Laksana Tiranarat at a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not event in Pattaya, Thailand, between February 12-14, 2013. They won a $3,300 cash prize and two diamond rings.

  • TIME Covers of Same-Sex Couples Kisses:

    TIME Gay Marriage
    Peter Hapak for TIME

    Two Apr. 8, 2013, TIME covers featuring the line “Gay Marriage Already Won” superimposed on portraits of same-sex couples kissing instantly went viral and sparked a lively debate. Illustrating an article on the public support for gay marriage leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, the magazine argued the cover images “symbolized the love that is at the heart of the idea of marriage,” while commentary on The Wire argued, “that same-sex couples kissing on a magazine cover is still cause for surprise, for shock, for discussions and reactions and double takes, that it would even be a cover, means in fact we’re not quite all the way there.”

  • Speed Skaters Kiss

    Brian Snyder—Reuters

    Canadian speed skater Charles Hamelin skated over to his girlfriend, speed skater Marianne St-Gelais, and planted a big one on her while straddling the track barrier after winning a gold medal in the 1,500m short track on Feb. 10, 2014 at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The embrace was an encore of their kiss at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

TIME

A Brief History of Sex at the Olympics

New Zealand v United States
Hope Solo Stephen Lam—Getty Images

Are we really that surprised?

Tuesday the internet erupted in a wave of Sochi shock that had nothing to do with dangerous half pipes, packs of wild dogs, or atrocious hotel accommodations.

Can you believe that Olympic athletes are all using Tinder—a DATING APP—at the Olympic village? So much so that “Tinder hook-ups [are] off the hook”? This is completely unexpected. Why would the world’s best athletes, in their physical prime, with endorphins to kill and calories to burn, and who are all compressed in a small living space be so interested in this particular extracurricular activity?

Tinder-gate of Sochi 2014 is just the most recent round of faux-surprise that Olympians might, in fact, be having sex. (Because while it’s ok to allude to the deed by sexifying female athletes, the idea that anyone’s having any actual sex is a different thing completely.)

We’ve rounded up a history of how sex at Olympic village has been covered over the last few decades. And judging by the florid prose in the dispatches below, the journalists seem to be pretty overheated as well.

Sochi 2014:

The games have just begun, but it’s already the year of Tinder and talk of 100,000 condoms circulating around the Olympic Village.

London 2012:

The London Olympics probably saw the most headlines regarding athlete-on-athlete sexcapades. “Gay app Grindr crashes as Olympic athletes arrive in London,” read the Mirror. “Could London 2012 be the raunchiest games ever?” asked the Daily Mail. “Steamy London Olympics: A Condom-a-Day, Per Athlete,” wrote Businessweek of the 150,000 condoms distributed. “Who Will Win the Sex Olympics?” questioned Forbes — Durex was the right answer.

Althletes were particularly candid about their sex lives, as well. “I’ve seen people having sex right out in the open,” U.S. soccer star Hope Solo told ESPN in a long expose of Olympians’ sexual encounters. “On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty.”

Ryan Lochte said: “My last Olympics, I had a girlfriend — big mistake. Now I’m single, so London should be really good. I’m excited.”

We’ll reveal other athlete sex secrets exposed to ESPN as our timeline continues.

Vancouver 2010:

Snowboarder Scotty Lago, 22, went home earlier than anticipate after TMZ leaked a photo showing a fan biting on his bronze medal when it was hanging from his belt buckle. (He had no events left to compete in.)

CNN ran the headline, “Vancouver medals in condom distribution”

ESPN reported that six athletes had an orgy in a hot tub right outside the Village.

Beijing 2008:

Former Olympic table tennis player Matthew Syed wrote an article for the Times of London noting that there was a “sex fest… right here in Beijing. Olympic athletes have to display an unnatural… level of self-discipline in the build-up to big competitions. How else is this going to manifest itself than with a volcanic release of pent-up hedonism.” This led to a headlines asserting that the Olympic Village hosted “More Sex than Woodstock.”

Page Six discussed Michael Phelps “celebrated his record-breaking eight gold medals in Beijing by sneaking off for a sizzling game of tonsil hockey with one of Australia’s hottest Olympians.” (She was his girlfriend.)

Oh, and Beijing authorities distributed 400,000 condoms to more than 400 hotels in the Olympic city, said the AFP. Although other sources reported only 100,000 were provided for athletes.

Solo told ESPN in 2012 that she slept with a celebrity in Beijing, but she wouldn’t say who it was.

Salt Lake City 2002:

The conservative city hosted some protests against Olympic policies to distribute free condoms to athletes.

Sydney 2000:

Officials thought that 70,000 (rainbow) condoms would be enough. They had to send out for 20,000 more after a week.

Javelin thrower Breaux Greer told ESPN that he had relations with three women every day of the Olympics — two were other Olympians and another was a tourist. He had to leave the games due to a knee injury. But as a consolation prize, he did end up with a famous (unnamed) Olympian in the airplane bathroom on the flight back to Los Angeles.

Norway 1994:

Skier Carrie Sheinberg told ESPN that two German bobsledders “made it clear that they’d trade me their gold for all kinds of other favors. I said jokingly, ‘Thanks, but Tommy Moe has a medal. I’ll play with his.'”

Barcelona 1992:

Even though he played ping pong, Matthew Syed said he “got laid more often in those two and a half weeks than the rest of my life up to that point.”

This is when condoms began getting offered to Olympians to encourage safe sex during the games.

Seoul 1988

There were reports of so many condoms found on the roofs of Olympic residences that the Olympic Association banned outdoor sex.

TIME

Incredible Images from Day 8 of the Sochi Olympics

Moments and mishaps from Day 8 of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

TIME olympics

Plushenko’s Retirement Is Proof He Should Have Quit Before Sochi

Sochi Olympics Figure Skating
Evgeni Plushenko of Russia waves to spectators after he pulled out of the men's short program figure skating competition due to illness at the Iceberg Skating Palace, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Ivan Sekretarev—AP

The iconic Russian figure skater, hobbled by injuries, should have given way to a younger generation before the Sochi Olympics began

After his aborted performance on Thursday—and the subsequent announcement of his retirement—it became all too clear that Evgeni Plushenko should have passed the torch to a younger skater before the Sochi Olympics commenced. For nearly a decade, the flamboyant figure skater has dominated the sport in Russia. At the age of 31, which is right around retirement age for an Olympic figure skater, he decided to try his Olympic luck for the third time despite a recent spinal surgery. It worked out well for him on Sunday, when he won a gold medal along with nine of his teammates in Sochi as part of the team figure skating competition. But four days later, when it came time for him to perform in the men’s singles, he skated up to the judges booth after a warm-up and told them he couldn’t go on. With that, Team Russia’s chances of a gold dropped to zero in the event where it has long been dominant.

As TIME reported earlier this week, Plushenko’s back was troubling him toward the end of his solo performance at Sunday’s team event. But he and his coaches boldly decided to carry on. “There are no healthy athletes in the major leagues,” said his coach, Alexei Mishin. “Everybody hurts.” Plushenko even suggested that he might compete in the next Winter Games four years from now.

That sounded almost delusional. On the strength of his remaining talents, it had been hard for him even to make it into these Olympics. He lost a key qualifying round in December to a young upstart named Maxim Kovtun, who is 12 years younger than Plushenko and approaching his prime. But the veteran wouldn’t give up. He refused to compete in the last qualifying round for Sochi, saying that he was too busy training for the Olympics, and he used his celebrity status in Russia to help lobby for another shot. After much debate in the press, he got it.

The Russian figure skating association allowed him to dance a “control run” for a committee of skating experts less than three weeks before the Games. Although that performance was never shown to the public or the press, the committee ruled that it was enough to give Plushenko a ticket to Sochi.

That now looks to have been a mistake. The pain that began bothering him during the team event on Sunday never went away, his coach said on Thursday. Then things got worse. The day before the singles event, Plushenko took a heavy fall during training. “The pain didn’t let up in the morning,” Mishin told a Russian newspaper. “We took medication, but it didn’t help.”

Russia, which has no replacement for him in the men’s short program, is now out of that contest, which should have offered one of its best chances for another gold. And they needed it. A week into the Games, Russia has only two golds and stands in seventh place in the overall medals tally, behind Switzerland. Plushenko had a chance to turn that around, but the chances of a younger skater would clearly have been better.

TIME olympics

Americans Win All Three Medals in New Skiing Event

Silver medalist Gus Kenworthy of the United States, gold medalist Joss Christensen of the United States and bronze medalist Nicholas Goepper of the United States stand on the podium during the flower ceremony after the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Slopestyle Finals on Feb. 13, 2014 in Sochi.
Silver medalist Gus Kenworthy of the United States, gold medalist Joss Christensen of the United States and bronze medalist Nicholas Goepper of the United States stand on the podium during the flower ceremony after the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Slopestyle Finals on Feb. 13, 2014 in Sochi. Al Bello—Getty Images

This is the third time an American sweep has happened in the history of the winter Olympic games.

Americans took home the gold, silver, and bronze medal in the inaugural men’s skiing slopestyle competition at the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Thursday.

Joss Christensen, a 22-year-old from Park City, Utah, might have only been a discretionary pick for the U.S. team, but he finished the event, sliding from rails and catapulting from ramps, with the best time and a gold medal.

He had a score of 95.80 followed by Gus Kenworthy at 93.60 and Nick Goepper at 92.40.

“I am shocked,” Christensen said after his win, the Wall Street Journal reports. “I am stoked to be up here with my friends. America, we did it.”

This is only the third time Americans have ever swept a Winter Games event.

More: Meet The Athletes of Team U.S.A.

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