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California athletes to watch at the Olympics this week

Even if you haven’t followed the Winter Olympics closely, you may have heard of Kaillie Humphries, once an Olympic star for Canada, who won a gold medal in bobsleigh for the States United on Monday after a controversial split from his former team.

Or maybe you watched a clip of snowboarder Chloe Kim racking up an insanely high score in the halfpipe. Or, my favorite, Nathan Chen, delivering a mesmerizing performance in the free skate that earned him his first gold medal.

They are some of the biggest stars of the Beijing Games, and also (as you might have already suspected) athletes with strong California connections. Kim is from Torrance, Humphries lives in Carlsbad and Chen trains in Irvine.

The Golden State is famous enough for dominating the Summer Olympics, but it turns out we’ve got a lock on a lot of winter sports, too. In fact, California is the only US state to have hosted both the Winter and Summer Games.

And of the approximately 220 athletes the United States has sent to China this year, 34 were born in or consider their hometown to be California, according to the team’s roster. That’s a larger contingent than any other state — Colorado is next with 29 athletes — and more than you’d expect based on California’s population size alone.

Seven of the 17 athletes competing in alpine skiing this year are from the Golden State, largely hailing from the Lake Tahoe area (where there are plenty of places to hit the slopes and where the Olympics were held in winter of 1960). Figure skating has also become heavily Californian (and, not incidentally, Asian American), and so has snowboarding.

By early Tuesday morning, the United States had won 17 medals, which at least five California athletes could claim. But the Games don’t end until this weekend, so there are still plenty of events where Californians can shine.

Here’s a look at some of the upcoming competitions. All hours, of course, are peaceful:

Upcoming Events Featuring Californians

  • Ice Hockey: Since the introduction of women’s ice hockey at the Olympics in 1998, the United States and Canada have been the only teams to win gold. And that’s not changing this year.

    Teams USA and Canada will square off for the first medal at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Hilary Knight, a Palo Alto native and world championship record holder for most goals, plays as a striker for the United States.

  • Figure skating: If you want to watch live, the women’s free skate competition will air at 2 a.m. Thursday. (Don’t worry, there will be replays too.)

    Competing will be Alysa Liu, a Clovis native who in 2019, at age 13, became the nation’s youngest figure skating champion. The list also includes Mariah Bell, who trains in Irvine, and Karen Chen, a native of Fremont, who returns for her second Olympics.

  • Freeskiing: The women’s freeski halfpipe final is Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

    Competing will be Brita Sigourney, who is from Monterey and attended UC Davis. She won bronze at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

    Interestingly, his toughest opponent will most likely be Eileen Gu, a San Francisco native currently competing for China, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

    For more:

  • Why is San Francisco-raised Eileen Gu skiing for China?

  • Nathan Chen won a gold medal skating to a medley by Elton John. Then the singer congratulated him, reports Sports Illustrated.

  • The Beijing Olympics were the last Games for Californian snowboarder Shaun White.

  • School mask requirements: Despite the relaxation of other Covid restrictions, California school children will be required to wear masks for at least two more weeks.

  • Mega-drought: Northern Mexico and the western United States, including California, are experiencing their driest period in 1,200 years, according to a new study.

  • Panda Diplomacy: A bill in Congress seeks to rethink the longstanding agreement that China lends giant pandas to US zoos.



  • Number of Covid deaths: Covid-19 deaths in Fresno County have peaked in the past 10 months, reports The Fresno Bee.


  • UC Berkeley: A recent court order could force UC Berkeley to cut 3,050 undergraduate seats and waive $57 million in tuition, Berkeleyside reports.

  • Bitcoin Battle: A wealthy San Francisco couple’s divorce lasted eight years. Their biggest dispute was over millions of dollars in missing Bitcoin.

For $1.1 million in California.

Lavender and orange blossom cookies.

Today’s travel tip comes from Michael Harabin, who recommends Franklin Canyon Park near downtown Los Angeles:

“You talk about an oasis in the middle of a city. Franklin Canyon and trekking around the hills and reservoir is like finding water in the desert. When I first moved to Los Angeles from New York, I settled in San Fernando to be close to my job. On a day off, I went for a hike off Coldwater and found myself walking along the shore of the fictional Lake Myers from “The Andy Griffith Show.” Franklin Canyon Reservoir has co-starred in numerous TV shows and commercials.

I loved this show and the opening with Andy and Opie walking (barefoot) along the lake, fishing poles (not canes) on their shoulders and the iconic theme song whistling. It meant something to me. I grew up in a small rural town in New Jersey. I saw in the characters of the series people that I had known since my youth. I recognized the places that comforted me.

I went for a walk as a newbie in Los Angeles and then all of a sudden there I was, in Mayberry. On the shores of Lake Myers. I was beside myself. It was 1988. It was the first time I felt LA was the right place for me. While I wasn’t there physically growing up, I was there with the shows I grew up watching.

I always refer to the place as “My Beloved Franklin Canyon”. I try to visit at least once a week for a quick hike and to walk along the shore of the reservoir.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.

You may remember that late last year we shared engagement photos that a couple took at the Berkeley Bowl, a beloved East Bay grocery store.

The market, known for its wide selection of products, is particularly popular among local students. When I was at UC Berkeley, I heard of a cute encounter in citrus aisle.

Well, the recent engagement story has prompted other couples to reveal that they, too, had major photoshoots at the Berkeley Bowl – and the results are just as lovely. See them here.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.