Winter Olympics

Winter Olympics (117)

United States forward Sam Hentges accepted his side could have no complaints after suffering a shock elimination from the men's Winter Olympics ice hockey competition at the hands of Slovakia.

The two-time champions were knocked out at the quarter-final stage for the second Games running with a penalty shoot-out loss in Wednesday's contest at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing.

USA fielded a young side and recovered to lead 2-1 in the closing stages of regulation time, but Marek Hrivik struck with 43 seconds left to force 10 minutes of overtime and it was Slovakia who held their nerve as the contest went the distance.

Peter Cehlarik was the only player to convert his penalty in the shoot-out, with Andy Miele's saved attempt ensuring Slovakia advanced to the final four with a 3-2 victory.

"That's what happens when you don't play well," said Hentges, who gave USA the lead after Nick Abruzzese had cancelled out Juraj Slafkovsky's opener.

"We didn't play well in the second and third period and when you get to this level that's what happens.

"We didn't play how we played the last three games. It's as simple as that, that's why we lost."

USA, who were outshot 36-35 by Slovakia and went 0-for-4 on the power play, end their Beijing 2022 campaign with three wins and a defeat.

Ben Meyers agreed with Hentges that there can be no excuses.

"We played really well in our first three games and this is our first bad game," he said. "Now we are done. 

"I have no complaints at all about anything. I'm just disappointed that we lost this time."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has denied applying double standards towards American and Russian athletes amid the Kamila Valieva doping scandal.

Russian teenager Valieva was controversially cleared to go for a second gold of the Beijing Winter Olympics this week despite testing positive for performance-enhancing drug trimetazidine in December.

Valieva won a team figure skating gold last week before her positive test was revealed and is on course to win the singles title on Thursday after leading the way in the short program routine on Tuesday.

The 15-year-old was given the green light to compete at the Capital Indoor Stadium due to "exceptional circumstances", largely due to the her age ensuring she is considered to be a "protected person" under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules.

American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson was incensed by that decision, as she was banned from competing in the Tokyo Olympics last year after testing positive for cannabis.

Richardson claimed to have had smoked marijuana after discovering from a reporter that her biological mother had died.

She cited racial discrimination for being unable to go for gold in Japan and questioned how her positive test came to light so quickly compared to Valieva's.

IOC spokesperson Mark Adams on Wednesday stated that the two cases should not be compared.

"You can't talk about double standards in relation to Russian and American athletes, each case is individual," he said.

"Richardson's positive doping test was discovered on June 19, and the result was received before the start of the Olympics. She was suspended for a month. There is nothing in common between these two cases."

Adams confirmed there will be an asterisk placed against the women's figure skating competition in Beijing until Valieva's doping case is concluded and expressed sympathy for the teenager.

"This Games, which has not concluded, concerns an issue in December," he said. "She is in the centre of a lot of speculation. It must be very tough for her.

"We of course are in touch with the team, her welfare is the team's first priority, and obviously we are very careful of that but there's only so much that we can do."

It was good day for Norway as they claimed three golds to increase their lead in the medal table at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Tuesday.

Five Norwegian athletes won medals as the Scandinavian nation took their total tally for the Games to 26.

Norway have secured 12 Olympic titles in the Chinese capital, three more than second-placed Germany.

Joergen Graabak was crowned Nordic combined champion for Norway and compatriot Jens Luraas took silver at the end of a dramatic 10-kilometre cross-country skiing race.

Jarl Magnus Riiber led the way for Norway after topping the ski jump standings on the large hill at the National Ski Jumping Centre, but took a wrong turn when he had an advantage of 44 seconds in the cross-country skiing.

Riiber turned around after realising he had gone off track and was left to rue a huge lapse, which his countryman Graabak capitalised on.

Norway also won men's biathlon gold in the 4x7.5km relay event and took the men's team pursuit speed skating title.

German bobsleigh legend Francesco Friedrich led the first podium clean sweep of these Games in the two-man competition at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre.

Johannes Lochner won silver and Christoph Hafer took bronze as Germany took their medal tally to 18, half of which have been gold.

There were no gold medals for third-placed USA, but Anna Gasser won Austria's sixth of the Games in the snowboard big air final.

Switzerland rose to eighth after Corinne Suter and Mathilde Gremaud were crowned women's downhill and freeski slopestyle champions respectively.

 

Medal table:

1. Norway (G12 S7 B7, Total: 26)
2. Germany (G9 S6 B3, Total: 18)
3. United States (G7 S6 B4, Total: 17)
4. Austria (G6 S6 B4, Total: 16)
5. Netherlands (G6 S4 B3, Total: 13)
6. China (G6 S4 B2, Total: 12)
7. Sweden (G5 S3 B3, Total: 11)
8. Switzerland (G5 S0 B5, Total: 10)
9. Russian Olympic Committee (G4 S7 B9, Total: 20)
10. France (G3 S7 B2, Total: 12)

Corinne Suter won downhill gold and Sofia Goggia claimed an astonishing Olympic silver medal in Beijing on Tuesday less than a month after a huge crash.

Suter mastered the 'Rock course' at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre to top the podium after crossing the line in a time of one minute, 31.87 seconds.

The Swiss world champion suffered a nasty pre-season training accident in Zermatt back in September, but revealed she took inspiration from the great Lindsey Vonn to win the blue riband event.

Suter said: "My head was not really good from the beginning of the season. It's always difficult when you have such a hard crash because you think, 'yeah it's okay', but it's not."

She added: "From the first training run I really liked the slope here and also the snow is really good. Also I [was] watching today the runs from her (Vonn) all the time. She's my biggest idol."

Goggia could surely never have envisaged winning a medal just 23 days after a crash in Cortina left her with a damaged cruciate ligament and a fractured left leg, yet the Italian was only 0.16secs slower than Suter and she was joined on the podium by compatriot Nadia Delago.

An elated Goggia said: "I came here with no days of skiing. I also crashed in super-G training and I said to my coach: ‘I cannot do this, I cannot do this. How can I make it to the downhill if I cannot put my leg down?’ And he said: ‘You will do it because you know how to do it.'"

Goggia added: "I found an incredible strength inside of myself...I was travelling by a sort of light."

Valieva on course for controversial gold 

Russian teenager Kamila Valieva started her quest to win a controversial figure skating singles gold medal by recovering a mistake to take the lead.

The 15-year-old was contentiously cleared to go for the individual title on Monday despite the revelation that she had tested positive for performance-enhancing drug trimetazidine in December

After helping the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) secure team figure skating gold last week, Valieva headed into the individual event as the favourite to take the title.

Valieva failed to land a triple axel after being cheered onto the ice for her short program routine, but put that behind her to earn a score of 82.16 from the judges. 

She looked very emotional on the ice after such a difficult time for the youngster, who could have found herself thrown out of the Games.

Fellow Russian Anna Shcherbakova is in second spot following her score of 80.20, with Kaori Sakamoto (79.84) of Japan in third heading into the free skate on Thursday.

 

Riiber's Beijing nightmare takes a huge turn for the worse

Norway increased their lead at the top of the medal table, but Jarl Magnus Riiber endured a Nordic combined nightmare.

The 24-year-old spent two weeks isolating in a hotel room after testing positive for coronavirus when he arrived in China, but was on course to win gold a day after coming out quarantine.

The Norwegian topped the ski jump standings on the large hill and held a lead of 44 seconds at the start of the 10-kilometre cross-country skiing race.

Riiber literally lost his way, though, as he headed for the finishing line at the end of the first of four laps, rather than starting another loop.

After realising what he later described as "a silly mistake", Riiber turned back in a hasty retreat, but his advantage had been cut to barely 10 seconds.

He ended up finishing eighth as compatriot Joergen Graabak was crowned champion, and Riiber was left to reflect on a massive gaffe.

 

Debutants Denmark into last eight 

Denmark will face ROC in the quarter-finals of the men's ice hockey competition after beating Latvia 3-2 at the Wukesong Sports Centre.

The Danes are competing in this event for the first time and they are making their presence felt, with goalkeeper Sebastian Dahm describing the defeat of Latvia as "the biggest result in Danish ice hockey."

Germany, silver medallists in PyeongChang four years ago, are out after a 4-0 defeat by Slovakia, who will face the United States in the last eight.

Canada and Sweden will do battle for a place in the semi-finals, while Finland take on Switzerland.

Great Britain flagbearer Dave Ryding takes to the slopes on Wednesday, as he looks to seal the nation's first medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

And he has the support of Liverpool and England footballer Jordan Henderson.

There are two finals in the men's freestyle skiing, too, while Finland and Switzerland's women go for bronze in the ice hockey.

Medals are up for grabs in the biathlon, cross-country skiing and short track speed skating. Here, Stats Perform looks at the main events to come on Wednesday.

Alpine ski

It has been a frustrating Games so far for Team GB, with no medals recorded as of yet. However, one of their big hopes will go for glory in the men's slalom.

Ryding, 35, made history by winning the first World Cup title for Great Britain just prior to the Games. However, he is one of six different winners in the six World Cup slalom events held so far this season, meaning the Olympic field is wide open.

But, he has the full backing of not only Team GB, but his beloved Liverpool, whose captain Henderson sent a message of support to Ryding.

"I just wanted to send you a quick message to say big congratulations on the win and all the very best in Beijing," Henderson said in the video message.

"I hope it goes well. It's nice to hear you are a big Liverpool fan. I hope to see you at Anfield when you get back. Take care mate, good luck.”

Sebastian Foss-Solevag, the 2021 world champion, must be considered among the favourites. 

Biathlon

Belarus will be looking to defend their title from 2018 in the women's 4x6km relay, though Sweden and France – silver and bronze medallists respectively in Pyeongchang – are also contenders.

Sweden are the current World Cup leaders, with Norway second and France third, with Belarus down in fifth place.

Cross-country skiing

There are two medal events in cross-country skiing on Wednesday, in the men's and women's team sprints.

The United States are the reigning women's champions, while Norway hold the title in the men's. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo is part of the team, and he is hunting a fourth medal in Beijing.

Freestyle skiing

Likewise, six more athletes will win medals in freestyle skiing. The men's freeski slopestyle final is perfectly poised. Switzerland's Andri Ragettli topped the qualifying standings, but only just ahead of big air gold medallist Birk Ruud, while reigning Olympic champion Nicholas Goepper came third, with fellow Americans Alex Hall and Colby Stevenson finishing in the top six too.

Another American, Chris Lillis, is going for gold in the men's aerials. He helped the United States to victory in mixed team aerials last week.

Ukrainian Oleksandr Abramenko will be out to defend his title, though World Cup leader Maxim Burov is the favourite.

Short track speed skating

Canada, Italy, China, South Korea and the Russian Olympic Committee will battle it out for a podium place in the men's 5000m relay, with 2018 champions Hungary having failed to make the cut.

In the women's 1500m, South Korea are again well represented, with reigning champion and world record holder Choi Min-jeong involved, along with current World Cup leader Lee Yu-bin.

However, Suzanne Schulting is the 2021 World Short Track Speed Skating champion at all distances and has enjoyed a wonderful Games so far, setting two Olympic records, one world record and winning four medals (two gold, two silver).

Jamaican bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian may not have claimed any medals but can be considered a winner based on the fact that she was even able to compete at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

After originally being scheduled to compete in both the Women’s Monobob and the two-woman bobsled, the three-time Olympian could only compete in one after the team narrowly failed to qualify for the latter event.

As if that wasn’t enough for her to contend with, she was also dealing with death in her family as her sister passed away just before the Olympics.

“Right now, I don’t have the words to really express all that I have experienced in these last weeks,” she said in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

“What I can do is say this…Thank You from the absolute bottom of my heart. Competing in Beijing has been wild in more ways than one. I honestly didn’t believe I could be here and I made it and competed with every ounce in me to the best of my ability despite circumstances,” she added.

Fenlator-Victorian finished 19th in the Women’s Monobob with a time of 4:28.56.

“For now, I’m filled with gratitude for every individual that has coached me, mentored me, treated me, cared for me, messaged, shared, contributed, provided, smiled, and more. My heart is exploding, and I want you all to know I truly appreciate it all over the last three Olympics. One love,” Fenlator-Victorian said.

 

Kamila Valieva showed her emotions under the spotlight after putting herself on course for a controversial figure skating singles gold medal in Beijing on Tuesday.

The 15-year-old Russian was contentiously cleared to go for the individual title on Monday despite testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Valieva was given the green light to compete at the Capital Indoor Stadium due to "exceptional circumstances", largely due to the teenager's age ensuring she is considered to be a "protected person" under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules.

After helping the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) secure team figure skating gold last week, Valieva headed into the individual event as the favourite to take the title.

The Kazan-born sensation, who tested positive for trimetazidine in December, was cheered when she skated out to begin her short program routine.

Valieva made a mistake when she failed to land a triple axel but put that behind her like a champion to ensure she leads heading into the free skate on Thursday.

She avoided hitting the deck when making that error and showed her class to earn a score of 82.16 from the judges. 

Valieva looked very emotional on the ice after a difficult time for the youngster, who could have found herself thrown out of the Games.

Fellow Russian Anna Shcherbakova is in second spot following her score of 80.20, with Kaori Sakamoto (79.84) of Japan in third.

Denis Oswald, chair of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) disciplinary commission, revealed earlier in the day that Valieva claimed she may have failed a drugs test after accidentally consuming medication belonging to her grandfather.

"Her argument was contamination which happened with a product her grandfather was taking," Oswald told reporters.

Trimetazidine is a medication that prevents angina attacks but is banned by WADA because it aids blood flow to the heart.

After the first two heats in the Men's two-man Bobsled at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre on Monday, the Jamaican team of Nimroy Turgott and Shanwayne Stephens found themselves in 30th place.

The pair clocked a time of 1:01.23 in their first heat then returned to clock 1:01.35 in the second for a combined time of 2:02.58, which left them last.

On Tuesday, Stephens and Turgott returned for heat 3 and needed to finish in the top 20 to advance to the medal round.

However, after the third heat, they failed to improve their position in the standings, thus ending the quest for a medal. Their final time after three heats was 3:04.12.

The Trinidadian team of Axel Brown and Andre Marcano sat 27th after the two heats with a time of 2:01.70. They eventually fell back a place on Tuesday after heat three, finishing with a time of 3:02.56.

The German team of Francesco Friedreich and Thorsten Margis was the fastest after the first two heats, with a time of 1:58.38, and eventually secured gold in the event with a time of 3:56.89.

Germany secured a historic treble with Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer finishing second in 3:57.38 and Christoph Hafer and Mathias Sommer finishing third in 3:58.58.

Elsewhere on Monday, Jamaican Alpine Skier Benjamin Alexander finished 46th overall in the Men’s Giant Slalom with a time of 3:18.52.

Haiti’s Richardson Viano also competed in the Men’s Giant Slalom but failed to finish.

The gold medal in the event was won by Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt in 2:09.35 while silver was taken by Slovenia’s Zan Kranjek in 2:09.54 and bronze by Mathieu Faivre of France in 2:10.69.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jarl Magnus Riiber's Beijing nightmare literally took another huge turn for the worse when he cost himself the chance of Olympic gold by skiing down the wrong route.

The Norwegian was on course to take the men's Nordic combined title on Tuesday when he held a lead of 44 seconds at the start of the 10-kilometre cross-country skiing race.

Riiber was the man to catch after putting himself into the gold medal position by topping the ski jump standings on the large hill at the National Ski Jumping Centre.

The 24-year-old only ended a spell of two weeks in quarantine the day before this event, having tested positive for coronavirus when he arrived in China.

Riiber endured another nightmare when he headed for the finishing line at the end of the first of four laps in the cross-country skiing finale, rather than starting another loop.

After realising the error he had made, Riiber turned back in a hasty retreat, but his advantage had been cut to barely 10 seconds.

He ended up finishing eighth as compatriot Joergen Graabak was crowned champion, and Riiber was left to reflect on a massive gaffe.

Riiber said: "It's not fun to show the world that I've maybe wasted a gold medal on that.

"It's a silly mistake, but on a normal day with that mistake as well I would be in the fight, I'm a good sprinter and I would fight for the gold anyway."

Asked about his physical condition following a fortnight in a hotel room, he said: "I like to say I am one of the best cross-country skiers on the normal day with good preparation and I showed that before that I can go fast (in) races."

An Olympic record was set by Canada's women in the speed skating team pursuit as they capitalised on a slip-up from Japan.

Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann and Valerie Maltais took advantage of a late fall by Japan's Takagi Nana to clinch gold at the National Speed Skating Oval on Tuesday.

Japan led every lap and looked to be storming towards victory, yet Canada kept themselves within touching distance and pounced when the mistake came.

Canada crossed in an Olympic record time of two minutes and 53.44 seconds, ahead of Japan by 11.03 seconds, with the Netherlands claiming bronze after beating Russia in the B final.

It was Canada's first Olympic gold in the event and just their second medal in women's team pursuit after a silver in 2006.

 

Canada have now won gold in five different women's speed skating events across their Olympic history, which equals a record set by the Netherlands.

Weidemann, meanwhile, has completed a set of medals in Beijing. She claimed bronze in the 3,000m and took silver in the 5,000m, and becomes the third Canadian speed skater to win at least three medals at a single Games, after Cindy Klassen (five in 2006) and Gaetan Boucher (three in 1984).

"It's always sad to see another team fall," she said. "We've watched Japan for so long, they have taken it to a new level. We have constantly been chasing them."

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