Chad le Clos wins 200m butterfly, thanks Michael Phelps (video)

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Had Chad le Clos swum this fast in Rio, he would have gotten the better of Michael Phelps.

Le Clos, the shadow-boxing South African who drummed up a rivalry with Phelps the last Olympic cycle, recorded his fastest 200m butterfly since upsetting Phelps at London 2012 to win the world title Wednesday.

“I had a very difficult year last year, as you guys know, I lost to my great friend and idol Michael Phelps,” Le Clos said on NBCSN before tearing up in the medal ceremony. “I said last year, judge me by how I respond in adversity, and I proved it tonight.”

Le Clos clocked 1:53.33 in Budapest, which was .73 faster than he went in Rio, where he faded to fourth place while infamously peeking a lane over at Phelps in the last 50 meters.

Phelps, by the way, went .03 slower in Rio than Le Clos went Wednesday. That Olympic defeat served as motivation for Le Clos, who at 25 appears to have more gold medals in front of him.

“I’ve never been so hungry to be successful after last year,” said Le Clos, who rocketed out to a 1.11-second lead in the first 100 meters and hung on in the last 50. “So I must thank Michael Phelps for that.”

Le Clos will take on Rio Olympic champion Joseph Schooling and rising American Caeleb Dressel in the 100m butterfly. Heats and semis are Friday, with the final Saturday as Le Clos eyes a third straight world title in that event.

Men’s 200m Butterfly Results
Gold: Chad le Clos (RSA) — 1:53.33
Silver: Laszlo Cseh (HUN) — 1:53.72
Bronze: Daiya Seto (JPN) — 1:54.21
4. Tamas Kenderesi (HUN) — 1:54.73
5. Jack Conger (USA) — 1:54.88
6. Masato Sakai (JPN) — 1:55.04
7. Viktor Bromer (DEN) — 1:55.30
8. Antani Ivanov (BUL) — 1:55.98

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PyeongChang late night roundup

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It was a terrific ending for the Olympic curling tournament. The U.S. men’s team defied all odds by upsetting Sweden in the final 10-7. Buoyed by John Shuster’s double take out in the eighth end, the United States all but assured gold at 10-5 up.

On the night that the United States won its ninth gold medal during these Olympic Games, Finland won its first. Cross-country skier Livo Niskanen outpaced the rest of the 50 man field in the 17th kilometer. OAR skier Alexander Bolushnov gave him a fight in the final kilometers, but he too was eventually left behind.


Curling: USA wins first-ever curling gold 

The USA men’s curling team’s improbable Olympic run has concluded in glory. John Shuster’s squad looked like they were in control from the very onset of the match, forcing Sweden to make errors. The highlight of the match: Shuster’s final stone in the eighth end to put the USA well out of reach with a 10-5 lead.

The United States started competition 2-4 and looked well out of contention to make the playoffs, but an incredible run of three wins saw them get into the playoffs on the final day.

Recap: USA men’s curling wins Olympic gold 

The USA weren’t the only surprise medal winners today. Japan won the country’s first-ever Olympic medal after defeating Great Britain.

It all came down to two steals from Japan in the final two ends, with Briton skip Eve Muirhead missing her final stone to give the victory to Japan.

Men’s Tournamenet

USA def. SWE 10-7

Women’s Tournament

JPN def. GBR 5-3

Cross-Country: Niskanen wins men’s 50km 

Finnish skier Livo Niskanen’s pace was too much for nearly the entire field on Friday night. The Finn broke from the pack, along with Alexey Poltoranen, in the 17th kilometer and continued to stay out front. After Poltoranen ran out of gas, it was OAR athlete Alexander Bolushnov who erased a 30 second gap to challenge the Finn.

It wasn’t until the last kilometre that a seemingly-fatigued Niskanen made his final move to brush of Bolushnov to cross the finish line.

It was a very disappointing day for the Norwegians, who’ve dominated the sport this year. Not one Norwegian landed on the podium, including gold medal favorite Martin Sundsby.

Full men’s 50km recap available here 

Speed Skating: Takagi, Lee win inaugural mass start 

Making its Olympic debut, the speed skating mass start proved to be an erratic event as several skaters collided and crashed out of the competition.

The final race is simple: first three skaters to cross the finish line win the medals.

Estonia’s Saskia Alusalu made the initial burst of energy in the race, but was caught up to in the final three laps. The women’s champion was decided by a final sprint, when Japan’s Nana Takagi beat world champion Kim Bo-Reum and Irene Schouten.

Women’s mass start recap available here 

Lee Song-Hoon won the men’s tournament, ensuring that the speed skating program would not have as sour an ending as the short track. Unlike the women’s race, the men’s skaters stuck together as a train for most of the race until the final three laps.

In the end, Lee came in with too much speed to be overtaken by any of the chasing competitors.

Men’s mass start recap available here 

USA wins gold in men’s curling

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For the first time in history, the United States won the Olympic gold medal in curling.

A week ago, it didn’t seem like that would happen. Sitting at 2-4 and with a game against behemoth Canada coming up, John Shuster captained the United States to three consecutive wins (over Canada, Switzerland, and Great Britain) to squeak into the semifinals. From there, they took down Great Britain before completing the run against Sweden in the gold medal game.

Tied at 5-5 in the eighth end, Shuster was able to hit both of Sweden’s rocks out of the house, giving the United States an incredible five points and a 10-5 lead heading into the ninth.

NBCOlympics.com: Watch: Team USA scores five points in eighth end

After that, it was all about protecting the lead. Just a few minutes later Swedish skip Niklas Edin conceded the game, and it was the United States standing on top of the podium for the first time ever in the sport of curling.

Click here to read the full recap from the gold medal game