Mirai Nagasu's performance Monday during the Olympics had many viewers exclaiming,"Wow, I can't believe she hit a triple axel!" The American figure skater also had some wondering,"Wait, is that a giant 'USA' tattoo on her inner thigh?"

Eventually, the mystery was solved: Nagasu was using some Team USA-branded kinesiology tape under her tights. KT Tape, the company that manufactures a product popular with many athletes, sprung into social-media action to let inquiring minds know the story.

It's been a big start to the year for KT Tape, which also received plenty of publicity after millions watched Tom Brady use the product on his injured throwing hand during January's AFC championship game. Athletes across a variety of sports have used the tape and products like it, including beach volleyball competitors at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, if only to gain a psychological edge.

Meanwhile, some Winter Olympic athletes are spreading the tape across their faces, all the better to shield themselves from the frigid temperatures in Pyeongchang. "The issue is serious in the Alpine skiing," Lubomir Soucek, who works with Slovakia's Olympic team, told the New York Times recently. "You have to protect your face not to have frozen skin."

Nagasu didn't have weather as an issue Monday, and she didn't have any trouble with her unprecedented leap, either. The 24-year-old California native became the first American woman to hit a triple axel in the Olympics, and the rest of her 4 1/2- minute program was good enough to earn her a score of 137.53 in the team competition, over seven points higher than anything she posted during the skating season leading into the Games.

Other current and former Olympic skaters were suitably impressed with Nagasu's feat.

The only other women to have landed a triple axel at the Olympics were Japan's Midori Ito and Mao Asada. The only other American woman to complete the jump in an international competition was Tonya Harding, at the 1991 world championships.


2017 FINISH: 64-98 (5th in NL West)

MANAGER: Bruce Bochy (902-880, 12th season)

PERSONNEL EXECUTIVE: Brian Sabean, executive vice president of baseball operations (4th season)


Highest-paid player: RHP Johnny Cueto ($21.8 million in 2018)

Top returning position player: C Buster Posey (4.0 WAR in 2017, baseball-reference.com)

Top returning pitcher: LHP Madison Bumgarner (2.9 WAR in 2017)


Key addition(s): 3B Evan Longoria (trade), OF Andrew McCutchen (trade), OF Austin Jackson (free agent), LHP Tony Watson (free agent), LHP Derek Holland (minor league free agent), 3B Chase d’Arnaud (minor league free agent), RHP Jose Valdez (minor league free agent), C Hector Sanchez (minor league free agent), RHP Casey Kelly (minor league free agent).

Key subtraction(s): RHP Matt Cain (retired), 1B Michael Morse (free agent), LHP Matt Moore (trade), OF Denard Span (trade), SS Christian Arroyo (trade), RHP Kyle Crick (trade).

Baseball America top-100 prospect(s): OF Heliot Ramos (No. 79).


The Giants had won three World Series, made four postseason berths and finished third or better in the NL West since the start of 2009 before injuries played a part in burying them in the basement of the division last year. They’re hoping veteran additions — from trades for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen (31) and Rays 3B Evan Longoria (32) to the signing of OF Austin Jackson (31) — reposition them for contention in 2018 in baseball’s toughest division.

The shoulder injury sustained in a dirt bike accident limited LHP Madison Bumgarner to a career-low 17 starts. Now he’s out again with a broken left pinkie finger. RHP Johnny Cueto (1.7 WAR) fought himself and injuries in his second year in San Francisco. Those two reverting to form alone would boost the Giants’ stock in 2018.

RHP Mark Melancon signed a four-year, $62 million pact before the 2017 season to shore up the Giants’ bullpen only to have forearm trouble limit him to 30 not-so-great innings. The Giants will look for him to bounce back from a September surgery.


83 wins.

— San Diego Union-Tribune