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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.


Chinese figure skating judges banned for biased Olympic scoring

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Two Chinese figure skating judges were suspended by the International Skating Union for biased judging at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Chen Weiguang and Huang Feng had “preferential marking” for top Chinese skaters Jin Boyang (fourth place in PyeongChang) and the silver medalist pairs’ team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, respectively, according to the ISU.

Chen was banned two years and excluded from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Huang got a one-year ban.

Chen awarded her highest grades of execution scores of the men’s competition to Jin, as well as her second-highest program components scores, trailing only gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu. Both sets of scores, in both the short and long programs, were out of line with the other eight judges.

“There is evidence of preference for the Chinese skater and prejudice against his strongest competitors,” an ISU report read. “Her marks were completely unrealistic.”

The pairs’ judge Huang “obviously favored his pair also vis-à-vis the other top candidates for the Olympic gold medal,” the ISU said in a report, referencing inflated scores for Sui and Han and lower scores for gold and bronze medalists Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada.

Huang was warned one month before the Olympics by the ISU for biased judging at the December 2017 Grand Prix Final pairs’ event.

Both suspensions are subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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Javier Fernandez to skip Grand Prix, still compete next season

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Javier Fernandez, who in PyeongChang became the first Spanish Olympic figure skating medalist, will skip the fall Grand Prix series but return for January’s European Championships, which could be his final competition.

Europeans will be Fernandez’s focus for the season, his agent said Tuesday.

Fernandez, 26, added an Olympic bronze medal to his 2015 and 2016 World titles. He has said that his third Olympics in PyeongChang would be his last. But Fernandez did not say he would retire after the Winter Games, though he did skip the world championships in March.

Fernandez now plans to compete in his 13th straight European Championships in Minsk in January. He won the last six titles. It’s unknown if he will continue on to the world championships in Saitama, Japan, in March.

In Fernandez’s absence, the top male singles skaters in the fall Grand Prix season should be double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno and American Nathan Chen, who was fifth at the Olympics after a disastrous short program but ran away with March’s world title by the largest margin in history.

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