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West Haven Firefighters Train for Ice Rescues


One after another, firefighters were pulled from a freezing Lake Phipps in West Haven as part of the department's tri-district ice rescue training.

The drills were repeated over and over.

“It's going to establish the muscle memory to provide the repetition to make this second nature to you when the emergency occurs," said West Haven Fire Captain Steve Panza. "That way, God forbid a person, or their pet, winds up on the ice, we can respond efficiently."

Just last month, firefighters responded to this same lake after a 70-year-old man fell through the ice while checking to see if it was safe enough for skating.

“We recognized some deficiencies we had in our equipment, so equipment was purchased," said Deputy Fire Chief Christopher Reed. "We realized all the departments need to respond on situations like this, so we can better rescue someone in need."

So firefighters from West Haven's three fire districts all worked together and learned how to increase their efficiency in ice rescues.

“Speed is of the essence, and definitely pays to be able to do this in a timely fashion when seconds count,” said firefighter and EMT Michael Farrelly.

The firefighters wore dry suits, which help them to float in the water and have ice picks with them to grip the ice. They know the people they have to rescue won't be as prepared.

“You're going to be wet, your clothes are going to weigh you down, you're not going to have anything to grab onto the ice,” said Panza.

Firefighters recommend staying off the ice and heading to a local rink if you want to go skating.

Ice Dams Causing Problems for Homeowners


When you start seeing icicles hanging off the gutters, it's time to be concerned about ice dams, which can build up along roofs and gutters and cause major problems for homeowners.

Ken Carney, president of Baybrook Remodelers, said ice dams start to form when an attic heats up.

“All we need is the inside of a roof to reach 33 degrees. Once it reaches 33 degrees, the snow on the roof begins the melting process," Carney said. "If we have two or four inches of snow it's not a big deal. You start putting 10, 12, 14 inches on your roof, there's enough fuel to create a major ice dam."

The melted snow turns to ice when it hits a cold gutter, and that's how the ice dams form. The dams block additional water from running down the gutter and away from the house.

“What happens is the water gets underneath the shingles and that's when it starts to pour into the house,” said Carney.

Carney suggested emergency measures to take if water starts to enter your house. First, turn down your heat to 58 or 60 degrees.

“If you have water coming in and it's affecting your sheetrock, take a broom handle and put a hole in that ceiling," Carney said. "That directs the water to that hole to the bucket you put down. You don't get that spreading action where you start wiping out parts of the ceiling."

You can also fill stockings with ice melt and lay them in your gutters to melt any ice. Don’t try to chip the ice away – you could make things worse.

The ultimate solution pertains to the insulation in your home and will prevent your attic space from getting warm in the first place.

“We recommend and code demands on a new home, R38 on an attic, so you need this much insulation from your attic floor up,” said Carney.

Crash Closes Ella T. Grasso Boulevard in New Haven


Part of Ella T. Grasso Boulevard in New Haven is closed following a rollover crash, according to the New Haven Fire Department.

Fire officials said a car rolled over in the area of 582 Ella T. Grasso Boulevard just after 3:30 p.m. Monday.

A pole and wires are down in the roadway, according to the fire department.

The New Haven Register reports than an SUV struck the telephone pole and that United Illuminating will make repairs this evening.

The driver received minor injuries, according to the Register.

Check back for updates. 

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No Dangerous Substance Found at Manchester Home


Authorities said no dangerous substances were present at the Manchester home where a resident opened an envelope full of white powder earlier today.

According to Manchester Asst. Fire Chief Dave Billings, a man who lives in a duplex at 126 Birch Street opened a letter containing suspicious powder around 4:50 this afternoon. He threw the letter away outside and promptly washed his hands, Billings said.

Another adult and a child were also home at the time. The residents were not affected by the powder, according to Billings.

The Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection arrived to investigate. The Manchester Fire Department was placed on standby.

Birch Street was shut down while authorities investigated but reopened around 7 p.m.

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Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Norfolk Curling Club to Hold Olympic Open House


Two years after the Norfolk Curling Club burned to the ground it is back open in time for the Sochi Winter Olympics, and club members hope its popularity will spike.

"We get tons of interest every four years," club member Jon Barbagallo said.

For curlers, the Olympics provides an opportunity to showcase a sport that is wildly popular in Canada and a bit more unusual south of the border.

"We hope that what it does is attract people to the sport," said curling club member Bill Brodnitzki. "People like to watch the sport. They get glued to the TV for two-and-a-half hours watching these stones going back and forth."

Brodnitzki started curling 35 years ago with his wife. They took a break to raise their four children and now they're back on the ice competing in leagues and, in Bill's case, teaching others how to curl.

The club has been in Norfolk since 1956. In Dec. 2011, the club's future was uncertain after arsonists torched the old ice shed. Two years later, it's back.

Even though the Olympics put curling in the spotlight, there are still detractors.

"I heard it on the radio the other day, 'How can they call that a sport?'" Brodnitzki said.

There's no question, however, that curling involves some strength and flexibility and a lot of thought. For most of the curlers in Norfolk the chance to compete in tournaments, known as bonspiels, or in weekend leagues is an opportunity to meet new people and have a good time.

And while some games can get heated, Brodnitzki describes curling as a game of politeness.

"You don't see many fights and you don't see any high checking."

Even for the best curlers, there's always something new to learn about the sport and about life.

"You learn a lot about a marriage when you curl with your wife," Brodnitzki joked.

If you'd like to check out curling for yourself, the Norfolk Curling Club will hold an Olympic open house on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. It's open to the public and free of charge.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

NTSB: "Reckless Decision" Caused Ship to Sink During Sandy


More than a year after a 180-foot wooden ship sank in turbulent waters during Superstorm Sandy, the National Transportation Safety Board has released a 16-page report finding the captain and owner responsible for the accident that killed two and seriously injured three.

The captain and a crewmember were killed and three other sailors seriously wounded when the HMS Bounty went down off the coast of North Carolina last October.

The Bounty, a replica of an 18th-century sailing ship built for Marlon Brando’s “Mutiny on the Bounty” in 1962, embarked on its voyage from New London the evening of Oct. 25, 2012. It was bound for St. Petersburg, Fla.

According to the NTSB report, the captain’s “reckless decision to sail into the well-forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy” was to blame to for the ship’s sinking about 90 miles off the coast of Hatteras, N.C. Winds that night reached 100 mph.

Crew members had expressed concerns to the captain prior to departure, but the captain assured them the ship could handle rough waters, according to the NTSB. A month before the crash, the captain apparently told a Maine television station that the Bounty “chased hurricanes” and that sailors could use hurricane winds to their advantage.

The captain was lost at sea after the ship sank and was presumed dead. A crewmember was also killed, his body recovered about 10 hours after the Coast Guard sent a helicopter to rescue the sailors. The Coast Guard saved 14 other crewmembers from thrashing 18-foot waves. Three were seriously injured, according to the NTSB.

The Bounty underwent repairs in Maine just prior to its departure in New London. According to the NTSB, the maintenance was “accomplished by a crew with little experience in such specialized work.”

Additionally, the HMS Bounty Organization, LLC, which owned the ship, “did nothing to dissuade the captain from sailing into known severe weather conditions,” the NTSB said.

The report finds that a lack of oversight contributed to the ship’s sinking.

Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard

Felon, Escapee Caught Burglarizing Vernon Home: Police


A convicted felon and halfway house escapee has been arrested after a Vernon woman reportedly caught him burglarizing her home Monday morning, police said.

According to Vernon police, 32-year-old Luis Arnaldo Galan, otherwise known as Luis Feliciano, broke into a home on Webster Street in Rockville around 10:15 a.m. Monday and was trying to steal a computer when a resident confronted him.

Police said the woman called 911 and Galan fled the home. Investigators caught up with him at the intersection of Prospect and Lawrence streets in Vernon.

Galan was arrested and charged with first-degree escape, second-degree burglary, possession of burglar tools, sixth-degree larceny and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police said Galan is a felon with prior burglary convictions. He escaped from a community release halfway house and has been wanted by Connecticut authorities since Dec. 5.

He was held on a remand-to-custody order with the state Dept. of Corrections.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department

"Dumb Starbucks" Owner Comes Clean


Could the whole "Dumb Starbucks" thing just be an elaborate publicity grab? The man behind the Los Angeles sensation that is "Dumb Starbucks" revealed himself on Monday as the star of a Comedy Central show who insists he is committed to his bizarre parody business model.

Nathan Fielder, star of "Nathan For You," stepped out as the CEO of the coffee shop and addressed camera crews and curious Angelenos Monday afternoon outside his uber-popular storefront dubbed "Dumb Starbucks."

But the limelight might be fading for the parody shop now that the LA County Department of Health Services has slapped the store with a notice of closure for operating without a valid public health permit.

The store popped up seemingly out of nowhere in a Los Feliz strip center Feb. 7 in the storefront that once housed the now-defunct Gastronomico.

#DumbStarbucks was the top trending hashtag on Twitter in Los Angeles. The pop-up coffee shop took social media by storm as hundreds of Angelenos tweeted about their fascination with the "dumb" business, including some who waited in line for hours just to get a peek.

"As long as we're making fun of Starbucks, we're allowed to use their corporate identity," Fielder told the crowd.

Fielder's show, "Nathan For You," is a docu-reality comedy show in which Fielder uses his background in business to offer up new, non-traditional business strategies. 

Despite the revelation of the Dumb Starbucks owner's comedy background, Fielder would not say whether the store was part of his show.

The show's slogan, "Real People. Real Business. Results Not Guaranteed" is in line with Dumb Starbucks' online fact sheet that maintains the store is, in fact, a real business.

But Fielder has been known to stage elaborate hoaxes, including a YouTube video showing a pig rescuing a baby goat -- which was actually staged with animal trainers and crew members. The video had more than 8 million views as of Monday.

The logo adorning the Dumb Starbucks storefront and coffee cups is that of the actual Starbucks, but with the word "dumb." The same protocol applies to the entire menu, down to the "dumb" tall, grande and venti sizes.

The imitation coffee chain, aware of its mind-boggling business model, claims its existence at 1802 Hillhurst Avenue is allowed thanks to "parody law" in a Frequently Asked Questions list posted via Twitter.

"By adding the word 'dumb,' we are technically 'making fun of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as 'fair use.'"

The FAQ goes on to explain, "Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons, Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art ... But that's for our lawyers to worry about. All you need to do is enjoy our delicious coffee!"

Confused yet curious consumers took to Twitter as they lined up outside the coffee shop in question on Saturday and Sunday.

"Are your dumb coffees still free today?" @LukeOneil47 asked.

"That does it, I'm opening a parody coffee shop called 'Not Dumb Starbucks," @Abobrow said.

"'It may be fake but the work is real' (overheard from the dumb Starbucks baristas),'" @TheBrockyRoad tweeted with a picture of an employee complete with a green apron and black hat with the logos for - you guessed it - Dumb Starbucks.

Fielder explains in a YouTube video how he was able to market "Dumb Starbucks," and describes the stunt as "a real business I plan to get rich from." Watch below:

FBI Joins Virginia Murder Case


With so many tips coming in about the death of a well-known music teacher, the FBI is stepping in to help Alexandria police "vet each and every tip," police announced Monday.

Detectives and officers returned to 59-year-old Ruthanne Lodato's neighborhood Monday to pass out fliers featuring a sketch of the man believed to be responsible for killing her and injuring another woman.

Police also spent the day taking additional evidence from the home, including a large door wrapped in black paper and crime tape.

The shooter knocked on Lodato's door in the 2400 block of Ridge Road Drive just after 11:30 a.m. Feb. 6 and opened fire. Lodato and her mother's caregiver were shot.

Lodato was taken to a hospital in critical condition and later pronounced dead. The surviving woman was shot in the arm and hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

Lodato's mother was also inside the home during the shooting, but was not injured.

The suspect is described as an older, balding man with gray hair and a beard. Police say he was wearing tan outerwear at the time of the shooting, possibly a jacket or a work coat.

Right now, police say there's no evidence linking Lodato's death to two other unsolved murders in Alexandria, despite their similarities.

Last November, 69-year-old Ronald Kirby was fatally shot inside his home, less than a mile from the house where Lodato was killed, and in 2003, real estate agent and wife of Sheriff Jim Dunning, Nancy Dunning was gunned down inside her Del Ray home.

No arrests have been made in either case.

Over the weekend, police pulled a man from a D.C. theatre after a few people in the audience at the National Academy of Sciences told security that the man looked like the suspect in the police sketch. But after speaking with the man, authorities determined that he was not connected to the case.
If you have any information that can help police, you're asked to call police at 703-746-6864.


Man Smokes Pot in Delivery Unit


A Jupiter man was arrested after a nurse smelled marijuana being smoked in the delivery and infant unit of a Stuart hospital, authorities said.

A report of pot smoking on Tuesday, Feb. 4 brought authorities to Martin Memorial Medical Center, TCPalm.com reported.

David Bastin, 28, of Jupiter was busted and eventually charged with possession of under 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to a Martin County Sheriff’s Office arrest affidavit. It wasn't immediately known whether he has an attorney.

The charge nurse had called and reported she could smell a strong odor of cannabis coming from the room where Bastin’s girlfriend was admitted, the affidavit said. When authorities spoke with Bastin in the lobby, they asked him to hand over the cannabis.

“The defendant reached in his right pocket and handed Officer Cernuto a black oblong device that the defendant called a vaporizer,” but when it was opened raw cannabis was found inside, the affidavit said.

Bastin was handcuffed and taken to the Martin County Jail. There Bastin refused to answer any questions the booking deputy was asking and became belligerent, the affidavit added.

He was held on $1,500 bond, but was released from jail on Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office.

Photo Credit: Martin County Sheriff's Office

Tanker, Tractor-Trailer Collide on I-91 South in Meriden


Interstate 91 southbound was shut down for hours in Meriden on Monday afternoon after a tractor-trailer and petroleum tanker collided near exit 17.

The crash happened around 1:30 p.m. when a tractor-trailer rear ended a petroleum tanker that was stopped in traffic. Police said the tractor-trailer, driven by 45-year-old Arben Buzali, of Worcester, Mass., had "failed to maintain a proper distance" and couldn't stop in time.

Buzali was not injured. The driver of the tanker, James Condon, 54, of New Haven, struck his head and cut his hand in the crash but declined medical treatment, according to state police.

All southbound lanes were closed for several hours after the crash and traffic was diverted off exits 17 and 18, according to state police. The Interstate 691 off-ramp at exit 10 in Meriden was also shut down but has reopened.

Police said there are no spills, leaks or hazards as a result of the crash, but both vehicles were totaled.

The tanker was owned by Ginnetti Petroleum Transporters of East Haven, according to state police.

Buzali was issued an infraction for failure to maintain a proper distance.

I-91 southbound had reopened by 6:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Major Explosion at NH Plant


Authorities say between 13 to 15 people were injured in an explosion at a ball bearings factory in New Hampshire Monday, and at least two suffer from critical injuries.

The explosion took place at New Hampshire Ball Bearings on Route 202 in Peterborough, N.H. Emergency crews responded to a report of an explosion and burns just after 3:30 p.m. ET

Nearby businesses reported the explosion shook them as far as a half a mile away.

About 100 firefighters responded to the scene, along with rescue personnel from 10 different towns. Crews are currently in a holding pattern since it's unknown what caused the explosion or where it originated from.

"Yeah, when it's a hazardous material situation, every fire department is trained to handle a hazardous material situation, and part of that training is knowing when not to go in." Eric Bowman of the Peterborough Fire Dept. said. "If you don't know enough, you're not going to put yourself in danger. Luckily, we have the Keene Hazmat team here, that is their expertise, they're going to handle any of those challenges and deem it safe before any body else goes in."

N.H. Governor Maggie Hassan released the following statement Monday evening: "My thoughts and prayers go out to those injured in today's explosion, to their families and loved ones, and to the entire Peterborough area where NH Ball Bearings is such an important member of the community."

Photo Credit: AP

Sochi Day 3: Mancuso's Medal Streak


Things got hot in Sochi Monday — well, a lot warmer, at least. And that created soft, potentially dangerous conditions in the competitions on the slopes — not to mention on the highly criticized snowboard halfpipe.

But the softening snow actually may have helped American Julia Mancuso. And the Canadian athletes didn't seem to mind, either.

Those were among the biggest developments of Day 3 of the Winter Olympics.

Mancuso happy with bronze

Alpine skier Julia Mancuso won a gold medal in Torino, two silvers in Vancouver. And on Monday, she became the first American Alpine athlete to win medals in three consecutive Olympics — this time with bronze.

Mancuso, 29, finished third in the women’s super combined — a mix of downhill and slalom — and wasted no time celebrating. She laughed and hugged her rivals at the slalom finish line, looking as if she had won.

This was indeed a triumph for Mancuso, who had struggled of late. She was fastest in the downhill leg of the competition, and held her own in the slalom depsite it being her first time competing in the event all season.

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch won gold in the super combined, and Austrian Nicole Hosp took silver.

Russia’s medal surge

After getting shut out on the first day of the Olympics, the host Russians have stormed back in the medal standings.

Their four medals on Sunday topped the field, and on Monday they won two more. When competition ended Monday, Russia stood in sixth place, with a total of six medals.

Canada, which had a big day in the moguls ski competition, overtook Norway for first place, closing out the day with seven total medals, including three golds.

The Netherlands, which swept the men's 500m speedskating competition, moved into second place, with seven medals, and overtook Norway for first place, with three golds and three silvers. Norway fell to third, with seven total medals, including two golds.

In fourth is Team USA, with five total medals, including two golds.

Feeling like spring

Remember, Sochi is a seaside resort.

The weather there Monday crested at 61 degrees, making for springlike conditions that caused problems with the snow sports and served as a reminder that the seaside city, when not hosting the Olympics, is a popular sub-tropical resort.

Some skiers were seen putting snow in their suits to cool off. Ski jumpers landed in slush. Sunscreen, instead of hats and mittens, became a necessity.

Many jumps at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center were postponed because of the abundance of soft snow in the landing area, the Associated Press reported.

Temperatures are expected to drop in the mountains of Sochi on Tuesday, then climb again Wednesday, perhaps to 63 degrees.

Fortunately, Olympic organizers have planned for such a circumstance. For months, they've been storing stockpiles of snow.

The Vancouver Games in 2010 suffered from a problems with warm temperatures and rain wreaking havoc on competitions.

Hockey romp for Team USA

Fifty-five seconds.

That’s how much time the U.S. women’s hockey team took to score three goals against Switzerland on Monday.

They didn’t look back, finishing with a 9-0 victory that puts them one step closer to the gold medal they’re expected to face off with Canada to win.

The opening sequence was the quickest three-goal sequence in Olympic history, according to the AP.

The Americans, with a 2-0 record, is headed next to the medal round. Their closest rivals, Canada, will be their next opponent in the opening round-robin.

Snowboarders on halfpipe: Not stoked

Sochi's snowboarders have some harsh words for the Olympic halfpipe, where competition begins Tuesday.

One called it "garbage." Another, "brutal." A third, "lame."

In other words: the course isn't in proper shape.

The complaints began Saturday, after the first round of training runs, and focused on the 22-foot walls' steepness. Designers from Development Snowparks of New Zealand made fixes but apparently created new problems. After Sunday, riders said the bottom of the halfpipe was too bumpy.

Organizers moved the third training run from Monday morning to Monday evening and said they'd talk to athletes for guidance in making sure the course will be ready for competition Tuesday.

American snowboarding star Shaun White said he had faith it would.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fatal Shooting on Kossuth Street in New Haven


Police are investigating a fatal shooting on Kossuth Street in New Haven Monday evening.

According to police, 22-year-old Kyle Edwards was found shot in the head in the hallway of a home at 31 Kossuth Street. He was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Kossuth Street is closed while authorities investigate.

Police said no suspects have been identified.

Anyone with information is urged to contact New Haven police at 203-946-6304.

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Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Montville Couple Cheers on Gold Medalist Granddaughter


Snowboarder Jamie Anderson topped the podium after winning gold in the Sochi Games' slopestyle snowboarding competition, and some of her biggest fans were cheering her on from their home in Montville.

Although Anderson lives in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., her grandparents, Leo and Peggy Plourde, are Montville residents.

They received real-time results from family members on the Sochi sidelines and were beaming with pride.

"[Jamie's mom] called us at 4 o'clock in the morning and said Jamie won the gold, and we couldn't go back to sleep," said Leo Plourde.

Anderson clinched the gold in the second day of competition at Sochi's Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

The couple said Anderson had dreamed of competing in the Olympics for years. She visited Montville around Christmastime and received an abundance of support from community members.

The Plourdes said they hope to catch up with Anderson within the next few weeks after she returns to the U.S.

"I'm just going to hug her and tell her she did a great job," Peggy Plourde said.

Photo Credit: AP

Best of the Sochi Olympics: Day 4


The fourth day of the Winter Olympics in Sochi kicked off on the snow and ice. Click to see the best photos from the competition.

Photo Credit: AP

Water Main Break in Westport


There is a water main break at Dogwood Lane and Compo Road South.

The road is closed southbound at Route 1 and Compo Rd South.

The northbound side of the road is closed at Compo Road South and Baker Avenue, due to icing conditions.

There is no access to Thomas Road from Imperial.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Police Investigate Carjacking in Hartford


Police are investigating a carjacking in Hartford on Monday night after two armed men stole a car with two people inside of it, police said.

The carjacking was reported at 9:08 p.m. at 209 Capen Street.

The woman who owns the car had gone into the store, leaving her boyfriend in the passenger seat and another passenger in the backseat, when it happened, police said.

The two armed men ordered the boyfriend to get into the driver seat and told him to drive, police said.

A short time later, the men told the driver to jump out on Barbour and Capen streets.

The person who was in the back was no longer in the car when contacted by phone, but refused to speak with police, police said.

Police said the car is now classified as stolen, but have not released a description of it.

Missing Teen in Stafford Found


State police have found a 14-year-old girl who was lost in the woods near Stafford High School.

Police said she left school early this morning because she was not feeling well and is lost.

The search was focused in the areas of Quinn and Galotto streets.



Lauer to Fill in for Bob Costas


NBC's Bob Costas will be taking the day off from primetime Olympic coverage Tuesday because of an ongoing eye infection. Today show's Matt Lauer is relieving him.

"Reluctantly, I was trying to throw a complete game here, but I think we're going to have to go to the bullpen, and I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but you're Mariano Rivera, at least tonight,'' Costas told Lauer by phone on Tuesday.

Lauer sounded surprised: “So I’m stepping in for you tonight, the master of Olympic prime time?”

"Let's hope it's only tonight," Costas said. "I'm walking around, I might as well be playing 'Marco Polo.' I have no idea where I am."

Costas has been dealing with the eye infection since the Olympics kicked off last week. The infection, which started in his left eye, has now spread to his right eye. On Monday's broadcast, Costas' eyes appeared red and watery with his left eye nearly closed. The veteran anchor, who normally wears contacts on air, has been sporting a pair of glasses.

Despite his eye problem, Costas still managed to have some fun during Monday night's broadcast when sharing a drink with NBC analyst Mary Carillo.

"I'm not really that much of a vodka guy,'' Costas told Carillo. "I'm looking at it this way, though. My eyes can't get any redder, no matter what I do."

"By the way, I will be doing the shots of vodka starting in about 15 minutes,'' Lauer joked on Tuesday after learning he would be stepping in.

It’ll be the first time since 1998 that Costas won’t be hosting an Olympic broadcast in prime time, according to NBC Sports.

Costas had some advice for Lauer on Tuesday.

"Just remember, Tatyana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov,'' he said. "There's your Russian dancing pair. After that, you're on your own."


Photo Credit: TODAY; NBC Olympics
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