AP

Sochi gold medalists eliminated from Canada Olympic curling trials

Leave a comment

Brad Jacobs‘ reign as Olympic curling champion will end in February.

His team that won gold in Sochi was eliminated from the Canada Olympic Trials on Thursday night.

Jacobs, Ryan Fry, E. J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden are 3-4 at the trials in Ottawa with one game left.

Jacobs cannot mathematically get back into the top three (out of nine teams) to advance to the winner-goes-to-Pyeongchang playoffs.

“We came out here knowing that our fate was in our own hands and didn’t perform,” Jacobs said, according to the Canadian Press.

The Canadian Olympic curling team is one of the hardest to make of any Winter Games sports.

Three different Canadian skips won the last three Olympic titles and then lost the Olympic Trials four years later. In 2013, Jacobs’ team became the first to go undefeated at a Canada Olympic Trials.

Brad Gushue, who skipped gold-medal teams at the 2006 Olympics and 2017 Worlds, has clinched one of two spots in Saturday’s semifinal.

The semifinal winner will face a team skipped by Kevin Koe, who also skipped world champion teams in 2010 and 2016. Koe’s team is undefeated through seven games at trials.

Jacobs and Co. can do no more than watch Sunday’s final to see who will succeed them as Canada’s Olympic team.

“It’s a big surprise, it’s an incredible surprise,” Team Jacobs coach Caleb Flaxey said, according to the Canadian Press. “We didn’t expect to be in this situation.”

In the women’s tournament, Sochi gold medalist Jennifer Jones and world champion Rachel Homan play each other in the final round-robin session Friday night. Both are likely to make the three-team playoffs.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: List of Russia Olympic medals stripped; new Sochi medal standings

Lindsey Vonn wins 79th World Cup race as oldest downhill victor (video)

Leave a comment

Lindsey Vonn became the oldest woman to win a World Cup downhill with three weeks until the Olympics, notching her 79th career victory in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday.

In PyeongChang, she can become the oldest female Alpine medalist in Olympic history.

Vonn prevailed by .92 of a second over Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather on Saturday, moving seven shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s record of 86 World Cup victories.

“My focus right now is just so much on Olympics that I haven’t really thought about [the record] that much this season,” Vonn said. “After the Olympics, that will be my No. 1 priority again, and I’ll try to just rack up as many wins before I retire as possible.”

American Jackie Wiles was third to become the fifth U.S. female Alpine skier to qualify for PyeongChang, joining Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, among others. (full U.S. Olympic roster here)

Shiffrin was seventh in Saturday’s race in her least comfortable discipline.

Full results are here.

Vonn, 33, broke Austrian Elisabeth Goergl‘s record as the oldest woman to win a World Cup downhill. Goergl is still the oldest winner for any World Cup race, taking a super-G in 2014 at nearly 34 years old.

Vonn, already an Olympic medal favorite in downhill and super-G, won her first downhill since Jan. 21, 2017.

She had raced eight downhills in between with four podium finishes, including taking second to Italian Sofia Goggia on Friday in Cortina. Goggia failed to finish Saturday.

The World Cup continues with a super-G in Cortina on Sunday (5:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

“Mentally, I feel like it’s the first podium I ever got,” Vonn said. “Back in 2004, I feel the same. I have the same motivation, the same drive, the same excitement. I love going fast. That’s never changed. The only thing that’s changed is my body is not as good as it once was, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still win.

“I’ll keep going until my poor little knee gives out.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

VIDEO: Shaun White scores perfect 100 to qualify for Olympics

IOC approves unified Korea Olympic team, 22 North Korean athletes

AP
Leave a comment

North and South Korean athletes will compete on the same team at the Olympics for the first time, while the IOC approved 22 North Koreans to compete overall in PyeongChang.

The IOC on Saturday approved the Koreas’ agreement to field a unified women’s hockey team and to march together in the Opening Ceremony behind the Korean Unification flag.

Twelve North Koreans have been added to the South Korean women’s hockey team. The other North Korean athletes will compete in figure skating, Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and short track speed skating.

Full details are here.

“Today marks a milestone on a long journey,” IOC president Thomas Bach said. “Since 2014, the IOC has addressed the special situation of having the Olympic Winter Games 2018 on the Korean Peninsula. Until today, we met separately with the parties on a bilateral basis to address an often fast-changing political situation in a comprehensive way. Today is therefore a great day because the Olympic Spirit has brought all sides together. This was not an easy journey.”

At the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9, one North Korean and one South Korean will carry the flag in the Parade of Nations. The Koreas previously marched together at the Opening Ceremonies in 2000, 2004 and 2006.

The hockey team will compete as “Korea,” under the unification flag and using the song “Arirang” as its anthem. North Koreans will compete under their own flag in all other sports.

North Korea did not qualify any spots for the Olympics, but the IOC had power to offer special invitations.

“Such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago,” Bach said. “The Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula.”

The 22 North Korean athletes mark more North Koreans at a Winter Olympics than the last six Winter Games combined.

North Korea had zero athletes in 2014 and two in 2010.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: South Korea Olympic hockey rosters have North American flavor