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Parkour organizers tell International Gymnastics Federation to back off

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GENEVA (AP) — Global organizers of street-running known as parkour have set the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) a deadline to end attempts to control their sport and give it Olympic status.

Parkour Earth asked FIG President Morinari Watanabe in an open letter on Thursday for an “urgent meeting” by Sept. 15 to formalize its right to govern.

The six-nation group seeks FIG’s “commitment to take no further steps to implement your purported encroachment.”

It’s the latest dispute involving Olympic sports bodies for control of popular youth-oriented events.

Parkour combines running, climbing and acrobatics across an obstacle course of urban architecture. It has featured in scenes from the action movies “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “Casino Royale.”

FIG is working with some French founders of parkour to launch a world tour of events next year, leading to a first world championship in 2020.

After the International Olympic Committee added urban events such as 3-on-3 basketball, skateboarding, and sport climbing to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics program, parkour seems a likely target for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

However, organizers recognized in France, Britain, and Australia say Olympic ambitions are unwanted.

“As the International Federation for Parkour/Freerunning/Art Du Deplacement, Parkour Earth will henceforth be the recognized custodians of the philosophy, integrity and sovereignty of our sport/art/discipline internationally,” the group said.

The open letter was signed by Parkour Earth’s independent chairman, British lawyer Stuart McInnes who is an experienced judge at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The letter said it was copied to CAS and the IOC.

FIG is based in the IOC’s home city of Lausanne, Switzerland, but did not succeed in getting a form of parkour added to the Tokyo program in June. The same day, FIG issued a news release explaining its vision for parkour.

The gymnastics body said some parkour officials were responsible for “bias and misinformation indiscriminately conveyed” on social media to create a negative reaction.

“FIG would like to specify that its approach has never been to unilaterally appropriate a discipline,” it said in June.

The FIG executive committee is due to discuss the parkour issue at an Oct. 26-27 meeting in Benin.

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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