Beijing 2022

Beijing 2022 (93)

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."

Sweden claimed top spot in the medal table at the end of day four at Beijing 2022 after winning their third gold thanks to Sara Hector's victory in the alpine skiing women's giant slalom.

Hector finished ahead of Italy's Federica Brignone and Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami on Monday to move Sweden to the top of the table.

The Russian Olympic Committee are into second place after gold in the figure skating team event, and now have the most medals in total at the Games with seven.

Ireen Wust's gold in the women's 1500m speed skating is the second for the Netherlands, with Antoinette de Jong's bronze in the same event and Suzanne Schulting's silver in the 500m final taking their total to five medals overall.

Hosts China are up to fourth after an eventual gold for Ren Ziwei, awarded the win in the men's 1000m speed skating final ahead of Hungary's Liu Shaolin Sandor, who was disqualified for causing a collision.

Germany earned their second gold in Beijing when Denise Herrmann won the women's 15km individual biathlon, while Norway have fallen from first to sixth place in the medal table after a day with just one bronze medal.

Slovenia move down a place to seventh despite becoming the first Olympic champions in the ski jumping mixed team event on the normal hill on Monday.

The team of Nika Kriznar, Timi Zajc, Ursa Bogataj and Peter Prevc finished 111 points ahead of the ROC (890.3), with Canada claiming bronze with a score of 844.6.

Italy claimed gold as Arianna Fontana successfully defended her women's 500m speed skating title to go along with Brignone's skiing silver, while Canada sit just behind them after their first gold of the Games through Max Parrot's snowboard slopestyle effort, with Mark McMorris also grabbing bronze.

Japan endured disappointment on Monday as they slipped from joint-sixth to 10th, with Miho Takagi only managing silver in the women's 1500m speed skating and the figure skating team settling for bronze.

Medal table (after day four):

1. Sweden (G3 S0 B0, Total: 3)
2. Russian Olympic Committee (G2 S3 B2, Total: 7)
3. Netherlands (G2 S2 B1, Total: 5)
4. China (G2 S2 B0, Total: 4)
5. Germany (G2 S1 B0, Total: 3)
6. Norway (G2 S0 B2, Total: 4)
7. Slovenia (G2 S0 B1, Total: 3)
8. Italy (G1 S3 B1, Total: 5)
9. Canada (G1 S1 B4, Total: 6)
10. Japan (G1 S1 B2, Total: 4)

History was made in several events at the Winter Olympics on Monday.

Ireen Wust became the first person to win an individual gold medal at five different Olympics, while young figure skater Kamila Valieva put her name into the record books.

Johan Clarey only claimed silver in the men's alpine skiing, but nevertheless set a record in the process.

Stats Perform has assessed some of the best data points from across the action in Beijing.

– Wust, who is retiring next month, secured her sixth gold medal and 12th medal overall at the Olympics as she retained her 1500m title. She is the first person to win an individual gold at five separate Games, while her time of one minute and 58.52 seconds also represents a new Olympic record.

15  – Valieva, who is representing the Russian Olympic Committee, is just 15. However, she became the first female figure skater to land a quadruple jump at an Olympic Games. 

– Italy will win a medal in curling for the first time, after Stefania Constantini and Amos Mosaner defeated Sweden 8-1 in their mixed doubles semi-final. They will go up against Norway in the final.

41  – Frenchman Clarey claimed silver in alpine skiing, finishing behind Switzerland's Beat Feuz. In the process, 41-year-old Clarey became the oldest Olympic medallist in the event.

2 – Slovenia won their first gold medal thanks to Ursa Bogataj on Saturday, while her compatriot Nika Kriznar claimed bronze. The duo became the first two female ski jumpers to have won two medals at a single Games on Monday after winning gold in the mixed team event.

18 – At the age of 18 years and 31 days, Alexandria Loutitt is the youngest female athlete to pick up an Olympic medal in ski jumping.

14 – After Loutitt's success, Canada have equalled the United States' record haul of winning a medal in 14 sports at the Games.

33 – Denise Herrmann is now the oldest female biathlete representing Germany to win Olympic gold, set by Uschi Disl, who won gold in the women's relay in 2002 at age 31.

3 – Ren Ziwei became the third male athlete representing China to win individual gold at the Games, after freestyle skier Han Xiaopeng in 2006 and short track skater Wu Dajing.

Canada's Max Parrot won an emotional gold medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics in the snowboard slopestyle, three years after being diagnosed with cancer.

Parrot's score of 90.96 on his second run was enough to secure victory ahead of China's Su Yiming and fellow Canadian Mark McMorris, who won silver and bronze respectively.

Despite only finishing 10th in qualifying, Parrot put together a high-scoring run to go one better than the silver he achieved at PyeongChang 2018.

"This is so incredibly special, especially with the run I did today. It's the biggest run I've done in my entire career," he said afterwards. "I am extremely proud of myself and to take gold on that run means so much for me."

The 27-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma – a type of blood cancer – in late 2018 and was forced to stop competing so he could undergo chemotherapy.

However, he announced he was cancer-free in July 2019 and worked to get back to his competitive best.

"I don't take anything for granted anymore," he added. "It made me such a better snowboarder, as well. I try to appreciate every day now – the little things in the morning through to my passion of snowboard. I try to smile all day long now, and the results come with that now as well. It's amazing."


Speed skating glory for Wust

Ireen Wust became the first person to win an individual gold medal at five different Olympics after retaining her 1500m title on Monday.

Wust beat the much-fancied Japanese skater Miho Takagi, who claimed silver, breaking the Olympic record in the process with a time of one minute 53.28 seconds.

The 35-year-old is retiring next month, but despite being ranked seventh at the World Cup, had enough to secure her sixth gold medal and 12th medal overall at the Olympics.

In the shorter track events, Italy's Arianna Fontana retained her 500m title while  Hungary's Liu Shaolin Sandor initially won the men's 1000m final but was eventually disqualified for initiating contact when overtaking China's Ren Ziwei.

There was another collision between the two on the finish line but Ren was declared the winner after an official review ahead of countryman Li Wenlong and Liu Shaoang, Sandor's brother.


Valieva makes history in figure skating

The Russian Olympic Committee won gold in the figure skating team event but all eyes were on Kamila Valieva as the 15-year-old became the first female figure skater to land a quadruple jump at an Olympic Games.

The ROC had already sealed the win ahead of the United States and Japan before Valieva executed a quadruple salchow at the start of her free skate, then landing another quad later in the same routine, though she fell after attempting an ambitious third.

Valieva has been breaking records since making her senior debut less than six months ago, becoming the first woman to score more than 90 points and setting a world record in the short program at the European Championships last month.

She is the heavy favourite for the women's event, which takes place on February 15 and 17. 


Feuz wins downhill gold

Switzerland's Beat Feuz won the men's downhill, finishing ahead of 41-year-old Frenchman Johan Clarey at Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre.

Feuz's winning run of one minute 42.69 seconds was just one 10th of a second ahead of Clarey.

However, Clarey did make history with his silver medal, becoming the oldest Olympic medallist in alpine skiing, while Austria's Matthias Mayer claimed bronze.

"I knew I only had one chance left in my career to get a medal in the Olympics," Clarey said. "When you are a medallist, whether you are 20 or 41, it doesn't matter."

The first gold medal of the Games went the way of Norway's Therese Johaug, who stormed to success in the women's skiathlon.

Johaug missed the 2018 Winter Olympics as she was serving an 18-month suspension for a positive drugs test.

The Norwegian blamed her positive result on tainted lip balm.

However, she has returned to compete in Beijing and clinched the first gold up for grabs with a supreme display in the 7.5km+7.5km skiathlon, which was held approximately 120km northwest of China's capital.

Johaug, 33, crossed the line in a time of 44 minutes, 13.7 seconds to win what is often regarded as one of the toughest cross-country events.

She finished ahead of Natalia Nepryaeva of the Russian Olympic Committee and third-placed Austrian Teresa Stadlober.

"It was huge for me today. When I missed the Olympics Games in Pyeongchang it means is eight years since I was in Sochi," said Johaug, who is a three-time world champion in this discipline.

"The last year there have been many days away from home and to be at altitude to train to be ready for Beijing. It is huge to me to cross the finish line and know I reached my goal."

There was another gold for Norway on Saturday, as they came out on top in the mixed relay 4x6km biathlon, with France taking silver and the Russian Olympic Committee bronze.

Norway's curling team beat China and Australia in the mixed doubles round-robin stage to cap a fine day for the Scandinavian nation.

Olympic record tumbles

The Netherlands' Irene Schouten broke the Olympic record as she took gold in the women's 3000m speed skating.

Claudia Pechstein, of Germany, had set the previous record back in 2002 in Salt Lake City.

"When you say 20 years ago, the record stands a really long time. I am happy I have it now," Schouten said.

"My last lap was really good. There is a gold medal at the finish and I have to give it all and it was a good last lap."

Schouten cannot celebrate for too long, however, as she has to switch focus to the 5000m race and the team pursuit.

Italy's Francesca Lollobrigida claimed silver, while Isabelle Weidemann's bronze brought up Canada's 200th medal at the Winter Olympics.

China get up and running

There is always extra pressure on the host nation to perform and China managed to secure their first gold, triumphing in the mixed team relay of the short track speed skating.

The Chinese team just managed to hold off a late charge from Italy, who almost pipped them on the line. Hungary took bronze.

Sweden's Walter Wallberg took gold in the men's moguls final, while Slovenia's Ursa Bogataj won in the women's ski jump.

USA and Canada run riot

There were emphatic victories for the United States and Canada in the women's ice hockey.

Canada got into double figures against Finland, winning 11-1, while the USA defeated the Russian Olympic Committee 5-0 in the other Group A game.

Japan overcame Denmark 6-2 and the Czech Republic got the better of Sweden 3-1.

Norway celebrated gold in biathlon and cross-country skiing on Saturday as the most successful nation in Winter Olympics history topped the medals table.

Hosts China also got in on the gold medal action, along with Slovenia, Netherlands and Sweden, but the United States had yet to secure a medal of any colour.

Norway's mixed relay team of Marte Olsbu Roeiseland, Tiril Eckhoff, Tarjei Boe and Johannes Thingnes Boe edged out France and Russian Olympic Committee in a tight finish to the 4 x 6km event, finishing just 0.9 seconds clear.

Roeiseland said: "We did a great job, the whole team, and I'm so happy to race with such good team-mates. It's my first Olympic gold, so I'm super happy.

"It was so exciting to stand and see Johannes cross the finish line first. It was amazing."

Norway had been fifth after the third leg, but Johannes Thingnes Boe showed his prowess to guide the Norwegians into first place, in the event that combines cross-country and rifle shooting.

He said: "My feeling to anchor team Norway for gold, it doesn't get any bigger than this."

 

Norway's Therese Johaug had earlier won the first gold of the Games in the women's skiathlon, a 15km event.

Johaug was banned from the 2018 Games after a prior doping violation, but in Beijing she was an emphatic champion, finishing over half a minute ahead of Russian Olympic Committee's Natalia Nepryaeva and Austria's Teresa Stadlober, who took silver and bronze respectively.

China's golden moment arrived with success in the short track speed skating mixed team relay, narrowly beating Italy in the final.

Slovenia triumphed in women's ski jumping, Netherlands in women's speed skating and Sweden in men's freestyle skiing moguls.

Shaun White has confirmed the Winter Olympics halfpipe will be his last snowboarding event before retiring from the sport.

The American has a place in Games history under lock and key already, as the first and so far only snowboarder to win three gold medals.

"I really want to finish my career strongly on my own terms and put down some solid runs. If I could do that, I'll be very happy," White said on Saturday.

"I don't know how many kids really aspire to be a cowboy and get to be a cowboy. At a young age, snowboarding is what I wanted more than anything and to be walking in these shoes today is just incredible. It feels so amazing, I'm so proud."

White said he came close to missing a Games bus on Friday night because he was too occupied with trading USA team pins – an Olympics ritual that sees stars and participants swapping the colourful pin badges, amassing collections to take away as mementos.

"I'm having as much fun as I can," White said.

It is worth remembering what White has brought to the Winter Olympics and snow sport as a whole.

At the X Games – the Mardi Gras of extreme sports – White has totted up 23 medals, of which 15 have been gold. Thirteen of those gold medals have come in snowboarding, but two came in skateboarding, highlighting his prowess there.

Eight of his X Games golds came in the halfpipe event, with the other five achieved in slopestyle, the snowboarding variant that features obstacles.

He was the first snowboarder to score a perfect 100 in the halfpipe in the Winter X Games, achieving that 10 years ago in Aspen, Colorado.

White triumphed first at the Games as a 19-year-old in Turin in 2006, defending his title in 2010 in Vancouver, and recovering from the jolt of missing out on the Sochi podium four years later by landing gold again at Pyeongchang.

His score of 97.75 in his second run at Pyeongchang stands as an Olympic record.

His final bid for glory is coming up, with men's halfpipe qualifying taking place on Wednesday, before Zhangjiakou's Genting Snow Park stages the final runs on Friday.

"It will be my last competition, which is pretty special," said White, in a news conference on Saturday.

It was already known this would be his final Olympics.

Now 35, White has been snowboarding since the age of six. The red-haired Californian goes by the nickname of 'The Flying Tomato', and he says the experience of knowing this is his farewell Olympics is "pretty heavy, but I'm enjoying it".

"It's been a beautiful run. Let's see this through and see what's next," he said. "I definitely don't think I'll be leaving the sport anytime soon. All these people within an industry that ride backcountry and pipes. I'm just excited for the next chapter."

China ended a 24-year wait for a women's ice hockey group game win at the Winter Olympics as the hosts earned a 3-1 victory over Denmark.

On the official first day of the Games in Beijing, it was a timely win for the home team at the Wukesong Sports Centre.

There has of course been action ahead of Friday's formal start, and China were beaten 3-1 by Czech Republic in their opening game on Thursday.

But on the day the world began to focus on the snow and ice show in Beijing, the home team raised their game to battle back from going behind to Malene Frandsen's early strike.

Lin Qiqi drew China level when she deflected home Yu Baiwei's shot in the 37th minute, and the teams remained level heading into the final minute. China went ahead with 51 seconds remaining in the third period as Lin Ni rattled in from close range, before Lin Qiqi struck a long-range shot into an empty net moments later to make sure.

Yu said: "It was a big win, also a special day. I think both teams played good. We did not give up until the last minute, last second. I just kept shooting and hoped I could help the team."

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) beat Switzerland 5-2, and next for the Russians is a Saturday showdown with reigning Olympic champions the United States.

There was American success on Friday in figure skating as the three-day team event got under way, with the USA leading the way after the first three disciplines.

US star Nathan Chen edged out Japan's Shoma Uno in the men's short programme, while Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue led the way in rhythm dance, lifting the Americans to 28 points overall, two clear of ROC and seven ahead of China in third.

USA co-captain Evan Bates said: "Our team has great potential, and that was demonstrated in the great performances. I don't necessarily think we feel surprised to be leading. Looking at the roster, we know we have the potential to bring home the gold medal."

Italy remain the only team with a 100 per cent winning record in curling's mixed doubles after Amos Mosaner and Stefania Constantini fended off Norway 11-8 and scored a 10-2 trouncing of the Czech Republic team on Friday, making it four wins from four. Canada, Sweden and Great Britain each have three wins so far.

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