Olga Graf, a speed skater approved to compete in the Olympics by the IOC, is the first Russian athlete to refuse to go to the PyeongChang Games, according to Russian media.
Graf said she declined the IOC’s invitation because the IOC did not invite enough Russian female skaters to field a team pursuit squad, in a statement attributed to Graf.
R-Sport also quoted the Russia speed skating federation president confirming Graf’s stance.
Graf’s statement said she was upset that the IOC chose not to invite over half of the national speed skating team, all of whom Graf believes are clean athletes
The team pursuit would have been Graf’s only reasonable shot at a medal in PyeongChang.
Graf, 34, bagged bronze medals in the 3000m and team pursuit in Sochi, earning the first Russian medal of the Games in the former.
She may be best remembered for unzipping the top of her suit after her 3000m, then re-zipping upon realizing she wasn’t wearing anything underneath.
Graf last made an individual World Cup podium nearly two years ago and has a best individual finish this season of 11th.
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Without the pressure of racking up points to land on the medal podium, the figure skating exhibition gala is a chance for the athletes to express themselves. There aren’t rules about jumping sequences, and instead, skaters can use props and silly concepts, if they want.
Figure skaters who win medals at the Olympics are typically among the invite list, plus up-and-coming skaters from the host country and other fan favorites.
Here are some of the best performances of the evening:
Ice dance bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani reprised last season’s “That’s Life” short dance by Frank Sinatra featuring Jay-Z for this year’s exhibition.
Ladies’ gold medalist Alina Zagitova performed her “Priestess of Fire” exhibition, which included a fake candle prop glowing on the ice.
Watch performances from the figure skating gala by clicking here
Two-man? Check. Four-man? Double check. Francesco Friedrich piloted his German sled to gold in the four-man bobsled, becoming the sixth pilot to win gold in both the two- and four-man bobsled in the same Olympics on the final day of competition in PyeongChang.
After tying with Canada’s Justin Kripps in two-man, Friedrich made no doubt in four-man, sliding to a dominant win. The German sled was clear of second by 0.53 seconds. And in second? Another tie on the bobsled course — just like the tie for gold in two-man. South Korea and Germany shared the silver medal.
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South Korea’s medal was historic. Won Yun-Jong delivered for the home nation, bringing the country its first medal in the bobsled. Yun Sung-Bin won the country’s first medal in a sliding event by taking gold in skeleton earlier in the games. Germany’s Nico Walther piloted the sled that tied.
Codie Bascue piloted the top American sled to a ninth-place finish. Nick Cunningham and Justin Olsen improved in Runs 3 and 4 to finish 19th and 20th, respectively.
Gold: Germany (Friedrich sled)
Silver: South Korea (Won sled)
Silver: Germany (Walther sled)
Read the full recap and watch bobsled highlights by clicking here