Americans miss Friday podium; Shiffrin’s last chance at the medal on Saturday
The American women’s free skating team Schuster, Jordan Stolz and half-pipe all missed the podium. The United States has chances on Saturday for the medal in the alpine and bobsleigh.
Sandy Hopper, USA TODAY
The Americans missed Friday’s podium at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, but chances abound to win medals and awards on Saturday.
(Did you miss something? Be mindful of all the action on Friday here.)
The men’s free skating semi-pipe final gave the US their best chance of winning a medal on Saturday, and the Americans took advantage of that as David Wise and Alex Ferreira took the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
If anyone needs redemption it is Michaela Shiffrin, who struggled so hard in Beijing. But her last chance to win a medal will have to wait, as the mixed-alpine team’s parallel skiing event has been postponed due to high winds.
Kylie Humphreys, who previously won gold in monopop, will attempt to win the fourth gold medal of her career. She won twice while competing for Canada. But she will have to level the floor in the third and fourth runs of the Two Women event. Fellow American Ilana Myers-Taylor, who won the silver medal in the monopop, came third after the first and second kicks.
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BEIJING – Michaela Shiffrin will not skate in the team event on Saturday. Nobody will.
High winds forced the postponement of the team event, which features men and women skaters competing head-to-head in a single elimination bracket. Organizers have been working to see if rescheduling is an option, but time is running out – the Beijing Olympics end on Sunday – and some athletes have already been booked for repatriation flights.
The team event was Shiffrin’s last chance to win a medal in Beijing. The two-time Olympic champion hasn’t climbed to the podium in any of her singles events, scoring unfinished in the giant slalom, slalom and alpine slalom combined. She placed 9th in Super G and 18th in downhill.
“I literally have no idea why we keep coming back and doing that, especially after today,” Shiffrin said Thursday after the gathering. “But I’m going back (Friday) and skating some parallel GS because I’m such an idiot. I don’t know why we keep doing this, but doing good cornering is amazing.”
– Nancy Armor
Zhangjiakou, China – Elaine Gu knows she’s going to Stanford in the fall.
Every now and then, this is a lot less obvious. Fresh after winning her third Olympic medal on Friday – a half-pipe gold that wasn’t really in question – Gu didn’t know what her immediate future held.
“I have a lot of big goals coming up in the future, but I don’t really know what I’m going to do,” she said. “You guys should stay tuned for that.”
The 18-year-old freestyle skater became the biggest star of these games, winning a gold medal in the big air and a silver in downhill swimming as well as her half-pipe medal. Not bad for a young Olympian with a bright future.
– Rachel Axon
Zhangjiakou, China – Half-pipe Olympic freestyle skiing was kind to Americans again, even if the weather wasn’t like that.
David Wise and Alex Ferreira again came home with two Games medals, finishing second and third. Four years ago, they finished first and second, respectively, as Wise won his second Olympic gold in the event.
New Zealand’s Nico Porteous, who won bronze in 2018, rose to gold this time around.
The skaters struggled with wind and cold in the tube, but Wise and Ferreira found themselves once again on the podium after landing tricky tricks, even if conditions prevented them from doing more.
American Aaron Blank, the top-ranked finalist, suffered a major crash in his last career trying to reach the podium. He eventually managed to skate out of the tube under his own power.
– Rachel Axon
BEIJING – Canadian freestyle skater Noah Bowman was the best Canadian after two rounds in the men’s free skating. The 29-year-old’s success in the sport may come as a surprise to some who know that he is already allergic to the cold.
Yes, you read that correctly. Bowman had a rare condition called cold urticaria when he was 17, according to Freestyle Canada. He grew up on her a year later, which seems pretty cool considering he was practically brought up on skates, having taken up the sport at the age of 3 with his family.
He started skating Half Pipe at the age of 14 and in 2012 won a silver medal at the X Games. He was not supposed to compete in this event after being called as a substitute.
Bowman finished fifth in a half-pipe at the 2014 Sochi Games and four years later in Pyeongchang.
– Roxana Scott
The parallel event of the mixed alpine ski team was postponed by at least an hour due to strong winds.
The event features 15 countries with mixed teams of men and women competing in an arc. Austria has the top seed and has a bye in the first round. The United States is ranked sixth and faces 11th seed Slovakia in their head-to-head match in the first round. Team USA will face the third-placed winner between Italy and Municipal No. 14 in the quarter-finals, if they advance. Switzerland is the second seed and hosts country China is ranked No. 15.
The U.S. team features Michaela Shiffrin, Paula Moltzan and A.J. Hurt as competitors, and Tommy Ford, River Radamus and Luke Winters as male competitors.
BEIJING – A frustrating but rewarding Olympic Games will be the cherry on top of American figure skater Ilana Myers-Taylor.
The four-time medalist will wear red, white and blue at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on Sunday. She was chosen to be the flag bearer with John Schuster’s hair curler during the opening ceremony, but tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in China and missed the event.
“I was very honored to be named the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony, but after being unable to carry the flag, it was all the more modest to lead the United States at the closing ceremony,” Myers-Taylor said in the ad. Team USA players for all their success in Beijing – I look forward to carrying the flag with my teammates by my side and wrapping up these games.”
Myers Taylor is now the second athlete chosen to be the opening and closing pennant of the Olympic Games. Skeleton and skater Jack Heaton carried the flag at both ceremonies at the 1948 Games in St. Moritz.
Team USA posted a video of her husband, understudy Nick Taylor, ice skating, and reported the news to her in the lobby on Friday before she competes in the two-woman bobsleigh races.
“This is your moment!” Sarah Hirschland, CEO of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, wrote on Twitter. “We are so proud of you!”
Myers-Taylor and her family have been isolated for about a week. She was open about the mental and physical challenges that came up, but refused to let them deter her training. Myers Taylor posted videos of her working out in a hotel room. She then won a silver medal behind teammate Kylie Humphreys in the women’s debut in monopop and is currently competing in a two-woman sled.
– Chris Bombaka
BEIJING – If all eyes were not on Eteri Tutberidze in the wake of Kamila Valieva’s disastrous free skating program, now it is.
IOC President Thomas Bach called his “entourage” Valeeva at a press conference on Friday, saying “I was very upset, yesterday, when I watched the competition on TV.”
Bach did not mention anyone in particular, but said it was “scary” to see how her camp received her.
On Thursday, Tutberidze was seen on the broadcast warning Valeeva sitting in kisses and crying after her long programme.
“Why did you let her go? Explain to me why? Why did you stop fighting completely?” Tutberidze said. “Somewhere beyond the hub you let it go.”
Read all by Tutbirdzi to become a coach.
– Chris Bombaka
American speed skater Joey Mantia has already checked one item off Beijing’s bucket list: a medal at the 2022 Olympics. Mantia did just that in the men’s team pursuit when he teamed up with Casey Dawson and Emery Lehmann for the bronze medal earlier this week.
But at the third Olympic Games, Mantilla is seeking another prize – his first individual medal in speed skating.
On Saturday, Mantilla will compete in the men’s collective start, where he will be the world champion in that event. He was also the world champion in the collegiate start in 2019 and 2017.
Mantilla, the former world champion in inline skating, turned his attention to speed skating in 2010 and in less than three years was competing at the World Cup level in figure skating. Now 36, he’s hoping his third time at the Olympics will be magic.
The United States collected a total of 21 medals before the penultimate day of competition in Beijing, ranking fifth in the overall medal table. But Team USA has a good chance to add to their tally with solid medal chances in men’s free skating and women’s bobsleigh. Another possible medal for a group start in men’s speed skating, Joey Mantia could become the first American man to win an individual medal in speed skating since 2010.
Norway continues to dominate both overall medals with 34 medals and 15 golds. The Republic of China ranks second in the total medals with 27 medals, while Canada ranks third with 24 medals. While Germany ranked fourth with 22 medals, and ranked second in the total gold medals with 10. The United States ranks fifth in total medals and tied for third place in gold medals with eight.
BEIJING – Medals will be awarded in a post-free skate duo on Saturday, and while the United States is unlikely to win its first medal in the event since the 1988 Calgary Games, it made history another way.
American Timothy Leduc, who skates with partner Ashley Kane Greibel, has become the first openly non-binary athlete to compete in the Winter Olympics — a historic move for LGBTQ representation and appearances at the Games.
LeDuc, out of their conscience, said they wanted it to be the beginning of a transformation, a way to show gay people that they had the opportunity to “be open and be authentic with themselves and everything that makes them unique, and still achieve success in sports”.
LeDuc found a perfect match in 2016 with Cain-Gribble, a former singles skater who was open about facing physical shame earlier in a career that nearly forced her into retirement. LeDuc and Cain-Gribble, who have won two national championships, are seventh heading into free skating.
– Tom Shad