Olympics Live: Klaebo keeps title, Sundling win women’s gold
Feb 7, 2022, 3:30 AM | Updated: Feb 8, 2022, 11:00 am
(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:
Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo is still the fastest man on the cross-country skiing sprint course, while Sweden’s Jonna Sundling nabbed gold in the women’s race.
Klaebo defended his Olympic sprint title at the Beijing Games on Tuesday, leading the final for the entire race and punching the air when he crossed the finish line with a time of 2 minutes, 58.06 seconds. Frederico Pellegrino of Italy took silver, .26 seconds behind. Russian skier Alexander Terenteva earned bronze, 1.31 behind.
In the women’s sprint, Sundling went into the final wearing bib No. 1 after qualifying with the fastest time and carried that momentum to the finish line. She won the race in 3:09.68, finishing 2.88 seconds ahead of teammate Maja Dahlqvist. Jessie Diggins of the United States took bronze, 3.16 seconds behind.
Sundling is a first-time Olympian but has two world championship sprint titles, and team sprint titles with Dahlqvist.
Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands has become the first speedskater since 1994 to successfully defend his Olympic title in the men’s 1,500 meters, edging countryman Thomas Krol at the Beijing Games.
Krol, the reigning world champion, broke the 20-year-old Olympic record in his race Tuesday. Nuis went even faster in the very next pair, crossing the line with a blistering time of 1 minute, 43.21 seconds.
There were still three pairs to go, but no one came close to the Dutch duo. Nuis took his country’s third gold in four events at these Games, while Krol’s runner-up finish of 1:43.55 gave the Netherlands a total of six medals in a competition that is shaping up as another rout for the Big Orange Machine.
The bronze went to South Korea’s Kim Minseok, who was more than a second behind the winner in 1:44.24.
Nuis became the first repeat 1,500 champion since Norway’s Johann Olav Koss won his second straight gold at the 1994 Lillehammer Games. The only other back-to-back champions were Clas Thunberg of Finland in 1924 and 1928, and Yevgeny Grishin of the Soviet Union in 1956-1960.
The Americans again came up short of their first individual Olympic speedskating medal since 2010. World Cup leader Joey Mantia got off to a strong start but couldn’t hold his pace through a race that requires both speed and endurance. He wound up sixth in 1:45.26.
Quentin Fillon Maillet of France has won decisively in the 20-kilometer individual biathlon, adding a gold medal to the silver he won in the mixed relay over the weekend.
Fillon Maillet has dominated the biathlon world lately. He’s had 10 World Cup podium finishes this season. Half of those were wins.
Now he’s also an Olympic champion.
He missed two of 20 targets Tuesday and finished the course in 48 minutes, 47.4 seconds. Anton Smolski of Belarus shot clean, hitting all 20 of his targets but coming in 14.8 seconds behind the Frenchman.
Defending individual Olympic champion Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway also missed two targets and took the bronze medal.
Andrew Blaser is quickly learning about the perks that come with being an Olympian.
He’s got tons of new free gear.
He’s getting an invitation to the White House.
And his favorite singer took notice of him on social media.
The U.S. skeleton athlete and Olympic rookie already has something to celebrate at the Beijing Games. His favorite singer-songwriter — the actress and Grammy winner Sara Bareilles — gave him a shoutout on Instagram on Tuesday.
Blaser shot his shot on Monday, tagging Bareilles on Instagram and telling her “you are my favorite musician… will you watch me in the Olympics?” And he got his reply a few hours later, when Bareilles told him “I am rooting for you.”
He was beaming all the way through his training runs on Tuesday.
“Greatest thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “I listen to her every day when I’m warming up.”
Top-seeded Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic has defended her Olympic snowboard parallel giant slalom title. She will now switch over to ski racing to try and defend her super-G crown.
Four years ago in South Korea, Ledecka became the first competitor to win gold in two different sports at the same Winter Games. She has a chance to repeat the feat in China.
Ledecka beat Daniela Ulbing of Austria for gold along the side-by-side course at Genting Snow Park. Gloria Kotnik of Slovenia earned the bronze.
Benjamin Karl of Austria held off Tim Mastnak of Slovenia for gold in the men’s race. Russian athlete Vic Wild picked up the bronze.
Sweden won the bronze medal in mixed doubles curling, bouncing back from a semifinal blowout to dominate Britain 9-3 in six ends in the third-place game.
One day after losing 9-1 to Italy, Almida de Val and Oskar Eriksson picked up four points in the second end, stole three in the third and took single points in the fourth and fifth despite lacking the last-rock advantage called the hammer.
Jennifer Dodds of Britain made an easy draw to collect two points in the sixth end, then partner Bruce Mouat immediately bumped fists with the Swedes to concede the match with two ends to play.
De Val and Eriksson hugged and the handful of Swedes in the mostly empty Ice Cube broke into a cheer. It is the fifth straight time Sweden has reached the Olympic curling podium, including a gold in women’s and a silver in men’s four years ago in Pyeongchang.
Italy, which went unbeaten in the round robin, and reigning bronze medalist Norway play for the gold later Tuesday night.
South Korea’s Olympic team leader has suggested bias by judges kept the country’s short-track skaters out of the men’s 1,000-meter final.
The South Korean team called a news conference Tuesday, one day after judges disqualified its skaters from each semifinal in Beijing. They included world record holder Hwang Dae-heon, who won his semifinal, then was disqualified for causing contact with a rival.
The judges’ rulings meant the final included three Chinese skaters and two brothers who have a Chinese father and skate for Hungary.
South Korean team official Yoon Hong-geun says “sport needs to guarantee fair play in order for the entire human race to gain hopes, dreams and courage.”
In the rough-and-tumble of Olympic short-track racing, South Korea is a traditional power. South Korean skaters won three of eight gold medals at home in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.
Yoon apologized to the Korean public for Monday’s results asking “for your forgiveness that I haven’t fulfilled the dreams, hopes and wishes of 50 million Korean people.”
Nathan Chen has set the world record during his short program at the Beijing Olympics, scoring 113.97 points to break the previous mark set by longtime rival Yuzuru Hanyu and putting himself in position to win his long-sought gold medal.
The third skater from the end, Chen opened with a perfect quad flip, breezed through the triple axel that sometimes gives him problems and drilled a quad lutz-triple toe loop that by itself scored more than 21 points.
His total was more than five points head of Yuma Kagiyama, who sits in second place, and nearly 20 points ahead of Hanyu, the two-time Olympic champion who bailed on his opening quad attempt during a calamitous short program.
All that’s left for Chen, whose poor short program four years ago cost him a medal opportunity in Pyeongchang, is to hold onto his lead through Thursday’s free skate at historical Capital Indoor Stadium.
Another Russian women’s hockey player has tested positive for the coronavirus after playing against Canada.
Russian Olympic Committee team coach Evgeny Bobariko tells state news agency RIA Novosti that Polina Bolgareva tested positive.
The forward played against Canada in a game Monday which was delayed because of virus concerns on both teams before the Russians and Canadians agreed to start the game in masks. The Canadians kept their masks on and won 6-1.
The Russians removed theirs at the start of the third period.
Bobariko says the team found out about the positive test after arriving back at the Olympic village following the game.
Russia has eight players unavailable in Beijing because of the virus and another player was left in Moscow after a positive test. Bobariko says “I don’t know how it’s happening.”
American-born figure skater Zhu Yi, who gave up her U.S. citizenship to compete for China at the Beijing Winter Olympics, has faced abuse on Chinese social media after crashing into a wall in the team event.
Twitter-like Sina Weibo said it had suspended 93 accounts and deleted 300 abusive posts about the Olympian. She was born in California to Chinese parents and won a U.S. national novice title as Beverly Zhu. Messages mocked her for falling while others criticized her for not being fluent in Chinese.
She has also faced criticism from conservative political figures in the United States because of her change of sporting allegiance.
“I am relieved because (there is) a lot of pressure and people are expecting a lot,” Zhu said after competing Monday. “Honestly, I’ve trained really hard and I think the main thing is coping mentally.”
Zhu finished last in the short program and China placed fifth in the competition, which was won by Russia, with the U.S. taking silver and Japan bronze.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency offered its support in a tweet, saying: “For young skaters of China, they need time and tolerance to play better in the future. Don’t cry, Zhu Yi. We are with you.”
Beijing Olympic organizers say there are 32 athletes in isolation facilities after they tested positive for the coronavirus and they’re spending an average of seven days in isolation.
Brian McCloskey, chairman of the expert medical panel for the Beijing Games, says as many people will be let out of isolation as possible, but only when it’s safe. He says 50 athletes have been discharged from isolation and that the vast majority of athletes in isolation are well and do not require any medical treatment.
The disclosure came after complaints by athletes and teams about inedible food, dirty rooms and a lack of training equipment and internet access. Organizers have acknowledged that isolation is already a difficult situation for athletes and say they are working to quickly address any problems.
McCloskey noted that people who were infected can continue testing positive intermittently for a long time, even if they’re not contagious. But he said previously infected people might also be testing positive because they were re-infected, and are able to spread the virus.
Mexican figure skater Donovan Carrillo is advancing to the next round of competition at the Beijing Olympics, a first for the country.
The 22-year-old, who was born and raised in Mexico, is the first male skater from his country to compete at the Olympics in 30 years.
He had a solid performance in his Olympic debut, set to music by Santana. He earned a career-best score of 79.69.
Carrillo will skate again in the free skate event on Thursday against powerhouses like American Nathan Chen and Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu.
He said he was most excited to pull off a quad toeloop at the start of his performance, and is already thinking about his own growth ahead of the Milan-Cortina Olympics in 2026.
Two-time Olympic figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu bailed out of the opening quad salchow of his short program at the Beijing Games, a massive mistake that could make an easier path to gold for American rival Nathan Chen.
Hanyu was just seconds into his program when he set up for the first of two quads in his program. But he never came close to trying the four-revolution salchow, landing to an audible gasp from the small crowd inside Capital Indoor Stadium.
The missed element has a base score of 9.70 points, meaning he lost all of them. He earned 95.15 for second among those that had performed, though Chen and the rest of the medal contenders were still to come.
The 27-year-old Hanyu, one of the biggest sports starts in Japan, is trying to become the first man to win three straight figure skating gold medals since Gillis Grafstrom of Sweden in 1928.
Defending champion Matthias Mayer of Austria is in first place in the men’s super-G at the Beijing Games and is on the brink of capturing a third Olympic gold medal with only lower-ranked skiers remaining.
Ryan Cochran-Siegle of the United States is 0.04 seconds behind in second and World Cup super-G leader Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway is 0.42 behind in third.
Mayer broke Norway’s 16-year grip on the men’s Olympic super-G title when he won in 2018. That was four years after winning the downhill in Sochi.
The 31-year-old Mayer also claimed bronze in the men’s downhill on Monday.
Marco Odermatt of Switzerland was among the favorites but he lost control of his skis on a turn and skied out. Odermatt was slower than Kilde at the final checkpoint before he went out.
Kilde leads this season’s super-G standings over Odermatt.
The International Ski Federation says five jumpers were disqualified from the mixed team competition at the Beijing Olympics because their jumpsuits were too big and offered an aerodynamic advantage.
FIS says no one filed an official protest after the jumpsuits were inspected during the competition.
German silver medalist Katharina Althaus and Japanese star Sara Takanashi were among the five women whose suits violated rules in the Olympic debut of an event that featured two women and two men on each team.
Slovenia won gold on Monday night while Russia and Canada earned silver and bronze in surprises as four nations expected to contend for medals were hurt by the disqualifications.
FIS says the suits that violated rules were produced exclusively for the Olympics and and were not tested in advance, an opportunity that just a few nations took advantage of before arriving in Beijing.
Norway had two jumpers, Silje Opseth and Anna Odine Stroem, with jumpsuits that didn’t pass inspection. Austria’s Daniela Iraschko Stolz was also disqualified.
Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai sat with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and watched American-born Chinese freeskier Eileen Gu win gold at the women’s big air event Tuesday.
Peng appeared a day after delivering a controlled interview in Beijing that touched on sexual assault allegations she made against a former high-ranking member of China’s ruling Communist Party.
Her answers — delivered in front of a Chinese Olympic official — left unanswered questions about her well-being and what exactly happened.
Bach said he and Peng spoke with athletes at the Big Air Shougang venue for about 30 minutes, and the pair was seen together in the stands.
Bach said Peng told him that she was going into quarantine later Tuesday and planned to exit the closed Olympic coronavirus bubble.
NBC says comedian Leslie Jones is free to give her commentary about the Olympics on social media after a misunderstanding with some of her posts.
NBC spokesman Greg Hughes said Monday night that some of Jones’ videos featuring Olympic footage were blocked because of a “third-party error.”
“We have resolved the situation. She is free to do her social media posts as she has done in the past,” Hughes told The Associated Press. “She is a super fan of the Olympics and we are super fans of her.”
Some of Jones’ posts were blocked because of increased policing of recorded video displayed on social media platforms. In 2014, NBC agreed to a $7.75 billion deal with the International Olympic Committee for rights through 2032.
Jones took to social media Monday morning saying that she might give up live tweeting the Beijing Games.
“I love the athletes and they love me doing it. And I know y’all love it. But now it’s just gotten too hard. And no one is fighting for or with me. Soooo I guess I’ll leave it to the professionals,” Jones wrote on Twitter and Instagram.
The U.S. ski team says American skier Nina O’Brien has sustained a compound fracture of her left tibia and fibula after falling toward the end of the women’s giant slalom at the Beijing Games.
Monday’s race had to be delayed for about 15 minutes when O’Brien slid across the finish line at the end of her second run. She was screaming in pain after stumbling through the last gate as her skis crossed in front of her.
O’Brien was taken to hospital in Yanqing for “an initial stabilization procedure” and the team says she will return to the U.S. for further evaluation and care.
The 24-year-old O’Brien had been sixth fastest after the opening run.
American-born Eileen Gu of China cranked out the first 1620 of her career on her final jump, stunning France’s Tess Ledeux and earning the first of what she hopes will be three gold medals in women’s freestyle big air.
Nicknamed the “Snow Princess,” Gu is among the biggest local names at the Beijing Games. She’s a medal favorite in big air, slopestyle and halfpipe. Her first stab at gold came down to the last round.
Ledeux is the only other woman to ever land a 1620 — 4 ½ spins — in competition, and she stomped one out with a slight wobble on the landing in Round 1.
Gu hinted after qualifying Monday that she might be able to match Ledeux. With everything on the line, she did.
The 18-year-old from San Francisco shrieked when she landed the jump, then dropped to her knees when her score of 94.50 was announced.
Ledeux tried to improve on her second run in Round 3, coming into the jump backward for a switch 1440. She was shaky on the landing, though, clearing the way for Gu’s gold.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki wore a Team USA pin and brought a Team USA water bottle to the daily White House briefing.
She noted that the administration did not send a diplomatic delegation to the Olympics because of the “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses.”
“At the same time, we wanted to note that Team USA has our full support. We’re behind them. We’re watching from home. We want to thank them and their families for everything they’ve sacrificed over the course of time.”
Psaki described herself as a “Olympics-obsessed person,” and she mentioned figure skater Nathan Chen — “we’re going to watch him” — snowboarder Chloe Kim and skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who fell in her first event, the giant slalom, and was disqualified, but expects to compete in additional races.
A second Finland men’s hockey player has been taken to an isolation hotel after testing positive for the coronavirus in Beijing.
Goaltender Jussi Olkinuora has joined forward Marko Anttila in isolation. The Finnish Olympic Committee confirmed Olkinuora was taken Monday and that Anttila remains there.
A spokesman for the Finnish Olympic Committee says Olkinuora and Anttila recovered from COVID-19 last month and tested negative to travel to Beijing. Neither Olkinuora nor Anttila have reported any symptoms.
The Finnish Olympic Committee is unsure when either player could be released. The team plays its first game Thursday.
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