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Winter Olympics live updates: The 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea

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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

Fireworks illuminate the sky during the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games,
Fireworks illuminate the sky during the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games,
(EPA / Shutterstock)

Photo gallery: Olympic closing ceremony

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.

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Sunday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule

Chloe Kim will be featured during today's Winter Olympics review.
(Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)

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

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Closing ceremony is underway, and it’s cold!

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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.

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Olympic Athletes From Russia win men’s hockey gold with 4-3 overtime victory over Germany

Russians celebrate the winning goal.
(Larry W. Smith / EPA / Shutterstock)

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.”

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‘Team Reject’ gave U.S. historic medal in curling

John Shuster of the United States celebrates a point during the gold-medal game in men's curling.
(Wang Zhao/Getty Images )

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.”

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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.

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IOC upholds ban on Russia because of doping scandal

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, speaks during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
(Clive Mason/Associated Press)

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.

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Do you believe in miracles? U.S. men top Sweden for curling gold

John Shuster, center, John Landsteiner, left, and Matt Hamilton of the U.S. during the men's curling final.
John Shuster, center, John Landsteiner, left, and Matt Hamilton of the U.S. during the men’s curling final.
(Javier Etxezarreta/EPA-EFE/REX)

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.”

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Saturday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule

Women's cross-country skiing is the final event of these Olympics.
(Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP/Getty Images)

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

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Kyle Mack wins silver medal in Olympic debut of Big Air

Kyle Mack of the United States celebrates winning the silver medal during the men's Big Air final.
(Clive Mason/Getty Images)

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.

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Jessie Diggins will carry the flag for the U.S. at closing ceremony

Jessie Diggins
(Florian Choblet / AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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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.”

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Friday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule

The U.S. men will go for a gold medal in curling later today.
(WANG ZHAO)

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

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Second Russian athlete fails doping test at Olympics

Olympic Athlete from Russia bobsled pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva, right, and her teammate Anastasia Kocherzhova train at the Pyeongchang Games.
(Zsolt Czegledi / EPA/Shutterstock)

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.

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Shani Davis refuses to address media after seventh-place finish in 1,000-meter speedskating

Shani Davis competes in the 1,500-meter race on Feb. 21 at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
Shani Davis competes in the 1,500-meter race on Feb. 21 at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
(Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

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.

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Cashing in medals for money is tough sledding for most U.S. Olympians

Chloe Kim at the women's snowboarding halfpipe finals
(Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)

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.

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Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold with thrilling performance

Alina Zagitova of the Olympic Athletes from Russia competes during the women's free skate.
(Richard Heathcote / Getty Images)

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.

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Figure Skating Live: Worst showing ever for U.S. women in figure skating

USA's Bradie Tennell competes in the women's free skate
USA’s Bradie Tennell competes in the women’s free skate
(Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

8:10 p.m.

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.

8:00 p.m.

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.

7:40 p.m.

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.

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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.”

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What time is the Winter Olympics closing ceremony and when can I watch it?

Figure skating commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will host NBC's prime-time broadcast of the Winter Olympics closing ceremony.
(Jamie Squire / Getty Images)

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.

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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.”

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U.S. men advance to gold medal game in curling

John Shuster and the rest of the U.S. men's curling team is guaranteed at least a silver medal.
John Shuster and the rest of the U.S. men’s curling team is guaranteed at least a silver medal.
(Wang Zhao / AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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Thursday’s Winter Olympics TV schedule

Mirai Nagasu competes today in figure skating.
(Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

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.

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U.S. beats rival Canada and wins Olympic gold in women’s hockey

USA celebrates after defeating Canada in a shootout to win the gold in women's hockey
(Larry W. Smith / EPA/Shutterstock)

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.

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Mikaela Shiffrin gets silver in Alpine combined; Vonn skis out

Mikaela Shiffrin added a silver to her earlier gold in the slalom.
Mikaela Shiffrin added a silver to her earlier gold in the slalom.
(Tom Pennington / Associated Press)

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.

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Kikkan Randall to serve as athlete representative on the IOC

Jessica Diggins, left, and Kikkan Randall celebrate winning gold in the women's cross country team sprint free final.
Jessica Diggins, left, and Kikkan Randall celebrate winning gold in the women’s cross country team sprint free final.
(Odd Andersen / Getty Images)

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.”

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David Wise takes gold, Adam Ferreira finishes second in men’s freestyle skiing halfpipe

David Wise reacts after his gold medal win.
David Wise reacts after his gold medal win.
(Sergie Ilnitsky/EPA-EFE)

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.

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Lindsey Vonn in lead after downhill leg of Alpine combined

United States' Lindsey Vonn smiles in the finish area of the women's combined downhill.
(Christophe Ena / Associated Press)

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.

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USA’s Jamie Anderson wins silver in women’s big air snowboarding

Jamie Anderson of the U.S. in action during the women's snowboard big air final.
(Diego Azubel / EPA-EFE )

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.

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Canada edges Finland 1-0 to reach men’s hockey semifinals and will meet surprise semifinalist Germany

Canadian players celebrate a goal as Finland's Julius Junttila looks on during the men's quarterfinals.
(Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP / Getty Images)