PyeongChang late night round up

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If you go to the results page for the men’s cross-country 15km freestyle competition, you’ll see Dario Cologna at the top. The Swiss skier became one of the most decorated athletes in his field after he won his third straight gold medal.

But, if you scroll down a little more, and a little more still, you’ll see five athletes who finished 111th, 113th, 114th, 115th, and 116th. Those five athletes are Samir Azzimani of Morocco, Kequyen Lam of Portugal, Pita Taufatofua of Tonga, Sebastien Uprimny of Colombia, and German Madrazo of Mexico. They teamed up last year in an attempt to qualify for the Olympics, renting out a cabin in Austria and training for 10 hours a day to qualify. Taufatofua qualified for the Olympics on the last possible day.

That they finished so low in the rankings isn’t a surprise, nor is it the story. Their pride as they took the final strides heading to the finish line, and the way they greeted each other at the finish line, is. In true Olympic spirit, Cologna (who nearly finished a half hour in front of them) was the first to embrace the skiers. 

Those tremendous athletes won’t leave PyeongChang with a medal, but they’ll walk away carrying the pride of their nations on their shoulders.


Hockey: OAR, USA back on track 

The USA and Athletes from Russia both responded well following disappointing starts to their Olympic Games.

The USA were led by Ryan Donato’s two goal effort to take a 2-1 victory over Slovakia. The U.S. learned from their previous game and continued to be aggressive for the entirety of the 60 minutes.

The Athletes from Russia posted a resounding 8-2 thrashing over Slovenia in their second game. Team OAR literally dominated the game from the first minute until the last, scoring their first goal 90 seconds into play. Ilya Kovalchuk and Kirill Kaprizov both recorded hat tricks.

USA def. SVK 2-1 

OAR def. SLO 8-2

Cross-Country Skiing: Super Dario wins third straight gold in 15km freestyle

Was there any doubt that Dario Cologna would win his third consecutive gold medal? The Swiss skier finished 18.3 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, Norways’ Simen Hegstad Krueger.

Full recap available here 

Curling: Canadians continue to struggle

Canada have been sent to the bottom of the standings in the women’s competition after being beaten by 2014 cellar dwellars Denmark. The Canadians entered PyeongChang as the clear favorites to retain gold, but time is quickly running out for them to rebound.

With Canada slipping up, a vacuum now exists at the top. Sweden and Great Britain will most be the teams most likely to fight for the gold medal should Canada miss the latter stages, but don’t sleep on Japan and South Korea. The latter continued to impress tonight with a victory over Switzterland.

DEN def. CAN 9-8

KOR def. SUI 7-5

SWE def. OAR 5-4

Full recap available here 

Freestyle Skiing: Huskova wins gold as others stumble 

Madison Olsen was the sole American to make it to the finals of the women’s aerials competition. Olsen slim medal hopes faded though as she couldn’t complete the landing.

She wasn’t the only one to tumble, though. A total of four women (including Olsen) out of the six finalists, all fell during their routines.

Hanna Huskova of Belarus took home the gold with a score of 96.14.

Speed Skating: Dutch maintain dominance

Another day, another medal for the Dutch speed skater. Today it was Esmee Visser who took the gold, finishing well ahead of the competition. Her compatriot, Annouk van der Weijden, was pushed down to fourth as the final pair of skaters – Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova and OAR’s Natalya Voronina – finished second and third, respectively.

 

12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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