Tue, Feb 15, 2022
BEIJING (AP) - Russian teenager Kamila Valieva was on the ice for a final run-through of her short program hours before one of the most-anticipated events of the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday.
Valieva looked confident and calm in a glittering purple dress, although she fell hard on a triple axel during the session.
The 15-year-old Valieva is the overwhelming favorite for the women's figure skating gold medal alongside Russian teammates Alexandra Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova, who are aiming for the first sweep by any nation of the women's Olympic podium.
Valieva was cleared a day earlier by the Court of Arbitration for Sport following a hearing into a positive drug test that surfaced the previous week.
The doping case has caused havoc with one of the marquee events of the Beijing Olympics and left Valieva worn out. She told Russian state broadcaster Channel One in comments shown Monday night that "these days have been very difficult for me. I'm happy but I'm tired emotionally."
One of her lawyers said the heart medication that triggered the positive test came from a contaminated cup that the 15-year-old used after her grandfather.
Valieva is looking to add to the gold medal she won in the team event. She had a dazzling performance in which she landed the first quadruple jumps by a woman at the Olympics.
The free skate is Thursday.
Mikaela Shiffrin is 0 for 4 at the Beijing Olympics after finishing 18th in the downhill. It was hardly unexpected considering it was the first time she's competed in that event in her Olympic career and her struggles in earlier races.
Shiffrin is planning to enter two more races: the Alpine combined on Thursday - she won a silver in that at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics - and the team event on Saturday. She owns two gold medals from past Olympics; no American Alpine skier ever has won three in a career.
Corinne Suter of Switzerland won the downhill gold and defending champion Sofia Goggia of Italy had an inspiring performance to take the silver less than a month after a bad crash and serious leg injury. Nadia Delago of Italy took the bronze.
SU JOINS GU
Teenager Su Yiming went spinning through the air in front of the cooling towers and smokestacks of an old steel mill to win China's first Olympic snowboarding gold medal and elevate his celebrity status.
Su had such a big lead after two rounds that other competitors played it safe, just trying to earn a podium spot. He took the silver in slopestyle and would have had gold if judges had noticed Max Parrot missing a grab on his first jump. Parrot took bronze Tuesday.
It was China's second gold medal at Big Air Shougang following Eileen Gu's win in freestyle skiing.
Su, a 17-year-old aspiring actor who had a part in the 2014 action film "The Taking of Tiger Mountain," led by 17.5 points entering the final round. He started the competition with consecutive 1800s - five spins - first completing the trick going forward, then backward.
Su went off casually on his last jump and then held his hands to his head during an ovation from the crowd.
Su hadn't seen his parents in seven months while training in Europe and competing around the world. Shortly after getting on the podium, Su spotted them in the stands and began to cry. He later spoke to them through a fence separating those allowed inside Beijing's Olympic bubble from the fans.
"I was thinking back to when I was 4 years old and my first time snowboarding," he said in English. "I'm so appreciative. This moment is so special for my family."
SILVER FOR GU
Eileen Gu won't win three gold medals at the Beijing Games, but she can still become the first extreme sports athlete to win three medals at an Olympics.
The 18-year-old American-born freestyler who is competing for her mother's home country of China narrowly missed out on the gold medal in slopestyle. She finished .33 points behind Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland. Gremaud took the bronze in the big air event won by Gu.
Gremaud was the first to go in the second round and posted the score to beat. Gu vaulted from the back of the pack but couldn't quite overtake Gremaud.
"I trust the judges. Sometimes they give it to you, sometimes they don't," Gu said. "And today, they didn't. ... I did everything that I could that was in my control, and some things you just can't control and you just have to accept it."
Gu will compete in freeski halfpipe later this week.
The United States won its second speedskating medal of the Beijing Olympics when it took the bronze in team pursuit. With 36-year-old Joey Mantia leading three American skaters through all eight laps, the U.S. denied Sven Kramer of the Netherlands his 10th career medal.
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