BEIJING (AP/KXAN) — Team USA received a deluge of gold after a drought during the start of the Games, as snowboarder Chloe Kim and figure skater Nathan Chen finished in first place for their respective events.
Team USA also came away victorious at the first-ever mixed team aerials event. It was the United States’ best day yet at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, increasing its total to four gold medals and 10 overall.
Chen’s near-perfect skate wins long-sought Olympic gold
Nathan Chen followed his record short program at the Beijing Games with a near-perfect free skate that earned him a long-awaited Olympic gold medal and a standing ovation inside historic Capital Indoor Stadium.
The 22-year-old star landed all five of his quads during his “Rocketman” program to finish with 332.60 points, just three off his own world record. He’s the first American champion since Evan Lysacek in 2010 in Vancouver. Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno rounded out the podium for Japan, while two-time Olymipic champion Yuzuru Hanyu rebounded from a poor short program to finish fourth.
Not perfect, still golden for Chloe Kim in Olympic halfpipe
American snowboarder Chloe Kim turned in a strong opening run to easily defend her Olympic halfpipe title. The last rider to drop into the halfpipe, and with the contest already over, the 21-year-old from California still attempted to go big on a trick one last time. She fell, picked herself up and casually glided the rest of the way down the halfpipe.
She greeted her fellow medalists at the bottom with an embrace. On this day, the only real drama was for second place, with 32-year-old Queralt Castellet of Spain taking silver in her fifth Olympics. Sena Tomita of Japan held off Cai Xuetong of China for bronze.
Gold in mixed team aerials
American skiers Ashley Caldwell, Christopher Lillis and Justin Schoenefeld won gold in the Olympics’ first mixed team aerials event, giving the U.S. its first medals in the freestyle skiing discipline since Jeret “Speedy” Peterson in 2010.
Caldwell was a precocious, breakout star when she made her Olympic debut as a 16-year-old at the 2010 Vancouver Games. The 2017 world champion is now in her fourth Olympics but had never finished higher than 10th. The 28-year-old Caldwell and Schoenefeld have been dating for about three years, making her breakthrough to an Olympic podium that much sweeter.
Olympic favorite from Russia tests positive for banned heart medication
Olympic favorite Kamila Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication before her arrival at the Beijing Olympics, the Russian newspaper RBC reported, putting in jeopardy the team gold medal that she helped win earlier this week.
The sample was reportedly obtained in December, when the 15-year-old Valieva was still in Russia but did not come to light until after she had helped her team win the gold medal with dynamic performances in her short program and free skate.
The drug, Trimetazidine, is used to to treat angina — a type of chest pain marked by reduced blood flow to the heart — and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a stimulant. It is the same drug that was involved in a Russian bobsled case at the 2018 Olympics that ended in a settlement and the athletes accepting an eight-month ban.
Shaun White’s last Olympics hurrah comes in halfpipe final
Shaun White first won Olympic gold 16 years ago. He is not considered a favorite this time, and he said last weekend this would be the end of his career.
He’s dealt with an ankle injury and COVID-19 this season, although it’s certainly possible for an athlete his age to win gold in snowboarding. Lindsey Jacobellis and Benjamin Karl, both 36, have won for the U.S. and Austria in snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom.
The men’s halfpipe final is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. ET and NBC plans to provide live coverage.
Shiffrin seeks Olympic reset; enters super-G after training
The U.S. ski team says Mikaela Shiffrin will enter the super-G at the Beijing Games. She has never raced that event at an Olympics, but she did win it at the 2019 world championships. Shiffrin took a pair of trips about a half-hour apart down the competition hill during an official training session Thursday for the super-G. That race will be held Friday.
Shiffrin is hoping for a “reset” after early mistakes eliminated her from the slalom and giant slalom. Those are her two best races. She has won a gold medal in each at past Olympics.