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PyeongChang late night roundup

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She had to wait a while, but Mikaela Shiffrin finally was able to ski in PyeongChang. With the women’s alpine skiing competition behind set increasingly back, the American was able to maintain her composure to win her first Olympic gold medal of these Games.

Shiffrin wasn’t the only American in action tonight. The U.S. women’s hockey team fell to Canada in a tense encounter. In a game that featured plenty of momentum swings, Canada scored two in the second period to seal the deal. The U.S. continued to put increasing pressure on the Canadians, but couldn’t get the job done.

In other news from the evening, Marit Bjoergen won her 12th overall Olympic medal and Pierre Vaultier won his second straight boardercross gold medal.

Alpine Skiing: Shiffrin wins gold in giant slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin sat in second position after her first run in the giant slalom, behind Italian Manuela Moelgg. The American, though, unlike her Italian counterpart, put on a masterful second run of 1:09.20, launching her into the gold medal position ahead of Moelgg, whose second run pushed her all the way down to eighth.

The Olympics could not have gone off to a better start for Shiffrin, who could leave PyeongChang with multiple medals.

Watch Shiffrin’s gold medal run 

Hockey: CAN def. USA 2-1 

Women’s Tournament

If that was a preview of what the gold medal game could look like, then it’s bound to be another classic between these two rivals. From the first puck drop until the final whistle, these two teams battled it out in a cagey affair that certainly lived up to expectations. Meghan Acosta and Sarah Nurse both scored for Canada.

CAN def. USA 2-1

FIN def. OAR 5-1

To read a full recap and to watch highlights, click here

Men’s Tournament

Finland’ s 18-year old young star Eeli Tolvanen stole the show on Wednesday night as the Finns eased to victory. Voltanen had a hand in four of five goals for his nation, scoring once and claiming three assists. With some traditional powerhouse teams looking a bit shaky at the start, he could become a huge difference for Finland as the tournament progresses into the knockout phase.

FIN def. GER 5-2

SWE def. NOR 4-0

Cross-Country Skiing: Haga dominates women’s 10km

Jessie Diggins again just finished outside the podium places in the women’s 10km free, finishing four seconds behind joint-third place finisher Marit Bjoergen and Krista Parmakowski.

Bjoergen, who has now won 12 overall Olympic medals in her career, is joined by countrywoman Ragnhild Haga. The Norwegian got off to a lightning-quick start, and eased to a 20.3 second margin of victory over second-placed Charlotte Kalla.

Snowboard Cross: Vaultier repeats as Olympic champ 

Pierre Vaultier was one of the few man to remain standing upright on the boardercross course. This event usually sees its fair share of athletes colliding or stumbling, and in the finals those two athletes were Team USA’s Nick Baumgartner and Mick Dierdorff.

Vaultier himself was part of a collision in his respective semifinal, but was able to recover well enough to advance to the final. This is his second Olympic gold medal in boardercross, mirroring his performance in Sochi.

Full curling recap available here 

Curling: USA fall to Italy 9-10

The U.S. men’s curling team put on a display as they sought to come back from a 6-9 deficit, but Italy stole the final end to take the narrow victory that sees the USA fall to 1-1 in group play.

Elsewhere, Canada defeated another medal contender in a 7-4 victory over Norway.

ITA def. USA 10-9

CAN def. NOR 7-4

GBR def. JPN 6-5

SUI def. DEN 9-7

Full curling recap available here 

Biathlon: Dahlmeier’s streak ends

Laura Dahlmeier missed just one shot in the women’s 15km individual, but it was enough to see her gold medal hopes slip away. Instead, it was 22-year old Hanna Oeberg who completed the race of her life to win the event. Oeberg was just one of two competitors to shoot clear in all of her targets

 

USA Gymnastics settles sex abuse lawsuit

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — USA Gymnastics has reached a confidential settlement in a Georgia lawsuit that spurred a newspaper investigation into the organization’s practices for reporting child abuse.

A former gymnast filed the lawsuit against USA Gymnastics in 2013, alleging that the organization that trains Olympians received at least four warnings about coach William McCabe, who videotaped her in various states of undress.

The lawsuit revealed that USA Gymnastics wouldn’t forward child sex abuse allegations to authorities unless they were in writing and signed by a victim or a victim’s parent.

A judge in Effingham County, Georgia, dismissed the lawsuit on April 12, according to court records. USA Gymnastics admits no wrongdoing or liability in the settlement, said W. Brian Cornwell of Cornwell & Stevens LLP, the gymnast’s lawyer.

Both parties have declined to comment on the settlement.

“We want to make it clear that the settlement does not prevent the former gymnast from speaking publicly about her experiences,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement Thursday.

McCabe pleaded guilty in Georgia in 2006 to federal charges of sexual exploitation of children and making false statements. He’s serving a 30-year prison sentence.

The suit sparked The Indianapolis Star’s investigation of USA Gymnastics, which exposed abuse by Larry Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor, and spurred the resignations of the organization’s president and board.

Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to molesting patients and possessing child pornography. He was sentenced this year to prison terms that will keep him locked up for life after roughly 200 women gave statements against him in two courtrooms over 10 days.

USA Gymnastics faces additional lawsuits from women who say Nassar sexually abused them. The suits allege the organization was negligent, fraudulent and intentionally inflicted emotional distress by failing to warn or protect athletes from Nassar’s abuse. The organization has denied the allegations and wants the lawsuits dismissed.

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Max Aaron retires from figure skating

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Max Aaron, a national champion and Skate America winner, has retired from competitive figure skating.

Aaron, 26, ends his career as the only Skate America men’s winner not to compete in an Olympics. He is one of three U.S. men’s champions in the last 55 years not to compete in an Olympics, along with Ryan Bradley and Rudy Galindo.

“Of course, becoming an Olympian, or having an Olympic medal would have been great to say, ride off on my white horse, but having the ability to say that I have no regrets in my entire career of figure skating, for me that is my gold medal,” Aaron said Thursday night.

Aaron, a former top USA Hockey developmental player, also figure skated growing up to help with his skating skills as one of the smaller players on his team.

He stopped playing hockey at 16 due to a broken vertebra but continued full-time with figure skating. By 2012, Aaron considered quitting figure skating after placing eighth at nationals (one year after being U.S. junior champion) and being told he wasn’t artistic enough.

But Aaron kept with it and completed a remarkable bounce back the next year, winning the U.S. title and setting himself up as a favorite to make the 2014 Olympic team.

But Aaron ended up third at the 2014 U.S. Championships. The two Sochi Olympic spots went to Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown.

Aaron continued, becoming the first U.S. man to win Skate America in six years in 2015 and topping the short program at the 2016 U.S. Championships before ultimately finishing second to Adam Rippon.

Aaron plummeted to ninth at the 2017 U.S. Championships, coming back from offseason hernia surgery, but returned to the Olympic team radar last fall with a personal-best free skate at Cup of China, including three landed quadruple jumps. He went into the 2018 U.S. Championships ranking third among American men for the season.

But Aaron was again ninth at nationals, missing the Olympic team. He was called on to compete at last month’s world championships as the third alternate after Rippon, Ross Miner and Brown all passed.

Aaron had stopped skating and instead was training for a triathlon. He went to worlds in Milan on two weeks of training and finished 11th, a result that helped the U.S. keep three men’s spots for 2019 Worlds. Nathan Chen won the world title, but Vincent Zhou was 14th. The U.S. needed its second man to be 12th or better to go along with Chen’s first place to ensure three spots next year. Aaron reportedly said at worlds that it may have been his last competition.

Aaron said he’s started a job with Merrill Lynch.

“It’s really been a great ride. I have no regrets,” he said. “That’s one thing that I always told myself, in sport, in life, I want to have no regrets, and I can honestly say, with the help from my coaches and friends, that I have no regrets in the sport.”

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