Janka fails in bid to make Olympic men’s downhill
Published 12:44 am Saturday, February 10, 2018
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):
Racing with a torn ACL, former Olympic champion Carlo Janka has lost his bid to be selected by Switzerland in the men’s downhill.
Janka’s coaches set a top five target in the final practice run to make the four-man Swiss team for Sunday’s race. He placed 18th, 1.19 seconds off the pace.
“I had to be on the very top today. I missed that,” Janka tells The Associated Press.
The 2010 Olympic gold medalist in giant slalom has not started a race all season after damaging his right knee in October.
Janka opted for physical therapy over surgery in hope of competing at Jeongseon, where he got the last of his 11 career World Cup wins — a super-G that tested the Olympic course in February 2016.
Still, he will start in Alpine combined scheduled Tuesday, and maybe super-G on Thursday.
Janka says his knee is “good enough to go on 100 percent” in the dry snow and good visibility at Jeongseon.
Norway’s powerful duo Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud pushed hard while world champion Beat Feuz took things easy in a final training run for Sunday’s Olympic downhill.
Still, it was Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr who raced fastest down the sun-splashed 2.9-kilometer (1 5/6-mile) course on Saturday.
Kriechmayr was 0.12 seconds faster than Jansrud, who is shaping up as the prerace favorite on the Jeongseon course, where he won the test race in 2016.
Svindal was third-fastest, 0.35 seconds behind the lead, as Feuz of Switzerland eased off in the lower sections to coast into the finish.
Feuz is the in-form racer after two wins and a second place in three World Cup downhills in January.
Saturday’s practice was run over the full course with little sign of strong winds forecast through the weekend.
Pyeongchang Olympic organizers are investigating a possible attack on their internet and Wi-Fi systems about 45 minutes before the opening ceremony.
Organizing committee spokeswoman Nancy Park says the defense ministry and a cybersecurity team are investigating the outage. She says the outage didn’t affect Friday’s opening ceremony or any competitions.
She says systems were almost back to normal about 15 hours after the problems were discovered.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports servers were shut down to prevent damage to technical systems, causing problems with the Pyeongchang Olympic website.
Park declined to call it a cyberattack and says they don’t want to speculate since they’re still trying to identify where it came from.
Mikaela Shiffrin can’t help but laugh when a reporter asks what her reaction is to being compared to Michael Phelps, the U.S. swimmer who is the most decorated Olympian in history.
“You’re crazy,” the American ski racer replied. “OK, he has, what, 23 medals?”
Actually, Phelps’ haul is 23 golds — and 28 medals in all.
Shiffrin’s only medal so far is a gold in slalom at age 18 in 2014 at Sochi. She comes to the Pyeongchang Games with a chance to become the first skier to win that race twice in a row at the Olympics.
She will also be among the favorites in Monday’s giant slalom, could contend for a medal in the combined on Feb. 23, and might also enter the downhill and super-G.
For now, though, she’ll only commit to entering the slalom and giant slalom.
“I would like to compete in everything,” she said. “I’m not sure if I’m actually going to have the energy to do that.”
The U.S. will send out siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani in the ice dance and Bradie Tennell in the women’s short program when the team competition resumes Sunday at Gangneung Ice Arena.
The Americans, who are second behind Canada after the pairs and men’s short programs, waited until the last possible moment to announce their lineup in a bit of gamesmanship with its rival nations.
The Shibutanis were chosen over U.S. champs Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and the team of Madison Chock and Evan Bates. Tennell got the nod over Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen.
The top five nations after their short programs advance to the free skate later Sunday.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is hosting lunch for senior North Korean officials including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister in the most significant diplomatic encounter between the rivals in years.
The meeting at the Blue House in Seoul on Saturday comes after Kim Yo Jong and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics where they took their place among dignitaries from around the world, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
It’s unclear whether the occasion could be used to set up bigger meetings between the Koreas to ease tensions. The Koreas could potentially talk about a South Korean special envoy meeting Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang or even a summit between Moon and Kim.
The organizing committee for the Pyeongchang Olympics says another 11 people have been diagnosed with norovirus.
That brings the total to 139 since Feb. 1. Seven of the new cases are at a youth training center where security personnel for the games have been staying.
Most of the norovirus cases were in people staying at the center, and about 1,200 were sequestered there, forcing the military to step in to help with security. Those who have tested negative for norovirus have been released from quarantine and returned to work.
Norovirus is a common, infectious bug that causes unpleasant symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting but doesn’t require medical treatment.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and Korea Center for Disease Control have distributed 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and taken other measures including stepped up inspection of restaurants and monitoring of water quality. There are signs all over the Olympics reminding people to clean their hands.
Speedskater Shani Davis didn’t attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics after losing a coin flip to carry the U.S. flag and lead American athletes into the stadium.
A U.S. Speedskating spokesman says Davis originally planned to skip the festivities because of his training schedule. He briefly reconsidered when he was nominated by his teammates to be the flag bearer.
Davis and luger Erin Hamlin tied 4-4 in voting by fellow athletes to carry the flag. Hamlin won the honor in a coin toss, a process the 35-year-old speedskater said was executed “dishonorably” in a post on his Twitter account.
The two-time Olympic champion is set to compete in the 1,500 meters on Tuesday, followed by the 1,000 on Feb. 23.
The first medals of the Pyeongchang Olympics will be awarded Saturday, but most attention will be focused on a preliminary round hockey match featuring the combined Korean women’s hockey team.
The game against Switzerland is sold out and there are rumors that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister might attend. Fierce attention has been focused on the team since North Koreans were added to the roster just a few weeks ago.
The two Koreas have worked together to send a joint team to major international sports events only twice before. The U.S. and Finland women’s hockey teams also play Saturday.
Medals are due to be awarded in women’s biathlon and cross-country skiing, men’s ski jumping, women’s 3,000 meter speedskating and men’s 1500 meter short-track speedskating.