Germans win Olympic pairs figure skating gold

Published 12:19 am Thursday, February 15, 2018

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):
1:40 p.m.
Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany have won Olympic pairs figure skating gold with a flawless, record-setting free skate.
Savchenko and Massot scored 159.31 points in their program set to music by Armand Amar on the final day of pairs skating at the Pyeongchang Games. That gave them 235.90 points, catapulting them from fourth place after a shaky short program. It’s Germany’s first pairs gold since 1952.
China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, who led after the short program, recovered from a slow start to their free skate to score 153.08 points. But their early bobbles proved costly — they finished with 235.47 points, less than half a point off the top step of the podium.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford added a bronze medal after winning team gold with Canada.
This item has been corrected to show that Canada won team gold, not team bronze.
1:20 p.m.
Canadian Olympic skeleton racer Dave Greszczyszyn is not American. He’s not from Florida. He doesn’t know any of the at least 17 people killed by a gunman who opened fire at a high school not far from Miami.
But he has been a schoolteacher all over the world. And that’s why news of the latest U.S. school shooting nearly moved him to tears.
The first thing Greszczyszyn found out about when he awoke hours before racing Thursday in Pyeongchang was the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Even half a world away, it left him wondering again why these things happen.
“When I woke up I looked at my phone and saw that,” Greszczyszyn said after his race. “Pretty upsetting. Yeah, something’s got to be done. Up in Canada, we still have some of those every once in a while, but we’re pretty lucky. We don’t have, I guess, the same numbers. But anytime there’s something like that in a school, it’s obviously not good.”
Greszczyszyn was 21st after the first two runs of the competition, which ends Friday.
1:10 p.m.
Pyeongchang Olympic organizers say 16 people were treated for scrapes and light injuries caused by high winds whipping through some venues.
Organizing committee spokesman Sung Baik-you says 13 staff members and three spectators were injured Wednesday. All were released.
Sung says most of the damage was in the Olympic Park area in Gangneung, which is on the coast and is the base for ice hockey and other ice sports. Pyeongchang is in the mountains and houses primarily snow and ski events.
Sung says 60 temporary tents were damaged along with signs and fences. Flying debris accounted for many of the injuries.
The wind and cold that has hit the Olympics subsided on Thursday with clear skies, light winds and above-freezing temperatures across most of the venues.
12:55 p.m.
Aksel Lund Svindal has won the men’s downhill in Pyeongchang, making the 35-year-old Norwegian the oldest-ever Olympic gold medalist in Alpine skiing.
Svindal was 0.12 seconds faster than Norwegian teammate Kjetil Jansrud down the 1 4/5-mile (2.9-kilometer) course at Jeongseon. Beat Feuz of Switzerland took bronze, 0.18 behind Svindal’s time of 1 minute, 40.25 seconds.
Lower-ranked skiers are yet to start in the 57-racer lineup, though none is regarded as a threat to the medal-winning times.
The men’s downhill was one of three Alpine races that were supposed to be held earlier in the week, but were postponed because of gusty winds.
12:30 p.m.
Norway’s big two racers are atop the Olympic downhill standings after the 20 best-ranked men have completed their runs.
Aksel Lund Svindal leads teammate Kjetil Jansrud by 0.12 seconds, with world champion Beat Feuz of Switzerland 0.18 back in third place.
They were the three most touted pre-race favorites.
Svindal excelled on the bottom half of the Jeongseon course after some uneasy moments on snow that seems faster after several days of pounding by blustery winds.
The 57-skier race started in near-perfect calm and cold conditions. It was 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) under sunshine and blue skies broken up by a few wispy clouds.
If he stays in first, Svindal, at 35, would be the oldest-ever Alpine Olympic gold medalist.
12 p.m.
An attorney for the woman who filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against Shaun White says the snowboarder’s comments “directly impugn” the woman’s character.
Lena Zawaideh, a former drummer in White’s band, Bad Things, filed a lawsuit in 2016 saying White sexually harassed her and refused to pay her wages after he fired her. The lawsuit was settled in May for an undisclosed amount.
White referred to the lawsuit as “gossip” in a news conference shortly after winning this third gold medal at the men’s halfpipe Wednesday. He later apologized for that remark on NBC’s “Today” Show.
Lawrance Bohm, Zawaideh’s attorney, says in a statement that “Ms. Zawaideh believed that this matter was in the past,” but that White’s comment “minimized the problem of sexual harassment in this country.”
11:45 a.m.
North Korean pairs skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik have finished their Olympic program with a season-best free skate, delighting their cheering section in the upper level of Gangneung Ice Arena.
The couple qualified for the Olympics on merits after finishing third at last month’s Four Continents. They were also 15th at last year’s world championships.
Their triple toeloop-double toeloop combination was a bit shaky, and their timing was off on their side-by-side double axel, but they mostly landed all of their elements.
Still, they will finish well out of the medals.
11:30 a.m.
U.S. pairs skater Alexa Scimeca-Knierim has broken down in tears after her free skate performance with husband Chris Knierim, saying shootings at a Florida high school had her “emotionally drained.”
Scimeca-Knierim didn’t blame the news from Florida for a poor routine by the only American pair at the Olympics. But she says she was stressed out when she saw the news on television at the arena.
“We are so privileged and lucky to be doing what we are doing,” she said, “and it’s so sad that 17 people died in the United States. I told Chris today he’d need to be so much stronger than me.
“I am disappointed with the way we performed today, but so many people at home are hurting because their children have died.”
She stopped to gather herself as her husband patted her on the head.
“I was not focused on it while we were skating, but now that we are done, after we’ve skated, there’s an emotional hurt. I am overwhelmed.”
11 a.m.
Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim became the first Americans to land a quad twist in an Olympic competition when they hit the four-revolution element in the pairs free skate.
The rest of their program didn’t go nearly as well.
Knierim fell on both of their triple jumps, a salchow and the toeloop that was supposed to lead into a double toeloop. The married couple was also out of synch on their combination spin and a bit shaky on their throw triple flip.
They’ll wind up far out of medal contention, but they’ve already had a successful Olympics. They were an integral part of the U.S. winning the team bronze.
10:55 a.m.
Mikaela Shiffrin is in prime position heading into the final run of the Olympic giant slalom, trailing Manuela Moelgg of Italy by 0.20 seconds.
The American standout attacked the tight course on a fast first run to give herself a chance at a gold medal as she kicks off her Pyeongchang Games. Only a handful of lower-ranked skiers remain on the course.
The top 30 finishers from the first run go in reverse order for the final run, with their times combined to determine the winner. Shiffrin will go second-to-last Thursday afternoon South Korea time.
The 22-year-old finished fifth in the giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games. She’s the defending Olympic slalom champion.
10:45 a.m.
There have been two crashes so far in the first run of the Olympic women’s giant slalom.
Lara Gut of Switzerland slid down the hill before running into a bank of photographers off to the side. She appeared to be all right as she got back up.
A few racers later, Tina Robnik of Slovenia wiped out, too. She slid a long way down the hill on her side before finally stopping when she ran into a gate.
10:30 a.m.
The pairs free skate is underway at Gangneung Ice Arena, where the Chinese team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong have less than a point lead over rivals Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.
The total from Wednesday’s short program and free skate determines the medals.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, fresh off helping Canada win team gold, are currently third but well behind the two leaders. They have six other couples within three points of them, which should mean a tense, tight squeeze just to land on the podium.
The North Korean pair of Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik also are back for the free skate, along with their nation’s cheerleaders. They were 11th of 22 teams in the short program.
10:20 a.m.
American standout Mikaela Shiffrin has turned in a fast first run of the giant slalom to kick off her Pyeongchang Olympics.
She finished 0.20 seconds behind current leader Manuela Moelgg of Italy.
Shiffrin got wide on a few turns, but other than that was solid through the tight course. She’s in good position for the final run later in the afternoon South Korea time.
The 22-year-old finished fifth in the giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games. She’s the defending Olympic slalom champion.
10 a.m.
The women’s Alpine racing program at the Pyeongchang Olympics has finally begun with Manuela Moelgg of Italy starting the first run of the giant slalom.
Hampered by high wind and weather, the women’s races have been postponed twice at the Yongpyong Alpine Center.
On a clear day with much less wind, Moelgg got things going. American standout Mikaela Shiffrin will be the No. 7 racer out of the starting gate. She’s among the favorites in the giant slalom.
The second run is Thursday afternoon South Korea time.
9:35 a.m.
Assuming the weather cooperates, there are nine medals up for grabs at the Olympics, including the women’s giant slalom, where Mikaela Shiffrin is set to make her Pyeongchang debut.
Only one of four scheduled Alpine races has been run so far because of strong winds at both hills being used for the Winter Games. Both the women’s giant slalom and the men’s downhill are to be held Thursday.
It’s also the finale of the pairs figure-skating competition, where Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China have a slim lead over Russian skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov heading into the free skate. Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are in third, but several teams are still within reach of the podium.

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