All eyes are on Valieva again in women’s Olympic figure skating |
BEIJING (AP) — One of the showpiece events of the Beijing Olympics could end in one of the most embarrassing moments in Games history if Russian teenage sensation Kamila Valieva finishes in the top three in women’s figure skating .
Valieva is the overwhelming favorite to win the competition at Capital Indoor Stadium on Thursday night. Because Valieva is at the center of a doping scandal, the International Olympic Committee has ruled that there will be no flower or medal ceremony if she ranks among the top three skaters. The IOC fears that she will one day see her medal taken away.
Valieva will skate last in the field of 25 based on her best score of 82.16 in Tuesday night’s short program.
And then… nothing if she finishes on the podium. No Bing Dwen Dwen, the stuffed panda mascot that all medalists receive, and no medals.
Earlier Thursday, the American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin skied for the third time in five races, guaranteeing that she will leave Beijing without any individual medals. She was fifth after the first stage of the alpine combined, the downhill, but then missed a gate just seconds into the slalom race and landed on her hip.
Valieva, 15, rocked the Beijing Games when she landed the first quadruple jumps by a woman at the Olympics and helped the Russians win gold in the team event.
Her free skate was expected to be even more impressive, with three attempts at four-revolution jumps. She chose “Bolero” as the music and a flamboyant red and black dress.
Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication during the Russian championships in December. But the result was only announced last week, shortly after the team event.
She was cleared to compete earlier this week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which notably ruled that she had protected status as a minor and that she would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if she was not allowed to compete. happen. The court did not rule on the full extent of the case, leaving that for further investigation later.
“There will be an asterisk against the results as they will obviously be preliminary pending investigation,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “Would we prefer that all of this didn’t happen?” Absoutely.”
IOC President Thomas Bach was to skip the free skating competition. He offered Olympic torches to American figure skaters who won team silver medals as gifts while they wait for the doping case to be resolved, The Associated Press learned on Wednesday evening.
Mikaela Shiffrin arrived in the mountains above Beijing heavily favored to add two golds and a silver to her career. After competing in all of the individual events, she was a surprising 0 for 5 with three DNF – Did Not Finish. Among the races she eliminated were her two best events, the giant slalom and the slalom. Both times she did the entire course, she finished ninth in the super-G and 18th in the downhill.
She had a promising run in the combined downhill, but then missed a gate and fell just seconds into the slalom run.
Shiffrin sat for a few moments in the snow along the course. When she finally stood up, she shook her head, then looked up at the hill.
“I definitely have a lot of questions,” Shiffrin said. “I’m really disappointed. And I’m really frustrated.
Shiffrin said she plans to race a sixth race on Saturday, a team event that was added to the Olympics four years ago.
Michelle Gisin defended her gold medalmaking Switzerland the first country to win five Alpine gold medals in a single Olympiad.
CANADA RETURNS TO HOCKEY GOLD
With “Captain Clutch” Marie-Philip Poulin scoring twice, Canada has regained its place at the top of the women’s hockey world beating rival USA 3-2 in the gold medal game.
Poulin scored his third decisive goal for the Olympic gold medal. She won gold medals at her first two Olympics, in Vancouver and Sochi, before Canada lost to the United States at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
“I just got chills,” she said.
the Americans settled for their fourth silver medal, all losses being against Canada.
Japan’s Miho Takagi won the women’s 1000 meters for his fourth speed skating medal at the Beijing Games and the first individual gold medal of his career. Jutta Leerdam of the Netherlands won the silver medal while Brittany Bowe of the United States took the bronze for her first career individual medal.
World champion Sandra Naeslund of Sweden ended Canada’s reign in women’s skicross when she held off Marielle Thompson. Third place Fanny Smith of Switzerland was moved to last place and Daniela Maier of Germany received the bronze medal after an examination showed Smith had interfered with Maier.
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