Olympics Live: US figure skater Zhou out after COVID test
BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:
U.S. men’s figure skater Vincent Zhou has tested positive for the coronavirus, and is out of the individual competition.
In a five-minute video posted to Instagram on Monday night, a teary Zhou announced that he would have to withdraw. He had initially tested positive as part of a routine COVID-19 screening, and underwent additional testing.
The 21-year-old had struggled through a poor free skate for the eventual team silver medalists a day before, and was due to compete in the individual competition that begins with the men’s short program on Tuesday.
In the video, Zhou said he had isolated to the point of crushing loneliness over the past few months in a bid to avoid the virus. He ended on a positive note, though: “This is not the end. This is a setup for a bigger comeback.”
Slovenia has won gold in the ski jumping mixed team event’s Olympic debut.
The team of Ursa Bogataj, Nika Kriznar, Peter Prevc and Timi Zajc had 1,000.5 points Monday, dominating the competition by more than 100 points.
Prevc jumped last and soared 101.5 meters (333 feet) and had 126.3 points to seal the top spot on the podium for the Slovenians.
Russia won silver and Canada, in a surprise, earned bronze.
Germany, one of the favorites to win, was disqualified after the first round because of an equipment violation by Katharina Althaus, who won silver for the second straight Olympics on Saturday.
Japan, with Olympic champion Ryoyu Kobayashi and star Sara Takanashi, finished fourth in the 10-nation field after Takanashi had a jump disqualified.
Ren Ziwei of China has survived a controversial finish to win the men’s 1,000 meters in short track speedskating.
Liu Shaolin Sandor of Hungary crossed the line first Monday, but was penalized twice and earned a yellow card. That elevated Ren, who crossed second, to the gold medal.
Li Wenlong of China earned silver. Liu Shaoang of Hungary, the brother of Liu, took bronze.
Liu appeared to bump Ren in taking the lead late in the race. Ren grabbed Liu approaching the finish line. Liu still managed to cross first before going down.
But the referee assessed the penalties to Liu.
The final was called back after the race began because of metal debris on the ice.
There were three Chinese skaters in the final. The Liu brothers’ father is Chinese and their mother is Hungarian.
The Dutch king and queen were suitably impressed by speedskater Ireen Wüst’s gold medal-winning race.
In a Facebook post, King Willem-Alexander, an avid follower of Dutch sports and former member of the International Olympic Committee, and his wife Queen Maxima called it a “phenomenal race.” Wüst won her fifth individual gold medal at her fifth games.
The 35-year-old had to wait after posting a new Olympic record time to see if any other skater would go faster in later pairings. When no one did, she leapt into arms of her coach to begin celebrating yet another gold in what she says is her final tournament.
“The nerve-wracking wait was excruciating but made the release of this historic victory extra beautiful,” the post from Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima said. “Wüst concluded her impressive career in her own way: with full focus and strong willpower.”
Arianna Fontana has burnished her legacy as short track’s most decorated skater with her second Olympic medal in Beijing.
The 31-year-old Italian took the lead from Dutch world champion Suzanne Schulting late in Monday’s race and let out a yell as she crossed the line to earn her 10th career medal.
Fontana won in 42.488 seconds.
She also won a silver in the inaugural mixed team relay on Sunday, putting her ahead of Viktor An and Apolo Ohno for career medals with nine.
Fontana was already the only athlete to win a medal of every color in the same individual event. She won gold in the 500 four years ago in Pyeongchang, silver in Sochi in 2014 and bronze at Vancouver in 2010.
Schulting took silver in 42.559 and Kim Boutin of Canada earned bronze in 42.724.
Taiwanese speedskater Huang Yu-ting is facing the heat from the audience back home after she posted a video on her Instagram page wearing an athletic suit showing “China” prominently on the back just before the Olympics began.
Taiwanese internet users flooded her Facebook page with comments decrying her choice in wardrobe, as it seemed to suggest she supported China.
“Why don’t you go represent the mainland directly, since we’ve inconvenienced you,” wrote one user, referring to China.
China claims Taiwan, a self-ruled island, as part of its territory. That’s forced Taiwan to strike a deal with the Olympics organizers to compete under the name “Chinese Taipei.”
A small, pro-independence nonprofit, Taiwan Republic, even staged a 20-person demonstration against Huang on Monday in Taipei.
Huang did not apologize directly, although she deleted the pictures.
“In the sports world, we have no nationality. Everyone is good friends off of the playing field,” she said on Facebook.
Some big names are out of contention in men’s 1,000-meter short track speedskating.
The quarterfinals featured crashes and penalties galore. South Korea’s Park Janghyuk was carted off the ice on a stretcher, although he was advanced by the referee to the semifinals at Capital Indoor Stadium.
Out of contention are Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands, John-Henry Kruger of Hungary and Dion Pascal of Canada. Pascal crashed out of his race.
Kruger won his race, but was penalized for a lane change that caused contact.
Liu Shaolin Sandor of Hungary also crashed in his race, but advanced when Knegt received two penalties that triggered an automatic yellow card.
Brendan Corey of Australia made a move that triggered a pileup and he was penalized.
American Andrew Heo won his heat, but teammate Ryan Pivirotto fell just after the start and was eliminated.
Papua New Guinea’s prime minister tested positive for COVID-19 when he arrived in Beijing last week to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games and had to cut short his stay.
Prime Minister James Marape was immediately given medical treatment, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Monday.
Marape missed Friday’s opening ceremony and returned home Sunday night, canceling a planned trip to France. He held a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang via video link while in Beijing, Zhao said.
Marape’s present condition was unknown.
Americans Kristen Santos and Maame Biney are out of the women’s 500 meters in short track speedskating.
Santos was penalized in her quarterfinal for a lane change that caused contact. Biney didn’t finish high enough in her race to move on to the semifinals.
Arianna Fontana of Italy advanced in pursuit of her 10th career medal. The Italian is the most decorated short track skater in Olympic history.
Other big names moving on to the semifinals later Monday night were Kim Boutin of Canada and Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands.
Denise Herrmann missed only one of 20 shots and skied fast to win Olympic gold in the women’s 15-kilometer individual biathlon.
The German’s win came after a season of mixed results on the World Cup circuit. Her only podium finish was a bronze medal in the individual race early in the season in Oestersund, Sweden.
A former Olympic cross country skier, Herrmann led early and maintained it, completing the course in 44 minutes, 12.7 seconds.
Anais Chevalier-Bouchet of France missed her very last shot, which proved to be a costly mistake, and won silver 9.4 seconds behind Herrmann.
Norway’s Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, the overall World Cup leader, missed two shots, one prone and one standing, and settled for bronze, 15.3 seconds back.
Ireen Wüst has added to her haul as the most decorated speedskater in Olympic history with another gold.
The 35-year-old Dutch skater won her second straight gold in the 1,500 meters, setting an Olympic record with a time of 1 minute, 53.28 seconds at the Ice Ribbon oval in Beijing.
Miho Takagi of Japan claimed the silver in 1:53.72, while the bronze went to Antoinette de Jong of the Netherlands in 1:54.82.
It was another Olympic disappointment for Brittany Bowe. The U.S. skater again came up short in the quest for her first individual Olympic medal, fading badly at the end to finish 10th in 1.55.81.
Wüst just keeps getting stronger. She’s now won 12 medals over her career, including six golds. That makes her the most decorated athlete in the history of speedskating, as well as her country’s most prolific Olympic medalist.
Wüst has medaled in the 1,500 at the last five Olympics. She’s won the gold three times, to go along with a silver and a bronze.
Casey Dawson is finally on his way to the Olympics.
The U.S. speedskater tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago and had struggled to get the necessary clearance to travel to Beijing. He had to produce four consecutive negative tests, and also dealt with issues over testing centers in Utah that had to be approved by the Chinese consulate.
But Dawson finally resolved those matters and was on a flight to Beijing, according to a tweet Monday from US Speedskating.
Dawson missed the 5,000 meters, and his late arrival will likely keep him out of Tuesday’s 1,500 meters. But his main focus was on next week’s team pursuit, where he’s part of a group that is considered a strong medal contender.
The quarterfinals are next Sunday, with semifinals and the final two days later.
Dawson, a 21-year-old skater from Park City, Utah, has been training at the Utah Olympic Oval to stay sharp while his COVID-19 situation played out. He received his U.S. Olympic clothing and gear this past weekend.
More details have emerged about a delay to an Olympic women’s hockey game between Russia and Canada in Beijing.
Canada initially declined to leave the locker room because COVID-19 tests taken earlier in the day by the Russian athletes had not yet been processed.
The International Ice Hockey Federation eventually reached a compromise to have players from both teams wear masks, a first at the Beijing Olympics.
Forward Oxana Bratisheva said through a team translator that the Russian team was initially told the game would be postponed before being told it would proceed an hour late.
The Russian players eventually were allowed to remove their masks at the start of the third period after the test results showed no one was positive.
The Canadians kept their masks on and won 6-1 to improve to 3-0 for the tournament.
Canada was concerned about Russian players who previously tested positive for COVID-19.
Canada held out forward Emily Clark for precautionary reasons after her test result came back inconclusive.
Swedish skier Sara Hector has capped a recent career resurgence in the best way possible, winning the gold medal in the women’s giant slalom at the Beijing Olympics. It was her first individual victory at a major championship.
The 29-year-old Hector finished two runs down a course known as The Ice River at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center. Her unofficial combined time was 1 minute, 55.69 seconds.
Federica Brignone of Italy was 0.28 seconds slower over the two legs to add a silver medal to the bronze she won in the giant slalom at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games behind champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who fell during Monday’s opening run.
Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland was third, 0.72 behind Hector, and now has another bronze to go alongside the one she collected in the downhill at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
When Hector crossed the line, she raised her ski poles overhead and yelled to celebrate before being embraced by Brignone and Gut-Behrami.
The skeleton athlete from Belgium whose teary reaction to being placed into virus-related isolation made headlines last week was on the ice Monday for the start of official training.
Kim Meylemans was ninth-fastest out of 24 sliders in one training run, then 18th-fastest in the next.
Meylemans tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in China, and thought she was going to the Olympic village after returning several negative tests. She was taken to another hotel serving as an isolation facility instead, before officials intervened and got her into the village.
Meylemans is still being tested twice a day and is expected to remain in an isolated wing of the village until the midpoint of this week.
Training for her event continues Tuesday.
China’s U.N. ambassador has fired back at his U.S. counterpart over her remarks that sending a member of the Uyghur ethnic group to help deliver the Olympic flame was an attempt to distract from the issue of abuses against Muslim minorities.
Ambassador Zhang Jun issued a statement to “resolutely refute” what he called unfounded accusations against China made by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield in an interview with CNN.
Zhang said China’s Winter Olympics team includes 20 athletes from nine ethnic minorities, including Uyghur and Tibetan. China chose cross-country skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang, a Uyghur, as one of two final Olympic torchbearers at the opening ceremony.
“She is the pride and excellent representative of the Chinese people. On what ground does the U.S. has such inexplicable anger over this? And why?” Zhang said.
China has 174 athletes competing in the Games, mainly drawn from the Han majority that makes up more than 90% of the population.
A former U.S. bobsledder’s longshot bid to get a spot in the women’s bobsled field for the Beijing Games has been denied.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Monday that Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian of Jamaica should not be awarded a starting position in that event.
Fenlator-Victorian asked CAS to throw out some of the calculations used by the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation to determine which nations qualified for the event and give Jamaica a spot that allocated to France.
Fenlator-Victorian is still scheduled to compete in the new monobob event. She raced for the U.S. at the 2014 Olympics and competed for Jamaica at the 2018 games.
Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot took home the Olympic gold medal in men’s slopestyle just over three years removed from being diagnosed with cancer.
Technically superior on his second of three runs, Parrot scored a 90.96 to hold off the field. He tossed his snowboard in delight after the final score was revealed.
Su Yiming of China earned the silver and Mark McMorris of Canada used a strong final run to bump himself into bronze — his third straight one — and knock defending champion Red Gerard of the United States off the podium.
Olympic organizers say they had a call with athletes Sunday to discuss living conditions at isolation hotels.
“We know that that’s not easy for anyone in that situation, but particularly an athlete who’s gone through the journey to get here,” said Kit McConnell, sports director for the International Olympics Committee.
Organizers were not able to immediately say how many athletes are currently in the isolation hotels because they tested positive, but said the numbers have been coming down.
Everyone inside the Olympic bubble is required to take COVID-19 tests. Those who are confirmed positive must go to an isolation facility until they’re cleared for discharge, either through negative tests or a review by a panel of medical experts.
The call with athletes came after complaints about inadequate food, small and unclean rooms, and a lack of access to training equipment. Over the weekend, organizers said they were addressing the issues and that athletes in isolation would be able to order food from the Olympic Village and have it delivered to their rooms.
As of Monday, organizers say 387 people inside the Olympic bubble have tested positive. The figure includes includes news media and team officials, not just athletes.
Beat Feuz of Switzerland captured gold in the Olympic men’s downhill.
The 41-year-old Johan Clarey of France was 0.10 seconds behind in second and two-time Olympic champion Matthias Mayer of Austria was 0.16 behind in third.
The victory gave Feuz the one thing lacking from a career filled with accomplishments. He won a silver medal in super-G and bronze in downhill at the 2018 Olympics and is the four-time reigning World Cup downhill champion.
The 5-foot-8 (1.72-meter) Feuz is second in this season’s downhill standings.
Players for Canada and the Russian team are wearing masks upon returning to the ice for their women’s hockey preliminary round game at the Beijing Olympics.
The start of the game was delayed for an hour after the Canadians stayed in their locker room rather than coming out for puck drop. The Russian team eventually returned to its locker room before both teams returned to the ice about 50 minutes after the game was scheduled to start.
The reason behind the delay is unclear, though this is the first game of the Beijing Olympics hockey tournament in which players were required to wear facemasks.
Eileen Gu’s goal of three Olympic medals nearly blew off in the wind.
The American-born freestyle skier who spurned Team USA for China ahead of the Beijing Games risked missing the finals in women’s big air when she lost a ski on her second run and crashed into do-or-die position entering Round 3.
Gu scaled back her plans in the final round and landed a conservative right-side 900.
Gu said the wind changed direction between her first and second runs. Because she was the fifth of 25 skiers down the jump at Big Air Shougang, she didn’t notice the shift until she was mid-air.
She gathered herself for a clean third run and finished fifth, easily into the 12-skier finals.
Canadian Megan Oldham narrowly led France’s Tess Ledeux for the top spot after Ledeux topped Oldham for gold at last month’s X Games.
American figure skater Vincent Zhou has tested positive as part of regular COVID-19 screening at the Beijing Olympics, one day after struggling through a poor free skate for the eventual team silver medalists.
Zhou is undergoing additional testing Monday to confirm his status. If the results are negative, he will be allowed to compete in the individual competition, which begins with the men’s short program on Tuesday.
The high-flying but wildly inconsistent 21-year-old Zhou arrived in Beijing with high hopes of contending for a medal. He finished sixth in the men’s program at the Pyeongchang Games, but his second-place finish at the NHK Trophy and victory at Skate American in his two Grand Prix assignments gave him hopes of earning a medal.
He’ll get at least one as part of the team silver medalists. He’ll await another COVID-19 test to see if he can earn another.
Kamila Valieva became the first woman to land a quad in the Olympics — two of them, in fact — and her historic free skate put a stamp on Russia’s dominant run to the gold medal in the team figure skating event at the Beijing Games on Monday.
The 15-year-old Valieva opened with a huge quad salchow and followed with the difficult triple axel before landing another quad, this time a toe loop in combination with a triple toe loop. The only blemish on her program came when she fell on her quad toe loop late in the program, but by that point her first gold medal in Beijing was assured.
Valieva scored 178.92 points, giving Russia 74 points and their second gold medal in three editions of the team event. The U.S. took the silver medal after back-to-back bronze, while Japan won its first team medal with bronze.
German skier Dominik Schwaiger has been taken away in a toboggan after falling during the men’s downhill at the Beijing Olympics.
He was the second starter and his fall caused a delay in the race.
Schwaiger lost control and fell on his back, then slid down the mountain and grazed the safety nets. He was holding his left arm in apparent pain once he stopped.
The race was postponed from Sunday because of strong winds.
The American ice dance team of Madison Chock and Evan Bates delivered the best free skate of their career during the team competition at the Beijing Games, almost assuring Team USA of its first silver medal in the event.
Russia continues to lead the Americans by a wide margin with only the women’s free skate left, but Chock and Bates were able to edge their world champions, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, with a score of 129.07 points.
The Russian duo was next with 128.17 while Japan, which was tied with the Americans after the pairs competition, were last among the five ice dance teams. That left the Americans six points behind Russia with 58 but, more importantly, four ahead of the Japanese team entering the final discipline.
Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has met with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in Beijing.
The IOC says the meeting took place over dinner Saturday and IOC member Kirsty Coventry also attended. Coventry and Peng attended the China-Norway mixed curling match that night.
Peng briefly disappeared from public view in November after she accused a Chinese official of sexual assault on her verified Weibo social media. The post was swiftly removed.
Peng told a French newspaper in an interview published Monday that international concern over her well-being is based on “an enormous misunderstanding.” She denied having accused the Chinese official of sexual assault.
L’Equipe, which specializes in sports news, published the interview Monday. The publication said it spoke to the tennis player a day earlier in a Beijing hotel in an hour-long interview organized through China’s Olympic committee.
The newspaper said it had to submit questions in advance and that a Chinese Olympic committee official sat in on the discussion and translated her comments from Chinese.
The Russians have solidified their hold on the team figure skating gold medal, despite an unexpected fall by their pairs duo of Anastasia Mishina and Aleksander Galliamov, with two disciplines remaining at Capital Indoor Arena.
Mishina and Galliamov’s score of 145.20 points gave their team the maximum 10 points, while a disappointing program by the American duo of Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier left a dead heat for the silver medal.
Knierim did a single toe loop instead of the planned double during their opening combination, then put her hand down on a triple salchow and stepped out on their throw triple flip. That was enough to give the Americans just six points, while Japan got a strong program from Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara to pull even with Team USA in second place.
Up later Monday are the free dance, followed by the concluding women’s free skate.
NBC primetime Olympics host Mike Tirico will have a shorter stay in Beijing than originally planned.
Tirico’s final show from Beijing will be Monday night. He will fly from China to NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, to host on Wednesday and Thursday before heading to Los Angeles Friday to anchor Olympics and Super Bowl coverage through Sunday.
Tirico will then head back to Stamford for the final week of Olympics coverage. The Games end on Feb. 20.
Maria Taylor, who signed with NBC on the eve of last July’s Tokyo Olympics, will host Tuesday night’s show while Tirico is flying back.
Tirico was originally slated to stay in Beijing through Thursday before going to Los Angeles. NBC officials though have reiterated that Tirico’s schedule was subject to change based on COVID-19 and other factors.
NBC said in January that it would not send its announcers and most hosts to the Beijing Olympics due to continued concerns about rising COVID-19 cases worldwide and China’s strict policy about those who test positive.
Defending Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin has missed a gate early in the first run of the giant slalom at the Beijing Games on Monday and been disqualified from the event.
Coming around a left-turn gate, she lost control, slid and fell on her side.
The 26-year-old Shiffrin is trying to become the first Alpine ski racer from the United States to win three Olympic golds across a career.
She arrived in China as one of the most-watched athletes in any sport at the Winter Olympics, a superstar who has dominated ski racing for long stretches in recent years. She has said she hoped to enter all five individual events at Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center.
Her next race is the slalom on Wednesday. Shiffrin won that at age 18 at the 2014 Sochi Games.
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