The Latest: Czech star Ledecka secures rare Olympic double
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):
Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic won the second leg of an unprecedented Winter Olympics double, taking the gold medal in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom to pair with her surprise skiing victory in the Alpine super-G a week earlier.
In other highlights of Day 15 of the Pyeongchang Games, the U.S. men’s curling team beat Sweden 10-7 for a decisive upset in the gold medal game Saturday. The men later were accidentally presented with medals stamped out for the women’s winners before they were swapped out for the correct ones.
It was also a record-setting day for Norway, which took bronze in the new Alpine skiing team event to tally its 38th medal in Pyeongchang — a Winter Olympics record.
The Canadians made sure they aren’t going home from the Olympics empty-handed, even after missing out on a third straight gold medal.
Andrew Ebbett, Chris Kelly and Derek Roy each scored in the first period, and Canada took the bronze medal at the Pyeongchang Games by beating the Czech Republic 6-4.
This was the third bronze for Canada to go along with nine gold medals for the country that created hockey, not that the Canadians seemed to mind too much when the buzzer sounded. They hugged in celebration at the net where Kevin Poulin made 30 saves in his second straight start in place of the injured Ben Scrivens.
Ebbett and Kelly added a goal apiece in the third, and Wojtek Wolski also scored for Canada, which also finished with bronze in 1968 and 1956.
Top favorite Lee Seung-hoon skated a masterful race and unleashed a final sprint that no one could match to take gold for South Korea in the men’s mass start at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Behind him, Belgian inline skater Bart Swings held on to take silver ahead of Koen Verweij of the Netherlands on Saturday.
In a tactical race, 5,000-meter champion Sven Kramer went for gold with four laps to go, but the Dutchman was caught just as he entered the final lap. From then on, it was a race among the trio, and Lee’s skills on the tight final corner paid off.
It was the first South Korean gold medal at the Gangneung Oval.
Any Olympic gold medal is a good gold medal, if you’re the U.S. men’s curling team.
Still, it was nice to get the right ones after initially being presented with the medals stamped out for the women’s winners at the Pyeongchang Games.
After beating Sweden 10-7 in the championship on Saturday, the team led by John Shuster took the top step of the podium to receive their prizes. But when they looked at the medals, they noticed that the back said “women’s.”
Alternate Joe Polo’s was the only one that was correct.
The right medals were quickly retrieved and swapped out.
Japan’s Nana Takagi blasted past opposition in the final straightaway to win the first women’s mass start ahead of Kim Bo-reum of South Korea and take her second gold medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Irene Schouten of the Netherlands was leading into the final straightaway but went too wide on the final corner and had to settle for bronze Saturday.
Takagi already was part of Japan’s team pursuit that won gold earlier in the week.
It was the third gold medal already for Japan at the Olympic speedskating Oval.
The International Olympic Committee says it has not yet reached a decision on whether Russia will be reinstated in time for Sunday’s closing ceremony at the Pyeongchang Games.
The Olympic body’s meeting on Saturday lasted nearly four hours.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams says, “The deliberation will continue tomorrow and their decision has yet been taken.”
Russian athletes have been competing under the Olympic flag because the country’s Olympic committee was suspended for operating a vast doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Two Russian athletes have tested positive for doping at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
An official with the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding team made good on a 12-year-old promise by dyeing his gray beard pink when Kikkan Randall won America’s first gold medal in cross-country skiing.
Vice President of Communications Tom Kelly had told the 35-year-old Randall that he would dye his beard pink if she ever won a medal.
Randall didn’t just win a medal Wednesday. She and Jessica Diggins took gold in the women’s sprint free relay.
That meant Kelly found himself in a hair salon in the Olympic village on Saturday morning. He said the people in the salon were ecstatic when Randall walked in with her gold medal.
Kelly says, “They thought it was fun. We all thought it was fun. But I’m not sure my wife likes it.”
While millions of people around the world get ready to watch the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, North Koreans are still waiting to see the first event.
The virtual blackout is a telling contrast with how North Korea’s made-for-the-cameras delegation at the games, replete with hundreds of cheerleaders and even one of the country’s most popular singers, was a big hit with the South Korean media and some of the games’ hottest Internet clickbait.
North Korea’s state-run media has never been especially devoted to covering international news events. Their job is more about hailing Kim Jong Un and whatever the ruling regime’s latest propaganda message might be.
On that front they have stayed true to form: The only reports from Pyeongchang as of Saturday afternoon were about the visit of Kim’s younger sister and North Korea’s nominal head of state to attend the opening ceremony.
But even taking into account the North’s reluctance to portray South Korea in a positive light, the blackout is a bit mysterious.
South Korean police say they’ve detained a Canadian ski cross competitor, his wife and a coach for allegedly taking a car during the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Police on Saturday said the three allegedly got into a car in front of a bar and drove it near the Pyeongchang athletes village before they were detained by police on patrol.
Police say all three were intoxicated when they were stopped.
Canadian Olympic Committee chief executive Chris Overholt says an “incident occurred” just after midnight.
Overholt told a news conference, “We have confirmation that individuals attached to our team are involved in the investigation and they’re cooperating.”
The police and the Canadian delegation declined to release the names of anybody involved.
Overholt says, “We take this matter, of course, very, very seriously. However, until we know the results of the investigation, we’re not really in a position to comment much further.”
Police in Pyeongchang and at the Gangwon Provincial Police Agency say the three remain in custody, but likely could be released if they pay a fine.
The American men have won the Olympic gold medal in curling in a stunning and decisive upset of Sweden.
John Shuster skipped the United States to a 10-7 victory on Saturday for only the second curling medal in U.S. history. Shuster was part of the other one, too, as the lead thrower on Pete Fenson’s bronze-winning team in Turin in 2006.
The Americans received a good luck call from Mr. T before the match. The King of Sweden was there, as was U.S. presidential daughter Ivanka Trump.
They saw Shuster convert a double-takeout for a five-ender in the eighth — an exceedingly rare score that made it 10-5 and essentially clinched the win.
Norway’s third-place finish in the new Alpine skiing team event at the Pyeongchang Games has given the country a record 38 medals at a single Winter Olympics.
Norway leads the medals table with 13 gold, 14 silver and 11 bronze. That breaks the record set at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics by the Americans, who won 37 medals.
Norwegian Alpine skier Nina Haver-Loeseth says her teammates have been “doing so well and you’re standing there and you’re watching them on the podium and it’s just a really nice feeling yourself. So that kind of pushed us to just give it our all.”
Norway’s previous best medal haul at the Winter Olympics was 26, which they won at the 1994 Lillehammer Games and the 2014 Sochi Games.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter has paid a visit to the American team’s headquarters at the Pyeongchang Games to meet with Olympians.
Ivanka Trump gave a presidential challenge coin to Garrett Hines, a former U.S. bobsledder and Army reservist. She thanked him for his service.
Hines asked Ivanka Trump if her favorite sport was bobsledding, and she laughed. She said her kids’ favorite is bobsledding, but she prefers skiing.
Ivanka Trump arrived in South Korea on Friday and told President Moon Jae-in that she would use her visit to advocate maximum pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear program.
On Saturday, Ivanka Trump watched snowboarders go on runs at the Big Air jump and saw American snowboarder Kyle Mack take a silver medal.
Iivo Niskanen has captured Finland’s first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Games.
He beat out Russian Alexander Bolshunov with a strong sprint to the finish in the 50 kilometer mass start on Saturday.
Bolshunov took the silver and teammate Andrey Larkov won the bronze. It’s the first time in 11 races that Norway has failed to medal in a cross-country race here.
It turned into a two-man race with about 11 kilometers remaining as Bolshunov and Niskanen opened more than a 1-minute lead over the rest of the pack. But with just more than a kilometer remaining, Niskanen took off and Bolshunov had nothing left in the tank to catch him.
Niskanen won the marathon event in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 22.1 seconds — more than 18 seconds ahead of Bolshunov.
The Norwegians raced without Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, who decided to skip the final men’s race of the Olympic Games and return home to Norway despite having a chance to become the only Olympian at the Pyeongchang Games to win four gold medals.
A Russian bobsledder who tested positive for a banned substance at the Pyeongchang Olympics has admitted doping and been disqualified from the games.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport says Nadezhda Sergeeva has accepted a provisional suspension but reserves the right “to seek the elimination or reduction” of her expected ban from the sport.
Sergeeva, who wore a T-shirt at the start of the games that said “I don’t do doping,” was the second Russian to test positive at the Olympics. She placed 12th in her event. Curler Alexander Krushelnitsky also tested positive and returned his bronze medal from the mixed doubles competition.
The Russian delegation said in a statement that the substance Sergeeva tested positive for was trimetazidine, a medication used to treat angina. It affects metabolism and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Russian athletes are competing under the Olympic flag rather than their own and wearing neutral uniforms after the country’s national federation was suspended for operating a doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Russia is waiting to hear if the International Olympic Committee will end the suspension and allow the country to march under its flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony.
Mr. T has called the U.S. men’s curling team to give them a motivational speech.
The Americans are playing for the gold medal against Sweden at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
It turns out Mr. T, best known for his role in the 1980s television series “The A-Team,” is quite the curling fan.
He’ll have to stay up late to watch the Americans. The match started at 2:30 a.m. back on the U.S. East Coast.
The Americans are a surprise gold medal game participant after beating Canada in the semifinals. The U.S. has won just one medal in men’s curling, in 2006 in Turin.
Mr. T has been tweeting about both men’s and women’s curling.
Ester Ledecka has won the second leg of an unheard-of Olympic double, taking the gold medal in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom to go with her surprise skiing victory in the Alpine super-G earlier in the games.
The Czech star is the first to win gold medals in both sports. She is top-ranked on the snowboarding circuit but never a threat until now in skiing.
She outraced Selina Joerg of Germany to the line in the final and won by .46 seconds, a much more comfortable margin than the .01-second edge in the super-G race that left her staring at the clock in shock.
This time, it was no surprise. Ledecka crossed the line and simply pumped her fist, then offered a long congratulatory hug to Joerg.
Thinking the Olympic hockey arenas look empty? You’re not alone.
International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel says he’s disappointed with the crowds at some playoff games but acknowledges South Korea is not a hockey country. He says, “I think the pricing was also relatively high for people.”
Tickets for the bronze and gold medal games run about $140 to $278 U.S. on the Pyeongchang Games website.
At the first Olympics without NHL players since 1994, there have been whole sectors of empty seats at some games.
The crowd of 2,092 that watched Sweden’s quarterfinal against Germany was the lowest attendance at any Olympic men’s game this century. Canada’s quarterfinal game against Finland attracted just 2,265 people.
The Pyeongchang Olympic organizing committee says it sold 80 percent of tickets for hockey.
The International Ice Hockey Federation says it won’t review the use of shootouts to decide Olympic medal-round games.
The IIHF’s insistence on shootouts after one period of overtime was questioned by some fans after the United States beat Canada for the women’s gold medal in a shootout.
IIHF president Rene Fasel says, “Maybe the Canadians can practice a little more the shootout,” adding, “I will never convince North Americans to accept (shootouts), but it is like it is.”
Fasel says in a tournament it’s not possible to play more than one period of overtime because players would not be able to recover for later games.
The U.S. men’s team was also eliminated by the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals on a shootout.
The United States biathlon team has announced it will boycott the final IBU World Cup meet in Russia next month.
The U.S. athletes released a statement Saturday saying that the International Biathlon Union’s recent decision to move forward with the March 22-25 event in Tyumen, Russia— despite a recent doping scandal in that country — is “completely unacceptable.”
The statement says, “In support of clean sport and our own physical safety, we cannot in good conscience participate.”
The U.S. Biathlon team adds, “Holding the World Cup Final in Russia now sends an outrageous message of anti-doping indifference to the world.”
The World Cup series website says 28 teams have applied to participate.
Athletes from Sweden and Canada have also expressed reservations about competing in the event.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org