Zapolski to start in goal for US Olympic opener

Published 12:54 am Tuesday, February 13, 2018

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):
2:30 p.m.
Ryan Zapolski will start in goal for the U.S. men’s hockey team in its opener against Slovenia.
USA Hockey announced the decision Tuesday, removing the kind of intrigue the women’s team had before naming Maddie Rooney.
Zapolski was the no-doubt No. 1 goaltender. He was the first player late general manager Jim Johannson brought up to coach Tony Granato last summer. The 31-year-old from Erie, Pennsylvania, has been one of the best players in the Kontinental Hockey League this season.
1 p.m.
The governing body of world skiing is being hit hard with questions about why it allowed the women’s slopestyle event to go ahead amid bitter winds and iced-over jumps.
Forty-one of the 50 runs ended with either a rider falling or bailing out because she could not build up enough speed to reach the crest of a jump.
International Ski Federation spokeswoman Jenny Wiedeke says only one team “voiced concerns” about going ahead with the event. She declined to name the country. It was different at the end of the runs when riders complained openly in the mix zone, the area where athletes speak to reporters.
Wiedeke says “we know it was very difficult conditions for the riders.” She says “no athlete is forced to go down and compete.”
Wiedeke says the federation has concussion protocols and “most teams come with their own doctors. Those that don’t, there are local doctors on hand and we also have an official FIS doctor. So there are plenty of people on hand to diagnose if they feel it’s necessary.”
She also acknowledged the course was very difficult, even in perfect conditions.
Wiedeke says “at the Olympic Games we set our courses to the highest international standard. We’re very pleased with the entire course-building process. Very cold temperatures here have created ideal snow conditions for our events.”
12:55 p.m.
Making good use of the No. 1 starting bib, Thomas Dressen of Germany leads the downhill run of the combined event that opened the wind-buffeted Olympic program in Alpine skiing.
Dressen was 0.07 seconds faster than Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, and 0.13 ahead of Matthias Mayer of Austria, the 2014 Olympic champion in downhill.
The world’s best slalom skier, Marcel Hirscher, is well placed with just 1.32 to make up in his specialized discipline later this afternoon. The gold medalist will be the skier with the fastest combined time.
The wind was again a factor at Jeongseon. Gusts higher up the mountain forced organizers to lower the start, cutting 20 seconds from the downhill. Racers were also guided to a safer line cresting the jumps.
One medal contender, Kjetil Jansrud of Norway, said he was not happy with the conditions, after being fourth-fastest, 0.27 behind Dressen.
Hirscher wore bib No. 2, and gusts appeared to get stronger during a 15-minute delay caused by the third racer, Russian Pavel Trickichev, crashing out.
Lower-ranked skiers in a 65-man lineup were yet to start.
12:50 p.m.
Three events into the Olympic speedskating competition and the Americans remain off the podium.
Their results so far recall four years ago in Sochi when the U.S. team was blanked, a stunning result for a sport that has earned America’s most Winter Olympic medals.
The latest setback came Monday night when world champion Heather Bergsma finished eighth in the 1,500 meters. Brittany Bowe had the highest U.S. finish of fifth, while Mia Manganello was 22nd out of 26 skaters.
Bergsma faded badly on her last lap, with her time going up 3 seconds from her previous lap.
Next up is the men’s 1,500 on Tuesday, with two-time silver medalist Shani Davis in his fifth Olympics. However, the 35-year-old skater appears to be a long shot to medal based on his recent results. Brian Hansen and Joey Mantia will try to reverse the U.S. fortunes, too.
12:25 p.m.
With a long break between the team competition and the ice dance and women’s events at the Pyeongchang Olympics, many figure skaters are leaving the Olympics atmosphere for a few days of quiet training.
The pairs program begins Wednesday and the men take the ice for their individual event Friday, but the rest are off until next week.
Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and the women’s contingent of Kaetlyn Osmond, Gabrielle Daleman and Larkyn Austman were on their way back to Seoul for a few days of work in an out-of-the-way rink.
Mirai Nagasu became only the third woman and first American to land a triple axel in Olympic competition, helping the U.S. secure its bronze. Now, she’s headed to a secret location outside the host city of Gangneung with teammates Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell to keep the jump sharp. They’ll be joined there by the three American ice dance teams.
Russian and Japanese skaters, meanwhile, are heading to Japan.
11:50 a.m.
Alpine skiing is finally under way under blue skies and sunshine at the wind-buffeted Pyeongchang Olympics.
Thomas Dressen of Germany was the first racer in the downhill portion of the men’s Alpine combined event in Jeongseon.
The wind is again a factor after forcing organizers to postpone other events earlier in the week.
Gusts higher up the mountain forced organizers to lower the start, cutting 20 seconds from the run. The gates were also moved to let racers take a safer line cresting the jumps.
The third starter, Russian Pavel Trikhichev, crashed out and slid into the safety fences after his left ski hooked a gate. The race was delayed. Trikhichev, the only Russian athlete in the race, was able to stand but it’s not clear how badly he was hurt.
A slalom leg will be raced in the afternoon, and the Olympic champion is the skier with the fastest combined time.
Men’s combined was supposed to be the third event on the Alpine program. The men’s downhill and women’s giant slalom have been postponed until Thursday.
11:35 a.m.
Chloe Kim’s coronation is complete.
The 17-year-old from Torrance, California, dominated the Olympic women’s halfpipe snowboarding final on Tuesday, soaring to a gold medal four years in the making.
Kim put up a score of 93.75 on the first of her three finals runs and then bettered it with a near-perfect 98.75 on her final run with the gold already well in hand. With members of her family in the stands, including her South Korean grandmother, Kim put on a show that delivered on her considerable pre-Olympic hype.
Liu Jiayu took silver with an 89.75 to become the first Chinese snowboarder to medal at the Olympics.
American Arielle Gold, who pondered retirement last summer, edged teammate and three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark for bronze.
11:10 a.m.
American teenager Chloe Kim is closing in on a gold medal in women’s halfpipe snowboarding.
The 17-year-old from California posted a score of 93.75 during the first of her three runs in the finals, easily topping the field of a dozen riders.
Kim threw down an electric run, throwing in a triple-twisting spin halfway through at sun-splashed Phoenix Snow Park.
Kim was the only rider to post a score over 90 during the first two rounds.
10:50 a.m.
A team of Russian athletes have won the bronze medal in mixed doubles curling after beating Norway 8-4 and recovering from a rare tumble on the ice.
The Russians’ win on Tuesday gives them the distinction of nabbing the first-ever Olympic medal in mixed doubles curling. The event is making its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.
The most dramatic moment of the match came in the third end, or round. Russia’s Anastasia Bryzgalova was strategizing with her teammate Aleksandr Krushelnitckii when she suddenly seemed to lose her footing. She recovered but seconds later, her foot went flying out from under her. She promptly landed on her backside.
It is very rare for a curler to fall in professional curling.
Canada will face off against Switzerland later Tuesday in the mixed doubles gold medal match.
10:45 a.m.
Alpine ski racing is finally set to begin at the Pyeongchang Olympics, though high winds will mean shorter-than-expected courses.
Organizers say the downhill run that opens the men’s Alpine combined event at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in South Korea (9:30 p.m. Monday EST) will start lower down the mountain at Jeongseon due to gusts at the scheduled start house.
The downhill should begin on time at the lower start used for the super-G. That will shorten the run by about 20 seconds.
It means the afternoon slalom run that concludes the combined will also be shortened, by about 10 gates. That will help balance the race as an equal test for the downhill and slalom specialists.
Men’s combined is the first medal race after high winds at two different venues forced the men’s downhill and women’s giant slalom to be postponed until Thursday.
10:30 a.m.
The first doping case of the Pyeongchang Olympics has been announced.
Japanese short-track speedskater Kei Saito has tested positive for acetalozamide, a diuretic that is also a masking agent which can disguise the use of other banned substances.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport says Saito “accepted on a voluntary basis to be provisionally suspended and to leave the Olympic Village.”
Saito did not race in any event before the test result from a pre-competition sample was confirmed.
CAS says its judging panel handling Olympic doping cases will issue a final verdict after the games are over.
The highest court in world sports handles the prosecution of doping cases, and the International Olympic Committee is responsible for testing athletes.
10 a.m.
There’s been a highly unusual moment in the Olympic mixed doubles bronze medal match, with a Russian curler falling hard on her backside.
Russia’s Anastasia Bryzgalova was standing with her teammate Aleksandr Krushelnitckii and strategizing over where to send their last rock of the third end, or round, of Tuesday’s match. Suddenly, she seemed to lose her footing. She recovered, but seconds later, her foot went flying out from under her. She promptly landed on her backside.
The fall drew gasps from the stunned crowd. It is very rare for a curler to fall in professional curling.
Russia is playing Norway for the bronze medal in mixed doubles.
9:30 a.m.
U.S. snowboarder Chloe Kim will vie for an Olympic medal in the women’s halfpipe and skiers may finally get to compete in the first Alpine event of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
Russia and Norway are also facing off for a bronze medal in Olympic curling as Day 4 gets underway Tuesday.
Kim, a California teenager whose parents are from South Korea, was close to her best in leading the qualifying round Monday. American Kelly Clark, a three-time Olympic medalist, barely qualified and is hoping for a better day.
The men’s combined is scheduled for Tuesday and could be the first Alpine event of these games. The men’s downhill and women’s giant slalom both have been postponed because of gusty winds.

2018 Winter Olympic Medals Table
By The Associated Press
At Pyeongchang, South Korea
Through 1 of 8 medal events for Feb. 13
Through 19 of 26 total medal events
Nation    G    S    B    Tot
Germany    4    1    2    7
Netherlands    3    2    2    7
United States    3    1    2    6
Norway    2    4    3    9
Canada    2    4    1    7
France    2    0    1    3
Sweden    1    1    0    2
Austria    1    0    0    1
South Korea    1    0    0    1
Japan    0    1    2    3
Czech Republic    0    1    1    2
OA Russia    0    1    1    2
Australia    0    1    0    1
China    0    1    0    1
Slovakia    0    1    0    1
Finland    0    0    2    2
Italy    0    0    1    1
Kazakhstan    0    0    1    1

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