Today in a nutshell: The US men’s team make an unexpected ice hockey exit but American skiers claim a men’s slopestyle 1-2 as Norway continue to dominate the medals
Next up: There is freestyle skiing, ice hockey, curling and short track speed skating still to come today. Tomorrow: the finale of the Kamila Valieva show
A pair of Americans topped the men’s freeski slopestyle podium after Alex Hall soared to Olympic gold ahead of teammate Nick Goepper, who took the silver. Sweden’s Jesper Tjäder won the bronze ahead of Andri Ragettli, the defending world champion from Switzerland. “It definitely was the best slopestyle run I’ve ever done, mainly because it embodied everything I love about skiing and how I approach skiing and I didn’t fade away from that to try and maybe get bigger scores or something,” Hall said.
Clement Noel of France came from sixth place to take men’s slalom gold with an absolutely blistering second run. Austria’s Johannes Strolz won silver to go with his gold in the combined, finishing 0.61 seconds behind Noel, while reigning world champion Sebastian Foss-Solevaag of Norway took bronze. “It’s not often that you are able to win a medal in the Olympic Games. It’s one shot – one minute and 40 seconds every four years,” Noel said.
Dave Ryding’s dream of an Olympic medal of Great Britain faded away after a mistake on his opening run cost him any chance of a podium finish. “I am always realistic and while I would love to say I’ll be back, I probably won’t be. But I’ll for sure take it year by year from now,” the 35-year-old said.
There was an upset in the men’s ice hockey quarter-finals. Slovakia gambled while 2-1 down to the USA by taking off their goaltender and throwing on an extra attacker, grabbed an equaliser with 43 seconds remaining, then won the dramatic shootout that followed to eliminate the tournament’s unbeaten top seeds. “This one’s going to sting for a little bit,” veteran US defenseman Steven Kampfer said. “I thought we were the better team for a majority of the game. You come up a little bit short.”
The latest set of round robin matches in the women’s curling has seen Switzerland become the first country to book their semi-final berth. However a surprise defeat by China leaves Great Britain’s women with one match to go which they must win, and that still might not be enough if other results don’t go their way. It was a much happier story for Team GB’s men. Victory over ROC means they will feature in the semi-finals alongside Sweden and Canada. The final spot in the men’s last four will go to the US if they can beat Denmark in tomorrow’s morning session.
Elvira Öberg anchored Sweden’s team to gold in the women’s 4 x 6km biathlon relay, skiing fast and shooting clean to win her third medal of the Games. The athletes of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) were second, Germany third. In cross-country skiing, Erik Valnes and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo took gold – Norway’s 13th gold of the Games, continuing their recent dominance of the medal table.
Things you might have missed
After the short program of the women’s single skating competition yesterday, Kamila Valieva leads with a score of 82.16, just under two points clear of her Russian compatriot, the world champion Anna Shcherbakova.
Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway spent two weeks in Covid isolation, was let out on Monday, jumped into the lead in the Nordic combined on Tuesday with a phenomenal 142m leap, then took a wrong turn on the cross-country leg, blowing his 44-second advantage and finishing eighth. “It’s a silly mistake,” Riiber said afterwards. “It’s not fun to show the world that I maybe wasted a gold medal”. Riiber’s compatriot Joergen Graabak took the gold in the end.
Mikaela Shiffrin was fastest in a downhill training session ahead of Thursday’s Alpine combined race. It’s a welcome bit of cheer for an athlete who has had a torrid time in Beijing after arriving at these Games on a wave of expectation.
Germany had the first podium sweep in Beijing with all the medals going to Germany in the two-man bobsleigh. Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis were the winning pairing.
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The briefing’s picture of the day
It was the team sprint classic day in the cross-country skiing. Germany’s duo of Katharina Hennig and Victoria Carl won the women’s event. ROC won the men’s event. The British men failed to qualify for the final after they had equipment difficulty in the semi-final.
What to look out for next
Times are all in local Beijing time. For Sydney it is +3 hours, for London it is -8 hours, for New York it is -13 hours and San Francisco is -16 hours.
Later today – Wednesday 16 February
8pm Freestyle skiing – the final run in the men’s aerials 🥇
8.05pm Curling – Team GB will be anxiously watching tonight’s women’s matches 🥌
8.32pm-9.18pm Short track speed skating – the finals of the men’s 5,000m relay – should be chaos – and the women’s 1,500m 🥇
9.30pm Ice hockey – the last of the men’s quarter-finals features Sweden v Canada 🏒
Tomorrow – Thursday 17 February
9.05am and 2.05pm and 8.05pm Curling – after approximately 1,057 matches it is the final bits of the round robin stage, and then in the evening it is the men’s semi-finals 🥇
9.30am-3.10pm Freestyle skiing – there’s action all day but the main attraction from 2pm onwards is the women’s ski cross which goes from the quarter-finals to the final 🥇
10.30am and 2pm Alpine skiing – it is the women’s combined – they do the downhill in the morning, the slalom in the afternoon 🥇
12.10pm Ice hockey – no shocks in the women’s ice hockey the gold medal game will be Canada v US 🥇
4pm and 7pm Nordic combined – the teams do jumping first and cross-country 🥇
4.30pm Speed skating – the women’s 1,000m at the National Speed Skating Oval 🥇
6pm Figure skating – the conclusion of the women’s single skating with the free skating 🥇
How things stand
Here’s what the emoji table looked like at 6.15pm Beijing time …
1 🇳🇴 Norway 🥇 13 🥈 7 🥉 8 total: 28
2 🇩🇪 Germany 🥇 10 🥈 6 🥉 4 total: 20
3 🇺🇸 United States 🥇 8 🥈 7 🥉 4 total: 19
4 🇦🇹 Austria 🥇 6 🥈 7 🥉 4 total: 17
5 🇸🇪 Sweden 🥇 6 🥈 4 🥉 4 total: 14
6 🇳🇱 Netherlands 🥇 6 🥈 4 🥉 3 total: 13
7 🇨🇳 China 🥇 6 🥈 4 🥉 2 total: 12
8 🇨🇭 Switzerland 🥇 5 🥈 0 🥉 5 total: 10
9 ◻️ Not Russia 🥇 4* 🥈 8 🥉 11 total: 23
10 🇫🇷 France 🥇 4 🥈 7 🥉 2 total: 13
13 🇨🇦 Canada 🥇 2 🥈 4 🥉 11 total: 17
17 🇦🇺 Australia 🥇 1 🥈 2 🥉 1 total: 4
18 🇳🇿 New Zealand 🥇 1 🥈 1 🥉 0 total: 2
[*this total includes the team figure skating gold. which the IOC has said “will probably not be sorted out during this Games”]
The last word
I don’t know how the Olympics recovers from this. It is shocking and it is disappointing. I don’t think ever in the history of the Olympics somebody with a positive test has been allowed to compete. All of our hearts are breaking that this is a 15-year-old girl. It feels like she was taken advantage of and given this drug that she had no business taking. What this says is that the team around her are child abusers – US coach Adam Rippon, who won Olympic bronze four years ago and now coaches Valieva’s competitor Mariah Bell.