And that’s day six! Thanks for reading along during another brilliant night session from Beijing. In closing, do check out the best of the photos - always a treat. Let’s do it all again tomorrow. Bye!

As I start to wrap up for the day, a nice story.

Father and son Jeff and Liam Mather were reunited in the Beijing Winter Olympic village after not being able to see each other for two-and-a-half years due to the pandemic. Liam lives and works in Beijing, his father in their native Canada. Liam is working with his father’s broadcasting team, meaning the pair can work and enjoy the Games together inside the closed-loop system in the Chinese capital.

As expected, Germany are back on top. Six gold medals so far, four in the sliding centre with their clear sweep in the luge complete.

Curling: final results in the four women’s games tonight.

  • Canada 12 - Korea 7
  • GB 8 - Sweden 2
  • USA 7 - Denmark 5
  • Switzerland 7 - China 5

More from the Water Cube tomorrow.

Curling: I’ve tuned into China v Switzerland at the right time. Final stone in regulation, China need to thread the perfect shot to square it up 6-6 and take it to an extra end but miss out by an inch! The Swiss get up in their second nail-biter in as many days, winning 7-5.

Skip Silvana Tirinzoni, Melanie Barbezat and Esther Neuenschwander of Switzerland in action.
Skip Silvana Tirinzoni, Melanie Barbezat and Esther Neuenschwander of Switzerland in action. Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters


Ice Hockey: Nearing the end of the second period in the men’s Group A games, USA lead China 4-0 and Canada are up 4-1 over Germany.

Luge: Never write off a champion and that’s what these German sliders are. To think that three of the four have won every event they have entered across three consecutive Olympics - remarkable. As for Johannes Ludwig, he’s done the double and has three gold medals to his name after saluting in the team relay four years ago as well.

Gold for Germany!

Nine thousandths of a second is the margin halfway down the track... Arlt and Wendl do it! A wobble at the bottom but they hold their nerve. The 34-year-old champions get it done by 8 hundredths of a second! Natalie Geisenberg, Arlt and Wendl all have six gold medals! Some of the greatest Olympians of all time. And it is a clean sweep for Germany in the luge; they’ve won all four events.

The German team celebrate gold.
The German team celebrate gold. Photograph: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images


Luge: Ludwig stays in the red but only just. They’re behind by 0.101 as the Tobys take over! This would be a massive update!

Luge: Natalie Geisenberger to start, more gold medals than she knows what to do with, but she’s made an early error - they’re playing catch-up! But the pace is on and she gets the deficit back to 0.036 as Johannes Ludwig takes the tag. Go, go, go!

Luge: Madeleine Engle gets the Austrians a half-second lead after the first leg - perfect start. Wolfgang Kindle now, losing control a touch but not hitting a wall - the lead swells to 0.633 through him. Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller won the bronze yesterday, they have plenty of room to work with - they’re going to be leading but by how far? 0.868! Austria into the gold medal position with one team to go. It just happens to be a team with some of the greatest sliders in the history of the sport but pressure is pressure. Here we go!

Luge: Bang! Not the perfect start for Latvia with Eliza Tiruma clipping a wall. Over to Kristers Aparjods, an emerging star of the sport winning a silver in this team event at the 2020 world championships. He’s done enough - he’s got in front! To the doubles pair, Bots and Plume - who did so well yesterday to earn this start - and they’ve got a medal! They hit the lead by 0.3. And what a response - they’re giving it big! The first Latvians onto the podium at these Games. Over to Austria and Germany - here we go, strap in.

Martins Bots and Roberts Plume of Latvia celebrate after a great run.
Martins Bots and Roberts Plume of Latvia celebrate after a great run. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images


Luge: Italy now, who aren’t fielding their best team here due to Covid but have snuck into second; 18 hundredths of a second behind the ROC. Solid. Now to the big three: Latvia, Austria and Germany.

Luge: Here come Not Russia, the fifth team last to jump - the business end of this event. Roman Repilov has given them every chance to take the lead and maybe a medal, the best solo run of the competition so far. Do the doubles pair hold on? They do! We have a new leader, the ROC, 0.568 ahead of Canada with four teams to go.

Luge: The American women’s slider, Ashley Farquharson, has glitter on her face - “this event is a celebration of their sport,” the expert commentator explains on telly. They don’t get ahead of Canada, half a second in arrears, but they hug it out in that celebratory spirit.

Ashley Farquharson with her glittery decoration.
Ashley Farquharson with her glittery decoration. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Getty Images


Luge: Class from Canada, all three sliders doing the job and going well ahead of Poland - with six teams to go, they lead by 1.9 seconds.

Luge: Heartbreak for Slovakia! It’s unlikely they were going to overtake Poland for the lead but their doubles pair fell off at the final turn, number 13, which has been such a challenge throughout. Canada are up next on the sleds, team eight of 14 to compete.

What a lovely story this is

Just like his father did more than three decades ago, Austrian skier Johannes Strolz on Thursday won Olympic gold in the Alpine combined race.

Luge: Right, five of these mixed relay teams have made it down without any major drama, which is not for nothing given the nature of the race with the button they have to hit at the end - doesn’t look easy. Timing is everything. Romania currently lead the Czech Republic with Poland on the way now. We’re about 20 minutes away from the major action when the final few teams take to the track.

Curling: Sweden get a point back but GB lead 6-2 in the seventh end.

Curling: Team GB’s women have extended their to 6-1 after five ends. Sweden have the hammer for the sixth and need to get busy.

Ice Hockey: We’re deep into the first period of the Group A opening matches in the men’s competition. At the National Indoor Stadium the USA scored an early goal against China and Canada have popped three into the German net before the first interval.

Luge: Right, the Czech team is the first of 14 to go and they’ve hit the wall a number of times in the doubles leg. Ah well. Looking to the other end of the competition, the Latvians, who had a good day yesterday in the men’s singles, are third last, then the Austrians then the might of Germany. A reminder that Johannes Ludwig and Natalie Geisenberger (three gold medals in a row) won the singles and the Tobys – Wendl and Arlt – won a third gold in the doubles.

Luge: Now, this is going to be fun. A luge relay. Yes, that’s right. A woman, a man, a doubles pair, a touch pad. It’s going to be wild. Germany won both singles and the doubles; they should do the same again. But there’s a degree of chaos. Embrace it. Watch it.

Jinyong Park and Jung Myung Cho of South Korea go in the luge team relay.
Jinyong Park and Jung Myung Cho of South Korea go in the luge team relay. Photograph: Alex Pantling/Getty Images


Curling: All the women’s scores as they read at the Water Cube.

  • GB 5 - Sweden 1
  • Canada 6 - Korea 1
  • USA 3 - Denmark 3
  • Switzerland 3 - China 2

Curling: Team GB are going it easily, by the way - they lead Sweden 5-1 in the fifth end. More progress scores before we hit the luge.

Speed skating: I’m not too big on bagging TV networks for what they choose to go live with on the main channel at the Olympics but a Team GB round-robin curling outing getting the nod on the BBC ahead of Irene Schouten at the end there, one of the most supreme performances in speed skating history? Not sure about that.

Four gold medals for the Dutch, all won at The Oval. There’s one event still to be decided tonight - the team luge relay, where Germany are raging hot favourites. That begins in ten minutes.

Gold for The Netherlands!

Irene Schouten has done it! 6:43:51 - there goes the Olympic Record! It lasted for 20 years, set at altitude in Salt Lake City! She’s won the race by a mile in the end, 4.67 seconds over Isabelle Weidemann (CAN) with Martina Sáblíková (CZE) earning bronze - what a career. Schouten does the 3000m/5000m double - very special stuff.

Irene Schouten celebrates after taking gold with a games record.
Irene Schouten celebrates after taking gold with a games record. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images


Speed skating: All eyes on Irene Schouten as she clocks in for two laps to go; two seconds to the good! Can she break the Olympic Record as well? She’s three seconds up when taking the bell!

Speed skating: Four laps to go, the Dutch superstar is in the gold medal position by 0.84 seconds. Three laps to go... make that 1.19!

Speed skating: That margin has narrowed, Schoulten ahead by 0.58 of a second after 3000m with Lollobrigida falling behind the marker.

Speed skating: One of the five kilometres down and both skaters are around 1.5 seconds ahead of where Weidemann was at the same time. Find a telly: there’s a grandstand finish coming up!

Speed skating: The Canadians are roaring Weidemann home... and she’s into the gold medal position with one pair to skate! She won the bronze in the 3000m and will earn another medal here. Over to Irene Schouten (NED), the winner of the 3000m, and Francesca Lollobrigida (ITA), who was runner-up in that event. And they’re off!


Speed skating: Make that 2.14 seconds ahead as she takes the bell!

Speed skating: Weidemann is 1.86 seconds ahead of Sáblíková’s with a couple of laps to go! “This is spectacular!” roars the TV caller.

Speed skating: Weidemann (CAN) and Ragne Wiklund (NOR) are both tracking very nicely indeed, the former just taking the lead - compared to where Sáblíková was at - with six laps to go! Game on!

Speed skating: I’ve been talking up Irene Schouten (NED) jumping last, but let’s not forget Isabelle Weidemann (CAN), the bronze medallist in the 3000m in Beijing. The penultimate pair are away!

Speed skating: What strength to the end, Sáblíková (CZE) banks a 6:50.09! That’s a lead of 6.9 seconds with two pairs to go. Wow.


Speed skating: We’re away in the second half of the women’s 5000m and, what do you know, the 34-year-old Martina Sáblíková is putting in a blinder. She’s 4.45 seconds ahead of Voronina with two laps to go! If she can win this 12 years after her first gold it’d be legendary.

Curling: Sweden earn their first point in the third end; it’s 1-1 with Team GB holding with hammer in the fourth. Expect a long night there.

Curling: It is Team GB v Sweden in the second day of women’s action. Eve Muirhead’s team lost in an extra end to the Swiss yesterday so they need to bounce back here. The Swedish skip, Anna Hasselborg, has the final stone of the end and doesn’t get it right! Too much heat - it’s GB with a steal and the first point of the clash.

Eve Muirhead wills her stone on, watched by her Swedish opponents.
Eve Muirhead wills her stone on, watched by her Swedish opponents. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA


Speed skating: Natalya Voronina (ROC) has finished in thrilling style, taking the lead by six seconds, over the line in 6:56. The Olympic record of 6:46 has stood since Salt Lake City, the commentator tells us. Over to Martina Sáblíková in about 20 minutes after they tidy up the ice - can she deliver on the big stage one final time at age 34? Then it’s Irene Schouten’s turn. Lots of fun to come at The Oval.

Speed skating: Perfect timing, to The Oval in time for the third of six pairs in the women’s 5000m with world record holder Natalya Voronina right into her groove, well on track to overtake the lead of Belarusian Maryna Zuyeva. Martina Sáblíková, the Czech legend who won in 2010 and 2014, races in the fourth pair. Then to finish, Irene Schouten, who won the 3000m earlier in the week and is the fastest in 5000m major competitions since the pandemic.

Freestyle skiing: What. An. Event. Some mindboggling jumps when it mattered most, especially from Christopher Lillis, who took on a back double full-full-double full at a 5.0 degree of difficulty, putting it all on the line for the USA at the vital time. His 135 won this gold.

Christopher Lillis flying towards gold for the US
Christopher Lillis flying towards gold for the US Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters


Gold for the USA!

Freestyle skiing: Whoa! Perfect! The highest score we’ve seen tonight was a 135. Does Qi Guangpu top that to win the gold? 136.29 is the magic number... it’s 122! Gold for America! They’re won the first ever mixed aerial freestyle skiiing Olympic Gold Medal!

Freestyle skiing: The most important jump of Justin Schoenfeld’s career so far and the 23-year-old is right on the money with his 4.525. If he’s into the 120s it will almost be out of range for China... but it isn’t quite that, 114.48 the assessment of the judges. It leaves Qi Guanpu 136 to win the gold with the final jump of the night!

Freestyle skiiing: There are two competitions going on here, the battle for bronze then the jumps for gold. Five full spins with three flips from Noe Roth and the Swiss jumper earns a 110, roughly 97 ahead of Canada, who are next to go with Lewis Irving, who hit a 119 in the qualifier. Back double full-full-full... that will surely be enough for bronze at worst! And so it is, easily - 111.76. And they’re into the gold medal position if the USA and China botch it.

Freestyle skiing: Jia Zongyang hits the deck! It was beautiful until it wasn’t, overbalancing at the end and going A over T! China can’t retain the lead after that - how badly will he be penalised? Significantly - it’s a 96.02! They’re still in it but the USA lead by 21 points as we move to the final jumpers. Drama at Genting Park!

  • USA 223.86
  • China 202.05
  • Canada 179.22
  • Switzerland 166.01

Freestyle skiiing: Here comes Christopher Lillis, going for the 5.0 back double full-full-double full... and that might be the jump of the night! Art! He’s gone huge, taken it on, blimey! And it’s the score of the night as well, it’s 135! “One of the best tricks we’ve ever seen in an Olympic competition,” says the OBS commentator. China have a healthy buffer after the women’s section but the pressure is on.

Freestyle skiing: Big but not huge, Primin Werner (SWI) takes on a 5.0 and walks away with 109. Canada next and Miha Fontaine goes BANG for the second time tonight! A lower degree of difficulty, so it had to be good, and it was - 116.48 for him, they take lead.

Freestyle skiiing: The pressure is on and it shows. The four women jump first and it is a fresh competition; the scores from earlier do not count to this final. Alexander Baer doesn’t get the landing right, tallying just 57.01 for the Swiss, then Marion Thenault (CAN) ends up on the snow, albeit with a higher degree of difficulty, sneaking ahead of 62.74. Ashley Caldwell’s turn, who landed the first big score of the night for the USA earlier, and she doesn’t quite get the landing right either but 88.86 is a score they will take in context. Last for the women is Xu Mengtao, an Olympic medallist from 2014 in Sochi. She banked a 94.01 in the qualifying round, which will be enough for the lead here... and sticks it! She’s pumped! China will move into the gold medal position going into the eight male jumpers, the question is what sort of gap has she put between her and the USA in second... an 18 point gap! That’s a mighty blow: 106.03, the judges say.

  • China 106.03
  • USA 88.86
  • Canada 62.74
  • Switzerland 57.01

Over to the men. A reminder: two fellas jump for each country.

Xu Mengtao spins through the air.
Xu Mengtao spins through the air. Photograph: Sergei Bobylev/TASS


While we wait for the final of the aerials, catch up with what you’ve missed and work out what’s coming up next - the Daily Briefing has landed! This is Martin Belam’s essential Olympic newsletter, sign up for it to arrive every day of these Beijing Games.

Figure skating: Plenty going on in the figure skating doping story. I better hand over to Sean Ingle on that one - he’s just filed an update.

The International Olympic Committee has refused to comment on whether the athlete at the centre of a doping controversy at Beijing 2022 is the 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, despite the teenager being named in multiple reports around the world.

Multiple sources have told the Guardian that Valieva, who captured the world’s attention when she became the first female skater to perform a quad at the Olympics, may be the athlete who tested positive for trimetazidine, a metabolic agent that helps prevent angina attacks. There has been no official confirmation that Valieva is the subject of the positive test and alongside the IOC, the Russian Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union are also refusing to confirm or deny if it was her.

Freestyle skiiing: Qui Guanpu for China, a former double world champion, stands at the top of his mark and makes no mistake! He requires 82 to get China to the final but the real question is whether he’s done enough to overtake the Americans. And he has, 118.10 takes them six points clear with 336.89. When we return shortly it will be China, USA, Canada and Switzerland all jumping for gold.

Freestyle skiing: Two of the six teams are eliminated after this round of jumps so this is high-stakes stuff. And Noe Roth from Switzerland has done enough to get them into the Olympic final by four points, earning a 106.79. They’re there with Canada. Over to the USA and China to join them. The Americans only require an 88 to overtake the ROC and that’s no concern with Justin Schoenfeld, who pops them back into the lead with completely control, 124.43 it is.

Freestyle skiing: Lewis Irving has a dart at a back-double-full-full-full (dizzy just writing it) at 4.525 and it’s so good, 119.91 for Canada to take them back to the top. What a brilliant comp this already is.

Freestyle skiing: Christopher Lillis lands with a hand on the floor but it’s still impressive enough to get into triple figures and take the USA past the Swiss, with Canada just in front. China’s Jia Zongyang the final jump of the group and with a 4.425 difficulty mark he’s done it in style. Enough to take the lead? Better believe it, his 124.78 moves China to 218.79 ahead of Canada on 207.03 and the USA 206.12. Now to the second group of six men for their first jumps.

Freestyle skiiing: Goodness me, Pirmin Werner has gone all-out with a 5.0 degree of difficulty - I can’t for the life of me explain every component of it, but he skis away with the highest score of the night, 128 on the dot! Wow. The Swiss are into second position.

Freestyle skiing: Big from Miha Fontaine, the Canadian 18-year-old on Olympic debut landing a back-lay-double-full-full (watch me listen closely) which earns him 113.97 of the best to take the lead.

Freestyle skiing: Spoiled for choice: BBC commentary or the Olympic Broadcasting Service? Looks like the latter is ahead, so with them we will stay. Alexander Baer from Switzerland is next and she’s got height and form right but the landing not quite, which counts for 30 per cent of the score. In turn, she ends up with 65.83, behind the other three teams to jump. No such concerns for Ashley Caldwell, a former world champion, who goes for the higher degree of difficulty, a 4.3, and it pays off big time with the judges giving her a 104.3 - the USA into top spot. To China and the world number one, Xu Mengtao... and she doesn’t sick the landing. The same degree of difficulty as Caldwell but ends up ten points off that, 94.01 her mark. So, over to the men with the USA and China leading the way.

Freestyle skiiing: Right, we’re away in the mixed team aerials. A reminder that each competitor - three from each team; two men and one woman - will have two jumps. And the Canadians are elated with Marion Thénault’s first attempt, banking a 93.06. Nice.


Nice one, Niall – thank you. Into the night session we go on the first Wednesday of these brilliant Winter Games at Beijing, where the clock has just struck 7pm in the Olympic city. We’ve seen the big names deliver after dark so far and there’s a chance for them to do so again tonight with three medals to be decided.

The first of those will be over at the Genting Snow Park where the Mixed Team Aerials competition is about to begin – on Olympic debut, too. Each team will have three jumpers with two attempts, with six trios winning entry to the final. China is the team to beat on paper, having won this at the last couple of World Cups, but the USA and the ROC have been right there with them on the podium in the past. Freestyle aerial skiing is a beautiful thing; one to enjoy.

Then in an hour from now at The Oval, the starters’ pistol will fire in the women’s 5000m speed skating final. Well, it’ll fire six times – there are 12 athletes in contention, in pairs, as always. Esmee Visser, who gold at Pyeongchang, isn’t there this time but Martina Sáblíková still is, the Czech great who saluted in 2010 and 2014, likewise the World Record holder is the ROC’s Natalya Voronina. However, nothing will be sorted out until the final pair though because that’s when Irene Schouter will take off, the Dutch star already with a gold in her pocket from the 3000m and the fastest in the world in 2021 over this journey.

Just as that’s concluding, we’ll return to the National Sliding Centre to see whether the Germans can continue their domination of the luge in the team relay competition. In this, we’ll see a man, a woman and a pair go down for each competing country. In Germany’s case, their man, Johannes Ludwig, won the gold in the singles, and their woman, Natalie Geisenberger, has a claim to being the greatest slider of all time after winning that competition for the third time on the trot two days ago. Oh, and their pair? The Tobys – Wendl and Arlt – also took out their pet event for the third time in succession yesterday. To the rest of the field... good luck with that.

Between times, we’ll nip in and out of the ice cube for the second session of the women’s curling. Team GB, who lost to the Swiss in their opener yesterday, are up against Sweden, who easily accounted for Japan. It’ll also be the first we’ll see of Team USA in the men’s ice hockey, up against hosts China at the National Indoor Centre.

So then, all the fun of the fair ahead of us. I’m looking forward to your company – drop me a line at any time; twitter is also fine

Time to hand over to my colleague, Adam Collins, who will guide you through a busy few hours of action. Thanks for joining me.

Boom! Finland score a sixth, and it’s a peach. Miro Aaltonen gets it, driving a shot from distance off the upright and in. That’s the end of the scoring: Finland 6-2 Slovakia. A reminder that the NHL has not allowed players to travel for this tournament – a decision Beau Dure believes is short-sighted:

Deep into the third and final period at the ice hockey, and Finland lead 5-2. They’ve just survived a Slovakian power play and are firmly on course to open their campaign with a win.

It’s been a golden day for Austria, with Alessandro Hämmerle clinching snowboard cross gold and Johannes Strolz winning the Alpine combined race.

Hämmerle held off Canada’s Eliot Grondin in a dramatic photo finish at Genting Snow Park. Grondin almost grabbed gold with a late dive for the line but it wasn’t enough; Omar Visintin of Italy took home the bronze.

Earlier, Strolz won Olympic gold 34 years after his father did the same. The 29-year-old was fourth after the downhill run but completed the slalom half a second quicker than anyone else.

Strolz edged first-run leader Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway by 0.58 seconds, with Canada’s Jack Crawford in third. His father, Hubert, won combined gold in Calgary and also took silver in the giant slalom at the 1988 Winter Games.

Johannes Strolz on his way to gold.
Johannes Strolz on his way to gold. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images


IOC refuses to confirm if Kamila Valieva is at centre of doping controversy

The International Olympic Committee has refused to comment on whether the athlete at the centre of a doping controversy at Beijing 2022 is the 15-year-old Russian figure skater, Kamila Valieva, despite the teenager being named in multiple reports around the world.

Multiple sources have told the Guardian that Valieva, the first female skater to perform a quad at the Olympics, may be the athlete who tested positive for trimetazidine, a metabolic agent that helps prevent angina attacks. There has been no official confirmation that Valieva is the subject of the positive test and both the Russian Olympic Committee and International Skating Union are also refusing to confirm or deny if it was her.


Mikaela Shiffrin will compete in Friday’s super-G event, the US skiing team has confirmed.

Shiffrin, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, failed to finish either the giant slalom or slalom, missing an early gate on both runs. She has never raced in a super-G at an Olympics but did win it at the 2019 world championships.

Italy’s Sofia Goggia has decided not to enter the super-G race and will focus on defending her downhill title on Tuesday. Federica Brignone, the current World Cup leader, heads up a powerhouse super-G team that also includes Marta Bassino, Elena Curtoni and Francesca Marsaglia.

In the ice hockey, it’s Finland 4-2 Slovakia at the end of the second period. The men’s tournament is just getting under way but the women are already at the quarter-final stage. Friday sees Canada v Sweden and USA v Czech Republic, before ROC v Switzerland and Finland v Japan on Saturday. Plan all your viewing here:

Plenty still to come on day six. Here’s what to look out for – all times GMT.

11am Freestyle skiing: mixed aerials team final 🥇
12pm Speed skating: women’s 5,000m final 🥇
12.05pm Curling: women’s round robin games including USA v Denmark, Sweden v GB
1.10pm Men’s ice hockey: Canada v Germany and US v China in Group A
1.30pm Luge mixed team relay 🥇

The two biggest stories of day six so far are tales of American gold: Chloe Kim defending her snowboard slopestyle title, and Nathan Chen making up for his disappointment in 2018 with a dominant performance to win the men’s figure skating. Read more:

Finland saw two players sent to the sin-bin but did not concede, then scored a third goal as soon as they were back up to full strength. Miro Aaltonen got the goal, and Finland lead Slovakia 3-1 at the end of the first period.

In the earlier Group C game, Sweden scored three early goals and held on to beat Latvia 3-2. In Group B yesterday, ROC beat Switzerland 1-0 in a match that featured an almighty brawl:

In case you missed it overnight, Team GB’s women lost their first round-robin match 6-5 to Switzerland, with skip Eve Muirhead left frustrated after misjudging her final shot in the extra end.

“They are never easy to judge,” Muirhead said of the crucial shot. “Unfortunately it didn’t come off. If I ever had a shot like that again, I’m confident I would make it.” The team GB flag bearer won bronze in Sochi back in 2014 but arrives here with an inexperienced squad.

“I’m very glad I’ve got the opportunity to be here with four girls at their first Olympics,” Muirhead added. “I’m proud of them, how much they’ve come along and fought and they deserve their spot in the team.”

Figure skating: IOC refuses to comment on legal case

Officials are still refusing to comment on a legal case concerning the outcome of the team figure skating competition in Beijing.

Medals for the event, which concluded on Monday, are yet to be awarded amid widespread reports of a doping issue that may yet affect the outcome. IOC spokesperson Mark Adams refused to elaborate on the situation during a media briefing on Thursday, saying only that the situation had “legal implications”.

The Russian Olympic Committee team swept to an expected gold medal at the event, beating the US into silver with Japan taking bronze. Both the International Skating Union and the International Testing Agency (ITA) mirrored the IOC’s stance in short statements.

An ITA spokesperson said: “The ITA is aware of the various reports circulating regarding the postponed medal ceremony for the figure skating team event. Any announcement connected to these events would always be publicly issued on the ITA’s website and not commented on otherwise.” PA Media


Finland take the lead in the power play with Slovakia a man short, Harri Pesonen the scorer. We’re still in the first period of that match. The Finnish jerseys are excellent, by the way:

Sakari Manninen celebrates his goal.
Sakari Manninen celebrates his goal. Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP

The only live action going on now is a men’s ice hockey match – Finland v Slovakia in Group C. Qualifiers Slovakia took a surprise early lead but Finland, currently ranked second in the world, have just levelled through Sakari Manninen.

Curling: Team GB's men beat Italy 7-5!

So it’s victory in their first round-robin match for Bruce Mouat’s quartet. Their two matches on Friday will be against teams with one win and won loss from two matches – the USA and Norway.

Norway won their opener against Switzerland 7-4, but have just lost 6-5 to Canada. The USA edged out ROC 6-5 before losing 7-4 to world champions Sweden, who also beat China 6-4 earlier on. Canada opened with a 10-5 win over Denmark, and ROC beat China 7-4 in their second match.

Team Gb’s Grant Hardie releases a stone on the way to victory over Italy.
Team Gb’s Grant Hardie releases a stone on the way to victory over Italy. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA


British skip Bruce Mouat delivers on the penultimate stone, putting his side in front with a cannon shot. Italy send their final stone towards the button – the very centre of the target area – and go close, but there’s room for Mouat to get closer. He does – not by much, but it’s good enough – and Team GB win 7-5!

Curling: Team GB 6-5 Italy (10th end) The first few stones are left short, just beyond the hog line before Italy send one into the house. With three stones left, the British team have a lengthy debate over what to do next. A high-speed delivery clears out some of those early stones, but pushes another Italian stone into the house ...

Italy try to dislodge that trio of stones by force, but miss – and then find a gap with their final stone to take a single point. Team GB still lead 6-5 though, and will have the final stone in the deciding end.

Italy’s Sebastiano Arman sweeping hard.
Italy’s Sebastiano Arman sweeping hard. Photograph: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images


No live action just now beyond these curling round-robin matches. With their penultimate shot, GB dislodge the best-placed Italian stone, and have three of their own blocking the front of the house ...

Johaug’s second gold is Norway’s fourth of these Games, helping them move up to third in the overall table behind Germany and Austria:

As with her first success, Therese Johaug’s second gold of these Games will attract controversy – she missed the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018 over a failed drugs test:

Over in the curling, Team GB’s men lead Italy 5-4 in the eighth end, and have just played a three-stone cannon with their final shot. Italy have the last chance of the end though – but while it knocks GB’s best stone away, it deflects just beyond the next one. GB lead 6-4 heading into the ninth end.


Therese Jouhag wins 10km cross-country gold!

The Norwegian won the first medal of the Games and adds a second here, beating Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen by just 0.4 seconds. Niskanen’s compatriot, Krista Pärmäkoski, is 31 seconds behind her in third – and pips ROC’s Natalia Nepryaeva to bronze by 0.1 seconds!

Therese Johaug crosses the line to take gold.
Therese Johaug crosses the line to take gold. Photograph: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images


Third place currently in the cross-country is the other Finnish contender, Krista Parmakoski, who hit the deck immediately after completing the race, and took a long time to get up. Tough event.

I’m tired just watching it. Time for a break, Niall McVeigh will have the reins next.

Curling: Italy leading Great Britain 4-3 now, on the seventh end.

Team GB’s Hammy McMillan, Grant Hardie and Bobby Lammie on the ice.
Team GB’s Hammy McMillan, Grant Hardie and Bobby Lammie on the ice. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA


Incredible finish from Kerttu Niskanen. The Finn was coming through the course a couple of minutes behind Johaug, and clocking faster times on all of the checkpoints. Coming into the final stretch she is racing Johaug’s time, all the way down the straight... and finishes 0.4 seconds behind! Over a 10 kilometre race. Johaug celebrates, knowing that no one else remaining has the form or record to challenge her time.

Therese Johaug of Norway now goes top, at 28:06:30.


Germany now sits first and second for finish times in the cross-country. Katherine Sauerbrey second, Katharina Hennig first. Some racers behind them closing fast though.

Kerttu Niskanen, the Finnish cross-country champ, is burning through her race. She’s making up a lot of time on everybody else. She’s also the only one who doesn’t look absolutely shattered already.

Cross-country: Some of the competitors have finished their 10km by now. Lilia Vasileva of ROC is currently leading in 29:32:04. Under half an hour to run 10 kilometres uphill in skis. Ow.

Curling: Great Britain has come back to 3-3 against Italy in the men’s round robin.

Gold for Austria in the snowboard cross

Photo finish! After a belting race between Haemmerle and Grondin all the way down. The other two racers are peripheral. The front two take the jumps together, fight on each turn, nearly collide a couple of times. Haemmerle comes off the final jump first, but Grondin has a better jump, catching him up in the air. Gets level on the final slope, but he just loses balance and twists his board as he crosses the line. The photo is decided on whose boot crosses first, and Haemmerle just has the advantage, having stayed balanced. Outstanding race. Silver for Canada. Visintin gets bronze for Italy.

Alessandro Haemmerle (C) leads the charge on his way to a gold medal.
Alessandro Haemmerle (C) leads the charge on his way to a gold medal. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA


Jake Vedder benefited from a crash to make it into the semi-final, and another crash sees him finish second in the small final of the snowboard cross. He was a late replacement in the USA squad as an alternate, and has made the most of it. Sixth overall in his first Olympic Games. Merlin Surget finishes first in this race, fourth overall, for France.

The women’s 10km cross-country skiing has started. This is a time-trial sort of situation, with competitors starting one at a time with a 30-second interval between them. But some racers will catch up to others, so there will be tactics around passing or slipstreams.

The snowboard cross semifinals see four more racers knocked out into the small final: Merlin Surget, Lucas Eguibar, Jake Vedder and Tommaso Leoni. Vedder was leading his semi but his inexperience showed, pushed to the outside on a turn at which point the other racers pounced.

Eliot Grondin, Alessandro Haemmerle, Julian Lueftner and Omar Visintin will contest the big final. Canada, Austria, Austria, Italy.


In the curling, it’s the men’s round robin session two, and Great Britain are trailing Italy by 3-1 during the fourth end. Same score for China-ROC, while it’s 2-2 for USA-Sweden and Norway-Canada.

Gold for Austria in the men's alpine combined

The podium from earlier stays intact: Johannes Strolz wins the gold, something that his father did in the same event many years ago. Aleksander Kilde holds second for Norway, and Canada gets bronze via James Crawford.

Strolz clocked 2:31:43 across his two runs: one downhill, one slalom.

Nick Baumgartner, the 40-year-old American, misses out on qualifying in the snowboard cross. He was leading for a while but Austria’s Julian Lueftner caught him up and then fellow USA rider Jake Vedder got past him.

Quick update: snowboard cross is sick. It’s a speed race, but on a long downhill course full of ramps and jumps and twists and turns. Nobody is doing tricks off the jumps, they’re just trying to get there. Four racers all go at the same time, the top two go to the next round, and there have been collisions aplenty while fighting for position. A couple of guys who have crashed have then allowed themselves to do some jumps on the way down after the chance to win has gone.

The last few slalom skiers are a long way behind the leaders’ pace and so they’re having to go all out on attack. A lot of crashes or missed gates as a result. Seven of them haven’t finished the run now.

Australia’s Adam Dickson misses out on a snowboard cross quarter-final. The quarters are all decided and are ready to go.

A couple of crashes in the combined slalom: Pinturault of France and Zabystran of Czechia. That gets us halfway through the field of 24 with the podium unchanged.

Bryan Graham was watching Nathan Chen at the venue for us.

If you’re not familiar, the alpine combined event is one where the skiers do a downhill run and then a slalom run, adding their times together to see who wins. The downhill part is already done. Johannes Stroltz currently has top spot for Austria, with Norway’s Aleksander Kilde and Canada’s James Crawford next. Eight racers out of 24 are done.

For the Australians in the snowboard cross, Cameron Bolton has already qualified for the quarters, while Adam Lambert and Jarryd Hughes have dropped out. Huw Nightingale has gone for Great Britain too.

Right, what’s coming up? The men’s snowboard cross finals are underway, first the one-eighth round, then the quarters, the semis, and the final. And the men’s alpine combined slalom is about to start.


The ceremony takes place, with Chen flanked by Uno and Kagiyama, each delivered a panda mascot. I didn’t actually see any medals handed out, but the panda is more important.

There it is, the one bauble that Chen had not won. Three world championships since 2019, after coming in fifth at the 2018 Olympics. Only a mistake could have cost him this win. But as we’ve seen with someone like Mikaela Shiffrin, those mistakes can happen. Favourites stumble. Something goes wrong, something awry with the universe, and it’s over in a flash. So Chen had to survive the pressure of knowing that if he didn’t make a mistake, he would win.

Gold for Nathan Chen!

Nathan Chen brings the strut. Longer limbed than the others, somehow looser and more casual looking, he nonetheless nails every trick. He picks an Elton John medley as his backing - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road into Rocket Man into Benny and the Jets. Does the quad lutz twice, his signature. Gets a huge response from the crowd with each landing.

He just exudes relief after getting his routine right. And there seems no doubt on anyone’s face about who is winning. The Japanese trio sitting in gold, silver and bronze get bumped down one spot each, as Chen records a mammoth 218.63 for his free skate score, more than 22 points ahead of Kagiyama across both rounds. Uno settles for tres, Hanyu comes in fourth.

From Japan to Japan, with Kagiyama Uma. He goes much more dramatic, with the theme music from Gladiator. And it’s a big bombastic routine, lots of gesturing and arms flung wide. The technical side looks good, the commentators saying he could have turned a couple of double spins into triple for more points. But he lands every trick - and that’s enough to net him 201.93.

He’s into the gold spot! Only Nathan Chen can take it from him.

Hello all. I’ve just been watching Uno Shoma doing his solo routine. He has a stumble on one of his early quads, put a hand down but kept his balance. More impressively than that, he comes back from that error to put in a brilliant routine from then on. A classical music backing, and he’s appropriately fluent and classy in his routine. He gets the 1.00 deduction for the fall, but still clocks 187.1, and is ranked first with two competitors to come.

Ouch. South Korea’s Cha Junhwan’s quad attempt results in a slide and a faceplant. He needs a second to get up and continue. Figure skaters are a tough, hardy bunch.

Georgia’s Morisi Kvitelashvili preceded Cha with a competent free skate that lacks the pizzazz (or the technical elements) to hang around in the top five.

Next up: with apologies to Hanyu, who can still get a medal if anyone falters, it’s the Big Three. Shoma Uno has 105.90 points from the short program. Yuma Kagiyama has 108.12. Then it’s Nathan Chen, trying to erase the disappointment of 2018.

On that note, I’m passing the baton to the other side of the planet. Please welcome Geoff Lemon, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Who needs quads? Not Jason Brown, who puts the art of skating above all else.

Brown’s quad-less program will never match the technical numbers of his peers. But he wrings out every Grade of Execution point available with flawless execution of every triple and every other element.

And he’s so much fun to watch.

The judges, thankfully, appreciate that. His component scores are through the roof, including a 9.75 in performance and 9.82 in interpretation of the music.

He’s second behind Hanyu and may end up in seventh, but if we had a fan vote, he’d be in the top three. The crowd may be small, but the applause builds as he finishes the program.

Jason Brown entertains the limited-capacity crowd and the millions watching worldwide.
Jason Brown entertains the limited-capacity crowd and the millions watching worldwide. Photograph: Sébastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images

So here’s a question ... if the USA ends up with a gold in the figure skating team event, would they technically be the first competitors to win a gold for the country in these Olympics? Or would it still be Lindsey Jacobellis because she was the first to receive the medal?

If Russia is disqualified from the team figure skating competition for using a skater who failed a drug test, the logical thinking is USA moves up to gold, Japan to silver and Canada to bronze.

— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 10, 2022

Catchup time

The third group in the men’s free skate wraps with the ROC’s Evgeni Semenenko. He slots into third place.

Elsewhere ...

Men’s Alpine combined downhill: The leader is Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (yes, Mikaela Shiffrin’s boyfriend) by 0.02 seconds over Canada’s James Crawford. Make it two for Canada in the top three, with Brodie Seger third. The slalom, though, can drastically change the standings.

Men’s hockey: Sweden has notched a first-period goal against Latvia.

And here’s Bryan Armen Graham on Chloe Kim’s halfpipe win:

The quad axel. The hardest jump ever attempted in Olympic competition. Two-time defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu gave it a go. Didn’t happen. The impact on the ice was pretty hard, and maybe that explains why he fell on his next jump.

But the rest of the program is stellar. He racks up points on one sequence with a quad toeloop-triple toeloop combo (17.51), quad toeloop-single euler-triple salchow (18.85) and a triple axel (12.00) that looks effortless. He moves into first, for now. He would need to see a couple of skaters stumble to reach the podium.

“The ruggedness of flannel rarely finds its way onto figure skating ice,” says NBC’s always entertaining Johnny Weir as Canada’s Keegan Messing gets underway in the free skate to the acoustic tones of Mumford and Sons playing Home. (Not live, sadly. Wouldn’t that be cool?)

His routine is tremendous. He won’t get on the podium with the jumps he’s attempting, but no one could complain about the showmanship. Near the end, he pulls out a trick I hadn’t seen before, going in an arc with his torso touching the ice.

Messing fell hard during warmups. Not during his program. He finished 12th in 2018. He’s guaranteed a top-11 finish here.

Next up: defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu.

(This post has been updated with a photo of Messing’s flannel.)

Keegan Messing eyes his next move during his free skate.
Keegan Messing eyes his next move during his free skate. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images


Curling, women: Switzerland 6, Team GB 5

A well-played extra end leaves Eve Muirhead a draw to a small but reasonable space for the win. She thinks it’s on the mark, her sweepers think it’s on the mark, but it slides a little too far, and Switzerland takes the point and the game.

Denmark beat China 7-6 on a 10th-end draw through a tight space by Madeleine Dupont, and Sweden closed out China 8-5.

I won my doubles game 11-2 today.

The day’s skeleton action is wrapping up with German sliders Christopher Grotheer and Axel Jungk sitting 1 and 2 ahead of China’s Yan Wengang. Two ROC sliders are next, then two-time silver medalist and six-time world champion Martins Dukurs of Latvia.

Team GB’s Matt Weston is tied for 13th. The USA’s Andrew Blaser is 21st, and Australia’s Nicholas Timmings is buried in the basement (25th).

Nathan Crumpton represents American Samoa in men’s skeleton.
Nathan Crumpton represents American Samoa in men’s skeleton. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Alina Paetz, who throws Switzerland’s last rocks even though Silvana Tirinzoni is the skip, nearly won the game ... for Team GB. A takeout attempt into a gaggle of rocks shook up the house and barely left a Swiss stone outcounting the best GB stone.

Off to an extra end, and Team GB has hammer. Eve Muirhead is showing no ill effects from slipping and falling onto her rear end.

The men’s free skate is crawling along. The third of four groups is just warming up now. At this rate, Nathan Chen won’t take the ice until after midnight Eastern time. (Which means someone else will be live-blogging it, which I know is a crushing disappointment to everyone.)

This third group includes Canada’s Keegan Messing, who did his short program barely 24 hours after landing in Beijing, thanks to a positive Covid test. As I typed that sentence, he fell hard during warmups.

It also includes defending gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu, who took himself out of contention for a repeat with a less-than-stellar short program but could perhaps get enough points for the podium.

Here’s your update on the ROC figure skating situation:

IOC's Mark Adams

"Won't comment on speculation"

"I'm not going to comment on a legal case."

You can ask me many, many questions but it's a legal case and won't be saying much more.

— Devin Heroux (@Devin_Heroux) February 10, 2022

The ROC’s men’s skaters, including team event gold medalist (for now) Mark Kondratiuk, are competing today as scheduled in the free skate.

Meanwhile, the team event medals continue to sit, unawarded.

Some erratic play in the ninth end forces Team GB to take one point, taking the lead but handing the hammer back to Switzerland for the last end.

Sweden broke open its game against Japan by stealing three in the sixth and then scoring three more with hammer in the eighth. It’s 8-4, and Japan will likely concede it they don’t get a big number here.

Jennifer Dodds and Eve Muirhead of Team GB assess the situation.
Jennifer Dodds and Eve Muirhead of Team GB assess the situation. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

We may soon get an update on the ROC figure skating brouhaha. In the meantime, here’s a tweet about my former USA TODAY colleague Christine Brennan, one of the world’s top authorities on figure skating scandals.

@JonathanBeyer81 Christine Brennan is a bit like Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote.. Everywhere Jessica Fletcher went a murder occurred, everywhere Christine Brennan goes a figure skating scandal erupts.. 😂😂😂

— Peri Ryan (@Periryan) February 10, 2022

Spain’s first silver

Snowboarder Queralt Castellet has made history.

Winter Games🏅 - Women representing Spain🇪🇸 to win a medal at the Olympic Winter Games

🥈 - Queralt Castellet🏂 - Beijing 2022
🥉 - Blanca Fernández Ochoa⛷️ - Albertville 1992#Beijing2022 #Olympics

— Gracenote Olympic (@GracenoteGold) February 10, 2022

Curling, women: USA 9, ROC 3

Bang-bang, bang-bang. Tabitha Peterson hits back-to-back runbacks (knocking one of her own stones into her opponent’s) to score three points in the seventh end, and the ROC concedes the game.

Team GB is in a much closer game. They have the hammer in the ninth end after Switzerland tied it with two points in the eighth. We’ll stick with that on my big TV for now. The small monitor has figure skating. My phone has a cool disc golf game. My window has the darkness of night.

Back to Australia’s Brendan Kerry -- he wound up doing three combinations for a free skate score of 160.01. That’s the best of the day so far, and he has the top overall score (244.80) as well. So if the next 16 skaters fall ...

Brendan Kerry rocks his free skate.
Brendan Kerry rocks his free skate. Photograph: Aleksandra Szmigiel/Reuters

Gold! Chloe Kim (USA), women's snowboard halfpipe

Back-to-back. First woman to do that in this event.

You can’t take any of this for granted, of course. Olympic favorites can easily falter. Kim took care of business right away.

She has the luxury of going for a truly massive final run with the gold already locked up. She goes for the 1260 again. And again, she doesn’t get it. No matter.

Spain’s Queralt Castellet takes silver, her first Olympic medal in five tries. Japan’s Sena Tomita has bronze.

Chloe Kim enjoys her time in the halfpipe.
Chloe Kim enjoys her time in the halfpipe. Photograph: Maxim Shipenkov/EPA

Final halfpipe runs are up now.

Sena Tomita falls and therefore won’t improve on her third-place standing.

China’s Cai Xuetong just misses her top score and lands in fourth.

That leaves one rider who can beat Chloe Kim. Can Mitsuki Ono pull it off?

OK, Australia, let’s watch Brendan Kerry skate, shall we?

The bulk of his jumps are early in the program, starting with a quad toeloop-triple toeloop combination, then a triple axel-triple toeloop.


Could someone please start the music? Chloe Kim has clinched a medal, by the way.

Kerry’s quad looks fine, but his landing is a little wobbly, and he opts out of the second half of the combo. He does the same with his second combo. Will he add some combos later? Indeed he does, putting one in his third jumping pass.

As the music segues to Muse, all of his little technical boxes on the score bug are green. That’s good.

We’ll resume in a bit. The halfpipe competition is wrapping up.

In the halfpipe, everyone knows it’s time to go big or go home, and five riders have gone home. Well, crashed. The exception in the first six is China’s Liu Jiayu, who goes a little conservative to land a clean run at last.

Like Liu, Japan’s Ruki Tomita hadn’t landed a clean run but does so here, and it’s not bad. She gets an 80.50 and will finish no worse than sixth. Her sister, Sena, is still on the podium bubble in third.

Australia alert: In a few minutes, Brendan Kerry is due up in the men’s free skate. His music is listed as To the Lovers, Butterflies and Hurricanes, which seems like an eclectic bunch but is surely two different songs, the latter by Muse. Or a cover band, which reminds me that I need to work on Stockholm Syndrome on drums. Tricky stuff.

Fellow Australian Nicholas Timmings is in last place (25th) after one run in the men’s skeleton. The USA’s Andrew Blaser is 20th. Team GB’s Matt Weston is 14th. They have two runs today and two tomorrow.

For all the focus on figure skating’s technical scoring, it’s the component scores that seem mysterious. How does Nikolaj Majorov only get 7.50s on performance and composition, then 7.57 on “interpretation of the music”?

Back at the halfpipe -- Chloe Kim is human. She goes for a 1080-1260 combination, but that seems a bit too ambitious. She simply didn’t have the momentum for the 1260, and she ends up taking a hard fall. Not as hard as Mitsuki Ono, who took a divot out of the lip of the pipe. China’s Cai Xuetong didn’t fall, but she needed both hands on the wall to stay upright.

Second of three runs is complete. Reminder: Only the top score counts, so Kim’s fall doesn’t hurt. Well, it might hurt her backside a bit.

94.00 Kim (USA)
90.25 Castellet (ESP)
88.25 Tomita (JPN)

That’s Sena Tomita. Ruki is 11th.

Cai Xuetong of China gets too close to the wall.
Cai Xuetong of China gets too close to the wall. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

Sena Tomita improved from the first run (86.00) to the second (88.25), which means she remains in first place among the Women’s Halfpipe Competitors Who Are Not Chloe Kim.

But wait! Here’s 32-year-old Spanish snowboarder Queralt Castellet, whose best finish in her four previous Olympics is seventh four years ago. She’ll do better than that this time, finishing with back-to-back 900s for a 90.25. Castellet is in second, Tomita third.

The awesomely expressive Nikolaj Majorov is bringing it once more in the free skate. He has some awkward landings on his jumps, but I’ll argue that’s intentional just to ramp up the drama. What a showman.

Back to the halfpipe, because these programs in the men’s free skate take forever, we’re seeing China’s Liu Jiayu, who was in last place after the first run with a 11.25. She’ll stay in last place, skidding along the floor of the pipe early in her run for a 4.75.

Through six riders, the only athlete to improve her position is Canada’s Elizabeth Hosking, who’s up from fifth to fourth.

Liu Jiayu’s first of two falls.
Liu Jiayu’s first of two falls. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

At this hour ...

In curling, the USA leads the ROC 3-1, while Team GB trails Switzerland 2-1.

Germany’s Christopher Grotheer is the early leader in skeleton with a time of one minute. Seriously: 1:00.00.

But turn to figure skating. My new favorite skater, Sweden’s Nikolaj Majorov, is up next. He’s skating to music from The Man in the Iron Mask.

Chloe Kim posts a 94.00

And she’s in tears at the finish, knowing she may have already won gold.

In lingo terms, she had a method air, a frontside 1080, a 900, a palate-cleansing 540 and then another 1080.

But you don’t have to know what any of that means to see that she’s simply at another level. Stranger things have happened, of course, but good luck topping that.

Chloe Kim proving the adage: terrible rehearsal, fantastic show. She just said she had the worst practice run in her life, then threw down a 94. #Olympics2022 #Snowboard

— Priscilla Huff (@phuffdaddy) February 10, 2022

Big score from Sena Tomita. She finishes a smooth run with a 1080 and gets an 86.00.

Queralt Castellet gets a 69.25, a score she’ll need to drop to get onto the podium.

China’s Cai Xuetong adeptly alternates big rotations with big air, finishing with a switch 900 for an 81.25.

The last rider to go before Chloe Kim is Japan’s Mitsuki Ono, who has a solid routine but not enough difficulty to move into the top three.

Meanwhile, in figure skating, the ROC’s Andrei Mozalev has fallen a couple of times.

Heeeeere’s Chloe ...

Japan’s Sena Tomita floats through the air.
Japan’s Sena Tomita floats through the air. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

How often do you see someone fall up the wall in the halfpipe?

That’s what Japan’s Ruki Tomita just did, slipping as she approached the lip of the pipe. Her momentum carried her a few feet up before she slid back down.

Her sister, Sena Tomita, is up next. Then it’s Spanish veteran Queralt Castellet.

Back to curling -- Team GB skip Eve Muirhead tried to get a blank in the third end, but her stone simply wouldn’t roll out of the house.

Translation for non-curling people: Team GB didn’t want that to happen.

Why? Because when you score, the other team gets the hammer (last shot), so if the team with hammer doesn’t have a shot at getting two or more, it may opt to just remove any remaining rocks and leave both teams scoreless in that end, thereby retaining the hammer.

But the tricky part is that you have to hit the opponent’s rock at an angle so your own rock also scoots out the rings. That’s the part Muirhead didn’t get done here.

Anyway -- it’s tied 1-1 after three of 10 ends. Switzerland has the hammer now.

Canada’s Brooke D’Hondt takes the way-too-early lead in the halfpipe with a 66.75. She’s 16. So if you need to motivate your kids to quit playing video games all day, call them in to watch this and put undue pressure on them. Parenting is hard.

Fellow Canadian Elizabeth Hocking bests that score with a 73.00.

Brooke D’Hondt gets a strong grab while airborne.
Brooke D’Hondt gets a strong grab while airborne. Photograph: Bob Strong/UPI/REX/Shutterstock


Getting underway in women’s halfpipe with China’s Qiu Leng. The last of the 12 riders to go is the favorite and defending champion, the USA’s Chloe Kim.

Qiu’s routine is indeed routine. That’s a 53.75.

They’ll make three runs each, with only the best one counting. A lot of athletes in other sports surely envy the opportunity for second chances and third chances.

One end is complete in USA-ROC women’s curling, with former skip Nina Roth throwing two solid takeouts and current skip Tabitha Peterson putting in two good draws for two points.

Team GB and Switzerland blanked their first end.

We’ll keep an eye on that, but now it’s time for sports that go twirling and flipping and lutzing and double-corking.

Team GB today

The country’s curlers will play in all three sessions. The women have just opened against Switzerland. The men play Italy in five hours. Then just after midnight in the UK, the women return against Sweden.

That’s a brutal back-to-back schedule for Eve Muirhead. Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni won the world championship in 2019 and again last year. Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg is the defending Olympic champion and leads what’s arguably the best team in the world since the current lineup came together several years ago.

Matt Weston and Marcus Wyatt are up in skeleton, and Huw Nightingale is the snowboardcross representative.

Matt Weston gets started in training.
Matt Weston gets started in training. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Australia today

Brendan Kenny will be in the second group of skaters in the men’s free skate.

Nicholas Timmings starts in skeleton.

A quartet races in men’s snowboardcross.

Jessica Yeaton and Casey Wright compete in women’s 10km classic cross-country skiing.

Quick note on the men’s Alpine skiing combined, coming up in 85 minutes: There are no representatives from Team USA, Team GB or Team Australia. Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the surprise silver medalist in the super-G, was listed as “DNS” in yesterday’s practice and is not on the start list.

You’re welcome to watch anyway, but in 25 minutes, we’ll be dividing our attention between the halfpipe and figure skating. The men’s free skate will extend longer than most operas, with the top skaters going last, so halfpipe will be higher priority at first.

But first -- curling. The defending champion US men opened with a clutch win over Not Russia, and the same teams face off in women’s play right about now.

John Shuster provides some calm, low-key guidance for his teammates.
John Shuster provides some calm, low-key guidance for his teammates. Photograph: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

I played doubles today, by the way. It’s hard. Especially when you haven’t spent most of your life on ice.

Hello world. I’m Beau Dure, and I’ll be your conduit of Olympic news and commentary until midnight Eastern time.

A question I’m pondering is what we expect from Olympic athletes. It’s a question worth considering when we wonder what has happened with Mikaela Shiffrin and whether she is suffering from the weight of expectations and no longer has her father to help her cope with it.

Also consider Lindsey Jacobellis.

In 2006, she was a national villain. She had lost a sure gold medal by showboating on the final jump of the snowboardcross final, and fans and pundits piled on the vitriol.

Most of those people don’t know the rest of her career. Five individual world championships and one team. Ten X Games wins. I had interviewed her and bumped into her when we were on the same plane to Europe for the Games, and I couldn’t believe that she would ever be a national scapegoat.

Yesterday, she gave a textbook example of shrugging off pressure. She flew through the final as if in a Zen state of complete control.

Lindsey Jacobellis beams upon receiving the one prize that had eluded her until now.
Lindsey Jacobellis beams upon receiving the one prize that had eluded her until now. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Maybe it’s time for a few hundred people to apologize.

Today, two more Americans grapple with expectations. Chloe Kim is up in the women’s halfpipe, and Nathan Chen goes in men’s figure skating. It’ll be exciting. But maybe we can give them a break if they don’t do exactly what everyone wants?

Rant over. Let’s have some fun and see what surprises us today ...

Coming up today

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.

  • 9.05am and 2.05pm and 8.05pm Curling – 12 matches spread across the men’s and women’s competitions
  • 9.30am Figure skating – Nathan Chen goes for gold as the men perform free skating 🥇
  • 9.30am – 3.15pm Snowboard – it starts with the women’s half-pipe, with the final scheduled for 10.25am, and then it is the men’s cross, with the final right at the end of the session 🥇
  • 10.30am and 2.15pm Alpine skiing – it is the men’s combined event, they do the downhill in the morning, and the slalom in the afternoon 🥇
  • 12.10pm and 4.40pm and 9.10pm Ice hockey – four matches in the men’s preliminaries, of which the pick is probably the US v hosts China in the evening slot.
  • 3pm Cross-country skiing – the women race the 10km classic 🥇
  • 7pm Freestyle skiing – tomorrow evening in Beijing it is the mixed team aerials 🥇
  • 8pm Speed skating – the women’s 5,000m 🥇
  • 9.30pm Luge – it is the team relay, which promises to be as wild as it sounds – do not miss it 🥇


Adam Collins , Niall McVeigh, Geoff Lemon and Beau Dure

The GuardianTramp

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