The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics are underway. The Los Angeles Times will be providing live updates, analysis and features on the events and athletes from around the world.
For the best photos from the Winter Olympics, click here.
Also, get all the useful information on TV schedules and what is live and what isn’t in one spot.
Olympics say goodbye to Pyeongchang with one big party
After 16 days of sliding, skating, jumping and sweeping, the Pyeongchang Games have come to a close with one last party.
The Winter Olympics concluded Sunday night with a bash at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, a final hurrah for the venue before it’s demolished.
Among the participants were the Olympic Athletes From Russia, who lost an appeal earlier in the day to march under the Russian flag following a massive doping scandal. The show also included a rocking guitar solo, roller-skating panda bears and performances from K-pop super group EXO and singer CL.
Sunday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule
Sunday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule. All times Pacific.
11 a.m.: Winter Olympics review of best moments. NBCSN
12:45 p.m.: Repeat broadcast of women’s hockey gold medal match. NBCSN
5 p.m.: Closing Ceremony. NBC
8:30 p.m.: Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
11:35 p.m.: Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
Closing ceremony is underway, and it’s cold!
Crowds start filling stadium before the closing ceremony
We are about an hour from the start of the Pyeongchang 2018 Games closing ceremony. It is considerably warmer than the frigid weather at the opening ceremony.
The crowd has started filling the stadium and it seems a much more festive mood than at the opening.
We’ll be on the lookout for any Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un impersonators and any evidence of a cyberattack.
Olympic Athletes From Russia win men’s hockey gold with 4-3 overtime victory over Germany
Kirill Kaprizov’s quick shot from the right circle during a power play gave the Olympic Athletes From Russia a 4-3 overtime victory over surprise finalist Germany and the gold medal in the men’s Olympic hockey tournament.
Kaprizov, whose NHL rights are owned by the Minnesota Wild, had a goal and four assists after he ended the game and the tournament nine minutes and 40 seconds into sudden-death play. Teammate Nikita Gusev, whose rights are owned by the Vegas Golden Knights, had two goals and two assists.
The gold medal was the first won by the team known variously as the Olympic Athletes From Russia / Russia / the Unified Team since a 1992 triumph in Albertville, France, as the Unified Team.
Former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov gave the Russians the lead with a half-second remaining in the first period. Germany failed to clear its zone and Russia controlled the puck, with former Tampa Bay forward Gusev eventually finding Voynov in the high slot for a quick shot that zipped past Germany goalie Danny Aus Den Birken. Kirill Kaprizov got the second assist.
Gusev’s NHL rights were traded by the Lightning to the Vegas Golden Knights last June. Voynov remains suspended by the NHL as a result of a domestic violence incident. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and spent two months in jail. Afterward, he returned to Russia and signed a three-year contract with St. Petersburg of the KHL in 2015.
Germany tied it at 9:32 of the second period on a close-in shot that Russia goaltender Vasili Koshechkin knocked into the net with his own blocker. The goal was credited to Felix Schutz, a onetime Buffalo Sabres draft pick.
Germany tested Koshechkin several times in the second period, but he came up with some big saves.
The teams exchanged goals in the third period, with Gusev scoring from a sharp angle over the German goalie’s shoulder at 13:21 and Dominik Kahun cashing in from the slot off a pass from Frank Mauer at 13:31. Germany took the lead with 3:16 left in the third period on a shot by Jonas Muller from between the faceoff circles, but Russia tied it while killing a penalty. With Koshechkin pulled in favor of an extra skater, the Russians worked the puck down low and let Gusev work his magic. He again scored from a sharp angle deep on the left side, with 55.5 seconds left in the third, putting the puck over the helpless goalie’s shoulder.
Aus Den Birken made a memorable save in a generally conservative overtime, getting his left pad on a dangerous shot by former NHL standout Ilya Kovalchuk about 6 ½ minutes into four-on-four overtime. Kaprizov’s goal triggered cheers from a spirited crowd that was dominated by supporters of Russia. Fans chanted, waved Russian flags and banners, and a group sitting on the upper level, to the right of the goal at which the Russians shot in the first and third periods, wore shirts with letters that spelled out “Russia in my heart.”
‘Team Reject’ gave U.S. historic medal in curling
Their gold medals were intended for the women’s curling champions.
But that didn’t seem to bother John Shuster and the rest of the U.S. men’s curling team at the Gangneung Curling Center.
After all, minutes earlier they had shocked Sweden 10-7 on Saturday to win the first-ever U.S. gold medal in curling. The history was enough, even if the medals were wrong.
“A gold medal in curling is a gold medal in curling,” John Shuster, the team’s leader, said afterward.
Shuster and his motley crew had already been through enough to get to this place.
The small inscription on the medal didn’t matter.
After Shuster’s team finished second-to-last at the Sochi Olympics, USA Curling’s high-performance program rejected him. So, the easygoing former bartender, who is a part-time employee at Dick’s Sporting Goods, persuaded Tyler George, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner to go it alone.
They quickly came up with an unusual nickname.
“I don’t think ‘team of rejects’ is the right term,” said Shuster, who also competed at the Turin and Vancouver Games. “I think it was just ‘team reject.’ ”
The rejects eventually won the national championship in 2015 -- beating the two high-performance-program teams. They represented the U.S. at the world championship the same year, then were added to the high-performance program in 2016.
“We never held it against anybody who didn’t want us in the program,” Shuster said.
The path at the Pyeongchang Olympics wasn’t much easier.
Shuster’s group dropped four of their first six matches and faced long odds to qualify for the medal round. But they defeated Canada, Great Britain and Switzerland -- three of the world’s top teams -- to advance.
In the semifinals, the U.S. beat Canada -- the defending Olympic champion -- to reach the gold-medal match against Sweden, the second-ranked group in the world.
And they ended up with gold medals, even if they were for the women’s winners.
“From the day the 2014 Olympics came to an end, every single day was with this journey in mind and I was extremely lucky with these incredible guys ... went along with me in not being selected for the high-performance program because this wouldn’t have ever happened,” Shuster said. “My family has a mantra and I have a mantra that everything happens for a reason. It’s days like today that you just have to believe.”
Norovirus outbreak at Pyeongchang Olympics appears over
As the Pyeongchang Olympics winds down, the norovirus outbreak that’s lurked in the background of the Games is doing the same.
In the latest numbers released Saturday by the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 321 staff and volunteers have been diagnosed with norovirus, but only two remain quarantined.
The outbreak of the highly contagious disease was traced to contaminated water used in food preparation at the Horeb Youth Center.
The outbreak, initially among security personnel, spread from Pyeongchang to the coastal town of Gangneung, which hosts indoor events at the Games.
IOC upholds ban on Russia because of doping scandal
The International Olympic Committee executive board has recommended upholding the ban of Russia from the Pyeongchang Winter Games because of a massive doping scandal.
The full membership will vote on the proposal Sunday ahead of the closing ceremony.
The IOC could readmit the Russian team, continue the ban or hedge with what it has described as a “partial solution.”
IOC President Thomas Bach says a condition for Russia’s reinstatement is no further positive drug tests at these Olympics. Two of the four athletes who tested positive in Pyeongchang were competing as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”
Russia was banned from the Olympics because of widespread doping at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Do you believe in miracles? U.S. men top Sweden for curling gold
John Shuster’s last throw in the eighth end of the Olympic curling final clacked off one Swedish stone and knocked it into another, sending them both skittering out of scoring range.
Five yellow-handled American rocks were left behind.
The score, known as a five-ender, is so rare it has only been topped once before in the history of the men’s or women’s Olympic final. And it effectively clinched gold for Shuster’s erstwhile “rejects,” who rallied from the brink of pool play elimination to claim only the second curling medal ever for the United States.
“It’s hard to rationalize wanting to do it,” vice-skip Tyler George said after the Americans beat favored Sweden 10-7 in nine ends in the gold medal match on Saturday. “But then days like this happen.”
With the King of Sweden and Ivanka Trump looking on — and bolstered by social media messages from actor Mr. T., NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and speedskater Dan Jansen — Shuster skipped the Americans from a 2-4 record at the start of pool play to five wins in a row, starting with a victory over three-time defending Olympic champion Canada.
No U.S. curling team, men or women, had ever beaten Canada at the Winter Games.
Shuster’s team did it again in the semifinals.
That set up a gold medal match with Sweden, the world championship runner-up and top winner in pool play, including a 10-4 victory over the Americans on Feb. 16.
After three back-and-forth ends in the final, the Swedes squandered a point in the fourth despite having the last-rock advantage, known as the hammer. (The call was too close to be made with the naked eye; an umpire measured it with a gadget that is calibrated to the millimeter.)
From there, Sweden was playing catch-up.
Tied 5-5 in the eighth, but with the Americans controlling the hammer, Sweden skip Niklas Edin failed on a double-takeout, clearing away just one of the two stones he was aiming for. That left Shuster with a relatively routine shot for an almost unprecedented score. (Canada’s six-ender in the 2006 men’s final was the only other score of more than four in an Olympic gold medal match).
“During the entire end we could kind of feel it building. Their margin for error got really small,” Shuster said in the news conference with teammates team Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner and alternate Joe Polo. “I can’t tell you how un-nervous I was sitting in the hack to throw it. Just let it go.”
The Americans played defense in the ninth end to avoid giving up a big score. Sweden scored two, but with the hammer going to the United States for the 10th, a victory was out of reach.
On his second-to-last stone, Edin made a spin-o-rama out of the starting block, bringing laughter from the crowd.
Then he shook hands to concede the match.
“When I missed [in the eighth], we knew for sure he was going to make that double, and we knew we were going to lose,” said Edin, who said he threw in the spin move to lighten the mood so that perhaps he could “get a silver medal without throwing it into the sea.”
“I don’t know if I would use the word ‘fun’ in that situation,” Edin said. “Instead of just shaking hands, it was one of those moves that you’re trying to give the crowd, all the disappointment we felt, give them a little something back.”
With Trump, the president’s daughter, clapping along, the American fans in the crowd chanted, “U-S-A!”
Switzerland, which beat Canada in the third-place game on Friday, joined the finalists on the podium to receive its bronze medals. Sweden got silver.
But when the Americans looked at the medals draped around their necks, there was a problem: They had been given the ones engraved for the women’s winners. The correct medals were quickly swapped out.
Shuster brushed it off: “A gold medal in curling is a gold medal in curling.”
South Korea will play Sweden in the women’s final on Sunday. Japan beat Britain 5-3 in the women’s bronze medal match on Saturday.
A four-time Olympian who won bronze in 2006 with Polo — the United States’ only other curling medal — Shuster left that team after Turin to form his own foursome and skipped them back to the Winter Games in Vancouver.
But he performed so badly he was benched, and then finished ninth of 10 teams in Sochi. After failing to make the national training program the next year, Shuster teamed up with two of the others who were cut (and George, who hadn’t even tried out) and called themselves “Team Reject.”
They beat all of the teams chosen instead of them.
“From the day the 2014 Olympics came to an end, every single day was with this journey in mind,” said Shuster, adding that he was inspired by Jansen’s ability to bounce back from six years of tragedy and Olympic failure to win his final speedskating race.
“Time and time again, he got back up and he wrote his story, and he’s an Olympic champion,” Shuster said. “I’m so proud that I was able to do something similar.”
Saturday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule
Saturday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule. All times Pacific.
6:30 a.m.: Curling (men’s gold-medal match, U.S. vs. Sweden). NBCSN
9:30 a.m.: Speedskating (men’s and women’s mass start). NBCSN
10:30 a.m.: Curling (women’s bronze-medal match). NBCSN
Noon: Speedskating (men’s and women’s mass start), cross-country skiing (men’s 50-kilometer race). NBC
1 p.m.: Men’s hockey (bronze-medal match). NBCSN
4:05 p.m.: Curling (women’s gold-medal match). NBCSN
5 p.m.: Bobsled (men’s four-man, final two runs), figure skating (gala exhibition). NBC
7:30 p.m.: Men’s hockey (gold-medal game). NBCSN
8 p.m.: Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
11 p.m.: Cross-country skiing (women’s 30-kilometer).
12:30 a.m. (Sunday morning): Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
1 a.m. (Sunday morning): Figure skating gala exhibition. NBCSN
3 a.m. (Sunday morning): Men’s hockey (gold-medal game). NBCSN
Kyle Mack wins silver medal in Olympic debut of Big Air
Canadian snowboarder Sebastien Toutant has soared to gold in the Olympic debut of men’s Big Air.
Toutant scored a 174.25 in the final to give Team Canada its 11th gold of the Pyeongchang Games.
Kyle Mack of the United States took second with a score of 168.75. He had a chance to better Toutant but sat down on his third and final jump.
Billy Morgan of Great Britain earned bronze in front of a boisterous crowd at Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre.
Ivanka Trump was also in attendance. The daughter of president Donald Trump took in the finals as part of a whirlwind tour during the penultimate day of the games. Wearing a red ski suit with a blue knit USA cap, Trump joined Kim Jung-sook, wife of South Korean president Moon Jae-in.
Red Gerard, who captured the first gold medal for the United States in Pyeongchang in the slopestyle event two weeks ago, finished fifth.
Jessie Diggins will carry the flag for the U.S. at closing ceremony
This has been a good week for Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins.
On Wednesday night, they became the first U.S. women to earn a medal in cross-country skiing, winning the team sprint free. The next day, Randall was elected as an athlete representative on the International Olympic Committee.
Friday, it was Diggins’ turn for more good news as her teammates selected her to serve as flag-bearer for the American squad in the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Games.
“This is such an incredible honor for me,” Diggins said. “I’m really humbled and moved that the athletes voted for me.”
The two-time Olympian joins a list of former closing ceremony flag-bearers that includes Dan Jansen, Bonnie Blair and Eric Heiden.
“Jessie’s breakthrough performances here in Pyeongchang have been inspirational and historic,” U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Scott Blackmun said.
The closing ceremony is scheduled for Sunday night at Olympic Stadium.
Germany upsets defending champion Canada to reach men’s gold medal hockey game against Olympic Athletes from Russia
Germany recorded the biggest upset of the men’s Olympic hockey tournament by holding off Canada for a 4-3 semifinal victory on Friday, setting up an unexpected gold medal matchup on Sunday against the Olympic Athletes from Russia.
“Sounds crazy, right?” said Germany coach Marco Sturm, a former NHL player who briefly played for the Kings.
That it did. Germany, seeded 10th among the 12 entrants, last won an Olympic medal in 1976, a bronze. Germany didn’t qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympic tournament. The Olympic Athletes from Russia defeated the Czech Republic 3-0 in the first semifinal on Friday at the Gangneung Hockey Center, a victory clinched on an empty-net goal by former NHL standout Ilya Kovalchuk.
Top-seeded Canada won the last two men’s Olympic gold medals but had a roster built around NHL stars on those occasions. The NHL did not permit players to participate in the Pyeongchang Games, leaving teams to draw players from leagues across Europe. That became an equalizer and helped boost the chances of teams such as Germany that have few NHL players.
Germany forward Brooks Macek, who was born in Winnipeg, Canada and was eligible to play for Germany because his father was born there, said he almost couldn’t believe what he and his teammates had done. “It’s amazing. It took every single guy in that dressing room to put forth their best effort for the whole 60 minutes and I think we did that. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Macek, who was drafted by the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings but never signed with them. “This is absolutely huge in Germany. The main sport is soccer and there’s nothing else. It’s just all soccer. If there’s kids back home back in Germany watching this game, maybe it will push them towards playing ice hockey I think it’s absolutely massive for the sport in Germany.”
Macek gave Germany a 1-0 lead in the first period with a five-on-three power-play goal. The Germans added second-period goals by Matthias Plachta and Frank Mauer before Canada’s Gilbert Brule converted a power-play chance at 8:17. Brule was ejected later in the period for a check to the head and neck of Germany’s David Wolf.
Patrick Hager padded Germany’s lead to 4-1, but Canada’s Mat Robinson trimmed that to 4-2 at 2:42 of the third. Canada goaltender Kevin Poulin, playing in place of the injured Ben Scrivens, stopped a penalty shot by Dominik Kahun at 3:21 of the third to keep Canada in the game. Canada closed the gap to 4-3 on a power-play goal by Derek Roy from close range at 9:42 of the third period but Germany goalie Danny Aus Den Birken, who plays in his country’s elite league, withstood intense pressure and held on for the win.
“It’s the greatest day in German hockey,” said defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, another former King.
It was a dark day for Canada, which will face the Czech Republic for the bronze medal on Saturday.
“They came out ready to play. We didn’t. They were the better team today,” Canada forward Rob Klinkhammer said. “There’s no reason not to be ready. Just credit to them. I know it’s a huge win for them. Best of luck to them.
“It stings a lot right now with the opportunity we had. We let a big one get away from us.”
Friday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule
Friday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule. All times Pacific.
6:30 a.m.: Curling (men’s bronze-medal match, Canada vs. Sweden). NBCSN
9:30 a.m.: Curling (women’s semifinal, teams TBD). NBCSN
Noon: Biathlon (men’s 30-meter relay), Figure skating (review of women’s competition). NBC
12:30 p.m.: Medal ceremonies from various events. NBCSN
1 p.m.: Hockey (teams TBD). NBCSN
2:30 p.m.: Curling (women’s semifinal, teams TBD). CNBC
5 p.m.: Bobsled (men’s four-man, runs 1 and 2), speedskating (men’s 1,000 meters), snowboarding (men’s big air). Alpine skiing (team event). NBC
5 p.m.: Biathlon (men’s 30-meter relay). NBCSN
6:30 p.m.: Curling (women’s semifinal, teams TBD. NBCSN
8:35 p.m.: Snowboarding (men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom). NBC
9 p.m.: Cross-country Skiing (men’s 50-kilometer). NBCSN
10:35 p.m.: Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
Midnight: Curling (men’s gold-medal match, U.S. vs. Sweden). NBCSN
1:35 a.m. (Saturday morning): Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
3:30 a.m. (Saturday morning): Men’s hockey (bronze-medal game, teams TBD). NBCSN
Second Russian athlete fails doping test at Olympics
A second Russian athlete has failed a doping test at the Pyeongchang Games, a day before the International Olympic Committee’s executive board is to decide whether to reinstate the country for Sunday’s closing ceremony.
Russian Bobsled Federation President Alexander Zubkov told the Associated Press on Friday that a drug-test sample that pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva gave on Sunday was positive.
The Russian delegation at the Pyeongchang Olympics said in a statement that the substance found was trimetazdine, a medication used for angina sufferers that is listed by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a banned substance affecting the metabolism.
“She confirms she took no such medication and the team confirms she was not issued any medication,” said Zubkov, a former bobsledder who himself was stripped of two Olympic gold medals for the Russian doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games. “Federation representatives at the Olympics” are starting to prepare a defense, he said.
Zubkov also said a sample she had given five days earlier was negative.
“I can tell you that on the 13th it was clean, but on the 18th it gave a positive result for the heart medication,” he said.
Sergeeva’s crew finished 12th in the women’s bobsled competition on Wednesday, after she had given the sample that later came back positive.
The Russian team was barred from the Olympics in December for doping at the Sochi Games, but the IOC invited 168 athletes from the country to compete under the Olympic flag.
“This won’t win us any extra credit,” Russian delegation leader Stanislav Pozdnyakov said in comments reported by Russian media. “Unfortunately this case speaks to negligence by the athlete. She has let us down.”
Earlier this month, Sergeeva told the AP that competitors from other countries had warmed to her after she passed IOC vetting for Pyeongchang, which included an examination of her drug-testing history.
“I don’t know why, but they’ve started talking to us more than ever before. I feel it. Maybe it’s a sign to them that we’re clean,” Sergeeva said. “There’s a lot of people coming up and saying, `We’re happy you’re here.“’
At the time, she was training in a T-shirt with the words “I Don’t Do Doping.” Sergeeva used to compete in track and field as a heptathlete before switching sports in 2010.
It is the fourth doping case of the Games. Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky was stripped of his bronze medal Thursday after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium. Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic and Japanese speedskater Kei Saito also left the Games after testing positive.
Trimetazidine, the substance found in Sergeeva’s sample, has been detected in previous doping cases. Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, an Olympic gold medalist, was banned for three months in 2014 by his country’s sports authorities after testing positive for the substance.
Sun said he had been prescribed the drug for a medical condition and hadn’t known it was banned. The perceived leniency of that three-month ban led to Sun receiving criticism from swimmers from other countries at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he won another gold medal.
Russia’s bobsled program has been in the spotlight for drug use for several years.
Zubkov and four other bobsledders were disqualified from the Sochi Games for doping, though four other bobsledders have been reinstated. Another gold medalist, Dmitry Trunenkov, was banned last year for failing a doping test.
Shani Davis refuses to address media after seventh-place finish in 1,000-meter speedskating
In what is probably Shani Davis’ last Olympic Games, the decorated speedskater decided not to address the media after his seventh-place finish in the men’s 1,000-meter race at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
Davis has courted controversy in these Games by criticizing the way the United States Olympic Committee selected the person who carried the U.S. flag during the opening ceremony.
Cashing in medals for money is tough sledding for most U.S. Olympians
When she arrived for the Winter Olympics in South Korea, Chloe Kim already was an accomplished snowboarder with a handful of endorsement deals from the likes of Visa Inc., Nike Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp.
Then came her dominating performance to win the gold medal in the women’s snowboarding halfpipe in Pyeongchang, and the charismatic 17-year-old Southern Californian instantly became a breakout star of the Olympic Games with a future likely to include much more lucrative sponsorship deals.
Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold with thrilling performance
Alina Zagitova has won the women’s figure skating competition, becoming the first Russian gold medalist at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The 15-year-old Zagitova edged her friend and training partner Evgenia Medvedeva to end the gold drought for the Olympic Athletes from Russia. That’s the designation given to the nation’s competitors after Russia was officially banned by the IOC for a doping scandal.
Zagitova and Medvedeva tied in the free skate, a rare occurrence, but Zagitova had won the short program Wednesday, so she got gold.
Kaetlyn Osmond has won bronze, giving Canada four overall medals in figure skating.
Figure Skating Live: Worst showing ever for U.S. women in figure skating
The Americans secured their worst showing in modern-era Olympic women’s figure skating with Mirai Nagasu failing to get any lift on her triple axel and popping a triple lutz.
The 24-year-old Nagasu was fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Games but never got going in the individual competition at the Pyeongchang Games after helping the U.S. win a team bronze. She hit her triple axel in that event, becoming the first American woman and third overall to do so in an Olympics. But she slipped below U.S. champion Bradie Tennell in the standings after Friday’s free skate, with 2017 national champ Karen Chen just behind.
With the top six skaters to go, the Americans almost certainly will wind up ninth, 10th and 11th. Since World War II, at least one American woman finished sixth or higher.
Marai Nagasu didn’t have the performance she needed to put a scare into the leaders after she missed on a couple of her signature jumps. Nagasu slotted into fourth place between teammates Tennell and Chen and looks to finish near or in the top 10.
The top skaters are now getting to skate and this is where the true drama will take place.
Americans Bradie Tennell and Karen Chen started at 10th and 11th, respectively at the free skate portion of the women’s figure skating event and that looks to where they will end after the final long program.
Tennell and Chen currently sit second and third behind Maria Sotskova of Olympics Athletes of Russia with eight skaters to go, including their teammate Mirai Nagasu.
Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva are the two favorites heading into the final groups of the evening.
David Wise wins halfpipe gold after enduring adversity on and off the slopes
There were moments during the last four years when David Wise wasn’t sure if he would survive.
The defending Olympic ski halfpipe gold medalist endured the worst two seasons of his career. He suffered three concussions, plus serious injuries to his shoulder and back. His wife, Alexandra, experienced severe postpartum depression. Sponsors fled. His sister, Christy, lost her right leg in a boating accident and nearly died. One of Wise’s students committed suicide.
“There are two ways to react to adversity in life,” Wise, 27, wrote on his blog recently. “One way is to feel slighted and to allow yourself to be bitter. The other is to use the adversity to your advantage and gain strength and momentum from it. I choose the latter.”
What time is the Winter Olympics closing ceremony and when can I watch it?
Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will be there. So will Ivanka Trump. And very likely so will at least one K-Pop star, as well as many of the athletes we’ve grown to know and love during the two-plus weeks of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
But the majority of us will not be at this weekend’s closing ceremony in South Korea. Lucky for us, though, there’s several opportunities to watch.
Anyone who feels the need to watch the event as it unfolds Sunday at 3 a.m. Pacific time can do so at NBCOlympics.com or by using the NBC Sports app. Those who prefer to be well rested while they watch can tune in to taped broadcasts of the ceremony on NBC at 5 p.m. and again at 8 p.m.
Skating commentators Lipinkski and Weir, along with their broadcast partner Terry Gannon, will host the event during the prime-time broadcasts. Trump, daughter of and senior advisor to President Trump, will lead the U.S. delegation at the ceremony.
Sven Kramer apologizes after he and teammates injure fans by throwing a large object into a crowd
Dutch speedskater Sven Kramer has issued an apology after he and several teammates accidentally injured two fans by throwing a giant replica of a bronze medal into a crowd during a promotional event at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Kramer won his third straight Olympic gold medal in the 5,000 meters earlier in these Games. He and teammates Jan Blokhuijsen, Patrick Roest and Koen Verweij also won bronze in the team pursuit, bringing Kramer’s career Olympic medal count to nine.
Those four speedskaters were onstage at an event held at the Heineken House on Wednesday night when they received a giant replica of their bronze medal and somehow thought it would be a good idea to toss it into the crowd.
Two women were injured, with one of them needing to go to a hospital, according to multiple media reports citing Dutch media.
Kramer later sent out an apology in Korean.
According to Yahoo, part of it roughly translates to: “I apologize for the injury last night in the Heineken House representing our team. You came here to cheer the Netherlands’ ice sports team. But accidents happen and I apologize for this. And I hope for a quick recovery.”
U.S. men advance to gold medal game in curling
The United States will compete for a gold medal in men’s curling after knocking out their Canadian opponents 5-3 in a tense semifinals showdown at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The U.S. victory on Thursday is a remarkable turnaround for a team that hasn’t made the Olympic podium since the 2006 Turin Games, when they won a bronze medal.
Just as remarkable was the loss for Canada, which has won the gold medal in men’s curling at the last three Winter Olympics. The Canadian women’s team, meanwhile, didn’t even make the semifinals, despite being the defending world champions.
The U.S. will face off against Sweden for the gold. The Swedish team beat Switzerland 9-3 in another semifinals match on Thursday.
Sweden picked up two points in the first end and then four in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead. Still trailing 9-3 after eight frames, the Swiss conceded defeat.
Thursday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule
Thursday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule. All times Pacific.
6 a.m.: Short-track speedskating (men’s 500 meters, women’s 1,000 meters, men’s 5,000-meter relay). NBCSN
8:15 a.m.: Biathlon (women’s 24-kilometer relay). NBCSN
10 a.m.: Curling (men’s semifinal, teams TBD). NBCSN
Noon: Nordic combined (men’s team large hill portion), Biathlon (women’s 24-kilometer relay). NBC
1:30 p.m.: Hockey (teams TBD). NBCSN
2 p.m.: Curling (men’s semifinal, teams TBD). CNBC
5 p.m.: Short-track speedskating (men’s 500 meters, women’s 1,000 meters, men’s 5,000-meter relay), Snowboarding (women’s big air), Alpine skiing (women’s super combined, downhill portion), Figure skating (women’s free skate). NBC
5 p.m.: Figure skating (women’s free skate, early groups).
7 p.m.: Biathlon (women’s 24-kilometer relay), Nordic combined (men’s cross-country portion). NBCSN
9:30 p.m.: Short-track speedskating (men’s 500 meters, women’s 1,000 meters, men’s 5,000-meter relay). NBCSN
9:35 p.m.: Alpine skiing (women’s super combined, slalom portion), freestyle skiing (women’s ski cross). NBC
11:15 p.m.: Hockey (men’s semifinal, Czech Republic vs. Olympic Athletes of Russia). NBCSN
11:35 p.m.: Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
2 a.m. (Friday morning): Speedskating (men’s 1,000 meters). NBCSN
3:35 a.m. (Friday morning): Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
3:45 a.m. (Friday morning): Hockey (men’s semifinal, teams TBD). NBCSN.
U.S. beats rival Canada and wins Olympic gold in women’s hockey
The long wait is over for the U.S. women’s Olympic hockey team.
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the tie-breaking shootout and goaltender Maddie Rooney stopped Meghan Agosta to give the Americans a 3-2 victory over Canada and the first Olympic gold medal for the women’s team since the inaugural women’s tournament in 1998 at Nagano, Japan.
The American players jumped off the bench, hurling their sticks and gloves in the air as they hugged each other and cried on the ice at the Gangneung Hockey Centre to celebrate a victory that showcased the two best teams in the sport on Thursday before a spirited crowd at Gangneung Hockey Centre.
Canada had won the previous four Olympic tournaments, three of them at the expense of the U.S.
Chants of “USA!” alternated with chants of “Go Canada Go!” as the overtime continued, with fans aware of the gold-medal possibilities on every foray up ice and every shot.
The game was played at a breathtaking pace and with a physical edge that often exceeded the rules but was sometimes ignored by officials whose skills didn’t match those of the players. The U.S. killed a penalty in overtime, but just barely, sending the game to the decisive shootout.
Second-period goals by Canada forwards Haley Irwin and Marie-Philip Poulin — who both played college hockey in the U.S. — had given Canada a 2-1 lead.
But a bad line change by Canada gave the Americans an opening, and they took advantage of it to pull even at 2-2 at 13:39 of the third period. Monique Lamoureux-Morando took a lead pass from linemate Kelly Pannek and got behind Canada’s defense, giving her time to go from her forehand to her backhand and then to the forehand again to lift a shot into the upper-right corner of the net.
The U.S. players and team executives had focused on this game for the past four years, since its defeat at Sochi, creating a residency program in Florida that would allow players to practice and train together for several months and retooling the roster to bring in young, swift skaters with the aim of increasing its speed.
The team was fast and it got strong goaltending from 20-year-old Olympic rookie Maddie Rooney,who stopped 29 shots on Thursday and yielded two goals in the shootout.
Capitalizing on the third of three straight advantages they gained in the first period, the U.S. women scored the game’s first goal.
Defenseman Sidney Morin, who was among the last players added to the U.S. roster in late November, made the goal possible when she controlled the puck in the left circle and launched a low shot on net.
Hilary Knight, playing in her third Olympic hockey tournament, was in position in front of the net to redirect Morin’s shot past goaltender Shannon Szabados at 19:34 of the period.
As the players filed off the ice to their respective locker rooms, Canada coach Laura Schuler — who had been exasperated with the officials’ call of interference against Sarah Nurse on that third penalty — summoned the officials to the bench to chat before they left the ice. The referees were Nicole Hertrich of Germany and Katarina Timglas of Germany, and the linesmen were Lisa Linnek of Germany and Johanna Tauriainen of Finland.
Canada pulled even early in the second period. Blayre Turnbull deked past U.S. defenseman Lee Stecklein and sent a centering pass to Haley Irwin, who batted the puck out of midair and past Maddie Rooney at the two-minute mark. Irwin played college hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Canada pulled ahead soon after, when Meghan Agosta took control of the puck in the neutral zone and slid a pass to an onrushing Marie-Philip Poulin, who went to one knee for a shot from the inside edge of the right circle that found room inside the left post at 6:55. Poulin, who played her college hockey at Boston University, has been a nemesis for the U.S.: She scored the tying and winning goals for Canada in the gold medal game four years ago at Sochi.
The Americans couldn’t take advantage of a power play they gained late in the second period, continuing their scoring woes against the better teams in this tournament. They probably should have gotten a power play early in the third period, when Poulin elbowed Brianna Decker in the face in front of Canada’s net, but no penalty was called.
A bad line change by Canada was a key factor in Monique Lamoureux-Morando bringing the U.S. even at 2-2 at 13:39 of the third period. She took a lead pass from linemate Kelly Pannek and got behind Canada’s defense, giving her time to go from her forehand to her backhand and then to the forehand again to lift a shot into the upper-right corner of the net.
Mikaela Shiffrin gets silver in Alpine combined; Vonn skis out
Michelle Gisin of Switzerland has won the women’s Alpine combined with an aggressive slalom run to edge American Mikaela Shiffrin at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Lindsey Vonn, the leader after the downhill portion, made a mistake early in the slalom Thursday and didn’t finish in what’s likely her final Winter Games.
Gisin was nearly flawless in finishing in a combined time of 2 minutes, 20.90 seconds to hold off silver medalist Shiffrin by 0.97 seconds. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland earned the bronze.
Shiffrin adds the silver medal to the gold she won earlier in the games in the giant slalom.
It was very likely the first and only Olympic race between U.S. teammates Vonn and Shiffrin.
Kikkan Randall to serve as athlete representative on the IOC
A day after helping the U.S. women win their first-ever gold medal in cross-country skiing, Kikkan Randall was elected to serve as an athlete representative on the International Olympic Committee.
Randall and Finnish hockey player Emma Terho will fill two spots that became open this week when previous members of the athletic commission – including former U.S. hockey player Angela Ruggiero – finished their eight-year terms.
“Wow, what amazing news to get today,” Randall said on Thursday, adding: “This is going to be a really fun ride.”
On Wednesday night, Randall and teammate Jessie Diggins made U.S. history by winning the team sprint free relay at the Alpensia Cross-Country Skiing Centre.
A five-time Olympian, Randall was elected to the 20-member IOC commission by her fellow athletes in Pyeongchang. The group aims to give athletes a voice in the Olympic movement.
“Kikkan has always represented Team USA to the highest levels,” said Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee. “She’s a selfless and consummate athlete, professional, wife, mother, and advocate, and will no doubt have an extremely positive impact on the IOC Athletes’ Commission.”
David Wise takes gold, Adam Ferreira finishes second in men’s freestyle skiing halfpipe
At least the Americans have the Phoenix Snow Park halfpipe.
Freestyle skier David Wise successfully defended his gold medal Thursday, breaking through on his final run to give the U.S. its third gold medal in the halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Wise wiped out on his first two runs before sneaking past countryman Alex Ferreira on his third with a score of 97.20. Wise landed double corks in all four directions — front left, front right, switch (backward) left and switch right — a goal he set for himself entering these games.
It’s the seventh gold medal for the U.S. in Pyeongchang, five of which have come at Phoenix Snow Park. Chloe Kim and Shaun White won snowboard halfpipe gold last week, and Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson won at snowboard slopestyle.
The snowboard and freestyle skiing crews have picked up the slack for the U.S. team in these Olympics. Those competitors have accounted for 10 of the country’s 19 medals, many of them at the snow park located an hour away from the Gangneung Olympic Plaza.
Ferreira took silver, and 16-year-old Nico Porteous from New Zealand got bronze. It was the second medal of the day for the Kiwis after snowboarder Zoi Sadowski Synnott won bronze in big air to end New Zealand’s 26-year Winter Games drought.
Porteous momentarily pushed past Ferreira for the top spot with his second run, shocking even himself with a score of 94.80. His jaw dropped and he pumped his arms when it was announced.
Porteous finished 12th at least year’s world championships and ranked 11th in qualification. His brother, Miguel, won silver in the halfpipe at the 2017 X Games.
Porteous didn’t even bother trying on Run 3, cruising through the halfpipe without a trick and waiting at the bottom for the other competitors.
Ferreira stormed past Porteous on his second run. The 23-year-old American spun his right ski pole over his head at the bottom of the halfpipe, then threw up his hands when the judges gave him a 96.00.
Wise put down his double-cork dream run a few minutes later, and Ferreira could only counter with a 96.40.
Wise had a big cheering section of family and friends at the bottom of the halfpipe, and most of them had “David Wise” drawn on their faces. Wise’s sister, Christy, is an Air Force rescue pilot who lost a leg in a paddleboarding accident in 2015, and Wise is giving 10 percent of all his earnings this season to a foundation he and his sisters created: One Leg Up On Life.
The Americans had eyed a podium sweep in the halfpipe, with Torin Yater-Wallace and Aaron Blunck also among the favorites. Yater-Wallace failed to complete a clean run, including a gnarly crash midway through his third try, and finished ninth. Blunck’s best effort was an 84.80 on his final run, good for seventh.
The U.S. last swept a podium in Sochi, when Joss Christensen, Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goeppel won the men’s skiing slopestyle. The U.S. also swept the 2002 men’s snowboard halfpipe and the 1956 men’s figure skating.
Lindsey Vonn in lead after downhill leg of Alpine combined
Lindsey Vonn has the lead after the downhill leg of the Olympic Alpine combined, with American teammate Mikaela Shiffrin right in the thick of things.
Vonn finished in a time of 1 minute, 39.37 seconds. Shiffrin is 1.98 seconds behind.
The race switches Thursday afternoon local time to Shiffrin’s specialty — the slalom. Both times are combined to determine the winner.
Vonn had the lead after the downhill leg at the 2010 Vancouver Games but didn’t finish the slalom.
Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway had the second-fastest time in the downhill and is 0.74 seconds behind Vonn.
USA’s Jamie Anderson wins silver in women’s big air snowboarding
Anna Gasser edged two-time gold medalist Jamie Anderson to win gold in the Olympic debut of women’s big air snowboarding.
Gasser, the reigning world champion, stomped the last of her three jumps, a double cork 1080 that saw the Austrian flip twice while spinning three times. Her score of 96 was the highest of the day and gave her a total of 185.00.
Anderson, who last week captured her second Olympic gold in women’s slopestyle, led going into the final round but sat down while trying to land her last jump. Gasser took full advantage. The 26-year-old raised her arms in triumph and embraced Anderson after the score flashed.
Zoi Sadowski Synnott earned bronze to give New Zealand its first Winter Olympics medal in 26 years.
Canada edges Finland 1-0 to reach men’s hockey semifinals and will meet surprise semifinalist Germany
Backup goaltender Kevin Poulin made 15 saves in relief of injured starter Ben Scrivens on Wednesday night as Canada held on for a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Finland at Gangneung Hockey Centre.
Canada, which relied on its wealth of NHL stars to win the last two men’s Olympic hockey tournaments, will face Germany in the semifinals on Friday. Germany was a surprise winner over Sweden, advancing on a goal by Patrick Reimer one minute and 30 seconds into overtime. Germany is coached by Marco Sturm, whose NHL stops included a stint with the Kings.
Defenseman Maxim Noreau, who played six NHL games with the Minnesota Wild and has spent the last two seasons in the Swiss League, scored Canada’s goal on Wednesday. Eric O’Dell, who was drafted by the Ducks in 2008 but never played for them, won a faceoff in Finland’s zone and slid the puck back to Noreau, whose slap shot beat Finland goalie Mikko Koskinen 55 seconds into the third period.
Poulin had replaced Scrivens early in the second period after Scrivens was involved in a goalmouth collision with Finland forward Veli-Matti Savinainen. Scrivens — a former Kings goaltender — played for a few seconds after the contact but left the game at 4:17 of the middle period after having stopped six shots. Canada coach Willie Desjardins said more would be known about Scrivens’ status Thursday morning.
“It was a great job tonight from Kevin, coming in like that and making some big saves,” forward Maxim Lapierre said.
Poulin’s teammates protected him well. “They had some chances, but we wanted to minimize the second chances,” forward Derek Roy said. “We know if we give [Poulin] a good look at the shot, he can make the save, and guys were literally jumping in front of pucks. We were diving everywhere. They would have taken one in the teeth for sure.”
Desjardins said he was surprised that Sweden had lost to Germany. “Sweden is a good team. Germany must be playing well,” said Desjardins, who coached the Vancouver Canucks for three seasons before being fired in April 2017. “You don’t get lucky in this tournament. You’ve got to play well. And Germany’s got some confidence and they’re going to be a tough team to play. … They play the world championships with that group, so they have some experience against high-end competition.”
Germany wins gold, U.S. silver in women’s bobsled
Women’s bobsledding has a new star, and a surprise Olympic champion.
Germany’s Mariama Jamanka -- a winner of exactly zero major international races in her life until now -- drove to gold in the women’s bobsled event at the Pyeongchang Games on Wednesday night, adding to her country’s dominant showing at the sliding track in these Olympics.
Jamanka and brakeman Lisa Buckwitz finished their four runs in 3 minutes, 22.45 seconds. Elana Meyers Taylor and Lauren Gibbs of the U.S. were second in 3:22.52, the 0.07-second margin being the closest between first and second in any Olympic women’s bobsled race.
Canada’s Kaillie Humphries teamed with Phylicia George to get third in 3:22.89.
It was the third consecutive medal for both Meyers Taylor and Humphries. Meyers Taylor won bronze as a push athlete in 2010 and silver as a driver in 2014; Humphries won gold in each of those Olympic races.
Both arrived in South Korea fully expecting gold. Jamanka had other ideas.
She showed absolute nerves of steel in the ultimate moment to win the 18th Olympic gold medal in German bobsled history, the second by a woman.
And there’s no question who the best team at the sliding track has been in these Pyeongchang Games. With eight of the nine events now complete in bobsled, skeleton and luge, Germany has won five golds and will be a favorite to grab yet another in the four-man event that ends on the final day of these Games on Sunday.
Stephanie Schneider of Germany was fourth, and Jamie Greubel Poser of the U.S. took fifth.
Nigeria, with pilot Seun Adigun and brakewomen Akuoma Omeoga and Ngozi Onwumere -- Omeoga was ill and couldn’t race Wednesday, so she was subbed out -- finished last in the 20-sled field, nearly four seconds behind 19th-place Jamaica.
The Nigerians were the first sled from an African nation to compete in women’s bobsled at the Olympics.
“All we have to give is everything we’ve got,” Adigun said.
Meyers Taylor and Jamanka were the last two sleds down the track, and the only two real remaining contenders for gold by that point in the race.
Meyers Taylor finished in 50.73 seconds, jumped out of her sled, threw her arms in the air and celebrated with Gibbs. And then everyone turned their attention to the top of the track, to see if Jamanka could pull off the win.
It wasn’t the greatest start for the Germans, and they trailed Meyers Taylor by 0.13 seconds in one of the early splits. But Jamanka picked the perfect line and kept picking up speed, overtaking Meyers Taylor’s time in one of the final turns.
Jamanka held a lead of 0.07 seconds after Tuesday’s first two runs, and she opened the third heat by breaking Meyers Taylor’s track record -- setting the tone for the night with a time of 50.49 seconds.
Undeterred, Meyers Taylor took the record right back.
She was next down the track, crossing the line in 50.46 seconds and cutting the deficit to 0.04 seconds going into the final run. With that, the stage to a gold medal was set for either the upstart German or the American veteran -- the one who carried the lead into the fourth heat of the Olympics four years ago and saw it slip away in one steering mistake.
There was no big mistake this time. Meyers Taylor was almost flawless. Jamanka was just a tiny bit better.
Wednesday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule
Wednesday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule. All times Pacific
6:30 a.m.: Bobsled (women, final runs). NBCSN
7:45 a.m.: Cross-country skiing (team sprint), speedskating (men’s and women’s team pursuit). NBCSN
10:30 a.m.: Medal ceremonies from various events. NBCSN
11 a.m.: Curling (men, U.S. vs. Britain). NBCSN
Noon: Cross-country skiing (team sprint), speedskating (men’s and women’s team pursuit). NBC
2 p.m.: Hockey, teams TBD. NBCSN
2 p.m.: Curling (women, U.S. vs. Sweden). CNBC
5 p.m.: Freestyle skiing (men’s halfpipe final), bobsled (women, final runs), Alpine skiing (women’s combined, downhill portion), Cross-county skiing (women’s team sprint). NBC
5 p.m.: Curling (women, Canada vs. Olympic Athletes from Russia). NBCSN
7:45 p.m.: Women’s hockey (gold-medal game, U.S. vs. Canada). NBCSN
8:35 p.m.: Alpine skiing (women’s combined, slalom portion; men’s slalom), Snowboarding (men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom qualifying). NBC
11 p.m.: Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
11 p.m.: Snowboarding (men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom qualifying), Nordic combined (team large hill event). NBCSN
12:15 a.m. (Thursday morning): Curling (men’s and women’s tiebreaker to determine semifinalists, if necessary. Teams TBD). NBCSN
1:05 a.m. (Thursday morning): Repeat of 5 p.m. broadcast. NBC
2:20 a.m. (Thursday morning): Nordic combined (20-meter cross-country relay), biathlon (women’s 24-meter relay). NBCSN
4:45 a.m. (Thursday morning): Short-track speedskating (men’s 500 meters, women’s 1,000 meters, men’s 5,000-meter relay.
Olympic Athletes of Russia reach men’s hockey semifinals after rout of Norway
The Olympic Athletes of Russia, considered the favorite to win gold before the men’s Olympic hockey tournament began, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1 rout of Norway on Wednesday at Gangneung Hockey Centre. Eleven players had at least one point, including many whose names are familiar to fans of NHL teams.
Former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who was permitted to play here despite serving nearly two months in jail following his no-contest plea to a charge of corporal abuse of a spouse, had a goal and an assist. He declined to talk after the game other than to say hello, and that he feels good. Former Detroit Red Wings standout Pavel Datsyuk had two assists, former Tampa Bay draft pick Nikita Gusev had a goal and two assists, and Mikhail Grigorenko, who played junior hockey in Quebec and later played for the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche, contributed a goal and an assist.
The Olympic Athletes of Russia will face the Czech Republic in the semifinals on Friday. The Czechs moved with a quarterfinal shootout victory over the U.S. on Wednesday.
“They’re a really good team, good defensively and they have a good goalie,” Grigorenko said of Czech goalie Pavel Francouz. “A lot of their players play in the KHL so we know them.”
Datsyuk said the Russian team “can play better,” and will have to do so against the Czechs, who are unbeaten in four games. “They have a good team. They prove that already,” he said. “Will be a good game.”
U.S. wins first-ever gold medal in women’s cross-country skiing
Marit Bjoergen made Olympic history and the United States women’s cross-country skiing team won its first medal ever — and it was gold.
Bjoergen won her 14th medal at the Winter Games by taking bronze with her Norwegian teammates on Wednesday in the team sprint. That made her the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, breaking the tie she held with Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen.
Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall led the way as the American women pulled off a huge upset in the same race. The only other American to win a medal in cross-country skiing was Bill Koch, who took silver in the 30-kilometer race at the 1976 Innsbruck Games.
The Americans posted the fastest time in the semifinals and started on the front row in the final. Diggins passed the Swedes and the Norwegians on the final lap to win the first Olympic gold medal for the United States in the sport. Sweden took silver.
The 37-year-old Bjoergen has won four medals at the Pyeongchang Games. She took gold in the women’s 4x5-kilometer relay, silver in the 15-kilometer skiathlon and bronze in the 10-kilometer freestyle. She still has one event remaining — the 30-kilometer mass start on Sunday — if she chooses to participate.
Czech Republic eliminates U.S. in men’s hockey
When the U.S. men’s hockey team looks back on the 2018 Winter Olympics, the key phrase might be “missed opportunities.”
The Americans came up short again on Wednesday, seeing their improbable medal run come to an end with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals at Gangneung Hockey Centre in Pyeonechang, South Korea.
The U.S. failed to convert on several chances in extra time and came up empty in a taut shootout that decided the game.
It was a familiar story for a team that, during pool play, had let its opener against Slovenia slip away and had been shut out by Olympic Athletes From Russia.
On Wednesday, the Americans started quickly as Ryan Donato, their biggest offensive threat in Pyeongchang, scored his fifth goal of the tournament. But they could not hold the lead for long as Czech defenseman Jan Kolar tied things up late in the first period.
The teams continued going back and forth in the second, with Jim Slater scoring for the U.S. and Tomas Kundratek answering for the Czechs.
Twice the Americans failed to take advantage of power plays in a scoreless third period.
“We were really good on penalty killing and everybody worked and battled,” Kundratek said.
Once overtime began, the Americans applied pressure but ultimately had no answer for Czech goalie Pavel Francouz. After that, each team had five chances in the shootout.
Petr Koukal beat U.S. goalie Ryan Zapolski on the Czechs’ second attempt. It was the only goal that Zapolski would surrender.
But with Donato, Troy Terry and the other American players struggling to finish, it was all the Czechs needed.
“It is such a great feeling,” Kundratek said. “Our goalie was unbelievable.”
Lindsey Vonn wins bronze medal in women’s downhill; Italy’s Goggia wins gold
Lindsey Vonn cast a quick glance toward the sky after finishing what was likely her final Olympic downhill run, shrugged her shoulders at seeing her time and shook a friendly index finger at her good friend.
No one could catch Sofia Goggia of Italy.
Goggia won the women’s downhill Wednesday at Jeongseon Alpine Center as Vonn earned bronze. The American was looking at a higher finish, before Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway turned in a surprise silver-medal performance as the 19th racer on the course.
Then again, shocking finishes seem to be the norm on this hill. Ester Ledecka of Czech Republic made a late charge last week from back in the pack to take the super-G title. She skipped the downhill to step back into the snowboarding realm and will go through qualifying Thursday in the parallel giant slalom.
Goggia finished in a time of 1 minute, 39.22 seconds to hold off Mowinckel by 0.09 seconds. Vonn was 0.47 seconds behind Goggia.
At 33, Vonn becomes the oldest female medalist in Alpine skiing at the Winter Games. The record was held by Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, who was just shy of her 33rd birthday when she won the downhill and the super-G at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
This particular track just seems to suit Goggia’s aggressive skiing. She also edged Vonn in March to win the only World Cup downhill contested on the hill.
Maybe mind games. Maybe a ploy. But each pointed to the other as the one to watch in the days leading up to the race. Goggia referred to Vonn as “definitely the favorite.”
Goggia was behind at the top, but found another speed near the bottom. Vonn couldn’t match it when she skied off two spots later.
This was Goggia’s first gold at an Olympics or a world championships. She has four World Cup wins.
Vonn has dedicated these Olympics to her grandfather, Don Kildow, who died in November. She wears his initials “DK” on the side of her helmet as a tribute.
The night before the race, she said on her Twitter account: “Tomorrow I will push out of the starting gate in what will most likely be my last Olympic Downhill race. I’m trying to enjoy the moment as much as I can and I am thankful to share this race with such amazing teammates. I know everyone expects a lot from me, and I expect even more of myself however there’s only one thing I can guarantee; I will give everything I have tomorrow. Count on it.”
Mikaela Shiffrin didn’t race downhill because of the altered Olympic program. When the Alpine combined was moved a day forward to Thursday, Shiffrin elected to skip the downhill race rather than compete in back-to-back days. The combined adds the times of a downhill and one run of slalom, her specialist discipline.
On social media, she said: “This. Track. Is. So. Fun! Only slightly bummed I’m not skiing it today cause we have 4 girls who are ready to hammer down and I can’t wait to watch!”
American Alice McKennis finished fifth.
Russian skaters finish 1-2 in short program; Americans far from podium
Alina Zagitova’s record-setting short program has given the 15-year-old Russian the lead over friend, training partner and two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva heading into Friday’s free skate.
Zagitova scored 82.92 points, breaking the mark of 81.61 that Medvedeva had set about 15 minutes earlier. Both scores topped the short program record Medvedeva set earlier in the Pyeongchang Games.
Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada was third with 78.87 points.
The American trio of Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell struggled with early mistakes in each of their programs. Nagasu was ninth with Chen and Tennell right behind her.
Nine days after becoming the first U.S. woman and third overall to land a triple axel in the Olympics, Mirai Nagasu has taken to competitive ice again in the short program.
She came down on two feet on her opening triple axel, then fell to the surface. While the rest of her program was clean, Nagasu’s chances for an individual medal were damaged. She earned 66.93 points, a season’s best, but not likely to put her in position for the podium.
Nagasu, 24 and the fourth-place finisher at the Vancouver Games, helped the United States win a bronze medal in the team event with her historic jump and a spotless free skate.
American figure skater Bradie Tennell fell during the opening combination in her short program at the Pyeongchang Olympics, such a rare mistake that not even she can remember the last time she made it.
Tennell, whose strength is her jumps, recovered to skate cleanly the rest of the way. The reigning national champion wound up with 64.01 points. As the first skater on the ice, that total should keep her in first place for quite a while.
The rest of the medal contenders all skate about two hours later.
“It was definitely unexpected,” Tennell said of her fall on a triple toe loop, “but things happen. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. You just have to get up and keep going.”
The starting order is determined in part by world rankings, and Tennell dealt with injuries much of last season and did not compete in the biggest events. That forced her into the opening group, and she drew the No. 1 starting spot from among those skaters