PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):
Figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva says after setting a world record in the short program of the team event that Russia’s doping troubles have made her stronger.
Medvedeva is the two-time reigning world champion and favorite for gold in the women’s individual competition.
She was also picked to represent Russia in front of the International Olympic Committee in December before the IOC opted against a blanket ban on Russian athletes but required a reduced team to compete under the Olympic flag.
Medvedeva says a foot injury as well as the uncertainty around the Russian team helped make her a better skater.
She says the problems inspired her and the difficulties made her stronger.
Despite her success Sunday, she says she could have been better prepared mentally, adding, “I have to relax a little bit, maybe.”
Here’s a warning to Russian athletes at the Pyeongchang Olympics: The International Olympic Committee is watching you.
Spokesman Mark Adams says the IOC has “surveillance going on looking at the actions and behavior” of the Russians at the games. He says a team of observers will decide if Russians are breaching “not just the letter but the spirit of the law.”
The ban prohibits Russian nationalist symbols and requires the athletes to not complain about the ruling.
Russia was banned from the games for a massive doping scheme. Nevertheless, the IOC has allowed 168 athletes to compete under the neutral banner of “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”
Russians have been told to behave and respect the IOC’s decision. If they do, the Russian Olympic Committee may have its ban lifted on the last day of the Olympics and be able to fly the Russian flag in the closing ceremony.
American Bradie Tennell set a season best in the women’s short program with her usual display of precision and calmness.
Tennell’s score of 68.94 puts her in fifth place. The newcomer to the top ranks of figure skating is a mere .01 points behind Japan’s Satoko Miyahara.
Tennell says, “I’m super happy with the performance I put out there.” She says, “It’s what I’ve been training a long time for.”
Earlier, Canada’s two-time Olympic medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the team ice dance short program. The gold medalists in 2010 and silver medalists four years later blew away the field by a margin of 5.05 points.
The U.S. got a strong performance to the required Latin theme from siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani for second place.
Canada has maintained its lead in the Olympic team figure-skating event, but the Russians are closing the gap with a stunning performance by two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva. She’s won the women’s portion with the highest short program score ever.
As a group of her countrymen chanted “well done,” Medvedeva smiled widely and skated off to hear her marks. The 81.06 — it actually seemed a bit low for such an overwhelming routine — easily beat the field, lifting her team into second place with 31 points.
Medvedeva seemed to float above the ice as she nailed every element in a program that broke her own mark set last year in another team event.
Italy’s Carolina Kostner, the 2014 individual bronze medalist, came in second with a graceful performance highlighted by a series of exquisite spins. Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond was third.
Canada is still on top with 35, and the United States slipped down a spot to third with 29, three points in front of Japan and Italy.
The pairs free skate will be later Sunday, with the other three disciplines finishing on Monday.
An International Olympic Committee official has used the word “attack” to describe an outage that hit the internet and Wi-Fi systems of the Pyeongchang Olympics just minutes before the opening ceremony. The network at some venues was disabled for several hours.
Organizers initially declined to use the charged word. IOC spokesman Mark Adams is now calling it an attack but says “the best industry practice is you don’t talk about an attack at this stage.”
Adams says “we’re not going to comment on the issue because it’s an issue we’re dealing with. We wouldn’t start giving you the details of an investigation before it’s come to an end.” He described the Olympic systems “as secure.”
Organizing committee spokesman Sung Baik-you says “we know the cause of the problem and we have decided with the IOC that we’re not going to reveal the source.”
The opening ceremony was attended by several heads of state and included North Korea’s ceremonial leader, Kim Yong Nam, and the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Also on hand was U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
The games are being held about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border between North and South Korea, countries that technically have been at war since an armistice in 1953.
American teenager Red Gerard has won the first gold medal for the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics, edging Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris for the top spot in men’s slopestyle snowboarding.
Gerard, a 17-year-old from Silverthorne, Colorado, drilled his third and final run on the chilly but sun-splashed course at Phoenix Snow Park. His score of 87.16 was just enough to edge Parrot.
Parrot washed out in his first two runs but nailed his final trip through the tricky series of rails and jumps to post a score of 86.00. McMorris took third after putting up a score of 85.20 in his second run.
Gerard is the second straight American to win the event, which made its Olympic debut four years ago.
Canada has secured a first place spot in curling’s mixed doubles semifinals on the last day of the Olympic competition’s round robin.
The Canadians beat Korea, bringing their record to 6-1. Canada’s John Morris shared a triumphant grin with teammate Kaitlyn Lawes at the end of the game, exclaiming: “We did it! We’re in the playoffs!”
Canada will be joined in the semifinals by Switzerland and a team of athletes from Russia. A tiebreaker match on Sunday night will determine whether China or Norway secures the final playoffs spot.
American sibling duo Matt and Becca Hamilton lost 7-5 to Finland, ending the U.S. team’s Olympic mixed doubles bid. The Hamiltons will compete with their respective teams in the traditional single-gender curling matches that begin later this week.
Heavily favored Canada has used its strongest figure skaters to increase its lead in the team event at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Two-time Olympic medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir blew away the field by a margin of 5.05 points in the short dance. They were the 2010 ice dance gold medalists and won silver in 2014.
Their performance gives Canada 27 points overall in the team standings, four points in front of the second-place United States, which got a strong performance to the required Latin theme from siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani.
The Russians are in third with 21 points heading into the women’s short program. Following that will be the pairs free skate.
Team competition ends Monday with men’s, ice dance and women’s free skates.
Finding a way to incorporate the Rolling Stones and the Eagles with the emphatically Latin music of Santana is almost as cool a trick as the precise twizzles and intricate lifts Virtue and Moir performed on the ice. They cruised through their samba, rhumba and cha cha as if dancing along the Copacabana beach.
The Shibutanis were both smooth and frenetic in their nearly three-minute routine that had the arena rocking. The final 60 seconds were nonstop Latin steps at their most lively.
Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev were third in the short dance.
The next phase of the Olympic team figure skating competition is underway in Pyeongchang.
Going into Sunday, the Canadians were in the lead with 17 points, three ahead of the Americans. Japan was third with 13 points, marginally ahead of the Russian team after the men’s short program and the pairs short program.
The competition continues Sunday with the ice dance short program, the women’s short program and the pairs free skate.
It wraps up Monday with the men’s and women’s free skate and the ice dance free dance.
The Pyeongchang Olympic men’s downhill has been postponed until Thursday because of strong winds.
To make room for the Alpine program’s marquee race, the men’s super-G will shift from Thursday to Friday.
The downhill was supposed to be the first race of the 11-event Alpine program, and it had been scheduled for Sunday. But three hours before it was supposed to start, race organizers said they needed to reschedule it.
They say they can’t operate the gondola lift that would carry teams and officials up the mountain.
Now the first race of the Alpine program will be the women’s giant slalom on Monday.
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