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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.

 

Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

“Was starting to think that I’m so old that I can’t time trial anymore,” Mantia, a 34-year-old whose last 1500m personal best came in 2015, told media in Utah. “Maybe there’s a little bit of hope left.”

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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MORE: Shani Davis retires, takes new role in speed skating

Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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