John Shuster

U.S. curling team advances to Olympic Qualification Event playoff

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The U.S. curling team won its fourth straight game at the Olympic Qualification Event. Now, it must win one more.

A rink skipped by two-time Olympian John Shuster beat South Korea 7-5 in a tiebreaker game Saturday at the Bundesleistungszentrum in Fuessen, Germany.

That advanced the U.S. to face either the Czech Republic or Germany on Sunday at 6:30 a.m. The winner of Sunday’s game will go to the Olympics. The loser will not.

“We started the week very shaky and just made mistake after mistake — rolling out, not controlling shooters, missing draws, things like that,” U.S. curler Jeff Isaacson said. “As the week’s gone on we’ve gotten a lot better handle with the rocks and ice, and it has definitely helped. We’ve been facing at least five elimination games that we’ve had to win and we’re responding pretty well to it.”

The U.S. has qualified a men’s and women’s curling team to every Olympics since the sport was re-added to the Olympic program in 1998. It is the highest-ranked nation in the eight-team field in Fuessen.

Shuster skipped the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team to last place in Vancouver, where he was temporarily benched.

Star luger misses U.S. Olympic Luge Team

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar. Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February.

The Rostelecom Cup free dance and pairs and women’s free skates are later Saturday.

A full Rostelecom Cup broadcast schedule is here.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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