Olympics Live: Germany's Neise captures skeleton gold

Germany has a new sliding champion

BEIJING -- The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:

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Germany has a new sliding champion.

Hannah Neise has never won a World Cup medal. Or a medal at the world championships. Or a medal from the European championships.

She’s got an Olympic medal now. And it’s the one that everybody wants.

Neise is the Olympic skeleton women’s champion, a bit of a surprise winner. Neise, the 21-year-old who won the junior world title last year, became the first German woman to capture the gold medal in Olympic skeleton by rallying in the final two heats at the Beijing Games on Saturday night.

Jaclyn Narracott of Australia was second. Kimberley Bos of the Netherlands was third.

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Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron broke their own world record in the rhythm dance, scoring 90.83 points to give the four-time world champions from France the lead heading into Monday’s free dance at the Beijing Games.

Papadakis and Cizeron finished second four years ago in Pyeongchang to Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who have since retired. And they appeared intent on making it to the top step this time around, earning Level 3 marks for their midline step and pattern dance but Level 4s everywhere else.

The current world champs, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia, were second with 88.84 points with two American teams also in the mix. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were third with 87.13 points, followed closely by teammates Madison Chock and Evan Bates with 84.14 points.

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Marius Lindvik of Norway has won Olympic gold in ski jumping on the large hill by holding off Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan.

Lindvik jumped 140 meters Saturday on his final jump and earned 296.1 points overall to become the first Norwegian to win the event since Toralf Engan in 1964.

Kobayashi earned silver after winning on the normal hill on Sunday. Karl Geiger of Germany finished third.

Two-time defending champion Kamil Stoch of Poland was fourth. He came up short on his shot to become the first to win three straight Olympic titles on the large hill.

Two-time gold medalist Andreas Wellinger is unable to compete in China because he tested positive for COVID-19.

The men will be back on the large hill on Monday for a team competition. Norway, Germany and Austria have won the last three Olympic team events. The trio of traditional powers will likely contend for medals again, trying to hold off Slovenia and Japan.

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Russian ice dancers Gleb Smolkin and Diana Davis, the daughter of controversial figure skating coach Eteri Tutberidze, qualified for the free dance with a strong performance in the rhythm dance portion of the competition Saturday night.

Smolkin and Davis received a score of 71.66 points to their program, set to “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas and “Bom Bidi Bom” by Nick Jonas and Nicki Minaj. That’s not enough to threaten for a spot on the podium, but it was easily enough to make the cutoff for the top 20 dancers to advance to Monday’s free dance.

Davis was born in Las Vegas and holds dual citizenship with the United States and Russia.

Tutberidze has come under fire during the Beijing Games for her work with 15-year-old Kamila Valieva, the favorite to win individual gold. Valieva tested positive for a banned medication in December and is now awaiting a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Spot on Monday to see whether she can continue competing in the Olympics.

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport says it expects to announce Monday whether figure skater Kamila Valieva can compete in the women's individual event at the Beijing Olympics.

CAS says a closed-door appeal hearing will start at 8:30 p.m. local time Sunday at a hotel in Beijing.

A three-judge panel will aim to notify all the parties of its verdict Monday afternoon. That's less than 24 hours before Valieva is due back on the ice to start the individual event, where she’s the strong favorite.

Russia's anti-doping agency provisionally banned Valieva on Tuesday because she failed a doping test in December. After an appeal, the agency lifted the ban Wednesday.

The IOC, World Anti-Doping Agency and International Skating Union have challenged the lifting of the ban.

The 15-year-old skater's positive test was announced only after she helped the Russian Olympic Committee team win gold in the team event.

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Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway skied fast enough to win the gold medal in the biathlon sprint race despite missing one target.

Boe covered the 10-kilometer course in 24 minutes, 0.4 seconds. It’s his third medal of the Beijing Games. He also won gold in the mixed relay and bronze in the individual race.

Quentin Fillon Maillet of France also missed one target but couldn’t match Boe’s ski speed. He won silver, 25.5 seconds back. He won gold in the individual and silver in the mixed relay, where he was outsprinted by Boe. He’s also the overall World Cup leader.

Tarjei Boe, who had a single miss on the day, won bronze, 38.9 seconds behind his younger brother.

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Estonia’s Kristjan Ilves has been released from isolation and cleared to train on the Beijing Games’ cross-country course.

Ilves, the world’s sixth-ranked Nordic combined skier, previously tested positive for COVID-19 and that knocked him out of the normal hill competition and 10K cross-country race on Wednesday night.

He was one of four Nordic combined stars to miss the first of three medal events in China.

Three-time world champion Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway was still in isolation on Sunday.

Fifth-ranked and three-time Olympic champion Eric Frenzel of Germany and teammate Terence Weber, who is ranked seventh, were still in isolation as of Saturday night.

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Gao Tingyu thrilled the home crowd in Beijing by becoming the first Chinese man to claim an Olympic gold medal in speedskating, winning the 500 meters.

Gao added to the bronze medal he took in the 500 at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

Zhang Hong had been the only Chinese gold medalist at the oval. She won the women’s 1,000 eight years ago in Sochi.

Now, she’s got company.

Gao skated in the seventh of 15 pairs, setting an Olympic record of 34.32 seconds. Then he waited nervously on the infield as 16 other skaters took aim at his time.

None could beat it. The silver went to South Korea’s Cha Min Kyu, whose time of 34.39 gave him a matching medal to the silver he won four years ago in Pyeongchang. Wataru Morishige of Japan took the bronze in 34.49.

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Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin says there will be no hearing until Sunday on whether figure skater Kamila Valieva can keep competing at the Beijing Olympics.

In comments carried by the state news agency Tass, Matytsin says that the Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear the case Sunday.

Valieva tested positive for the heart drug trimetazidine in a sample taken at the Russian national championships on Dec. 25.

The CAS hearing will not decide whether she doped, only whether she can keep competing until there is a full disciplinary hearing later on. The women’s competition starts Tuesday and Valieva is the heavy favorite for gold.

Russia's gold medal in the team competition, where Valieva competed, could also be at risk, but that won't be decided until later.

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Snowboarding icon Shaun White ’s next big contest is the Super Bowl. He was bound for the airport less than 24 hours after he took his final competitive halfpipe ride at the Olympics.

He's headed from Beijing to Los Angeles to watch his first Super Bowl in person.

White said his girlfriend, actress Nina Dobrev, has been suggesting he make a list of things he wants to do in retirement “so I’m not sitting around twiddling my thumbs.”

“I’ve been to the house parties and stuff. Never been to the game, so I’m excited to check that off the list,” White said in a phone interview with The Associated Press, as he rode to Beijing on Saturday to catch a late-night flight.

After that, he’ll take some time to relax.

The build-up to his last contest, then the tear-stained aftermath of his fourth-place finish, have been an emotional roller coaster for the three-time champion.

“I woke up this morning and I just felt this peacefulness,” White said. “It was amazing to know I have so much ahead of me.”

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The Russian team started strong and finished strong Saturday in the women’s four-person relay, winning another Olympic gold medal in cross-country skiing.

Yulia Stupak broke away early with nine women chasing. On the next leg, Natalia Nepryaeva was chased down by Katharina Hennig of Germany.

The Germans briefly took the lead on the last lap, with Russian skier Veronika Stepanova just behind Sofie Krehl. But Stepanova pulled away on the final climb and won in 53 minutes, 41 seconds. Germany took silver, 18.2 seconds behind. Sweden edged Finland for bronze.

Tatiana Sorina skied the third lap for the Russian team, which is competing at the Beijing Games under the acronym ROC — short for Russian Olympic Committee.

The four-person relay began as a mass-start with 18 racers. Each woman skied two laps on a 2.5-kilometer (1.5-mile) course. The first two skiers raced in the classic style and the last two in freestyle.

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The start of the men’s 500 meters is being delayed at the Olympic speedskating oval.

The ice was all set for the sprint race when workers came out to remove some of the lane markers and repair a section of the outer lane in the corner. One of the Zambonis was reappeared and made two trips around to smooth over that area.

Fifteen pairs are competing in the race.

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Japan has set an Olympic record in the quarterfinals of the women's speedskating team pursuit at the Beijing Olympics.

Japan broke its own Olympic mark Saturday with a time of 2 minutes, 53.61 seconds, advancing to the semifinals as the top qualifier.

The Japanese will face the fourth-fastest qualifier, the Russian Olympic Committee (2:57.66). Canada (2:53.97) and the Netherlands (2:57.26) also advanced and will meet in the other semifinal.

China and Norway were relegated to the C final. Belarus and Poland will meet in the D final.

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The United States men's hockey team beat Canada, its biggest rival, 4-2 in a preliminary round game at the Beijing Olympics.

Andy Miele responded to Canada’s early goal by tying it 70 seconds later and Brendan Brisson scored his second of the Olympics.

The Americans are now in the driver’s seat to earn a spot in the quarterfinals of the men’s hockey tournament.

Sean Farrell also set up Ben Meyers to give him three assists and six points and goaltender Strauss Mann made 35 saves to help the U.S. improve to 2-0 in the preliminary round. Beating Germany on Sunday would put the U.S. first in the group and could made it the top seed in the knockout round.

The boom or bust potential of the youngest team in the tournament was on full display against Canada, a bigger, stronger and more experienced opponent.

The U.S. — with 12 college players on the ice — went hit for hit with Canada and used a combination of offensive skill and bad opposing goaltending to take control of the game.

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Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva was in tears after a shaky practice Saturday at the Beijing Olympics that included a fall on a triple axel — a jump she typically executes without a problem.

Valieva was doing a run-through of her short program when she fell. She later landed two combos, a triple flip-triple toe loop and a triple lutz-triple toe loop, before skating to the boards and giving her coach, Eteri Tutberidze, an emotional hug.

Valieva has continued to practice while the Court of Arbitration for Sport considers whether a failed doping test will keep the 15-year-old sensation out of the women’s competition. The event begins Tuesday in Beijing.

Valieva helped Russia win team gold last weekend. Then on Monday, a test taken in December was flagged for traces of the banned heart drug trimetazidine, putting the medal won by her entire team in possible jeopardy.

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The inaugural Olympic monobob starts Sunday at the Beijing Games. In monobob, there's only one woman in the bobsled.

Americans Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor are expected to be among the top contenders in the new event. Medals will be awarded Monday and the traditional two-woman competition starts Friday night.

Humphries is the reigning world champion in the event and Meyers Taylor is this season's monobob World Series overall champion.

Humphries and Meyers Taylor were both fighting COVID-19 in recent weeks, yet recovered just in time to keep their Olympic hopes going.

Men compete in the four-man bobsled and Humphries and Meyers Taylor hoped the Olympics would add a women's event, but most countries besides the U.S. and Canada don't have enough female bobsledders to compete. So monobob was added instead.

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Defending Olympic champion Sofia Goggia of Italy appeared content after completing the opening downhill training session at the Beijing Games less than three weeks after injuring her left leg and knee in a crash.

Goggia finished 1.55 seconds behind leader Priska Nufer of Switzerland.

Mikaela Shiffrin was slightly quicker in ninth and 1.33 back.

Two more training sessions are scheduled before Tuesday’s race.

Goggia did not enter the super-G and arrived late in China to get in some extra rehab at home in Italy. She sprained her left knee, partially tore a cruciate ligament, had a “minor fracture” of the fibula bone in her leg, plus some tendon damage, after the crash in a super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Jan. 23.

There was light snowfall and fog on the top of the course.

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Lindsey Jacobellis has won her second gold medal of the Olympics, teaming with 40-year-old Nick Baumgartner for the title in the new event of mixed snowboardcross.

The 36-year-old Jacobellis took gold earlier this week in the women’s event; it came 16 years after a late showboat move as she was cruising in for an apparent win cost her the title at the Turin Games.

After a slow start, the U.S. now has five gold medals and 11 overall at the Games. Jacobellis accounts for two, while snowboarder Chloe Kim has another.

The Italian team of Omar Visintin and Michela Moioli came in second and the Canadian duo of Eliot Grondin and Meryeta O’Dine finished third.

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Finally, a real sign of winter at the Winter Olympics: real snow in the mountains used for Alpine skiing.

Just a light flurry, mind you.

Still, actual flakes are dropping on the hills of the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center, about 55 miles northwest of Beijing’s city center.

It is the first precipitation since ski racing competition began last week -- the absence of snow is not much of a surprise, given how dry the season usually is in these parts.

All of the snow that American star Mikaela Shiffrin and others have been skiing on is manufactured.

There are no Alpine medals at stake Saturday, just a chance for Shiffrin and other women to take training runs for the downhill along the course known as The Rock. The race is scheduled for Tuesday.

More snow is in the forecast for Sunday, when the men are supposed to contest the giant slalom -- and even continuing through Monday morning. A total of about 3 1/2 inches (9 centimeters) is expected at the Alpine skiing venue.

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German pairs skaters Nolan Seegert and Minerva Fabienne Hase practiced for the first time Saturday, 10 days after Seegert tested positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival in Beijing and was put into quarantine.

Seegert and Hase were forced to withdraw from the team competition, which meant Germany received no points for the pairs short program. That made it impossible for the longshots to advance to the medal round of the event.

The individual pairs competition begins Friday night, so they still have nearly a week to prepare.

The women’s session is later Saturday at the same practice rink near Capital Indoor Stadium. It’s unclear whether Kamila Valieva, who is at the center of a Russian doping controversy, will be on the ice again. She is awaiting a ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport on whether she can continue in Beijing with the women’s event beginning Tuesday.

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