January: Larry Nassar Sentencing
After a fall trial where a lot of horrific details were shared about MSU ex-physician Larry Nassar and his attacks on US gymnasts and MSU athletes, he was sentenced to 175 years in prison.
As a result of the allegations coming to light and the subsequent conviction, USA Gymnastics experienced a huge shift in leadership (three times, actually), filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, and has been threatened with a revoking of its membership by the USOC.
It will be a while before I can put any trust into USA Gymnastics. But that doesn't mean we can't support the athletes that compete! If anything, we give them even more support now because of everything they've been through.
February: PyeongChang Winter Olympics!
There were so many wonderful memories from these Olympic Games. I saw a record number of hours of competition, got my students obsessed with the athletes and the competitions, and cried when it was over.
From Mikaela to the ShibSibs to Team Shuster to "Here comes Diggins!!!", it was an Olympics to remember. You can read all my recaps of each day HERE.
March: IAAF World Indoor Championships
I didn't even know this was a thing until I saw coverage of it was being offered on NBCSN. Indoor world championships for track and field? But I'm so glad I was able to tune in and watch some of my favorite athletes compete in the wintertime!
Since they took place in Birmingham, England, I was able to watch a lot of the competition live. This year there's no outdoor championships, but this takes its place. It was a great way to preview the outdoor season and figure out who to watch, Christian Coleman, Renaud Lavillenie, Murielle Ahoure, Mariya Lasitskene, and Sandi Morris all had great summer seasons that carried over from their indoor championships.
April: Team USA Basketball Teams Announced for 2018-2020
Eleven gold medalists from the Rio 2016 men's basketball team were invited to a minicamp in Las Vegas in July, and the final 12-man roster should come from the list of names that were released this month. Familiar names include Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook. Gregg Popovich is the head coach for the teams.
For the women, former player and current head coach Dawn Staley will be working with much of the same faces that have helped them do so well in the past. Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, and Seimone Augustus are all on the roster.
They will compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Games!
May: Goodbye Historic Hayward Field
At the end of the month, the Prefontaine Classic was held at Historic Hayward Field for the final time before the stands were demolished in the summer and construction commenced on the brand-new stadium that will welcome the USA Track and Field trials in 2020 and the World Track and Field Championships in 2021! (Already updating my calendar!)
June: FIFA World Cup in Russia
Yes, Team USA wasn't there, but it seemed like everyone else's attention was drawn to Russia for the men's World Cup in football. It was a bit hard to watch over here because of the time difference, but those who were interested made sure to make time to watch live!
Croatia and England were the stories of the World Cup, with England losing in the third place game and Croatia losing to France in the final.
July: Visa is Still a Partner
Visa and the IOC extended its partnership through 2032. The sponsorship has provided millions (billions?) of dollars for the Olympic Games since 1986.
August: Curling Night in America is Filmed
If you've tuned into NBCSN this fall, they have been heavily promoting Curling Night in America, which covered the Chaska, MN tournament with women's, men's, and mixed teams from all over the world competing.
Each Friday, a different match was highlighted. They took the idea from Hockey Night in Canada, which has been a CBC staple on Saturday nights for many years. If anything, it's a great way to capitalize on Team Shuster's popularity and increase awareness of the sport!
September: Team USA Softball Earns First Tokyo Berth
After the 12-year gap between softball's appearance in the Summer Olympics, the Team USA softball team qualified in September for the Tokyo 2020 Games. They're actually the first US team to qualify for Tokyo! I'm sure that the grudge between the US and Japan is ramping up; Team USA won the 2016 World Title over Japan, but Japan was the one that beat Team USA in the Beijing Olympics - the last time softball was at the Olympics.
October: Gymnastics World Championships
Simone Biles won six medals in Doha, Qatar, including four golds, a silver, and a bronze after only coming back to train a year earlier. She now has a vault named after her by the world gymnastics governing body, and all of this happened while dealing with a kidney stone!
Not only was Biles winning medals, but Morgan Hurd, Sam Mikulak, and the women's team all won medals in Doha, even with the simmering instability amongst USAG.
November: Calgary Says No to 2026
Over 300,000 votes were cast in Calgary, and 56% of the population voted against hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics, bringing the selections down to two cities: Stockholm, Sweden, and Milan/Cortina, Italy.
Later on, the USOC chose Salt Lake City as its choice to be the American bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics, leading everyone in Denver to go, "Phew!"
December: Nathan Chen is Still Amazing
Even after faltering in PyeongChang, Nathan Chen had a great 2018, winning the World Championship in March, breaking the record for number of quads performed in a free skate, and winning the Grand Prix of Skating in December. Oh, and did I mention he is in his first year of college at Yale? Looking forward to seeing him compete at the US Championships next month!
So what was your highlight of the year? Comment below or tag me on social media to let me know!
Tokyo 2020 Prep
The volunteer application window has now closed! Now I just sit and wait for the next step. Did you sign up?
Olympic Channel Video of the Week
As soon as I saw this, I said, "This is the Video of the Week." Mostly because of the awesome artwork and music!
Weekly Cauldron Check