Winter Olympics day six: Johaug wins second gold, ice hockey and more – live! – The Guardian

Deep into the third and final period at the ice hockey, and Finland lead 5-2. They’ve just survived a Slovakian power play and are firmly on course to open their campaign with a win.

It’s been a golden day for Austria, with Alessandro Hämmerle clinching snowboard cross gold and Johannes Strolz winning the Alpine combined race.

Hämmerle held off Canada’s Eliot Grondin in a dramatic photo finish at Genting Snow Park. Grondin almost grabbed gold with a late dive for the line but it wasn’t enough; Omar Visintin of Italy took home the bronze.

Earlier, Strolz won Olympic gold 34 years after his father did the same. The 29-year-old was fourth after the downhill run but completed the slalom half a second quicker than anyone else.

Strolz edged first-run leader Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway by 0.58 seconds, with Canada’s Jack Crawford in third. His father, Hubert, won combined gold in Calgary and also took silver in the giant slalom at the 1988 Winter Games.

IOC refuses to confirm if Kamila Valieva is at centre of doping controversy

Sean Ingle

The International Olympic Committee has refused to comment on whether the athlete at the centre of a doping controversy at Beijing 2022 is the 15-year-old Russian figure skater, Kamila Valieva, despite the teenager being named in multiple reports around the world.

Multiple sources have told the Guardian that Valieva, the first female skater to perform a quad at the Olympics, may be the athlete who tested positive for trimetazidine, a metabolic agent that helps prevent angina attacks. There has been no official confirmation that Valieva is the subject of the positive test and both the Russian Olympic Committee and International Skating Union are also refusing to confirm or deny if it was her.

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Mikaela Shiffrin will compete in Friday’s super-G event, the US skiing team has confirmed.

Shiffrin, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, failed to finish either the giant slalom or slalom, missing an early gate on both runs. She has never raced in a super-G at an Olympics but did win it at the 2019 world championships.

Italy’s Sofia Goggia has decided not to enter the super-G race and will focus on defending her downhill title on Tuesday. Federica Brignone, the current World Cup leader, heads up a powerhouse super-G team that also includes Marta Bassino, Elena Curtoni and Francesca Marsaglia.

In the ice hockey, it’s Finland 4-2 Slovakia at the end of the second period. The men’s tournament is just getting under way but the women are already at the quarter-final stage. Friday sees Canada v Sweden and USA v Czech Republic, before ROC v Switzerland and Finland v Japan on Saturday. Plan all your viewing here:

Plenty still to come on day six. Here’s what to look out for – all times GMT.

11am Freestyle skiing: mixed aerials team final 🥇

12pm Speed skating: women’s 5,000m final 🥇

12.05pm Curling: women’s round robin games including USA v Denmark, Sweden v GB

1.10pm Men’s ice hockey: Canada v Germany and US v China in Group A

1.30pm Luge mixed team relay 🥇

The two biggest stories of day six so far are tales of American gold: Chloe Kim defending her snowboard slopestyle title, and Nathan Chen making up for his disappointment in 2018 with a dominant performance to win the men’s figure skating. Read more:

Finland saw two players sent to the sin-bin but did not concede, then scored a third goal as soon as they were back up to full strength. Miro Aaltonen got the goal, and Finland lead Slovakia 3-1 at the end of the first period.

In the earlier Group C game, Sweden scored three early goals and held on to beat Latvia 3-2. In Group B yesterday, ROC beat Switzerland 1-0 in a match that featured an almighty brawl:

In case you missed it overnight, Team GB’s women lost their first round-robin match 6-5 to Switzerland, with skip Eve Muirhead left frustrated after misjudging her final shot in the extra end.

“They are never easy to judge,” Muirhead said of the crucial shot. “Unfortunately it didn’t come off. If I ever had a shot like that again, I’m confident I would make it.” The team GB flag bearer won bronze in Sochi back in 2014 but arrives here with an inexperienced squad.

“I’m very glad I’ve got the opportunity to be here with four girls at their first Olympics,” Muirhead added. “I’m proud of them, how much they’ve come along and fought and they deserve their spot in the team.”

Figure skating: IOC refuses to comment on legal case

Officials are still refusing to comment on a legal case concerning the outcome of the team figure skating competition in Beijing.

Medals for the event, which concluded on Monday, are yet to be awarded amid widespread reports of a doping issue that may yet affect the outcome. IOC spokesperson Mark Adams refused to elaborate on the situation during a media briefing on Thursday, saying only that the situation had “legal implications”.

The Russian Olympic Committee team swept to an expected gold medal at the event, beating the US into silver with Japan taking bronze. Both the International Skating Union and the International Testing Agency (ITA) mirrored the IOC’s stance in short statements.

An ITA spokesperson said: “The ITA is aware of the various reports circulating regarding the postponed medal ceremony for the figure skating team event. Any announcement connected to these events would always be publicly issued on the ITA’s website and not commented on otherwise.” PA Media

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Finland take the lead in the power play with Slovakia a man short, Harri Pesonen the scorer. We’re still in the first period of that match. The Finnish jerseys are excellent, by the way:

Sakari Manninen celebrates his goal.
Sakari Manninen celebrates his goal. Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP

The only live action going on now is a men’s ice hockey match – Finland v Slovakia in Group C. Qualifiers Slovakia took a surprise early lead but Finland, currently ranked second in the world, have just levelled through Sakari Manninen.

Curling: Team GB’s men beat Italy 7-5!

So it’s victory in their first round-robin match for Bruce Mouat’s quartet. Their two matches on Friday will be against teams with one win and won loss from two matches – the USA and Norway.

Norway won their opener against Switzerland 7-4, but have just lost 6-5 to Canada. The USA edged out ROC 6-5 before losing 7-4 to world champions Sweden, who also beat China 6-4 earlier on. Canada opened with a 10-5 win over Denmark, and ROC beat China 7-4 in their second match.

Team Gb’s Grant Hardie releases a stone on the way to victory over Italy.
Team Gb’s Grant Hardie releases a stone on the way to victory over Italy. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

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British skip Bruce Mouat delivers on the penultimate stone, putting his side in front with a cannon shot. Italy send their final stone towards the button – the very centre of the target area – and go close, but there’s room for Mouat to get closer. He does – not by much, but it’s good enough – and Team GB win 7-5!

Curling: Team GB 6-5 Italy (10th end) The first few stones are left short, just beyond the hog line before Italy send one into the house. With three stones left, the British team have a lengthy debate over what to do next. A high-speed delivery clears out some of those early stones, but pushes another Italian stone into the house …

Italy try to dislodge that trio of stones by force, but miss – and then find a gap with their final stone to take a single point. Team GB still lead 6-5 though, and will have the final stone in the deciding end.

Italy’s Sebastiano Arman sweeping hard.
Italy’s Sebastiano Arman sweeping hard. Photograph: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

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No live action just now beyond these curling round-robin matches. With their penultimate shot, GB dislodge the best-placed Italian stone, and have three of their own blocking the front of the house …

Johaug’s second gold is Norway’s fourth of these Games, helping them move up to third in the overall table behind Germany and Austria:

As with her first success, Therese Johaug’s second gold of these Games will attract controversy – she missed the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018 over a failed drugs test:

Over in the curling, Team GB’s men lead Italy 5-4 in the eighth end, and have just played a three-stone cannon with their final shot. Italy have the last chance of the end though – but while it knocks GB’s best stone away, it deflects just beyond the next one. GB lead 6-4 heading into the ninth end.

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Therese Jouhag wins 10km cross-country gold!

The Norwegian won the first medal of the Games and adds a second here, beating Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen by just 0.4 seconds. Niskanen’s compatriot, Krista Pärmäkoski, is 31 seconds behind her in third – and pips ROC’s Natalia Nepryaeva to bronze by 0.1 seconds!

Therese Johaug crosses the line to take gold.
Therese Johaug crosses the line to take gold. Photograph: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

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Geoff Lemon

Third place currently in the cross-country is the other Finnish contender, Krista Parmakoski, who hit the deck immediately after completing the race, and took a long time to get up. Tough event.

I’m tired just watching it. Time for a break, Niall McVeigh will have the reins next.

Curling: Italy leading Great Britain 4-3 now, on the seventh end.

Team GB’s Hammy McMillan, Grant Hardie and Bobby Lammie on the ice.
Team GB’s Hammy McMillan, Grant Hardie and Bobby Lammie on the ice. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

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Incredible finish from Kerttu Niskanen. The Finn was coming through the course a couple of minutes behind Johaug, and clocking faster times on all of the checkpoints. Coming into the final stretch she is racing Johaug’s time, all the way down the straight… and finishes 0.4 seconds behind! Over a 10 kilometre race. Johaug celebrates, knowing that no one else remaining has the form or record to challenge her time.

Therese Johaug of Norway now goes top, at 28:06:30.

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Germany now sits first and second for finish times in the cross-country. Katherine Sauerbrey second, Katharina Hennig first. Some racers behind them closing fast though.

Kerttu Niskanen, the Finnish cross-country champ, is burning through her race. She’s making up a lot of time on everybody else. She’s also the only one who doesn’t look absolutely shattered already.

Cross-country: Some of the competitors have finished their 10km by now. Lilia Vasileva of ROC is currently leading in 29:32:04. Under half an hour to run 10 kilometres uphill in skis. Ow.

Curling: Great Britain has come back to 3-3 against Italy in the men’s round robin.

Gold for Austria in the snowboard cross

Photo finish! After a belting race between Haemmerle and Grondin all the way down. The other two racers are peripheral. The front two take the jumps together, fight on each turn, nearly collide a couple of times. Haemmerle comes off the final jump first, but Grondin has a better jump, catching him up in the air. Gets level on the final slope, but he just loses balance and twists his board as he crosses the line. The photo is decided on whose boot crosses first, and Haemmerle just has the advantage, having stayed balanced. Outstanding race. Silver for Canada. Visintin gets bronze for Italy.

Alessandro Haemmerle (C) leads the charge on his way to a gold medal.
Alessandro Haemmerle (C) leads the charge on his way to a gold medal. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA

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Jake Vedder benefited from a crash to make it into the semi-final, and another crash sees him finish second in the small final of the snowboard cross. He was a late replacement in the USA squad as an alternate, and has made the most of it. Sixth overall in his first Olympic Games. Merlin Surget finishes first in this race, fourth overall, for France.

The women’s 10km cross-country skiing has started. This is a time-trial sort of situation, with competitors starting one at a time with a 30-second interval between them. But some racers will catch up to others, so there will be tactics around passing or slipstreams.

The snowboard cross semifinals see four more racers knocked out into the small final: Merlin Surget, Lucas Eguibar, Jake Vedder and Tommaso Leoni. Vedder was leading his semi but his inexperience showed, pushed to the outside on a turn at which point the other racers pounced.

Eliot Grondin, Alessandro Haemmerle, Julian Lueftner and Omar Visintin will contest the big final. Canada, Austria, Austria, Italy.

Updated

In the curling, it’s the men’s round robin session two, and Great Britain are trailing Italy by 3-1 during the fourth end. Same score for China-ROC, while it’s 2-2 for USA-Sweden and Norway-Canada.

Gold for Austria in the men’s alpine combined

The podium from earlier stays intact: Johannes Strolz wins the gold, something that his father did in the same event many years ago. Aleksander Kilde holds second for Norway, and Canada gets bronze via James Crawford.

Strolz clocked 2:31:43 across his two runs: one downhill, one slalom.

Nick Baumgartner, the 40-year-old American, misses out on qualifying in the snowboard cross. He was leading for a while but Austria’s Julian Lueftner caught him up and then fellow USA rider Jake Vedder got past him.

Quick update: snowboard cross is sick. It’s a speed race, but on a long downhill course full of ramps and jumps and twists and turns. Nobody is doing tricks off the jumps, they’re just trying to get there. Four racers all go at the same time, the top two go to the next round, and there have been collisions aplenty while fighting for position. A couple of guys who have crashed have then allowed themselves to do some jumps on the way down after the chance to win has gone.

The last few slalom skiers are a long way behind the leaders’ pace and so they’re having to go all out on attack. A lot of crashes or missed gates as a result. Seven of them haven’t finished the run now.

Australia’s Adam Dickson misses out on a snowboard cross quarter-final. The quarters are all decided and are ready to go.

A couple of crashes in the combined slalom: Pinturault of France and Zabystran of Czechia. That gets us halfway through the field of 24 with the podium unchanged.

Bryan Graham was watching Nathan Chen at the venue for us.

If you’re not familiar, the alpine combined event is one where the skiers do a downhill run and then a slalom run, adding their times together to see who wins. The downhill part is already done. Johannes Stroltz currently has top spot for Austria, with Norway’s Aleksander Kilde and Canada’s James Crawford next. Eight racers out of 24 are done.

For the Australians in the snowboard cross, Cameron Bolton has already qualified for the quarters, while Adam Lambert and Jarryd Hughes have dropped out. Huw Nightingale has gone for Great Britain too.

Right, what’s coming up? The men’s snowboard cross finals are underway, first the one-eighth round, then the quarters, the semis, and the final. And the men’s alpine combined slalom is about to start.

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The ceremony takes place, with Chen flanked by Uno and Kagiyama, each delivered a panda mascot. I didn’t actually see any medals handed out, but the panda is more important.

There it is, the one bauble that Chen had not won. Three world championships since 2019, after coming in fifth at the 2018 Olympics. Only a mistake could have cost him this win. But as we’ve seen with someone like Mikaela Shiffrin, those mistakes can happen. Favourites stumble. Something goes wrong, something awry with the universe, and it’s over in a flash. So Chen had to survive the pressure of knowing that if he didn’t make a mistake, he would win.

Gold for Nathan Chen!

Nathan Chen brings the strut. Longer limbed than the others, somehow looser and more casual looking, he nonetheless nails every trick. He picks an Elton John medley as his backing – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road into Rocket Man into Benny and the Jets. Does the quad lutz twice, his signature. Gets a huge response from the crowd with each landing.

He just exudes relief after getting his routine right. And there seems no doubt on anyone’s face about who is winning. The Japanese trio sitting in gold, silver and bronze get bumped down one spot each, as Chen records a mammoth 218.63 for his free skate score, more than 22 points ahead of Kagiyama across both rounds. Uno settles for tres, Hanyu comes in fourth.

From Japan to Japan, with Kagiyama Uma. He goes much more dramatic, with the theme music from Gladiator. And it’s a big bombastic routine, lots of gesturing and arms flung wide. The technical side looks good, the commentators saying he could have turned a couple of double spins into triple for more points. But he lands every trick – and that’s enough to net him 201.93.

He’s into the gold spot! Only Nathan Chen can take it from him.

Hello all. I’ve just been watching Uno Shoma doing his solo routine. He has a stumble on one of his early quads, put a hand down but kept his balance. More impressively than that, he comes back from that error to put in a brilliant routine from then on. A classical music backing, and he’s appropriately fluent and classy in his routine. He gets the 1.00 deduction for the fall, but still clocks 187.1, and is ranked first with two competitors to come.

Ouch. South Korea’s Cha Junhwan’s quad attempt results in a slide and a faceplant. He needs a second to get up and continue. Figure skaters are a tough, hardy bunch.

Georgia’s Morisi Kvitelashvili preceded Cha with a competent free skate that lacks the pizzazz (or the technical elements) to hang around in the top five.

Next up: with apologies to Hanyu, who can still get a medal if anyone falters, it’s the Big Three. Shoma Uno has 105.90 points from the short program. Yuma Kagiyama has 108.12. Then it’s Nathan Chen, trying to erase the disappointment of 2018.

On that note, I’m passing the baton to the other side of the planet. Please welcome Geoff Lemon, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Who needs quads? Not Jason Brown, who puts the art of skating above all else.

Brown’s quad-less program will never match the technical numbers of his peers. But he wrings out every Grade of Execution point available with flawless execution of every triple and every other element.

And he’s so much fun to watch.

The judges, thankfully, appreciate that. His component scores are through the roof, including a 9.75 in performance and 9.82 in interpretation of the music.

He’s second behind Hanyu and may end up in seventh, but if we had a fan vote, he’d be in the top three. The crowd may be small, but the applause builds as he finishes the program.

Jason Brown entertains the limited-capacity crowd and the millions watching worldwide.
Jason Brown entertains the limited-capacity crowd and the millions watching worldwide. Photograph: Sébastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images

So here’s a question … if the USA ends up with a gold in the figure skating team event, would they technically be the first competitors to win a gold for the country in these Olympics? Or would it still be Lindsey Jacobellis because she was the first to receive the medal?

Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports)

If Russia is disqualified from the team figure skating competition for using a skater who failed a drug test, the logical thinking is USA moves up to gold, Japan to silver and Canada to bronze.

February 10, 2022

Catchup time

The third group in the men’s free skate wraps with the ROC’s Evgeni Semenenko. He slots into third place.

Elsewhere …

Men’s Alpine combined downhill: The leader is Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (yes, Mikaela Shiffrin’s boyfriend) by 0.02 seconds over Canada’s James Crawford. Make it two for Canada in the top three, with Brodie Seger third. The slalom, though, can drastically change the standings.

Men’s hockey: Sweden has notched a first-period goal against Latvia.

And here’s Bryan Armen Graham on Chloe Kim’s halfpipe win:

The quad axel. The hardest jump ever attempted in Olympic competition. Two-time defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu gave it a go. Didn’t happen. The impact on the ice was pretty hard, and maybe that explains why he fell on his next jump.

But the rest of the program is stellar. He racks up points on one sequence with a quad toeloop-triple toeloop combo (17.51), quad toeloop-single euler-triple salchow (18.85) and a triple axel (12.00) that looks effortless. He moves into first, for now. He would need to see a couple of skaters stumble to reach the podium.

“The ruggedness of flannel rarely finds its way onto figure skating ice,” says NBC’s always entertaining Johnny Weir as Canada’s Keegan Messing gets underway in the free skate to the acoustic tones of Mumford and Sons playing Home. (Not live, sadly. Wouldn’t that be cool?)

His routine is tremendous. He won’t get on the podium with the jumps he’s attempting, but no one could complain about the showmanship. Near the end, he pulls out a trick I hadn’t seen before, going in an arc with his torso touching the ice.

Messing fell hard during warmups. Not during his program. He finished 12th in 2018. He’s guaranteed a top-11 finish here.

Next up: defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu.

(This post has been updated with a photo of Messing’s flannel.)

Keegan Messing eyes his next move during his free skate.
Keegan Messing eyes his next move during his free skate. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Curling, women: Switzerland 6, Team GB 5

A well-played extra end leaves Eve Muirhead a draw to a small but reasonable space for the win. She thinks it’s on the mark, her sweepers think it’s on the mark, but it slides a little too far, and Switzerland takes the point and the game.

Denmark beat China 7-6 on a 10th-end draw through a tight space by Madeleine Dupont, and Sweden closed out China 8-5.

I won my doubles game 11-2 today.

The day’s skeleton action is wrapping up with German sliders Christopher Grotheer and Axel Jungk sitting 1 and 2 ahead of China’s Yan Wengang. Two ROC sliders are next, then two-time silver medalist and six-time world champion Martins Dukurs of Latvia.

Team GB’s Matt Weston is tied for 13th. The USA’s Andrew Blaser is 21st, and Australia’s Nicholas Timmings is buried in the basement (25th).

Nathan Crumpton represents American Samoa in men’s skeleton.
Nathan Crumpton represents American Samoa in men’s skeleton. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters