We’re Judging a New Sport: Olympic Athletes Cuddling Baby Animals

Who should take home the gold ... and, by gold, we mean the pet.

Let's get real for a minute here: We're only really ready to qualify for one sport in the world and that sport is animal cuddling. Any time we see an animal on the street, we practice our technique and we never (ever) pass up a chance to train to get better and pursue our dream of cuddling all. the. animals.

That sounds just like a professional athlete, does it not?! Perseverance, hard work and, of course, a lot of natural ability.

Now the XXIII Olympic Winter Games are coming up next month in PyeongChang, South Korea, and a bunch of those athletes tried their hands at our sport. Let's take a look and play the judges on their cuddle techniques.

Ashley Wagner knows that sometimes you need to improvise. We don't mean in a figure skating routine — when you have a wittle-bitty cuddly kitty and no cat toys, you have to sacrifice your hair and do a different kind of flip.

Lindsey Vonn recognizes that support is very important for any cuddle selfie and, when you're the face of your sport like she is, that selfie is absolutely essential.

Can't you just see Carlo Valdes zooming down the track with this puppy? He's giving the puppy the quintessential "good boy" pat because we don't think this puppy yet knows just how cold it will be in that bobsled.

Mikaela Shiffrin just won a World Cup event in Croatia where she was awarded a traditional glass Snow Queen crown. And who doesn't want to be crowned queen?! She looks like she's retelling the whole story ... and we can even imagine a matching crown on this pretty snow queen kitty, too.

The double cuddle — this one is not for beginners. Alex and Maia Shibutani are showing off the (other) stars in this picture: the pro Pugs with twinning, award-winning* stares. (*We're giving out these awards, OK?)

This is a pose we know all too well. You ask someone to see their puppy and then they expect it back and you're all like "no, sorry, this puppy is now mine." We've got our eyes on you, Justin Olsen.

Term: Floofer face smoosher. Explanation: When you just can't get your face as close to the puppy as you want to so you have to a "floofer face smoosher" to feel that puppy softness. Well done, Chris Mazdzer.

Hahahahahahaha, the fact that a messed-up lutz jump is called a flutz is funny, Nathan Chen. If we were ever to come across a piggy that was this tiny, we'd be laughing and making that teeny weeny pig laugh, too. Joy is contagious.

Sharing our own favorite activities with our pets is like the best part of the whole relationship. We may have mastered and then trained our pets how to do the veg-out-and-watch-Bravo-for-hours move ... and this goat looks ready to jump right down, strap on some skates and take off in a race against speed skater, J.R. Celski.

Supporting the animal's tush is essential for any pet cuddle. Even moreso for a goat which is known to get a bit kicky. Heather Bergsma is showing that she knows the proper stance for a safe snuggle — do you think she could skate off in this position, too?

Credit: USOC/NBC Olympics

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