Olympics Live: Germany sweeps luge golds with team relay
BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:
Germany has swept the gold medals in luge’s four events at the Beijing Games.
The Germans won the team relay Thursday night, holding off Austria and Latvia for the victory. Natalie Geisenberger won the women’s gold, Johannes Ludwig the men’s gold, and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt the doubles gold. They then teamed up to take the relay by less than one-tenth of a second over Austria.
The U.S. was seventh, with the team of Chris Mazdzer, Ashley Farquharson and the doubles sled of Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander.
Germany has now won 11 luge gold medals in 12 events over the last three Winter Olympics.
Irene Schouten of the Netherlands has completed a speedskating sweep of the women’s distance events at the Beijing Olympics, setting another Olympic record with a victory in the 5,000 meters.
Schouten also won the 3,000 on Saturday, setting an Olympic mark on the opening day of speedskating at the Ice Ribbon oval.
She was even more dominant Thursday in the longest women’s race with a winning time of 6 minutes, 43.51 seconds. That broke the 20-year-old Olympic mark held by Germany’s Claudia Pechstein.
No one else was even close. Schouten finished 4.67 seconds ahead of silver medalist Isabelle Weidemann of Canada, while the bronze went to Martina Sáblíková of the Czech Republic.
It was the seventh career medal for Sáblíková, making her the most decorated Czech Olympic athlete. She had been tied with cross-country skier Katerina Neumannova.
Sáblíková had been the most recent skater to pull off the 3,000/5,000 double at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Schouten is the sixth skater to win both events.
The Americans have won gold in the Olympics’ first mixed team aerials event, giving the U.S. its first medals in the freestyle skiing discipline in a dozen years.
The trio of Ashley Caldwell, Christopher Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld each earned their first Winter Games medals. Lillis’ back double full-full-double full was given the highest score of any trick in the finals, and the U.S. title was assured when Schoenefeld followed with a clean back double full-full-full.
The 28-year-old Caldwell, a 2017 world champion, is in her fourth Olympics but has never finished higher than 10th. She and the 23-year-old Schoenefeld have been dating for about three years.
Two-time medalist Jia Zongyang cost China a chance at gold when he flipped forward on his landing, and the host country settled for silver. Canada won bronze.
The U.S. hadn’t medaled in aerials since 2010, when Jeret Peterson won silver in the men’s event. The last Americans to win gold were Eric Bergoust and Nikki Stone in 1998.
The mixed team event made its debut at these Games. Each country gets three jumpers and can’t use more than two per gender. All six countries in the finals went with two men and one woman.
Sweden beat the U.S. men 7-4 in a rematch of the Pyeongchang gold medal match in curling.
That gives Sweden an early lead in the round-robin standings. It was the first loss of the Beijing Games for the defending champions.
The result left the Americans hoping for a rematch against Niklas Edin’s foursome, which could happen only if they both qualify for the playoffs.
Four years after Team Shuster won five straight elimination games — including a victory over Edin that clinched the first U.S. gold medal in Olympic curling history — it was the Swedes celebrating.
Trailing 7-4 in the 10th and final end, John Shuster conceded after Edin left the Americans with just one stone in the target area and just one more to play.
“When you’re playing against the reigning world champions and you get opportunities, you got to take advantage of those,” Shuster said. “We’re going to have to fight tooth and nail to get every win here.”
The U.S. ski team says two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin will compete in the super-G.
That event Friday will be her third of the Beijing Games so far.
Shiffrin failed to finish either the giant slalom or slalom, missing a gate in each within seconds of starting each time.
She took two training runs on the super-G course Thursday but it was not known at the time whether she would decide to start in the race itself.
The 26-year-old from Colorado never has entered a super-G at an Olympics but she did win it at the 2019 world championships.
Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug won gold in the 10-kilometer classic race at the Beijing Olympics. It was her second gold of the Games — she won the women’s 15-kilometer cross-country skiathlon on Saturday.
Johaug glided around the cold, windy course in 28 minutes, 6.3 seconds. As she watched others come in with slower times, realizing the gold was hers, she shouted and howled, throwing her head back and pumping her arms in the air.
Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen was ahead of Johaug at the 8.6-kilometer mark but crossed the finish line just 0.4 seconds behind the Norwegian. Krista Parmakoski of Finland secured the bronze 31.5 seconds back.
Natalia Nepryaeva of Russia threatened Parmakoski’s time but crossed the line 31.6 seconds behind Johaug.
The Beijing Olympic 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) cross country race was in the classic ski style. Ninety-eight women went off at 30-second intervals to ski two laps on a 5-kilometer course.
The 10K race alternates between classic and freestyle, or skate, every Olympic cycle, so the Pyeongchang event was freestyle and the 2014 Sochi Games were classic.
Figure skating’s governing body has declined to address reports that the 15-year-old who helped the Russians win gold in the team event at the Beijing Olympics previously tested positive for doping.
Russian media say Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication before the Beijing Games.
The International Skating Union says it “cannot disclose any information about any possible anti-doping rule violation.”
Valieva scored maximum points in the women’s individual sections of the team event, which the Russians skaters won. The U.S. won silver and Japan won bronze. The medal ceremony was supposed to be held Tuesday evening, but it was pulled from the schedule.
The International Olympic Committee has said legal talks are ongoing with the ISU on the issue, though it gave no more details.
A positive test could cost Russia the gold medal from the team competition and threaten Valieva’s chance to win the individual competition that starts Tuesday.
Alessandro Haemmerle of Austria held off Canada’s Eliot Grondin in a photo finish to win the men’s snowboardcross at Genting Snow Park.
The 20-year-old Grondin made it close by almost diving toward the finish line with his board. It wasn’t enough to overtake Haemmerle, who took home a medal — gold at that — in his third Olympics. Omar Visintin of Italy took home the bronze.
This was the first men’s Olympic snowboardcross race not won by either Seth Wescott or Pierre Vaultier. The retired racers cleared the stage for Haemmerle’s win.
Jake Vedder wound up sixth as a late injury replacement for the United States. He took the place of Alex Deibold, who suffered a head injury in a crash during qualifying at a World Cup event leading up to the Olympics and couldn’t compete.
Austrian skier Johannes Strolz won the Olympic gold medal in the Alpine combined race 34 years after his father did the same.
The 29-year-old Strolz was fourth fastest after the downhill run but he was half a second quicker than anyone else in the slalom. He edged first-run leader Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway by 0.58 seconds. Jack Crawford of Canada took bronze.
The combined adds the times from one downhill run and one slalom run.
Strolz’s father won gold in combined at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Hubert Strolz also won silver in the giant slalom that year.
Kilde won his second medal of the Beijing Games. He also took bronze in the super-G on Tuesday.
Figure skater Nathan Chen has won gold, joining an exclusive club of U.S. Olympic champions in the sport and capping a four-year journey that started after his medal hopes were dashed at the Pyeongchang Games.
The 22-year-old’s win in Beijing will make him the seventh U.S. men’s skater to step atop the podium. Chen delivered a rousing performance of his “Rocketman” free skate, drawing cheers from the limited crowd of spectators.
Japan’s Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno won silver and bronze, respectively.
In Pyeongchang, Chen was taken out of medal contention after delivering what he called a “disastrous” short program. Afterward, he worked relentlessly with coach Rafael Arutyunyan to strengthen every aspect of his figure skating. His path back to the Olympics included three straight world titles and his sixth national championship.
Then earlier this week, Chen vindicated his disappointing performance from four years ago with a record-shattering short skate that put him nearly 6 points ahead of his next closest challenger.
Long-time rival Yuzuru Hanyu, the two-time defending Olympic champion from Japan, came into the free skate with a deficit so great that not even his planned quad axel in the free skate – which he missed – would’ve made up for it. He finished in fourth place after falling in his attempt to become the first figure skater to land the quad axel in competition.
American Vincent Zhou, who competed with Chen in the team event, withdrew after testing positive for COVID-19.
Italian standout Sofia Goggia has decided not to enter the super-G race at the Beijing Olympics as she works her way back from a crash last month. She is still hoping to defend her downhill title on Tuesday.
The powerhouse Italian team says its four starters for Friday’s super-G are Federica Brignone, Marta Bassino, Elena Curtoni and Francesca Marsaglia.
Brignone, Curtoni and Goggia are 1-2-3 in this season’s World Cup super-G standings. Goggia won two races in the discipline this season. But she also sprained her left knee, partially tore a cruciate ligament, had a “minor fracture” of the fibula bone in her leg, plus some tendon damage, after the crash in a super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Jan. 23.
Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu fell on his attempt to become the first figure skater to land the quad axel in competition, then fell again on a quad salchow during what could be the two-time gold medalist’s final Olympic performance.
Hanyu has toyed with the 4 1/2-rotation jump for months, and the 27-year-old Japanese star viewed it as not only a jump to keep him enthused about skating but also one that could even the playing field with Nathan Chen.
His longtime American rival, while playing with the quad axel in practice, has never seriously considered it for competition.
The Winnie-the-Pooh-loving Hanyu, whose difficulties in his short program left him out of the final group for Thursday’s free skate, finished the rest of his performance without any other problems. But those miscues alone were enough to dash his chances of earning a medal at the Beijing Games.
Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old Russian superstar expected to deliver her nation its third straight Olympic gold medal in women’s figure skating, practiced Thursday, hours after reports that she tested positive for a banned substance.
Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication before the Beijing Games, the Russian newspaper RBC reported.
The sample was reportedly obtained before Valieva won the European championship last month in Estonia, a performance that solidified her status as the leader of Russia’s “quad squad” of elite women’s figure skaters headed to Beijing.
It’s unclear if Russia is appealing or fighting the result. Her appearance at practice implies that the federation isn’t accepting the ruling.
A positive test could cost Russia the gold medal from the team competition and threaten Valieva’s chance to win the individual competition that starts Tuesday. She is the heavy favorite.
American Chloe Kim has won gold in the women’s halfpipe at the Beijing Olympics.
She turned in a strong opening run as she easily defended her Olympic halfpipe title.
The last rider to drop into the halfpipe, and the contest already over, the 21-year-old American still attempted to go big one last time.
She fell, quickly got back up and casually glided the rest of the way down the halfpipe Thursday as the Olympic champion. She greeted her fellow medalists at the bottom with an embrace.
The only real drama was for second place, with 32-year-old Queralt Castellet of Spain taking silver at her fifth appearance at the Olympic Games. Sena Tomita of Japan held off Cai Xuetong of China for bronze.
No one was matching Kim’s height or demanding array of tricks. Not after an opening performance that featured a variety of different spins and rotations, including a front and backside 1080 (three spins each). That flawless run even appeared to surprised her as she covered her mouth in excitement. She later told her coach it was the best one she’s done.
There are zero Americans entered in the men’s Alpine combined skiing race at the Beijing Games, the first time in Olympic history that event will take place without at least one U.S. representative.
Thursday’s race only has 27 total entrants from all countries, compared to 43 for the downhill and 47 for the super-G earlier in the week.
A spokesperson for the U.S. ski team said the original plan was to enter super-G silver medalist Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Bryce Bennett in the combined, which adds the times from one downhill run and one slalom run.
But Bennett, who is from California, tweaked his back before finishing 17th in the super-G on Tuesday and is headed home.
Cochran-Siegle, who is from Vermont, decided to train in giant slalom ahead of that event, which is scheduled for Sunday.
At least one U.S. man has been in the Alpine combined at each of the previous 11 Winter Games where it was held. It was off the schedule between the 1948 and 1988 Olympics.
Donovan Carrillo has completed his free skate at the Beijing Olympics. He’s the first athlete from Mexico ever to advance to the final round of an Olympic figure skating competition.
The country hasn’t had an Olympic skater at all in three decades.
In Beijing, Carrillo is one of 33 athletes from nine Latin-American teams. And he’s the only one of the four athletes representing Mexico who stayed in the country to nurture his talents.
He was in fourth place after the first group of six at the men’s free skate, with a total score of 218.13.
Kim performed two 1080s, three spins, and was so ecstatic over her performance she covered her mouth following her finish. She had the highest amplitude of any rider.
Her score of 94 topped Sena Tomita of Japan. In third place after the first run was Cia Xuetong of China.
There are three runs and the winner is whoever has the best score on any of the runs.
Olympic figure skating favorite Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication before her arrival at the Beijing Olympics, the Russian newspaper RBC reported, putting in jeopardy the team gold medal that she helped win earlier this week.
The sample was reportedly obtained in December, when the 15-year-old Valieva was still in Russia but did not come to light until after she had helped her team win the gold medal with dynamic performances in her short program and free skate.
The drug, Trimetazidine, is used to to treat angina — a type of chest pain marked by reduced blood flow to the heart — and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a stimulant. It is the same drug that was involved in a Russian bobsled case at the 2018 Olympics that ended in a settlement and an athlete accepting an eight-month ban.
It is unclear whether Valieva has any heart problems.