BEIJING – The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:
The United States is out of the men’s hockey tournament at the Olympics in stunning fashion after blowing a late lead.
Slovakia beat the U.S. 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday to knock the top-seeded Americans out in the quarterfinals. Canada exited hours after the U.S. with a 2-0 loss to Sweden.
It’s the first Olympic semifinals without the U.S. and Canada since 2006.
The U.S. led for almost half the game before the tying goal when Slovakia pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker to play 6-on-5. Slovakia forward Juraj Slafkovsky scored his tournament-leading fifth goal of the tournament.
The Russians and Finland also moved on to the semifinals.
The Associated Press has learned IOC president Thomas Bach offered U.S. figure skaters Olympic torches as holdover gifts while they await a resolution of the Russian doping case that is preventing them from receiving their silver medals.
Two people familiar with the events told AP late Wednesday that Bach, in a private meeting with the skaters in Beijing, reiterated the IOC stance that no medals ceremonies would be held for events involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva. The people did not want their names used because the meeting was confidential.
Officials from the International Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to an email query from AP.
Men’s champion Nathan Chen and the U.S. finished runner-up to Russia in the team event last week, but the outcome was quickly thrown into chaos when reports surfaced that Valieva had used a banned medication.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Valieva was still eligible to compete in this week’s women’s event while her case wound through the anti-doping system. That case will ultimately determine the status of the medals. Valieva led the women’s contest after the short program.
The U.S. women’s curling team is out of the Olympics. The men have one more chance to advance to the playoffs at the Beijing Games.
Tabitha Peterson’s foursome lost 10-7 to Japan on Wednesday night in its round-robin finale. That dropped the Americans to 4-5 at the Winter Games.
Switzerland (7-1) had already qualified, and reigning gold medalist Sweden (6-2) joined them with an 8-5 victory over Russia. There are five teams fighting for the remaining two spots: 2018 bronze medalist Japan (5-3) and ’18 silver medalist South Korea (4-4) along with Canada (4-4), Britain (4-4) and China (4-5).
The U.S. men will have a chance to repeat as gold medalists — as long as they beat Denmark in the final round-robin session on Thursday morning.
After eight of nine matches played, the Americans are 4-4 and in fourth place in the race for the four spots in the Beijing Olympics semifinals. Britain and Sweden are already in at 7-1, and Canada also clinched a berth with an 8-6 victory over Russia on Wednesday.
John Shuster’s foursome would reach the playoffs with a victory over last-place Denmark. They could also advance if they lose, but they would need help.
The International Testing Agency says cross-country skier Valnetyna Kaminska has tested positive for doping with a steroid and a banned stimulant.
Valentyna Kaminska already competed in all her three events at the Beijing Olympics and did not come close to the medals.
The 34-year-old athlete is competing for Ukraine now after representing Belarus at the Winter Games in 2014 and 2018.
The ITA says Kaminska’s sample taken last Thursday tested positive for mesterolone and heptaminol.
She’s now provisionally suspended from all competitions pending a prosecution of her doping case.
It’s the second doping sample taken at the Beijing Olympics to test positive. The first involved Alpine skier Hossein Saveh Shemshaki of Iran. The contentious case of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva involves a test taken before the Olympics.
Susanna Tapani scored her team-leading sixth goal, Anni Keisala stopped 15 shots and Finland claimed its fourth Olympic women’s hockey bronze medal with a 4-0 win over Switzerland.
Wednesday night's victory earned Finland a bronze medal in consecutive Olympics.
Viivi Vainikka and Nelli Laitinen also scored in a rematch of last year’s world championship bronze medal game, which Finland won 3-1. The Finns bounced back from a 3-2 loss to the Swiss in the preliminary round.
Switzerland’s Andrea Braendli stopped 34 of the first 35 she faced, and 43 overall in a game the Finns pulled away by scoring three times in the third period. The Swiss fell short in an attempt to match their best finish at the 2014 Sochi Games, when they beat Sweden to win the bronze medal.
Vainikka opened the scoring 11:38 into the first period by driving to the front of the net and slipping in a loose puck after Braendli stopped a shot from Noora Tulus. Tapani scored on a shorthanded 2-on-1 break 3:24 into the third period. Laitinen and Karvinen sealed the win with power-play goals in the final 5:36.
Keisala finished the tournament stopping 173 of 189 shots, while appearing in all seven games. Her best save against Switzerland came midway through the second period, when she got her glove up to stop Lena Marie Lutz’s shot on a breakaway.
On Thursday, the defending Olympic champion United States and Canada meet in the gold-medal game for the sixth time in seven tournaments.
Germany’s Eric Frenzel, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, took a leap toward competing in the final Nordic combined medal event of the Beijing Games.
Frenzel jumped three times in a training session on Wednesday, a day before a four-man team competition. He tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in China and was in isolation for about two weeks.
In Nordic combined, the athlete who jumps the farthest and impresses judges the most starts the cross-country portion of the event with a lead. The rest of the field follows, in order of the finish in ski jumping. The first to cross the finish line wins gold.
Choi Minjeong of South Korea has successfully defended her Olympic title in 1,500-meter short track speedskating.
She won in 2 minutes, 17.789 seconds, extending the tradition of an Asian woman winning the event.
Arianna Fontana of Italy took silver by two-thousandths of a second over Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands.
It was Fontana’s 11th career Olympic medal and third in Beijing. The most decorated short track skater in history also won the 500 and took silver in the mixed team relay.
Schulting earned her fourth medal in Beijing. She finished second in the 500, won the 1,000 and won the 3,000 relay.
Canada has won the 5,000-meter relay in short track speedskating.
The team of Charles Hamelin, Steven Dubois, Jordan Pierre-Gilles and Pascal Dion skated cleanly Wednesday night to take their nation’s eighth gold medal in the 45-lap race with a time of 6 minutes, 41.257 seconds.
At age 37, Hamelin broke his own record as the oldest male short track skater to win an Olympic medal. It was his sixth career medal, making him Canada’s most decorated male Olympian.
South Korea earned silver. Italy claimed bronze.
Dubois won his third medal in Beijing. He finished second in the 1,500 and third in the 500.
China crashed later in the race, much to the dismay of the fans at Capital Indoor Stadium, who waved the host country’s flag.
Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands has advanced to the final of 1,500-meter short track speedskating.
—-She won her semifinal in a bid to earn her fourth Olympic medal in Beijing. No non-Asian woman has ever won this event.
Defending Olympic champion Choi Minjeong of South Korea rallied from sixth using a big move on the outside to take the lead with two laps remaining in her semifinal. She set an Olympic record of 2 minutes, 16.831 seconds.
Also making the A final are Arianna Fontana of Italy, Lee Yubin of South Korea, Hanne Desmet of Belgium, Xandra Velzeboer of the Netherlands and Han Yutong of China.
The B final includes such big names as Kim Boutin and Courtney Sarault of Canada and Kim A Lang of South Korea. American Kristen Santos was advanced when another skater was penalized.
U.S. skaters Corinne Stoddard and Julie Letai were eliminated.
China’s Qi Guangpu finally flipped his way onto an Olympic podium in men’s aerials, winning a gold medal after near misses in Sochi and Pyeongchang.
Qi cleanly landed a quint-twisting triple back flip in the medal round Wednesday night, when five of his six competitors tried the same trick and only he did it clean. Qi earned 129 points, easily beating defending champion Oleksandr Abramenko of Ukraine at 116.5.
Ilia Burov of the ROC downgraded to a quad-twisting triple as the event’s last competitor, knowing that a clean back full-full-double full would be enough for the podium. He earned bronze at the second straight Olympics.
Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands is keeping alive her bid for a fourth Olympic medal on the last night of short track speedskating.
She easily won her quarterfinal in the 1,500 meters Wednesday. Schulting has already earned silver in the 500, gold in the 1,000 and gold in the 3,000 relay in Beijing.
No non-Asian woman has ever won the 1,000.
Defending Olympic champion Choi Minjeong of South Korea skated to a big lead in winning her quarterfinal.
Also advancing to the semifinals are Arianna Fontana of Italy, Kim A Lang and Lee Yubin of South Korea, and Kim Boutin of Canada.
Three American skaters moved on, led by Kristen Santos, who won her quarterfinal. Julie Letai was advanced because of a penalty to another skater. Corinne Stoddard was third, which was good enough to continue.
Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo completed a second straight cross-country double Wednesday by teaming with Erik Valnes to give Norway the gold medal in the team sprint race at the Beijing Games.
Klaebo won the individual sprint and has become the second man to win both the team and individual sprint twice. He did the same in 2018. Klaebo and teammate Erik Valnes skied to the win in 19 minutes, 22.99 seconds.
Joni Maki of Finland stayed ahead of Alexander Terentev of the Russian Olympic Committee to take silver, 2.46 seconds behind Norway. Terentev took the bronze 4.29 seconds back.
Maki was partnered with Iivo Niskanen, who won gold in the 15-kilometer classic race. Terentev’s teammate was Alexander Bolshunov, who won gold in the skiathlon.
The three broke away from a group of eight on the final lap and stayed ahead for the medals. Sweden came in fourth.
Cross-country skiers Victoria Carl and Katharina Henning of Germany won gold in the women’s team sprint at the Beijing Olympics.
Their time was 22 minutes, 9.85 seconds. Carl outpaced Swedish sprint champion Jonna Sundling, who won silver with Maja Dhalqvist .17 seconds back.
Natalia Nepryaeva of Russia crossed the line just behind Sundling at .71 seconds. She and Yulia Stupak won the bronze medal.
Finland finished fourth and the U.S. women, the reigning team sprint Olympic champions, were fifth.
Elvira Oeberg anchored the Swedish team to Olympic gold in the four-person biathlon relay, skiing fast and shooting clean to win her third medal of the Beijing Games.
Oeberg, who also won silver in the sprint and pursuit races in her Olympic debut, put the Swedes across the line in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 3.9 seconds.
Russian biathlete Uliana Nigmatullina trailed Oeberg by about 24 seconds after the final shooting range and ended up finishing 12 seconds behind for silver. Denise Herrmann finished third to give Germany bronze, 37.4 seconds behind Oeberg. Herrmann also won gold in the individual race.
Germany, Sweden and Italy went out front early in the 4x6-kilometer race and the teams shuffled positions several times, but the Swedes had the most consistent shooting.
Norway finished fourth, 50.7 seconds behind.
American figure skater Vincent Zhou is out of quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 at the Beijing Games, and he plans to perform in the exhibition gala that traditionally closes the Olympic program on Sunday.
Zhou had just helped the U.S. win team silver on Feb. 7 when he got a phone call that he had tested positive. The timing of the result, the day before the men’s short program, left him no choice but to withdraw from the event.
Zhou said he didn’t watch it because “it was too emotionally difficult,” but he kept track of the results and was happy to see teammate Nathan Chen win the gold medal. He spent his time instead “watching Netflix for the first time” in an isolation hotel about 30 minutes from the Olympic Village.
Among those that reached out to Zhou was singer Josh Groban, whose music is used in his short program. Zhou said that made him feel “appreciated and supported” while he spent the long days locked in his room.
French skier Clement Noel put down a blistering second run to win the slalom at the Beijing Olympics by a large margin on Wednesday.
Noel moved up from sixth following the first leg to beat first-run leader Johannes Strolz of Austria by 0.61 seconds after posting the fastest second run.
World champion Sebastian Foss-Solevaag of Norway held his position and picked up the bronze, finishing 0.70 behind.
Noel finished fourth in the slalom at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
Strolz also won the gold medal in the combined last week.
The United States is out of the men’s hockey tournament at the Olympics in stunning fashion after blowing a late lead.
Marek Hrivik scored with 43.7 seconds left in regulation, Peter Cehlarik had the winner and Slovakia beat the U.S. 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday to knock the top-seeded Americans out in the quarterfinals. The U.S. led for almost half the game before the tying goal when Slovakia pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker to play 6-on-5.
The U.S. had gotten accustomed to playing tight games in the tournament, beating Canada by two goals and Germany by one. But blown coverage in front allowed Hrivik to knock a loose puck past goalie Strauss Mann, who was impressive until that point.
Coming up empty on four power plays, including three in the third period, came back to bite the Americans. Matty Beniers hit the post on one of the best scoring chances the U.S. had in the third, but the team could not crack Patrik Rybar, who was playing a second consecutive day in net for Slovakia.
U.S. bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor is thinking about retiring after 15 years in the sport.
She has raced on at least 15 different bobsled tracks in 11 countries. She’s had no fewer than 41 different teammates in her sleds.
She possesses more Olympic medals than any bobsledder in U.S. history, with a chance at one more this weekend. She has become an advocate, fighting for equality for women in sports. And she became a wife and mother along the way.
Meyers Taylor hasn't said for sure what her plans are, but she is thinking about retirement and hinted that the women’s race at the Beijing Olympics — it starts Friday and ends Saturday — may represent her final official time in a sled.
“There’s a good chance that it’s my last one,” Meyers Taylor said.
Mikaela Shiffrin was fastest in a downhill training session ahead of Thursday’s Alpine combined race at the Beijing Olympics.
The American skier finished 0.93 seconds ahead of Wendy Holdener of Switzerland and 0.94 ahead of Ester Ledecka, who is attempting to win a second event at a second straight Olympics after successfully defending her gold in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom.
Shiffrin was second in the combined at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and won the event at the world championships last year.
Defending Olympic champion Michelle Gisin was a second slower than Shiffrin.
The 26-year-old Shiffrin is still seeking her first medal at the Beijing Games. The two-time Olympic champion didn’t finish the giant slalom or the slalom, was ninth in the super-G and 18th in Tuesday’s downhill.
Only 14 skiers trained on Wednesday, with 12 of those listed on the start list opting out.
Jennifer Jones’ Canadian foursome (4-3) took the lead with back-to-back two-point ends in the second and third. The Americans tied it with two in the eighth and a steal of one in the ninth when Jones missed a takeout with the last stone and slammed her broom to the ice in frustration.
Canada retained the last-rock advantage in the 10th and final end, though, and delivered an easy draw to win it.
The Americans (4-4) could still qualify for the semifinals with five wins, if they beat Japan on Wednesday night and get some help.
Johannes Strolz of Austria is leading the first run of the men’s slalom with only lower-ranked skiers remaining as he bids for a second gold medal at the Beijing Games.
Strolz will take a 0.02 second advantage over Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway into the second run. World champion Sebastian Foss-Solevaag of Norway is third, 0.06 behind.
The 29-year-old Strolz won the Alpine combined on Thursday in his first ever Olympic race. Before a win in Adelboden, Switzerland, last month, he had a career-best finish of 10th in more than eight years of World Cup racing and was dropped from the powerhouse Austrian team at the end of last season.
There have been six different winners in six World Cup slaloms this season.
Lucas Braathen leads the discipline standings but he straddled a gate and is out of the race. Another pre-race favorite, Manuel Feller, did the same.
Freestyler skier Alex Hall led a 1-2 American finish in the men’s Olympic slopestyle competition with a trick on his first run where he completely stopped his rotation mid-air and went the other direction.
Hall’s opening run earned a score of 90.01 and it stood up throughout the competition. His teammate Nick Goepper turned in a creative run on his second pass to earn silver. Jesper Tjader of Sweden took home bronze.
The Americans have now earned six of nine Olympic medals since the event made its debut in 2014. Goepper has three of them, including silver from the 2018 Pyeongchang Games and bronze from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
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