Meanwhile, skeleton sledder Katie Uhlaender didn’t earn a medal, but noticed in the stands her estranged mother Karen, whom she had neither seen nor spoken with in four years. They had a reunion: Katie said “that she’s here, showing me all of the love she has, that is huge. … I’m looking forward to building from there.” Two years ago figure skaters Chris Knierim and Alexa Scimeca-Knierim wed, but Alexa faced a potentially deadly gastrointestinal condition. This year the pair helped Team USA earn bronze in team figure skating, and after the Olympics the Knierims had a belated honeymoon.
American Olympians who weren’t honeymooning came home at February’s end to a country divided on gun control. Many journalists and legislators who favor tighter rules politicized the 17 deaths at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A few pointed out massive mishandling of warnings and tips by the FBI and local law enforcement and offered profiles in self-preservation: At least one armed Broward County deputy, and maybe three others, waited outside the school instead of trying to save lives.
Reporters did best when they told personal stories. The Los Angeles Times told how football coach Aaron Feis had commented on Facebook about his young daughter, “I’m blessed.” On Valentine’s Day he died after jumping Christ-like in front of students to shield them from bullets. The New York Times told how 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff was at the top of her soccer game in a 1-0 victory on Feb. 13. “I was so proud of her,” her mother said. “I told her it was the best game of her life.” The next day Alyssa was dead.