The Latest: Close call in men's Olympic curling final

The Latest: Close call in men’s Olympic curling final

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea/February 24, 2018 (AP)(STL.News) —The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

There’s been a close call early in the men’s curling final at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

With the Americans and Swedes tied 2-all in the fourth end, a Swedish last throw left some question which stone was closer to the middle of the target area, known as the button.

Usually, the teams can just figure it out with the naked eye. But this time they needed an umpire, who came out with a measuring stick that checks which stone is closer to the center, and which team will score a point.

One end of the arm goes in the middle of the target area. The umpire swings it around and, based on how far each rock moves a rod, he can tell which rock is closer.

In this case, the American stone was a few millimeters closer, giving them a steal of one point and a 3-2 lead.

___

4:35 p.m.

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.

___

4:30 p.m.

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.

___

4:15 p.m.

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.

___

4 p.m.

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.

___

3 p.m.

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.

___

2:30 p.m.

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.

___

 

1:55 p.m.

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.

___

1:45 p.m.

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.

___

 

1:25 p.m.

Confusion reigns over how the International Olympic Committee will decide what to do with the banned Russian Olympic Committee. They could readmit them, continue the ban or hedge with what the IOC says might be a “partial solution.”

The IOC must announce by Sunday if the Russian Olympic Committee will be readmitted to the Olympic family after being ousted for a massive doping scandal. That would allow about 160 Russian athletes competing in Pyeongchang to fly their own flag on Sunday at the closing ceremony.

They’ve been competing here under a neural flag.

Two strikes against readmission are positive doping tests in Pyeongchang by two Russian athletes, including one who had to forfeit his bronze medal. That’s half of the four doping cases reported so far at this year’s Olympics.

___

1:15 p.m.

U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml calls his men’s team’s Olympic performance “disappointing” and acknowledges they “definitely have to rebuild” before the Beijing Games in 2022.

Riml said Saturday that the American skiing team “had quite a few ups and downs.” He says it is now time for a “thorough evaluation” after finishing with three medals, all from Mikaela Shiffrin or Lindsey Vonn.

At Sochi four years ago, when Vonn was sidelined after knee surgery, the U.S. team collected five medals.

This time around, the American men had only one top-10 finish in their five individual events: Ted Ligety came in fifth in the combined.

Riml spoke to the AP after Britain eliminated the U.S. in the first round of the 16-nation team event. He described it as “a little disappointing.”

___

1:05 p.m.

Norwegian cross-country skier Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo will not be going for a fourth gold medal at the Pyeongchang Games after all.

Norway’s golden boy is not on the entry list for Saturday’s 50-kilometer mass start.

Norwegian coach Tor Arne Hetland told state broadcaster NRK that the 21-year-old Klaebo was satisfied with three medals and decided to return to Norway early.

Klaebo won gold in the 30-kilometer skiathlon, the 4×10-meter relay and the sprint classic at the Winter Games to tie French biathlete Martin Fourcade for the most gold medals at Pyeongchang.

Klaebo is ranked the eighth-best long distance cross-country skier in the World Cup standings.

___

12:50 p.m.

Switzerland has beaten top-seeded Austria to take the gold medal in the Olympic debut of the Alpine team skiing event.

Switzerland was up 2-1 in the final matchup when Swiss ski racer Daniel Yule wrapped up the win as Austrian Marco Schwarz skied out along the side-by-side parallel slalom course.

Norway edged France in the bronze medal match. The countries were tied at 2, but Norway’s top skiers were faster. Each team had two male and two female skiers.

The Swiss ski team ended the Pyeongchang Games with two gold medals and seven total. Austria’s ski squad also had seven medals, including three gold. Norway’s Alpine skiers also had seven medals, including one gold.

Several of the world’s top racers, including American Mikaela Shiffrin and Austrian Marcel Hirscher, skipped the event.

___

12:30 p.m.

Top-seeded Austria and Switzerland will meet in the final of the Alpine team skiing event, which is making its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.

Norway and France square off in the bronze-medal match.

It’s an event that several of the top ski racers decided to skip. Marcel Hirscher isn’t in the lineup for the Austrians.

This event closes out the Alpine ski program at the Pyeongchang Games.

___

12:15 p.m.

Top-seeded Austria has rolled into the semifinal round of the Alpine team event at the Pyeongchang Olympics by beating Sweden, 4-0.

Joining Austria in the semis are Norway, France and Switzerland. There are 16 seeded countries competing in a bracket-style tournament in an event that’s making its Olympic debut.

Several of the world’s top racers skipped the competition, including American Mikaela Shiffrin and Austrian Marcel Hirscher, to get back to focusing on the upcoming World Cup races.

___

11:50 a.m.

Great Britain has beaten the U.S. to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Alpine team skiing event, which is making its debut at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Quite a few of the world’s top racers skipped the competition, including American Mikaela Shiffrin and Austrian Marcel Hirscher.

The competition has 16 countries seeded for a bracket-style tournament. Each team has four racers — two men and two women — competing in 1-on-1, side-by-side parallel runs.

Each race victory is worth one point. If the score ends up at 2-all, the tiebreaker is the lower combined time of each team’s fastest man and fastest woman.

That’s how Great Britain beat the U.S. after their match was tied at 2. Also advancing are top-seeded Austria, Sweden, Norway, Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland. Medals will be awarded Saturday.

___

 

11:35 a.m.

Canadian snowboarder Sebastien Toutant has soared to gold in the Olympic debut of men’s Big Air.

Toutant scored a 174.25 in the final to give Team Canada its 11th gold of the Pyeongchang Games.

Kyle Mack of the United States took second with a score of 168.75. He had a chance to better Toutant but sat down on his third and final jump.

Billy Morgan of Great Britain earned bronze in front of a boisterous crowd at Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre.

Ivanka Trump was also in attendance. The daughter of president Donald Trump took in the finals as part of a whirlwind tour during the penultimate day of the games. Wearing a red ski suit with a blue knit USA cap, Trump joined Kim Jung-sook, wife of South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

Red Gerard, who captured the first gold medal for the United States in Pyeongchang in the slopestyle event two weeks ago, finished fifth.

___

11 a.m.

Ivanka Trump is watching snowboarders vying for medals at the men’s Big Air competition at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Trump, who will lead the U.S. delegation at the closing ceremony Sunday, chatted with South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-suk while watching from a box.

Also sitting next to her is International Olympic Committee member and 1998 gold medalist Angela Ruggiero.

Trump was smiling and appeared to be having fun. She’s wearing a Team USA hat and red snowsuit.

Music from Drake, Chance and South Korean artist Psy piped in over loudspeakers between competitors.

___

10:30 a.m.

Lindsey Vonn has said repeatedly that the Pyeongchang Olympics will be the last Winter Games of her career. But her U.S. teammate and heir apparent Mikaela Shiffrin isn’t so sure she really means it. Vonn is 33. Shiffrin is 22. Each has won three Olympic medals.

“Whenever I hear anybody say something about this,” Shiffrin says, laughing, at a press conference. “It’s like, ‘most likely,’ ‘probably,’ ‘maybe,’ ‘we’ll see,’ ‘not sure.’ I’m like, ‘Knowing Lindsey, I don’t believe her.'”

They were the only two members of the country’s Alpine team to earn medals at the Pyeongchang Games.

Vonn won bronze in the downhill and Shiffrin won gold in the giant slalom and silver in the combined.

___

9:55 a.m.

The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation says it isn’t commenting yet on an alleged anti-doping rule violation by Russian women’s bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva.

The federation says it will comment once the Court of Arbitration for Sport issues a ruling. The federation has been told by the court’s Anti-Doping Division that the International Olympic Committee has filed a case against Sergeeva.

“At this point the IBSF is not in the position to give further information but will do so once (CAS) has taken a decision on the matter,” the bobsled federation said.

Russian officials said Sergeeva tested positive for trimetazidine, ordinarily part of angina medication. It affects metabolism and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Sergeeva finished 12th at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The Russian team was barred from the Olympics in December for doping at the Sochi Games, but the IOC invited 168 athletes to compete under the Olympic flag.

___

9:45 a.m.

Ivanka Trump will get a taste of Olympic action on the final full day of events at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The daughter of President Donald Trump is expected to make stops at the men’s Big Air final; the gold medal curling match, where the U.S. men have a chance to win their first-ever gold medal in the event; and speedskating.

Trump is leading the U.S. delegation at Sunday’s closing ceremony.

In action already underway Saturday, surprise super-G champion Ester Ledecka has the fastest time so far in women’s snowboard parallel slalom qualifying.

___

By Associated Press – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC  (Z.S)

___