Winter Olympics

Winter Olympics (117)

Germany's dominance of the luge boosted them to the top of the medal table at Beijing 2022 on Wednesday.

From three luge events so far, Germany have taken three gold medals. They will hope to add a fourth and complete a clean sweep in Thursday's team relay.

This success is nothing new, however, as Wednesday's winners secured a stunning three-peat.

Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt took gold in the doubles at a third consecutive Games, with German team-mates Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken their nearest challengers.

"[It is] indescribable," said Wendl, having secured a fifth overall Olympic gold – a number that could swell to six in the relay. "This one was the toughest."

Arlt added: "It's a feeling like we won the first time. Every success is a new success. We know what hard work we had and it makes us very proud."

The success of Wendl and Arlt brought Germany their second gold of the day, making them the first nation to five at these Games.

Vinzenz Geiger had earlier taken the title in the Nordic combined normal hill event, beating Norway's Joergen Graabak.

It is Norway who are Germany's closest challengers in the medal table, too, with four golds among 10 total medals – the latest for Birk Ruud in the men's freeski big air.

Sweden also have four golds (seven total) but did not add to that tally on Wednesday, falling from first to third in the overall standings.

 

Lindsey Jacobellis ended a 16-year wait for Winter Olympics gold as the United States claimed their first top spot on the podium at Beijing 2022.

Jacobellis faltered at the penultimate jump at Turin 2006, but made amends in convincing fashion as she managed gold at the Genting Snow Park in the snowboard cross on Wednesday.

That was the USA's first gold of the 2022 Games as the 36-year-old collected the only title missing from her illustrious trophy cabinet, finishing ahead of France's Chloe Trespeuch who took silver.

Meanwhile, Petra Vlhova laid down an early marker in the women's slalom and, despite a host of world-class skiers coming down after her, claimed Slovakia's first ever Alpine skiing gold.

Vlhova was eighth after the morning session, but produced the run of the day in the afternoon after inspiration from coach Mauro Pini, who revealed the words of encouragement he gave the 26-year-old.

"We were just asking Petra between the two runs to really be courageous," Pini said. "Big heart on the slope, second run. Nothing to lose, just to be in the room tonight and don't regret nothing."

"After the first run I was a bit down, angry and sad," Vlhova added. "I started to not believe in myself. But I'm lucky because I have [the] best team ever and [the] best coach."

Ruud matches Gu feat with big air triumph

Birk Ruud followed in Eileen Gu's footsteps by becoming just the second freestyle skier to win gold at both the Youth Olympic Winter Games and Olympic Winter Games with victory in the men's freeski big air.

The Norwegian, aged 21 years and 313 days, is the youngest to earn an Olympic medal in freestyle skiing for his country, and he did it in some style as well.

The 21-year-old, who skipped last month's X Games to play it safe amid coronavirus, secured top spot before his final run, which he completed draped in a Norwegian flag at Big Air Shougang.

The big air champion credited the victory to his father Oivind, who died of cancer of April 2021.

"I'm just thankful to be in this position and I'm thankful for all the time I had with my dad," Ruud said after his win. "I still have my family, and I have a lot of people that support me, and I'm very thankful for that."

Arlt and Wendl make luge history

Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl created luge history as they became the first ever athletes to win the luge doubles three times – earning their fifth Olympic gold.

That equals the Olympic best in the sport set by their countrywoman Natalie Geisenberger, while no other men have ever claimed more first-place finishes than the pair when representing modern-day Germany at the Games.

Wendl and Arlt also joined speed skaters Lidia Skoblikova and Eric Heiden as the only athletes to claim at least five gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games without ever winning silver or bronze.

The German duo also extended their record as the oldest gold medallists in the event (both 34), as Germany continued their dominance in luge events at Beijing 2022.

Shiffrin slips away from record-medal haul chance

Vlhova may have secured her piece of history with Slovakia's maiden Alpine skiing title, but American pre-Games favourite Mikaela Shiffrin had a day to forget.

Shiffrin, a double Olympic and six-time world champion, fouled on the fifth gate just two days after her surprise early exit from the giant slalom.

The 26-year-old has another chance in Friday's super-G event, but admitted she is starting to doubt herself after consecutive failures.

"It's not the end of the world and it's so stupid to care this much, but I feel I have to question a lot now," Shiffrin said. 

"I will try to reset again. Maybe try to reset better this time but I also don't know how to do better because I just don't. I have never been in this position before and I don't know how to handle it." 

Lindsey Jacobellis earned redemption with Winter Olympics gold in the women's snowboard cross final at Beijing 2022 after missing out on top spot 16 years earlier.

Jacobellis dominated at Turin 2006 ago but fell on the penultimate jump, meaning she had to settle for silver. The gap of 16 years between her first and second Olympic medals is the largest gap between two medals for a snowboarder.

The American made amends on Wednesday as the most decorated snowboard cross athlete of all time added the only title she was missing to her six world championships, two Crystal Globes and 10 X Games triumphs.

But the 36-year-old insisted that she did not use her 16-year wait as motivation for redemption after managing first place at Genting Snow Park.

"I never thought of it that way," she said. "That was not in my mind. I wanted to just come here and compete.

"It would have been a nice, sweet thing, but if I had tried to spend [time on] the thought of redemption, then it's taking away focus on the task at hand, and that's not why I race.

"They can keep talking about it all they want because it really shaped me into the individual that I am, kept me hungry and really helped me keep fighting in the sport."

There were plenty of other stars breaking records in China and Stats Perform has taken a look at some of the numbers behind their stories.

 

36 years, 174 days – Jacobellis is the oldest snowboard gold medallist and oldest USA female gold medallist at the Olympic Winter Games.

2 – Birk Ruud claimed gold in the men’s freeski big air to become the youngest Norwegian Olympic medallist in freestyle skiing (21y, 313d). He is also just the second freestyle skier to win a gold medal at both the Youth Olympic Winter Games and the Olympic Winter Games.

3 – Hwang Daeheon became the third man to win a gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games and the Youth Olympic Winter Games (1000m at Lillehammer 2016).

1 – Petra Vlhova's gold medal was the first for Slovakia in Olympic Alpine skiing, and only the ninth in any sport, seven of which have been won by Slovakian women.

5 – Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl won their third consecutive gold medal in luge doubles, their fifth Olympic medal overall, equalling the Olympic best in the sport set by their countrywoman Natalie Geisenberger.

3 – Vinzenz Geiger made himself the third athlete to win multiple Olympic gold medals in Nordic combined for Germany, who have collected four consecutive golds in the event.

Mikaela Shiffrin will try to "reset" after suffering a second consecutive disqualification at the Winter Olympics.

The American missed a gate in her first run in the women's slalom on Wednesday, compounding her woes after skiing out of Monday's giant slalom.

Shiffrin, the overall World Cup leader and heavily fancied in both events, had only failed to finish 14 times in 229 starts across all disciplines at World Cup, Olympic and World Championship events ahead of competing in Beijing.

But these two setbacks have left the two-time Olympic gold medal winner questioning herself.

"I was pushing and maybe it was just past my limit," she said.

"I feel that I have to question a lot now. I will try to reset again and maybe try to reset better this time.

"But I also don't know how to do it better. Because I just don't – I've never been in this position before, and I don't know how to handle it."

Shiffrin struggled to fight back tears as she reflected on a dismal start to the Games, where she had started with hopes of medals in five events.

"It's so stupid to care this much,” she said. "It feels like a really big let-down.

"There were some people who expected I might win, maybe hoped I might win.

"I know that, for the people working closest to me, we were all crossing our fingers, and also doing all the work I could possibly do to give myself the best chance.

"We came all this way. And we're not done yet. But GS and slalom, those were my biggest focuses. It really feels like a lot of work for nothing."

The 26-year-old can still salvage medal glory in her remaining events – the super-G, downhill and combined.

President of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, Chris Stoke, insists the team will now shift all its attention into competition mode following an unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) on behalf of the country’s two-woman team.

On Monday, a CAS panel rejected an appeal filed by woman bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian who had called for a recalculation of the point rankings for the Beijing 2022 Quota Allocation for the two-woman event, based only on races that actually took place. 

The appeal was based on the decision made by the Olympic organisers after inclement weather had led to the cancelation of a meet scheduled for Germany on December 4.  According to the filing, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation instead counted a December 5 competition twice, which allowed a sled piloted by France’s Margot Boch to qualify for the final spot in the two-woman bobsled competition at the Olympics. The decision meant Audra Segree, Fenlator-Victorian's brakewoman, missed out on a spot via a tiebreak.  The court, however, rejected the appeal.

While insisting it was important to air their grouses, Stokes insists the team is ready to move on.

“The decision has come down as dismissed, we accept that wholeheartedly.  Winning is one thing but the more important thing is to speak up and I’m very proud of Jazmine for speaking up,” Stokes said.

“We maintain that it is better sports results be determined on the field of play and not in administration but we put that behind us and we are now in a high-performance zone and we are getting ready for competition.”

Fenlator-Victorian will compete in the Women’s Monobob, which gets underway on February 11.  Jamaica’s men’s team will compete in both the Two-Man and Four-Man events, which get underway a few days later.

It was quite a day on Tuesday at the Winter Olympics with dramatic medals won and records broken, but Wednesday has the potential to supersede it as Beijing 2022 continues.

The men's ice hockey gets under way, while there are big medal events in the luge, Nordic combined and short track speed skating, among others.

The men will try to follow Tuesday's exhilarating effort from the women in the freeski big air final, while the women's slalom and snowboard cross promise more excitement.

Stats Perform has you covered ahead of Wednesday's action.

Alpine skiing

The women's slalom provides an opportunity for both success and redemption on the 'Ice River' course at the Yanqing National Ski Centre.

Sweden's Sara Hector will be hoping to follow up Monday's gold medal in the giant slalom, while Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States will want to make up for crashing out of the same competition just five turns into her opening run.

Petra Vlhova of Slovakia and Katharina Liensberger of Austria, the reigning world champion, are two who could also challenge.

Curling

After Italy's dominance ended in an inevitable gold in the mixed doubles on Tuesday, the men's competition gets under way.

The opening series of matches will see Denmark face Canada, the United States go up against Russian Olympic Committee, Norway will play Switzerland and hosts China face Sweden.

Three of the US's gold medal team from Pyeongchang return to defend their title, including skip John Shuster.

Freestyle skiing

Following a sensational victory for China's 'Snow Princess' Eileen Gu on Tuesday, the pressure is on the men to follow suit.

The big story had been the return to competition of reigning slopestyle world champion Andri Ragettli, but the Swiss star failed to qualify for the final having only finished 14th on Monday.

American trio Alex Hall, Colby Stevenson and Mac Forehand could challenge for the medals, while Sweden's Oliwer Magnusson and Norway's Birk Ruud are also among the favourites, with the latter topping qualifying.

Ice hockey

With no involvement from NHL players, the men's tournament gets going in Beijing, feeling like it could almost be anyone's game.

Defending Olympic champions Russian Olympic Committee face Switzerland on Wednesday, while Czech Republic play Denmark.

Luge

The doubles event is expected to be dominated by Germany, with the 2014 and 2018 Olympic champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt returning, while bronze medallists from 2018 and current World Cup leaders Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken will likely provide stern competition.

Eggert and Benecken are also the track record holders after their November 2021 run of 58.793 seconds.

Nordic combined

One of the primary stories in the Nordic combined is whether Olympic champion Eric Frenzel of Germany and world champion Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway will be able to compete after both contracted COVID-19.

Should they not make the start line, Austria's Johannes Lamparter is likely to be the favourite after his numerous Nordic Combined World Cup wins, including three in January.

Short track speed skating

The men's 1,500m final takes place on Wednesday, with China's Ren Ziwei looking to add to the two gold medals he already has from the 1,000m and mixed team relay.

Hungary's Liu Shaolin Sandor was disqualified for causing a collision with Ren in the 1,000m and will want to make up for that in the longer form final.

Snowboard

The women's snowboard cross probably sees Great Britain's best chance at a medal in Beijing with Charlotte Bankes among the favourites.

The 26-year-old leads this season’s World Cup standings with five podiums from six events, while Australia's Belle Brockhoff and Italy's Michela Moioli are likely to provide her strongest competition.

The men's and women's halfpipe qualifying also begin, which will see superstar Shaun White - who has confirmed these will be his last Games - and fellow United States star Chloe Kim compete.

Matthias Mayer was one of several athletes to achieve an unprecedented Winter Olympics feat on Tuesday, as he claimed gold in the super-G at Beijing 2022.

The Austrian became only the third Alpine skier to win gold at three separate Olympics, and the first to do that in successive Games after defending the title he won four years ago in Pyeongchang after previous downhill success at Sochi in 2014.

Mayer did not finish the super-G in Russia eight years ago, with Kjetil Jansrud taking the gold on that occasion.

Norwegian Jansrud, a five-time Olympic medallist, could only finish 23rd on Tuesday and paid tribute to Mayer for his incredible achievement.

"Hats off. It's unbelievable to make it happen on days where it counts the most," said Jansrud. "I am a little lost for words because he has been dominating for so many years, but he's also one of the few who really steps up to the big occasions and does it. And he does it again, 'chapeau'."

There were plenty of other people breaking records in Beijing, and Stats Perform has delved into some of the numbers behind them.

 

18 years, 158 days – Eileen Gu became the youngest gold medallist from China at a Winter Olympics with her freeski big air success, surpassing short track speed skater Zhou Yang (18 years, 256 days) when she won the women's 1,500m in 2010.

12 – Benjamin Karl achieved his "life project" by topping the podium in the men's parallel giant slalom. The gap of 12 years between his first and latest medals equalled the longest in snowboarding history, matching Shaun White (2006-2018) and Kelly Clark (2002-2014).

4 – Cross-country skier Johannes Hosflot Klaebo became the first man to win multiple Olympic gold medals in the men's sprint by defending his title. He has now won four straight individual sprint golds at Olympic and World Championship level – no other man has more than two such wins.

0 – Stefania Constantini and Amos Mosaner won gold in the curling mixed doubles without suffering a single defeat along the way, following an 8-5 success over Norway. It is only the fourth time curling gold has been won with an undefeated record, after Great Britain in 1924, Canada's men in 2010 and Canada's women in 2014.

3 – Natalie Geisenberger made it a hat-trick by taking first place in the women's singles for the third straight Games, making her the first luge athlete to achieve the feat. With a haul of five gold medals in her career, she became luge's most successful individual.

1 – With success in the parallel giant slalom, Ester Ledecka joined speed skater Martina Sablikova as the Czech woman with the most gold medals at any form of Olympics.

Jonna Sundling kept Sweden on top of the Winter Olympics medal table as she landed the country's fourth gold, leading a 1-2 in cross-country skiing.

Sundling took the women's sprint glory ahead of compatriot Maja Dahlqvist, with Sweden now having six medals overall at Beijing 2022.

The champion labelled the track "the toughest I have competed on", and relished having Dahlqvist and another Swedish athlete, Emma Ribom, for company. Ribom finished sixth.

"It feels good to have them by my side at the start line, it feels like we are in a training session but this is the Olympics," Sundling said. "It was fun to be three Swedes in the final, it's amazing."

Dahlqvist found the event so taxing that she threw up after crossing the finish line in second place.

She said: "I was thinking it's the last thing I ever do and that if there was one race I would push as hard as I could, it was today. 

"I puked five times after. I was super happy and super relieved, too. Now I feel better. I am just so happy. It was so awesome that we could make it a double."

Oskar Eriksson and Almida De Val delivered a bronze for Sweden in curling's mixed doubles, beating Great Britain in the third-place match, before Italy defeated Norway in the final.

Netherlands jumped a place to second on the table after Kjeld Nuis struck gold and Thomas Krol took silver in the men's 1,500 metres speed skating.

Nuis said he took inspiration from Ireen Wust on Monday winning the women's equivalent race, landing a gold medal for the fifth successive Winter Olympics.

"She's a really special human being," said Nuis, "she's the best skater in the world. She's been winning World Championships and Olympic medals since she was young.

"She's not winning every race any more. When I saw her win yesterday, it inspired me so much. When you see her win like that, you think, 'I want to do the same'."

Russian Olympic Committee slid from second to seventh on the table, with China nudging up to third spot thanks to Eileen Gu's stunning triumph in the freeski big air.

Gu landed a left double cork 1620, a high-tariff piece of skill, to earn China's third gold of their home Games.

Born in the United States to an American father and Chinese mother, Gu has taken flak on social media for deciding to compete for China.

But she delivered a fiery riposte to her critics, saying: "I know that I have a good heart and I know my reasons for making the decisions I do are based on a greater common interest and something I feel is for the greater good.

"If other people don't really believe that that's where I'm coming from, then that just reflects that they do not have the empathy to empathise with a good heart, perhaps because they don't share the same kind of morals that I do.

"In that sense, I'm not going to waste my time trying to placate people who are, one, uneducated and, two, probably never going to experience the kind of joy and gratitude and love that I have the great fortune to experience on a daily basis.

"If people don't like me, that's their loss. They're never going to win the Olympics."

Germany, who got a gold from Natalie Geisenberger in the women's luge singles, sit alongside China in a share of third, both having two silvers to complement their three gold medals.

Ester Ledecka's latest glorious gold, in parallel giant slalom, gave the Czech Republic a first medal of the Games, meaning they sit in a tie with New Zealand for 15th place.

Medal table (after day five):

1. Sweden (G4 S1 B1, Total: 6)
2. Netherlands (G3 S3 B1, Total: 7)
3. China (G3 S2 B0, Total: 5)
3. Germany (G3 S2 B0, Total: 5)
5. Norway (G3 S1 B4, Total: 8)
6. Italy (G2 S4 B1, Total: 7)
7. Russian Olympic Committee (G2 S3 B5, Total: 10)
8. Austria (G2 S3 B2, Total: 7)
9. Slovenia (G2 S1 B2, Total: 5)
10. France (G1 S4 B0, Total: 5)

Tuesday brought more enthralling action from Beijing, with Olympic records broken and one athlete on the verge of repeating a historic feat.

Ester Ledecka became the first female athlete to claim gold in two separate sports at the same Winter Games back in 2018, and the Czech is out to repeat that achievement this time around.

She is now halfway there, having won the women's parallel giant slalom at Genting Snow Park.

Teenage sensation Eileen Gu was also among the winners on day four, while Canada's women beat the United States 4-2 in the ice hockey, in what many view as a possible dress rehearsal for the final, and Italy defeated Norway to take gold in the mixed doubles curling final.

Ledecka on the brink of double glory

Ledecka clinched gold ahead of Austria's Daniela Ulbing. However, she does not have much time to celebrate, as her focus will now switch from snowboarding to going for the top prize in alpine skiing in three days' time.

"Part of my head is still racing right now on that course," Ledecka said. "The other side of my head is already trying to get through the lines on the skiing course. And then a small part is celebrating the win."

Slovenia's Gloria Kotnik took bronze, finishing on the podium for the first time in a career that has spanned 137 world cup events, 14 world championships and three Olympic Games.

Austria's Benjamin Karl took gold in the men's event. The 36-year-old, who is a five-time world champion, took bronze in the parallel slalom in Sochi and silver in the parallel giant slalom in Pyeongchang, making him the first snowboarder to have a complete set of Olympic medals.

Gu lives up to the billing

Gu had already made several headlines before Beijing 2022 had even begun. The 18-year-old Californian delighted China when she decided to represent the country of her mother's birth instead of the United States.

Nicknamed the "Snow Princess", Gu won two gold medals at both the Winter X Games 2021 and the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships, and on Tuesday came first in the big air freestyle final.

"That was the happiest moment, day, whatever – of my life," said Gu, who landed a perfect left double cork 1620 jump for the first time in competition.

"Even if I didn't land it, I felt it would send a message out to the world and hopefully encourage more girls to break their own boundaries," the teenager added. 

Olympic record smashed

The Olympic record in the men's 1500m speed skating was broken twice over, as Kjeld Nuis defended his title from 2018 in emphatic style.

Dutchman Nuis now has three golds to his name, having also won the 1000m race in Pyeongchang, and has become the fourth man to win the 1500m twice.

Nuis and his compatriot Thomas Krol, who took silver, both broke the Olympic record of 1:43.95, which had stood for 20 years, with Nuis recording a time of 1:43.21.

In the cross-country skiing, Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo dominated as he took home gold in the men's sprint free event. He won three gold medals in Pyeongchang and is a two-time defending world champion.

Sweden enjoyed success in the women's equivalent, with world champion Jonna Sundling and Maja Dahlqvist completing a one-two.

Three in a row for Geisenberger

Natalie Geisenberger is the first female luge athlete to win gold for the third straight Olympic Games, as she triumphed with a combined time of 3:53.454.

Geisenberger's time was just under half-a-second quicker than her fellow German Anna Berreiter, who claimed silver, with Tayana Ivanova taking bronze for the Russian Olympic Committee.

"It's hard to compare Olympic medals, because every one has its own history," said Geisenberger, who took a break away from the sport in 2020 to have a child.

"My first was very, very special because I was a first-time Olympic champion and now I'm a five-time Olympic champion, but it is the first time as a mother. It's just great.

"Training was done around my child. I think we did a really pretty good job as a family. To have another gold is just amazing and a very special moment."

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