2022 Winter Olympics — Mikaela Shiffrin out of the giant slalom, US wins historic figure skating medal and more from Beijing

The competition Monday at the 2022 Winter Olympics was both heartbreaking and thrilling. Superstar Mikaela Shiffrin skied out in her first race, giant slalom, in a very disappointing start to her Olympics. Defending Olympic champion Red Gerard ended up off the podium in men’s snowboard slopestyle, as did his fellow Americans Sean Fitzsimons and Chris Corning.

But in figure skating, the US had its highest finish in the team event in history, with a silver. That, however, was coupled with the news that American Vincent Zhou was withdrawing from competition because of a positive COVID-19 test.

We’ve got updates on the action here:


The US team wins figure skating silver

Team USA won its first silver medal in the figure skating team event after two stellar performances on the final day. The Russian Olympic Committee soared to gold while Japan took bronze.

After a rocky start in the pairs free skate by Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, ice dancers Evan Bates and Madison Chock performed a season’s best free dance to come in first — and secure the much-needed 10 points. They earned a standing ovation from their teammates, who cheered wildly after the score was announced.

Then, Karen Chen took the ice in the women’s free skate after an imperfect performance in the short program Sunday. She looked in the mood to conquer from her first jump, a double axel/triple toe combination. Afterward, the cameras panned to her family and friends back in California, including a young cousin wearing Chen’s first competition dress.

Earlier in the competition, 2021 world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov from Russia had been stunning until their final lift, when Galliamov lost his balance, fell and dropped Mishina onto the ice. They recovered — and still finished first — though it was another reminder of that old skating truth: Ice is slippery.

The US won team bronze in both 2018 and 2014. At 32, Bates, a four-time Olympian, becomes the oldest US Olympic medalist in figure skating. — Elaine Teng


Wust makes more history

Ireen Wust is a speed skating GOAT. She just won gold in the women’s 1500m race. She has now won gold at five different Olympics.

Here are some of the astounding stats:

  • At age 35 years, 312 days, she is the oldest gold medalist in Olympic speed skating history.

  • Wust is the first person in Winter Olympic history to win a gold medal in five different Games.

  • Wust’s 12 overall Olympic medals is tied for third most in Winter Games history.

  • She is the first person to win 1500m 3x (2010, 2018, 2022).


Kamila Valieva makes Olympic history

If there’s one sentence you’re likely going to hear over and over at these Olympics, it’s “Kamila Valieva makes history.” The 15-year-old skating sensation from Russia became the first woman to land a quad at the Olympics in the women’s free skate portion of the team competition. (She didn’t attempt one in the short program, where women are not allowed to do quads. Long story.)

And if that’s not enough, she landed two!

To put this in context, US skater Mirai Nagasu became only the third woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics in 2018. That’s 3½ rotations. Four years later, Valieva and her two teammates, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, are all doing four rotations. The triple axel is the highest-scoring jump any US woman is attempting at these Games.

Valieva showed the faintest sign that she is still mortal when she fell on her third quad, a quad toe. But expect to see many more Russian women flying through the air and landing soft as feathers in Beijing — and for Valieva to go home with a second gold medal. — Elaine Teng


Shiffrin out of giant slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin had a disappointing start to her 2022 Olympic Games with a DNF in her first run of the women’s giant slalom Monday. Shiffrin, 26, was the defending gold medalist on the event and was looking to become the first repeat champion in the discipline since 1998.

Shiffrin hadn’t recorded a DNF in giant slalom since January 2018.

The expectations remain high for Shiffrin, a three-time Olympic medalist. She is hoping to compete in all four remaining individual alpine skiing events. She is next expected to compete in the slalom on Wednesday.

In an interview with NBC after the race, Shiffrin said she was disappointed by her performance but was optimistic about the coming races.

“I mean, it’s hard not to dwell, especially for me, I’m always dwelling on these kind of heartbreaking days,” Shiffrin said. “But I just cannot afford to spend, or waste, energy on something that’s now in the past … I’m going to reset, focus on what I can control for the slalom. There’s still a long two weeks to go and I I’m still looking forward to it.” — D’Arcy Maine


Hockey game delayed

The Canada and Russia women’s preliminary-round hockey game against Russia was held up for over an hour and players on both teams eventually played wearing masks under their cages. Team Canada won the game 6-1.

The International Ice Hockey Federation eventually reached a compromise to have players from both teams wear masks.

The Canadians kept their masks on. The Russian players eventually were allowed to remove their masks at the start of the third period after the test results showed no one was positive.


A leg-up…

After an equipment malfunction, Estonian skier Kelly Sildaru somehow managed to land a jump on one ski:

She was penalized for the landing, and did not make it to the finals of the women’s freestyle skiing.


41 years young

France’s 41-year-old Johan Clarey won a surprise silver in the men’s downhill. This was Clarey’s fourth Olympics, and he’d never finished above 18th in his previous three Games, but he put in the run of his life to take silver, just 0.10 seconds behind winner Beat Feuz from Switzerland. Clarey is now the oldest skier to have won Olympic, world championship and World Cup medals.

“I knew I only had one chance left in my career to get a medal in the Olympics,” Clarey said. “When you are a medalist, (whether) you are 20 or 41 it doesn’t matter, it’s just an Olympic medal. It’s already a good memory.”

Favorite Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished fifth while Matthias Mayer came in third.


Parrot makes Canadian history

Max Parrot became the first snowboarder from a country other than the US to win an Olympic men’s slopestyle gold, earning Canada’s first gold medal of the Games. The silver medalist in slopestyle at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, Parrot, 27, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in December 2018. Two months after he was declared cancer free, Parrot returned to competition at the January 2020 X Games in Aspen, Colo., and won big air gold.

“I am much more mentally strong, especially after my battle with cancer,” Parrot said Monday. “I don’t take anything for granted anymore. It made me such a better snowboarder as well. I try to appreciate every day now — the little things in the morning through to my passion of snowboarding. I try to smile all day long now, and the results come with that now as well.”

Su Yiming won China’s first Olympic medal of any color in men’s snowboarding and was the biggest surprise of two days of slopestyle competition. One of the most fun riders to watch, Su took silver with a unique, creative rail line and landed the only 1800 of the night. He finished just ahead of three-time Olympian Mark McMorris of Canada, who took bronze for the third time in his Olympic career.

“This means a lot to me. One of the special things in my life, for sure,” Su said after the contest Monday morning. “The Olympic Games in my hometown, and I saw family, friends, everyone supported me, and I shared the podium with my idol, Mark McMorris. He’s been my idol since I started snowboarding. This moment is so special.”

Defending Olympic champion Red Gerard sat in first place after the first round of runs, but eventually finished the competition just off the podium in fourth. American Chris Corning finished sixth and rookie US rider Sean Fitzsimons finished 12th. — Alyssa Roenigk


Ski big air debuts

The much-hyped Olympic big air jump made its first appearance Monday morning in Beijing. The first permanent big air structure in the world, the ramp was constructed of concrete atop a former steel mill just outside of Beijing’s city center and is covered with manufactured snow. It provided the first stage for the men and women of freeskiing at these Games. Snowboard big air made its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang four years ago, but Monday marked the first time that skiers competed in the event at the Olympics.

American-born Chinese skier Eileen Gu, perhaps the most hyped rookie athlete at these Games, qualified into Tuesday’s final in fifth place. The 18-year-old has dominated women’s freeskiing since winning three medals at X Games in 2021, the first woman to do so in her first appearance.

In qualifying in Beijing, Gu landed a big double cork 1080 in her first run but had equipment issues in her second and sat outside of the top-12 when she took her third and final run. Before doing so, Gu paused and motioned to the starter that she wanted to wait for the wind to calm. After a few moments, she dropped in and landed a technical 900 with a Buick grab. “See you in finals,” Gu said into the television camera after her score appeared on the board.

Darian Stevens is the sole American skier to make Tuesday’s final. Megan Oldham of Canada Qualified First. — Alyssa Roenigk


A long road to Beijing

After he missed the team figure skating event due to COVID-19 protocols, Canada’s Keegan Messing finally arrived in Beijing, one day before the men’s event. Messing, an Olympic medal hopeful, had to clear three COVID-19 tests during his isolation period in Vancouver — after testing positive — before he was allowed to travel to Montreal, which is one of the four international hubs Olympic athletes traveled through to get to Beijing. He cleared the fourth and final test in Montreal on Saturday. Due to his absence, defending champion Team Canada fielded Roman Sadovsky, who had never competed at a world championship or an Olympics. He finished eighth in the short program with a score of 71.06.

In other travel news, Japan’s two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu arrived in China late Sunday Beijing time, just in time for the men’s event. — Aish Kumar


The true luge experience

You remember when you were a kid, you threw on the winter coat, scarves and beanie and pulled the sled behind? The goal was to find a little run, get down a little hill on your sled without crashing into anything or anyone.

It’s said, the luge is like sledding … except at 80 mph. Maximize your screen, turn up the volume and enjoy:

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