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Here's why Olympic figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu's fans throw Winnie the Pooh bears on the ice

In one of the strangest stories that we’ve seen out of the 2018 Winter Olympics, beloved bear Winnie the Pooh is making a comeback.

>> Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz wows with 'Game of Thrones' costume

The lovable bear is the unofficial mascot of Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu. Every time Hanyu takes to the ice, he keeps a stuffed bear on the side of the rink for good luck, often bowing to the toy before performing, Time magazine reported. Fans know of Hanyu's love for the character and throw Winnie the Pooh bears onto the rink. The carefree bear has proved to be a pretty effective spirit animal for Hanyu, who is considered by some to be the best figure skater in history.

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

And the bears aren’t wasted, either. After Hanyu leaves the ice, the stuffed animals are collected and donated to local charities.

Too racy for the Olympics? Figure skaters Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir tone down controversial lift

The 23-year-old won a gold medal in Pyeongchang on Saturday, making him the first male skater since 1952 to win back-to-back Olympic golds. In a New York Times profile of the star, the paper wrote that thousands of Hanyu’s fans traveled to South Korea to see him compete. Some of them wore Winnie the Pooh hats while others donned Winnie the Pooh costumes.

>> Olympic figure skater Yura Min suffers wardrobe malfunction, handles it with class

>> Read more trending news 

And the story of Hanyu’s gold medal performance has the kind of storybook twists and turns that you might expect from something a lot more dramatic than Winnie the Pooh. In the months leading up the games, when he should have been entering his final round of preparation, Hanyu suffered an injury to his ankle that threatened his performance. But, in a comeback story for the ages, the Japanese star managed to return with a vengeance, cementing himself as the greatest ice skater in the world. And, Winnie the Pooh was there on the sidelines for the entire thing.

Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz wows with 'Game of Thrones' costume

“Game of Thrones” fans from around the world were loving German Olympic figure skater Paul Fentz’s costume at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

>> Visit WPXI.com for complete coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics

Fentz was clearly not on the fence when it came to a tribute to the character Jaime Lannister, and neither were people on the internet when it came to voicing positive opinions about it.

>> Too racy for the Olympics? Figure skaters Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir tone down controversial lift

The Olympian also skated to the “Game of Thrones” soundtrack.

Here's what fans had to say:

>> Olympic figure skater Yura Min suffers wardrobe malfunction, handles it with class

Even commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir were into it.

>> Read more trending news 

“It was not his best, but a Lannister always pays his debts,” Lipinski said. “This music gets me.”

Transgender wrestler will defend state title in Texas

A transgender wrestler from Texas will be defending the Class 6A girls championship at next week’s state tournament, WFAA reported.

>> Read more trending news

On Saturday, Mack Beggs, 18, of Euless Trinity will compete for a 6A Region II tournament title, which will determine bracket seeding for the state tournament. The top four finishers in each weight class advance.

Last year, a parent filed a lawsuit to prevent Beggs from wrestling in the female division.

Beggs began transitioning from female to male a few years ago by using testosterone, which was the reason the lawsuit was filed, WFAA reported. But according to the Texas University Interscholastic League, it is not a banned substance since it comes from a physician.

A state law passed in 2016 says that athletes must compete as the gender listed on their birth certificates, WFAA reported.

The state wrestling tournament will be in Cypress next week. Beggs is 29-0 this season and hopes to defend the state title he won last year.

Beggs is considering a men’s wrestling scholarship in college and is hoping to schedule a time for his “top surgery” by a doctor in Plano, The Dallas Morning News reported. 

"I know it's going to happen," Beggs told the Morning News "But if I stress about it too much, then I'm going to stress about it, so I'm just going with the flow."

Curling controversy: 'Burned rock' fans flames during fiery match

Controversy during the Olympics is not new, but it is certainly rare in the sedate sport of curling. 

>> Read more trending news

A “burned rock” foul in the women’s match between Canada and Denmark, would not be swept away very easily Friday.

The controversy began in the fifth end, or period, when a Danish player touched a stone, a foul that is called a burned rock, The Washington Post reported.

>> Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics -- Day 8

Canada had three options when the foul was called: Ignore the foul, remove the stone from play, or rearrange the stones to the position the team believed they would have been if the stone had not been disturbed, the Post reported.

Canadian skip Rachel Homan opted to remove the stone, which is considered the most aggressive action, the Post reported. Canada, which trailed at that point, scored four points to take a 6-4 lead.

Denmark, however, later tied the score and emerged with a 9-8 victory in overtime. After the match, Danish skip Madeleine Dupont said she disagreed with Homan’s decision.

“I wouldn’t have done it, but we’re different that way,” she told the Post. “I’m not going to be mad about it. She can choose to do whatever she wants.”

Homan said she was within her rights and was following the rules.

“There are options, and we’ve burned rocks in the past and they’ve come off,” she told the Post. “Burning a rock is not something that you can do. So obviously, we’ve done it in the past and they just happened to do that then. So it’s just the rules, I guess.”

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 8

Check out the latest action from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic games.

Pita Taufatofua finishes Olympic cross country skiing race standing up

What could be better than carrying your country’s flag at the Pyeongchang Olympics while shirtless? For Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua, finishing the 15-kilometer individual race in cross country skiing ranks just as high. And yes, he was properly dressed for the event.

>> Read more trending news

Taufatofua, 34, told The Associated Press that he was glad he didn’t wipe out on the course, particularly during the final approach that took place in front of the grandstand.

“Please God, not in front of everyone,” Taufatofua told the AP when asked what he was thinking. “Don’t give me my first fall.”

Taufatofua finished the race standing up and placed 114th out of the 119 competitors. Two racers finished behind him and the other three either were disqualified, according to the AP.

The race was won by Dario Cologna of Switzerland.

Photos: 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics - Day 8

Check out the latest action from the 2018 Pyeongchang games.

Florida school shooting: Football coach shot, killed while protecting students hailed as hero

UPDATE, 5:19 a.m. EST Thursday: Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach and security guard at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has died after being wounded in a deadly mass shooting Wednesday, the team tweeted early Thursday.

“It is with great sadness that our football family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis,” the team wrote. “He was our assistant football coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

>> See the tweet here

ORIGINAL STORY: An assistant football coach reportedly was shot while protecting students during a deadly mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Aaron Feis is being celebrated as a hero, according to the Miami Herald, citing tributes to the coach and reports on social media.

>> MORE: Live updatesPhoto gallery | Who is Nikolas Cruz?

Seventeen were killed and many more were injured in Wednesday's shooting. A gunman, whom police identified as 19-year-old former student Nikolas De Jesus Cruz, opened fire on students in the afternoon.

When the shooting started, Feis – a school security guard, as well – reportedly stepped between the shooter and students, taking bullets in the act. He was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition.

Douglas football player Charlie Rothkopf tweeted that his coach “took [several] bullets covering other students at Douglas.”

The Miami Herald reported that Feis is a 1999 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

>> Read more trending news 

“He is a friend to all students that know him,” wrote Angelica Losada, who identified herself as a former student at the school. “Please, take a moment to send healing prayers for him.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said “a football coach” had died in the shooting. It is not clear if Israel was referring to Feis.

Photos: 2018 Winter Olympics: Mikaela Shiffrin wins gold in women's giant slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States has won the gold medal in the women's giant slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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