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Olympics Buzz: U.S. takes the Tinder Gold

Belarus' Hanna Huskova takes a warm up run ahead of the women's aerials final event during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Feb. 16.
Belarus’ Hanna Huskova takes a warm up run ahead of the women’s aerials final event during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Feb. 16.
(Martin Bureau / AFP/Getty Images)

This is your daily infusion of information and news that you might have missed. The really big stuff you’ll find in other stories.

The United States may be struggling at times to make it to the medal platform, but there is something in which this country is far and away the gold medalist. But first, some explanation.

The app Tinder is somewhere between a dating app and a hookup app. If you’re under a certain age you can skip the next two paragraphs. But for the rest of you, read on.

You download it to your phone, link it to Facebook, then upload up to six pictures (real, current ones, please) and write a brief bio (generally, guys still living in their parents’ basement, who like to play video games don’t play well).

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You are then geographically matched with a handful of people who share common interests, although, let’s face it, the picture is likely the most important bit of currency. You then decide to swipe left, which is the swipe of no return on that matchup. Or, if you swipe right, and the person does likewise, a communications thread is set up between you two and then it’s up to you to figure it out.

OK, welcome back, youngsters.

All Olympic athletes have been given free access to Tinder Gold, normally a pay service with all kinds of benefits, which includes Tinder Passport (breaking the record for most products that contain the word Tinder.) Passport allows you to change your location and connect with anyone around the world.

And, that brings it back to the U.S. gold medal.

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It seems that U.S. of A. is the easy leader on people trying to connect with Olympic athletes. Sweden is second and the United Kingdom is third.

According to Mashable, who for some reason is tracking this, there is almost a 2,000% increase in people trying to passport into Pyeongchang. Although, you have to figure when the Olympics aren’t there, it’s a pretty low bar.

The overall use of the app in the Olympic Village is up almost 350%, while the coveted right swipes are up 565% and matches are at an unprecedented increase of almost 650%.

(Bio reads: Very athletic, loves sports, likes to go fast, very competitive, world traveler. … MATCH)

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It’s also a fact that after an athlete’s competition is completed, as will grow during the Games, that all those numbers are likely to increase.

Those of you stateside can only hope and wait.

Belarus rules aerials

Belarus, the Idaho of the former USSR, picked up its second women’s aerial gold when Hanna Huskova won the event. Alla Tsuper won the gold in 2014 in Sochi for the country known for its potatoes and potato dishes. She was back and finished fourth on Friday. China took second and third, upping its total in the event to seven, but none of them gold. The final race was a bit of a mess as only two of the six competitors landed all their jumps cleanly. Madison Olsen of the U.S. finished sixth.

Things back to normal

The Netherlands has started its new streak in speed skating by winning the women’s 5,000 meters. The Dutch had won the first five golds in speed skating until Thursday when a Netherlands ex-pat won on the men’s 10,000 for Canada. But Esmee Visser turned this world back on its proper clap-skate axis. The three-time champion Claudia Pechstein of Germany finished a very disappointing eighth. Carlijn Schoutens was the only U.S. competitor and finished 11th of 12.

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The unlikely participant

Dario Cologna of Switzerland won the men’s individual 15-kilometer cross-country skiing race but all the cheering was for Pia Taufatofua, who finished 114th of 119. Taufatofua was the shirtless Tongan who marched in the opening ceremony. Taufatofua competed in the Summer Games in Rio in taekwondo with about as much success. There were two racers on the course when Taufatofua finished, one from Colombia and one from Mexico. (Will they go home in shame or relish in just competing?) The remaining places either didn’t finish or were disqualified. Scott Patterson was the top U.S. finisher in 21st.

In progress

The U.S. men’s curling team split matches on Friday, losing to Sweden 10-4, and beating Denmark 9-5. Canada and Sweden are both 4-0 while the U.S. is in a four-way tie for third. The U.S. women had the day off. … The mustachioed Robert Johansson of Norway took his red handlebar down the large hill as the top qualifier into the final round of the men’s ski jumping. The U.S. isn’t looking like any kind of medal threat with Kevin Brickner qualifying 35th.

johnacherwa@gmail.com

Follow John Cherwa on Twitter @jcherwa

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