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PyeongChang late night recap

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Plenty of happenings occurred around the Olympic grounds in the late hours on Saturday and into Sunday morning. Most notably, the American women’s ice hockey team got off the mark to their competition, edging Finland in Group A play.

Elsewhere, American athletes have been setting themselves up for a chance at Olympic glory. Chris Mazdzer currently sits in second in the luge competition with one final run to go, whilst Morgan Schild leads a field of three American women into the women’s individual moguls final.

Women’s Ice Hockey: USA holds of Finland 3-1

Canada, Finland, and the USA were all pegged as medal contenders entering the Olympics. But these three teams find themselves in the same group, and only two could advance.

The USA placed tremendous pressure on Finland in the first period and were on the front foot for much of the opening 20 minutes, yet it was Finnish starlet Jenni Hiirikoski who struck in the closing seconds of the period. The Americans piled on even more pressure against the Finns in the second period and forced Finland to put too many defenders near their net, giving Monique Lameroux-Moranda enough space to beat GK Noora Raty.

Kendall Coyne gave the U.S. the go-ahead goal just a few minutes later, capitalizing on a power play.

 

Luge: Mazdzer in contention for U.S. medal 

American Chris Mazdzer placed himself in prime position to be the first American individuals luge Olympic medalist. Finishing at the top of the class on Run 3 with a time of 47.534 seconds, Mazdzer is only looking up to Germany’s Felix Loch in the podium. The German is poised to win his third straight Olympic gold medal.

NBCOlympics.com: Chris Mazdzer sets course record on Run 3 to move into 2nd

Freestyle Skiing: Johnson joins Schild in finals 

Tess Johnson has joined American teammate Morgan Schild in the finals of the women’s individual moguls, finishing first in her heat with a score of 75.33. Sochi silver medalist Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, a medal contender again for 2018, barely scraped through in the heat after two disappointing runs. Still, enough time to potentially regroup for the final.

Cross Country Skiing: Norway sweep men’s 30km Skiathlon

A strong team effort saw Norway sweep the podium in the men’s 30km skiathlon. Simen Hegstad Kreuger overcame a spill at the start of the race to win his first Olympic gold medal in 1:16:20. A late surge by the Norwegian saw him set the tone for a decisive second half of the race, winning by eight seconds. His compatriots Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Hans Christer Holund won silver and bronze, respectively.

Speed Skating: Sven Kramer sets new OR record in Men’s 5,000m

Dutch speedster Sven Kramer won gold in the Men’s 5,000m event with an Olympic-record time of 6:09.76. Ted-Jan Bloeman of Canada and Norway’s Sverre Lunde Pedersen picked up the silver and bronze, respectively.

His third successive gold medal, Kramer is now the most decorated men’s speed skater in history.

Biathlon: Surprise medalists stand on podium in Men’s 10km sprint

Simply put, this was an odd day. Shooting failed many of the favorites entering this competition, including Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe and 11 time world champion Martin Fourcade.

With the heavy hitters firmly out of contention early on in their races, someone had to step up. That man was Arnd Peiffer, one of only two competitors to shoot clean the entire race. The other, Czech Republic’s Mikhal Krcmar, finished second. Italy’s Dominik Windisch claimed the bronze.

 

2022 Pan Pacific Championships canceled as swimming calendar shifts

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The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, a quadrennial major international meet, will not be held in 2022 “out of respect for the recent changes to the international sporting calendar,” according to a press release.

The Pan Pacs’ charter nations — the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan — agreed to the move. The 2026 event will be held in Canada, which was supposed to be the 2022 host.

The decision came after the 2021 World Championships were moved to May 2022, following the Tokyo Olympics moving from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The quadrennial multi-sport Commonwealth Games — which includes Australia and Canada, but not the U.S. or Japan — are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7, 2022.

“Organizing a third major championships in that window presented several challenges,” according to the Pan Pacs release.

Pan Pacs mark the third-biggest major international meet for U.S. swimmers, held in non-Olympic, non-world championships years.

MORE: Caeleb Dressel co-hosts a podcast. It’s not about swimming.

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Boston Marathon canceled for first time after 123 years; virtual event planned

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The Boston Marathon, held every year since 1897, has been canceled as an in-person event for the first time. It will be held as a virtual race instead due to the coronavirus.

“While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon,” Boston Athletic Association (BAA) CEO Tom Grilk said in a press release.

The world’s oldest annual marathon had been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14, it was announced March 13.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he first considered canceling the postponed marathon during a coronavirus surge in April.

“We were maxed out in our hospital emergency rooms,” Walsh said Thursday. “I realized that the downside of the curve, which we were on, the backside of the curve, is going to be going for some time. The concern of a second surge made me have some real reservations about can we have the marathon or not.”

Walsh said experts said a potential second surge would be between August and October. He held out hope to hold the race until talking with the BAA last week.

All participants originally registered for Boston will be offered a full refund of their entry fee and have the opportunity to participate in the virtual alternative, which can be run between Sept. 7-14.

More details, including entry information, will be announced in the coming weeks.

It’s the biggest alteration to the Boston Marathon, which was inspired by the marathon’s debut at the first modern Olympics in 1896. Previously, the biggest change came in 1918, the last year of World War I. The marathon was still held on Patriots’ Day in April but as a 10-man military relay race.

The original 2020 Boston elite fields included two-time U.S. Olympian Des Linden, the 2018 Boston winner who was fourth at the Feb. 29 Olympic Trials, where the top three earned Olympic spots.

London is the world’s other major spring marathon. It was rescheduled from April 27 to Oct. 4. Its original fields for April were headlined by the two fastest men in history — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. It’s unknown if they will remain in the field, should London happen.

The fall major marathon schedule

Boston — Sept. 7-14 (virtual event)
Berlin — TBD (will not be held as planned on Sept. 27)
London — Oct. 4
Chicago — Oct. 11
New York City — Nov. 1

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results