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PyeongChang late night roundup

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John-Henry Krueger delivered the first short track medal for the United States in the 2018 Olympics in a dramatic race which saw two South Koreans crash. The 22 year-old, who entered the competition with a puncher’s chance of landing on the podium, was just one of two skaters left on their feet after Shaolin Liu’s collision.

In cross-country, it was another historic day for Marit Bjoergen. The legendary Norwegian skier entered Olympic competition with 10 Olympic medals. After winning three more medals in PyeongChang, including her gold medal in the women’s 4x5km relay tonight, Bjoergen has moved into a joint first position for the most decorated Winter Olympian in history. Bjoergen will have to give credit to her team, especially Ragnhild Haga, for putting her in position to pass Sweden in the final leg.

Continue reading below to catch up on the rest of Friday evening’s action.

Short track: Krueger reverses American misfortunes, wins silver in men’s 1,000m

What a performance for J-H Krueger. The American was supposed to be considered fortunate just reaching the finals of the men’s 1,000m, but he sent a clear message right off the gun as he dashed to first on the initial turn.

Despite the race containing five medalists instead of four, Krueger managed to avoid the the action that plagued South Korea’s gold medal hopes and was able to remain above the fray.

Canada’s Samuel Girard won the gold medal for Canada. Seo Yira, whom Krueger bested in the men’s semifinal, won the bronze.

Maame Biney was eliminated in her first heat during the women’s 1,500m. The American was in the same heat as 2017 World Champion Elise Christie, who finished first, and two-time Olympic champion Zhou Yang.

Choi min-jeong breezed to the Olympic gold in the women’s final, breaking through the field in the final three laps to roars from the home crowd.

Curling: Sweden posts statement win over Canada

The biggest win of the night came from Sweden’s victory over defending gold medalists Canada. Despite trailing 0-2 early in the match, the Swedes held the Canadians scoreless for the following eight draws. This now puts Sweden at an impressive 5-0, the only undefeated team left in the competition. The Britons also suffered a heavy loss against the South Koreans, losing 5-10 to the host nation.

Men’s Tournament

SWE def. CAN 5-2

KOR def. GBR 11-5

SUI def. NOR 7-5

JPN def. ITA 6-5

Full curling recap available here 

Hockey: Canada loses first game in eight years

The Czech Republic pulled off a big win over Canada after winning the shoot out 3-2. This marked the first time in eight years that Canada lost an Olympic hockey game.

On the women’s side, Finland continue to roll, trouncing Sweden in the quarterfinals. Up next for Finland is a replay with the United States. The Americans fell behind early in their first encounter last week before winning 3-1.

CZE def. CAN 3-2 (SO)

SUI def. KOR 8-0

Women’s Tournament

FIN def. SWE 7-2

Cross-Country: Bjoergen anchors Norway to team relay gold 

Marit Bjoergen won her 13th Olympic medal tonight, and her third gold in the women’s 4x5km. Halfway into the race, though, it looked like Norway would yet again find themselves sitting outside the podium.

Two surprising teams took the lead in the first leg, with Olympic Athletes from Russia stretching out a nice lead over Slovenia, whose first skier brought them to second all the way from their 13th starting position.

An incredible effort by Charlotte Kalla saw Sweden make up the 30 second gap between them and Norway, catching up to Jacobsen near the end of her leg and bringing Sweden within touching distance of OAR.

Just as the first leg of the race provided two surprise leaders, the last leg provided the teams expected to compete: Sweden and Norway, as Stina Nilsson and Marit Bjoergen were fighting it out in the final 5km. Bjoergen proved too much for her Swedish rival in the end, opening up a two second gap in the final stages.

The United States finished fifth.

Biathlon: Kuzmina wins gold in women’s mass start

Anastasiya Kuzmina shot 19 of her 20 targets clean in her first gold medal of these Olympic Games. Laura Dahlmeier, who won two golds thus far, failed to reach the podium.


Alina Zagitova eyes more gold at worlds; women’s preview

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Alina Zagitova hasn’t lost internationally in 18 months, and that doesn’t figure to change this week at the world championships in Milan.

The 15-year-old Russian is favored to become the youngest world gold medalist since Tara Lipinski (duplicating her feat from the Olympics) and make it five straight Olympic or world titles for Russian women, the longest streak for one country since American Carol Heiss won six straight Olympic/world titles from 1956 through 1960.

Zagitova would also become the first Olympic women’s champion to win worlds the following month since Kristi Yamaguchi in 1992. That’s largely because Olympic champions usually skip worlds in Olympic years. Since Yamaguchi, the only one to compete was Yuna Kim, who grabbed silver in 2010.

Zagitova may be young, but she may not have the longevity of Kim to make it to a second Olympics. Russia turns over a new class of elite women’s skaters every year.

Two weeks ago, 13-year-old Alexandra Trusova won the world junior title as the first woman to land two different quadruple jumps in one program. Trusova isn’t old enough to compete at the senior worlds until 2020.

Zagitova’s current rival and training partner, Olympic silver medalist and 2016 and 2017 World champion Yevgenia Medvedeva, withdrew from worlds due to injury.

WORLDS: TV Schedule | Pairs Preview | Nagasu’s Outlook

Which leaves the last two Olympic bronze medalists, Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada and Carolina Kostner of Italy, plus PyeongChang fourth-place finisher Satoko Miyahara of Japan as the top challengers this week.

None finished within seven points of Zagitova at any competition this season, the Russian’s first on the senior international level.

Zagitova set herself apart at the Olympics by putting all of her jumps in the second half of her programs for 10 percent bonuses and landing them all with positive grades of execution.

The U.S. contingent includes national champion Bradie Tennell, two-time Olympian Mirai Nagasu and Mariah Bell (replacement for 2017 U.S. champion Karen Chen).

It is the end of a challenging season for U.S. women. In the autumn, none qualified for the Grand Prix Final for a second straight year (after at least one had done so each of the previous seven seasons).

In PyeongChang, no U.S. woman finished in the top six for the first time in Winter Games history. Tennell, who emerged this season after placing ninth at 2017 Nationals, was the top U.S. Olympic finisher in ninth.

Tennell goes into worlds as the top seeded American — seventh — by best international scores this season.

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Olympic golf qualifying, format largely unchanged for 2020

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic golf tournaments qualifying and format will remain largely the same as they were for the sport’s return to the Games in 2016, according to Golf Channel, citing a memo sent to PGA Tour players.

The format will again be four rounds of stroke play with 60 men and 60 women taken from the world rankings, according to the report.

The qualifying window to determine the rankings will be July 1, 2018 to June 22, 2020 for men and July 8, 2018 to June 29, 2020 for women. That’s a slight change, as for 2016 the dates were the same for men and women.

The 2016 process saw a maximum of two men and two women per country, or up to four if they were ranked in the top 15.

Then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said one month after the Rio Games that he hoped the Olympic golf format would be changed to have more medals awarded.

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