Vancouver gold medalist Yuna Kim made her comeback look easy Thursday, winning the short program at her first major competition since 2011.
“I was worried because it has been a long time since I competed at the world championships,” she said. “But at the same time I was confident.”
Kim glided to a 69.97 to go up more than three points on defending world champ Carolina Kostner of Italy, who earned 66.86 for her short program. Kanako Murakami of Japan sits in third, and her teammate, two-time world champ Mao Asada, is in sixth after flubbing a combination.
The American girls didn’t wow anyone on day one, but both put in solid performances as U.S. champ Ashely Wagner slid into fifth and Gracie Gold ended up in ninth – the same position she sat in at nationals before an impressive free skate propelled her to silver.
“The short program is harder for me than my long program,” Gold told USA Today after scoring 58.85 on Thursday. “But I do love it and know I can skate it really well. So I’m glad that I showed the judges and the audience and everyone watching what I can do under pressure.”
Wagner and Gold need to combine for thirteenth place or better in order for the U.S. to get a third slot in next February’s Sochi Olympics.
JEONGSEON, South Korea — The United States has a fixation at the Olympics on winning gold. Lindsey Vonn showed Wednesday how to win bronze.
“I skied a great race today,” Vonn also said. “Sofia [Goggia] just skied better than I did.”
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She also said she hoped she had made her grandfather proud. Dabbing away tears, she said: “It’s sad. This is my last [Olympic] downhill. I wish I could keep going, you know? I had so much fun. I love what I do. My body just can’t — probably can’t — take another four years. But — I don’t know, I’m proud. I’m proud to have competed for my country. Proud to have given it my all. I’m proud to have … come away with a medal.”
Pilot Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz won Germany’s latest gold in a sliding sport in PyeongChang, defeating Team USA’s Elana Meyers Taylor sled by 0.07 seconds. Meyers Taylor, along with brakeman Lauren Gibbs, matched the silver she won in Sochi.
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Jamanka led after two runs, and delivered in Run 3, setting a track record with a phenomenal run down the course. She hit the lines perfectly to put the pressure on Meyers Taylor — and Meyers Taylor, who has dealt with an achilles injury in PyeongChang, delivered with a course record of her own. She was 0.07 seconds back after two runs, but closed the gap to 0.04 heading into the final run.
The stage was set for a thrilling final leg. It, too, did not disappoint. Elana Meyers had her best run of the Games, but Jamanka matched it, to give Germany yet another win on the PyeongChang sliding course.
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Gold: Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz (GER) – 3:22.45
Silver: Elana Meyers-Taylor and Lauren Gibbs (USA) – 3:22.52
Bronze: Kaillee Humphries and Phylicia George (CAN) – 3:22.89
4. Annika Drazek and Stephanie Schneider (GER) – 3:22.97
5. Jamie Greubel Poser and Aja Evans (USA) – 3:23.02