There was no lack of emotion from Team USA Thursday at the Winter Olympics in Beijing -- from the elation of a victory for the gold medal in a brand new event, to the return of a smile on the face of the No. 1 U.S. alpine skier to the tears of a snowboarding legend taking his final bow.
Shaun White ends snowboarding career, finishes 4th
Japan's Ayumu Hirano has won gold with a boundary-pushing run in the men's halfpipe at the Beijing Olympics. Three-time gold medalist Shaun White was fourth in what he has said would be his final competition.
There was no doubt over the winner after Hirano’s electric performance as the last rider to go. His run included an intricate and unprecedented series of flips and spins that pushed a sport obsessed with progression to new heights. His score of 96 reflected that and the two-time Olympic silver medalist moved past Scotty James of Australia. Jan Scherrer of Switzerland took bronze.
White's best score came on his second run where he executed his patented Double McTwist 1260 and then a frontside 1260 at the end. It got him an 85.00, a little more than two points off the podium.
White fell on the final run of a career that’s seen the American star win three Olympic titles. He lifted up his goggles and waved to the crowd on his way down the halfpipe. He teared up as the sparse crowd bid adieu and his fellow riders lined up to hug him.
“I wanted it,” White said. “My legs were giving out on me every hit.”
The stage was being set for some controversy after the second run. James took over the lead with his second attempt. Hirano followed with an impressive run that included the difficult-to-do triple cork, but wasn’t rewarded by the judges. The crowd booed and social media was buzzing.
Mikaela Shiffrin gets back on track with super-G run
The two-time Olympic Alpine gold medalist crossed the line at the bottom of a course known as The Rock in an unofficial time of 1 minute, 14.30 seconds. That left the 26-year-old American more than a half-second behind early leader Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland.
That put Shiffrin in eighth place after only 11 of the 44 entrants had taken their turns down the slope. She finished ninth.
Shiffrin had never entered a super-G at an Olympics before, although she did win a gold in the event at the 2019 world championship and a bronze at last year’s worlds.
She failed to finish her opening run in the two-run events that preceded the super-G in Beijing: the giant slalom and the slalom. She has won both at past Olympics.
Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland took gold.
US wins first-ever Olympics mixed team aerials gold
The Americans won gold in the Olympics’ first mixed team aerials event, giving the U.S. its first medals in the freestyle skiing discipline in a dozen years.
The trio of Ashley Caldwell, Christopher Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld each earned their first Winter Games medals. Lillis’ back double full-full-double full was given the highest score of any trick in the finals, and the U.S. title was assured when Schoenefeld followed with a clean back double full-full-full.
Two-time medalist Jia Zongyang cost China a chance at gold when he flipped forward on his landing, and the host country settled for silver. Canada won bronze.
The mixed team event made its debut at these Games. Each country gets three jumpers and can’t use more than two per gender. All six countries in the finals went with two men and one woman.
US women survive scare in hockey quarterfinal
The defending champion U.S. women's hockey team rallied to defeat the Czech Republic 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics on Friday.
The Americans survived what would have been a major upset in a game where their offense continued to struggle.
The U.S., whose only losses in six previous Olympics have been against Canada (six times) and Sweden (once), managed just four goals on 59 shots.
Hilary Knight had a goal and assist, and Savannah Harmon and Kendall Coyne Schofield also scored for the Americans. Alex Cavallini stopped five shots.
Czech goalie Klara Peslarova was the star of the game, stopping 55 shots, including the first 22 she faced.
Urgent hearing to determine status of Russian figure skater after doping test
Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s right to compete in the imminent women’s event at the Beijing Olympics will be decided at an urgent hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The International Testing Agency — on behalf of the IOC -- said Friday it would fight a decision by Russia’s anti-doping agency to allow the 15-year-old Valieva to skate. The Russian agency had provisionally banned Valieva this week because she failed a doping test in December.
Valieva is the heavy favorite in her event which begins Tuesday after setting world record scores this season and landing the first quad jump by a women at an Olympics when the Russian Olympic Committee won the team event Monday. The ROC said it will fight to keep that gold medal.
The ITA confirmed reports that Valieva tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine at the Russian national championships in St. Petersburg six weeks ago.
The positive test was flagged by a laboratory in Sweden only on Tuesday — the day after Valieva helped the Russians win the team event and just hours before the medal ceremony, which was then postponed. Whether the Russians will lose that gold medal will be decided later.
Travis Pittman contributed to this report.