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Russians win 1st gold

The Russians finally have a gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics, thanks to a 15-year-old who beat the fellow teen who inspired her to become a figure skater. Alina Zagitova won one of the games' spotlight events Friday, edging her friend and training partner Evgenia Medvedeva, 18. That ended the gold drought for the Olympic Athletes from Russia -- the designation given to the nation's competitors after the IOC banned the nation because of a doping scandal. Zagitova and Medvedeva tied in the free skate, a rare occurrence, but Zagitova had won the short program Wednesday. Bronze went to Kaetlyn Osmond, giving Canada four overall medals in figure skating. Medvedeva seemed well on her way to Olympic gold as she went unbeaten for two seasons. But she battled a cracked bone in her right foot this season and Zagitova emerged, eventually surpassing Medvedeva. While Medvedeva set a world mark in the short program, a few minutes later her fellow skater beat it. The difference in the short program wound up being the margin between gold and silver. Early today, Zagitova was greeted by loud chants and cheers from the Russian fans desperate for that first gold. She nailed her program with fluid flair and technical brilliance. Zagitova earned 156.65 points for her program to "Don Quixote," laying down the challenge for her training partner. Medvedeva matched it, but that was not enough.

U.S. has worst showing

The Americans secured their worst showing in modern-era Olympic women's figure skating with Mirai Nagasu failing to get any lift on her triple axel and popping a triple lutz. Nagasu, 24, was fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Games but never got going in the individual competition at the Pyeongchang Games after helping the U.S. win a team bronze. She hit her triple axel in that event, becoming the first American woman and third overall to do so in an Olympics. But she slipped below U.S. champion Bradie Tennell in the standings after Friday's free skate, with 2017 national champ Karen Chen just behind. With the top six skaters to go, the Americans almost certainly will wind up ninth, 10th and 11th. Since World War II, at least one American woman has finished sixth or higher at each Olympics.


Shiffrin takes silver

The showdown between Lindsey Vonn and her heir apparent, Mikaela Shiffrin, has been a dominant subplot throughout the Pyeongchang Olympics, and it was in the air again on the final run of the last individual Alpine race of the 2018 Winter Games. Vonn and Shiffrin, each an Olympic champion, had rarely raced against each other in any setting, let alone at the Olympics. But late Thursday afternoon, Vonn stood in the start house for almost certainly the last time at the Winter Games with a chance to join Shiffrin on the podium -- even, possibly, to grab the gold medal and push Shiffrin, sitting in second place, to the bronze. In that instant, Vonn was leading the event, the women's Alpine combined. There were 52 gates and about 700 yards separating her from the finish line. Vonn charged forward, but a dozen seconds later she was reeling. Struggling to regain her balance, she missed a gate and skidded to a stop at the side of the racecourse. At the bottom of the mountain, the surprise winner of the event, Michelle Gisin of Switzerland, celebrated her gold medal. Her two-run combined time of 2:20.90 was nearly a second better than Shiffrin, the pre-race favorite. Wendy Holdener, Gisin's teammate, won the bronze. Vonn won the downhill portion of the event Thursday morning, leading the field by 0.74 seconds. Gisin was third. Shiffrin was sixth, nearly 2 seconds behind Vonn. Later on the slalom course, Shiffrin struggled to build any aggressive momentum in the early and middle sections. But in the final 100 yards, which was the steepest section, she charged -- making up nearly a second on her competitors. A smiling Shiffrin, who won the giant slalom last week, happily accepted her silver medal.


More for South Korea

South Korea picked up two more medals in short-track speedskating, a silver and bronze in the men's 500, to up its total to six in this sport. Dajing Wu of China got the gold. Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands won gold in the women's 1,000, and Hungary won its first gold in the Winter Games and first-ever medal in short track by taking the men's 5,000 relay. The U.S. did not advance anyone to the two individual finals on Thursday, but did win the B Final of the 5,000 relay. It doesn't get you anything.


Belarus grabs the gold

Darya Domracheva grabbed the Belarusian flag and headed to the finish line looking to celebrate her team's gold-winning performance in the 4x6-kilometer relay. Then a funny thing happened. A huge gust of wind whipped the red and green flag from the pole she was carrying in her hands and landed way behind her in the snow. Domracheva looked back at the flag as she crossed the line and couldn't help but laugh. It was par for the course on a wintry night at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Snow and heavy winds created havoc on the shooting range for everyone and generally made life miserable on skis, too. But Domracheva has now won four Olympic gold medals in the biathlon, more than any woman in history. Her husband, Ole Einar Bjourndalen from Norway, is the most decorated Olympic biathlete of all time with 13 medals. He was there to cheer her on in the race's closing minutes, shouting times as she skied on past. Sweden rallied from nearly one minute behind early in the race to take silver, and France took bronze.

Sports on 02/23/2018

Print Headline: Olympic roundup

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