BEIJING (AP/KXAN) — The American bobsledder tapped to carry the flag during the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony will instead get to carry it during the Closing Ceremony. Elana Meyers Taylor caps off her final Olympic Games with at least one medal, after beating COVID-19 which kept her from participating in the kickoff to the Games.
That and more are among today’s top Olympics headlines:
Skiing for joy, Gu wins 3rd Olympic medal — a halfpipe gold
Eileen Gu turned the Beijing Olympics into her own personal playground. In the city. In the mountains. Spinning, flipping and flying at three different venues. The American-born Gu came into these games hoping to win three gold medals in freestyle skiing while representing China, where her mother was born. She didn’t, but she did come away with two golds and one silver. That makes her the first action-sports athlete to win three medals at the same Olympics.
The 18-year-old Gu capped her global coming out party Friday by winning the gold medal in women’s halfpipe.
After skating debacle, Bach takes rare shots at Russians
A worldwide wave of sympathy has flowed to Kamila Valieva for the ordeal she endured at the Beijing Olympics. IOC President Thomas Bach joined on Friday, giving a rare rebuke to the Russian coaches. It was a change in tone for Bach, who has defended Russian efforts to remain in the Olympics despite a massive doping scandal starting in 2014. Millions of viewers watching one of the marquee Olympic events cringed when Valieva’s coach greeted her with criticism after a mistake-filled routine. Bach says he was “very disturbed” watching, Valieva entourage’s “tremendous coldness” to her. Russian officials struck back at Bach, saying the IOC and the media have bullied the 15-year-old since she tested positive for a banned substance.
Canada beats US behind Gushue to win Olympic curling bronze
Sixteen years after he won the Olympic curling gold medal, Brad Gushue is going back to Canada with bronze. The Canadians capitalized on a missed final shot by American John Shuster in the second-to-last end that turned a one-point edge into an insurmountable 8-5 lead.
Gushue won gold in Turin in 2006. Back then he shared a podium with bronze medalist Shuster. This time, the Canadian skip knocked his American counterpart off of it. Shuster has been back at every Winter Games since and won it all in Pyeongchang.
Speedskating champ chooses sportsmanship over Olympic medal
Reigning world champion Kai Verbij backed off on the final crossover straight in speedskating’s 1,000 meters, a split-second bit of sportsmanship that cost the Dutch star any chance at a medal. Verbij knew he didn’t have quite enough speed to get in front of Canada’s Laurent Dubreuil. Rather than risk a collision, Verbij popped up and slowed so he stayed clear of Dubreuil. The Canadian zipped away to capture the silver medal. With his medal chances gone, Verbij coasted around to the finish line. He wound up more than 3 1/2 seconds behind the best-to-last finisher, Austin Kleba of the United States.
China pair breaks figure skating world record
Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China shattered their own world record for a short program at the Beijing Games on Friday night, giving them the narrowest of leads over Russian rivals Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov heading into the free skate to decide the Olympic champion.
Sui and Han, who won the short program at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games before settling for the silver medal, scored 84.41 points to their orchestral suite from the film “Mission: Impossible 2.” That topped the record of 82.83 points that they set during the short program of the team competition earlier this month.
Tarasova and Morozov, who are coached in part by the controversial Eteri Tutberidze, also would have broken the record with their short program. Instead, the fourth-place finishers in Pyeongchang were 16-hundredths of a point behind.
Germany leads in women’s Olympic bobsled, USA in 3rd
The Germans remain right at home on China’s Olympic sliding track. Winners of gold medals in seven of the eight sliding events so far at the Beijing Games, Germany has put itself in prime position to add more hardware to its record-setting total. It holds down the top two spots at the midway point of the women’s bobsled competition. Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi have a commanding half-second lead after two runs. Defending Olympic champions Mariama Jamanka and Alexandra Burghardt are second. And the U.S. is third, with four-time medalist Elana Meyers Taylor and brakeman Sylvia Hoffman in a medal spot going into Saturday’s final heats.
US bobsledder gets another chance to carry the flag
Elana Meyers Taylor has been picked to be a flagbearer again. And this time, she’ll be able to take the job.
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee announced Friday night that the four-time Olympian bobsledder will carry the American flag into Sunday night’s closing ceremony of the Beijing Games.
The announcement was synched to Meyers Taylor’s first run in the women’s bobsled event. As soon as she crossed the line in the first heat, the USOPC revealed that she was the flagbearer pick.
Meyers Taylor was chosen to be one of the flagbearers for the U.S. at the opening ceremony on Feb. 4 but could not participate because she was in isolation following a positive COVID-19 test. That spot went to speedskater Brittany Bowe instead, who led the U.S. delegation into the opening alongside curler John Shuster.