Olympics Live: IOC won't act on 'No War in Ukraine' sign

The International Olympic Committee says there will be no repercussions for the Ukrainian skeleton athlete who flashed a small sign urging peace in his homeland at the end of a run

ByThe Associated Press
February 11, 2022, 10:50 AM
Iivo Niskanen, of Finland, reacts after crossing the finish line during the men's 15km classic cross-country skiing competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Iivo Niskanen, of Finland, reacts after crossing the finish line during the men's 15km classic cross-country skiing competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
The Associated Press

BEIJING -- The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:

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The International Olympic Committee says there will be no repercussions for the Ukrainian skeleton athlete who flashed a small sign urging peace in his homeland at the end of a run.

The message Vladyslav Heraskevych displayed Friday read: “No War in Ukraine.” The sign was printed on a blue-and-yellow piece of paper, matching the colors of Ukraine’s flag.

It was possible that the IOC could have considered Heraskevych’s act a violation of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter. That rule, in part, states that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

But the IOC characterized the sign late Friday as “a general call for peace.” They consider the matter closed.

Heraskevych ultimately finished 18th in a field of 20.

Russia’s stance is that it does not plan to invade Ukraine but wants the West to keep Ukraine and other former Soviet countries out of NATO. In an interview Thursday with NBC News, U.S. President Joe Biden repeated his warning that any Americans still in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible.

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Germany has its first Olympic skeleton champion.

Christopher Grotheer was a runaway winner in the men’s skeleton event that ended Friday night, the first German to win gold in the discipline where sliders navigate the icy chute headfirst at speeds that can exceed 80 mph.

Grotheer’s four-run time over two days of competition was 4:01.01. Axel Jungk, another German, won the silver medal in 4:01.67 and Yan Wengang of China won the bronze in 4:01.77.

It was China’s first Olympic medal in a sliding sport.

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A Ukrainian skeleton athlete ended his third run at the Beijing Olympics by revealing a small sign to the cameras urging peace in his homeland.

The message from Vladyslav Heraskevych read: “No War in Ukraine.” The sign was printed on a blue-and-yellow piece of paper, matching the colors of Ukraine’s flag.

It is possible that the International Olympic Committee could consider Heraskevych’s act a violation of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter. That rule, in part, states that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

Heraskevych’s action came on the same day that Britain’s defense secretary visited Moscow for talks on easing tensions amid massive Russian war games near Ukraine and a buildup of over 100,000 troops that has stoked Western fears of an invasion.

Russia’s stance is that it does not plan to invade Ukraine but wants the West to keep Ukraine and other former Soviet countries out of NATO. In an interview Thursday with NBC News, U.S. President Joe Biden repeated his warning that any Americans still in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible.

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Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands has defended her title in 1,000-meter short track speedskating.

She set the world and Olympic records in the quarterfinals. She wasn’t as fast in the final Friday, finishing in 1 minute, 28.391 seconds.

Choi Minjeong of South Korea took silver. Hanne Desmet of Belgium earned bronze.

Arianna Fontana of Italy was penalized for a lane change that caused contact with American Kristen Santos. Both skaters went down and slid on their sides into the padding.

Fontana was chasing an 11th career medal, having already won two medals in Beijing.

Schulting was the silver medalist behind Fontana in the 500.

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American Kristen Santos qualified fastest for the 1,000-meter final in short track speedskating at the Beijing Olympics.

Santos’ time Friday of 1 minute, 26.783 seconds topped defending champion Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands. Schulting was timed in 1:28.108.

Schulting set the world and Olympic record of 1:26.514 earlier in the quarterfinals.

Also making the A final later Friday are 10-time Olympic medalist Arianna Fontana of Italy, Choi Minjeong of South Korea and Hanne Desmet of Belgium.

American teammates Maame Biney and Corinne Stoddard made the B final.

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Defending Olympic champion Wu Dajing of China has easily qualified in the heats of 500-meter short track speedskating.

Also moving on to the quarterfinals on Sunday are Ren Ziwei of China, Steven Dubois of Canada and Hwang Daeheon of South Korea. Liu Shaolin Sandor and his brother, world champion Liu Shaoang, of Hungary moved on. Their American-born teammate, John-Henry Krueger, qualified, too.

Lee Juneseo of South Korea crashed and was penalized in his heat.

American Ryan Pivirotto was eliminated.

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Defending Olympic champion Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands has advanced to the semifinals of the 1,000 meters in short track speedskating.

Schulting broke the 10-year-old world record in her quarterfinal, winning in 1 minute, 26.514 seconds. She also lowered her own Olympic record set in the heats two days ago.

Arianna Fontana of Italy moved on in pursuit of her 11th career medal. She already won the 500 in Beijing and earned a silver in the mixed team relay.

Also moving on were Americans Kristen Santos, Maame Biney and Corinne Stoddard.

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Nils van der Poel of Sweden has broken his own world record and captured his second gold medal of the Beijing Olympics with a dominating victory in men’s 10,000-meter speedskating.

Van der Poel added to his victory in the 5,000, which was a much closer affair. On Friday, it was just him against the clock.

He crossed the line in 12 minutes, 30.74 seconds, easily breaking the world mark of 12:32.95 he set in February 2021, and was more than nine seconds ahead of the Olympic record set four years ago by Canada’s Ted-Jan Bloemen.

The silver medal went to Patrick Roest of the Netherlands (12:44.59), the same spot he took behind van der Poel in the 5,000. The bronze went to Italy’s Davide Ghiotto in 12:45.98.

Defending champion Bloemen finished eighth.

Van der Poel’s victory came after he ripped the Dutch federation over a report that it was trying to influence ice makers at the oval to set up conditions that benefit its skaters.

While saying he had nothing against athletes from the Netherlands, van der Poel called the report a sign of “corruption” that needed to be investigated by the IOC and the International Skating Union.

Dutch officials shrugged off the complaints.

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Finland’s Iivo Niskanen maintained his classic skiing dominance, winning gold in the 15-kilometer cross country race at the Beijing Olympics.

Niskanen crossed the line and collapsed, spread eagle, with a time of 37 minutes, 54.8 seconds. It was his third Olympic gold. He won the 50-kilometer classic race in Pyeongchang and the classic team sprint at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Alexander Bolshunov of Russia won silver 23.2 seconds back, while Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo of Norway secured the bronze 37.5 seconds behind the Finn.

Both Bolshunov and Klaebo have won gold medals at the Beijing Olympics — Bolshunov in the skiathlon and Klaebo in the sprint.

Niskanen had a 28.8 second lead over Bolshunov at the 10.5-kilometer mark and was 52.5 seconds faster than Klaebo at that point in the race, and held it to the finish.

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The defending champion U.S. women's hockey team rallied to defeat the Czech Republic 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics on Friday.

The Americans survived what would have been a major upset in a game where their offense continued to struggle.

The U.S., whose only losses in six previous Olympics have been against Canada (six times) and Sweden (once), managed just four goals on 59 shots.

Hilary Knight had a goal and assist, and Savannah Harmon and Kendall Coyne Schofield also scored for the Americans. Alex Cavallini stopped five shots.

Czech goalie Klara Peslarova was the star of the game, stopping 55 shots, including the first 22 she faced.

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The Russian Olympic Committee says it will fight to keep the figure skating gold medal won by a team that included Kamila Valieva, who failed a doping test in December.

An urgent hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport will decide whether the 15-year-old can compete next week in the women’s event at the Beijing Olympics, where she is the heavy favorite.

The decision about whether the team keeps its medal is a separate process that could take months.

The International Testing Agency confirmed reports that Valieva tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine at the Russian national championships in St. Petersburg six weeks ago.

Valieva will likely be disqualified from her Russian national title in December but could still be cleared to compete in the individual Olympic competition.

“The Russian Olympic Committee will take comprehensive measures to defend the rights and interests of the ROC team and to keep the honestly-won Olympic gold medal (in the team event),” the ROC said in a statement. It added that a doping test Valieva took while at the Olympics came back clean.

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After winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen said he’s looking forward to going back to school and is undecided about what’s next for him in the sport.

Chen said at a Friday press conference that his immediate next step after the Winter Games is getting ready to resume his studies in August at Yale University, where he is majoring in statistics and data science. He’s been on leave since the fall of 2020, when the pandemic began.

The “Quad King” said he’s unsure if he’ll compete at the world championships next month in France, and undecided on whether or not he’ll set goals to master even more difficult jumps after landing five quads in his winning free skate program Thursday.

It’s not uncommon for figure skaters to skip the world championships in an Olympic year, choosing to take a break from a long grind that begins early in the fall and continues with the Grand Prix season rather than continuing to train.

Chen will skate next in the Figure Skating Gala Exhibition on the closing day of the Winter Games on Feb. 20.

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The Czech Republic became the sixth women’s hockey team, and first since Italy at the 2006 Torino Games, to fail to register a shot on net in a period at the Winter Games.

The Czech Republic, making their Olympics debut, was out-shot 18-0 by the United States in the opening period of their quarterfinal playoff game. Despite the lopsided edge in shots, Czech goalie Klara Peslarova stopped all 18 shots to keep the game scoreless through 20 minutes.

The Czech team scored on their second shot on goal 4:59 into the second period. Hilary Knight tied it 48 seconds later.

Italy was held without a shot twice in a period during the 2006 Games, once in the third period of an 11-0 loss to Sweden on Feb. 13, and also two days earlier against Canada

Japan was held without a shot in a period twice, and China once during the 1998 Nagano Games.

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Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland is in first place in the women’s super-G at the Beijing Games and on the brink of capturing her first Olympic gold medal with only lower-ranked skiers remaining.

Two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin is out of the medal places in ninth. The American failed to finish in either of her two previous races in Beijing.

It would be Gut-Behrami’s first Olympic gold and comes after two successive fourth-place finishes in super-G at the Winter Games.

The 30-year-old has two bronze medals from the Oympics, including one from Monday’s giant slalom.

Mirjam Puchner of Austria is 0.22 seconds behind in second in her first Olympic race and Michelle Gisin is 0.30 behind her Swiss teammate in third.

Defending champion Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic failed in her bid to win an unprecedented back-to-back double. She is 0.43 behind in fifth.

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An urgent hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport will decide whether Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva can compete in the women’s event at the Beijing Olympics, where she is a heavy favorite.

The International Testing Agency said Friday it will lead an appeal on behalf of the IOC against a decision by Russia’s anti-doping agency to lift a provisional ban imposed on the 15-year-old Valieva for failing a doping test in December.

The ITA confirms reports that Valieva tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine at the Russian national championships in December.

The ITA says the positive test was flagged by a laboratory on Tuesday after Valieva helped the Russians win the team event but before the medal ceremony, which was then postponed. Whether the Russians will lose their gold medal in the team event will be decided later.

Valieva has been continuing to practice in Beijing. For the second straight day, she worked out early at Capital Indoor Stadium as if nothing was amiss. She was flanked during the 45-minute session by Russian teammates Alexandra Trusova and world champion Anna Shcherbakova, both of whom are also coached by Eteri Tutberidze.

Despite missing on that combo at the Rostelecom Cup last fall, when she did a quad-double, Valieva still set a world record there for her free skate. She also set the world record for the short program and total score at the same Grand Prix event in Russia.

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Mikaela Shiffrin completed the super-G at the Beijing Olympics way out of medal contention — but for the first time in three races at the 2022 Games, she made it across the finish line.

The two-time Olympic Alpine gold medalist crossed the line at the bottom of a course known as The Rock in an unofficial time of 1 minute, 14.30 seconds. That left the 26-year-old American more than a half-second behind early leader Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland.

That put Shiffrin in eighth place after only 11 of the 44 entrants had taken their turns down the slope.

Shiffrin had never entered a super-G at an Olympics before, although she did win a gold in the event at the 2019 world championship and a bronze at last year’s worlds.

She failed to finish her opening run in the two-run events that preceded the super-G in Beijing: the giant slalom and the slalom. She has won both at past Olympics.

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Japan's Ayumu Hirano has won gold with a boundary-pushing run in the men's halfpipe at the Beijing Olympics. Three-time gold medalist Shaun White was fourth in what he has said would be his final competition.

There was no doubt over the winner after Hirano’s electric performance as the last rider to go. His run included an intricate and unprecedented series of flips and spins that pushed a sport obsessed with progression to new heights. His score of 96 reflected that and the two-time Olympic silver medalist moved past Scotty James of Australia. Jan Scherrer of Switzerland took bronze.

White fell on the final run of a career that’s seen the American star win three Olympic titles. He lifted up his goggles and waved to the crowd on his way down the halfpipe. He teared up as the sparse crowd bid adieu and his fellow riders lined up to hug him.

“I wanted it,” White said. “My legs were giving out on me every hit.”

The stage was being set for some controversy after the second run. James took over the lead with his second attempt. Hirano followed with an impressive run that included the difficult-to-do triple cork, but wasn’t rewarded by the judges. The crowd booed and social media was buzzing.

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Shaun White remained in fourth place after his second run in his final Winter Games as Scotty James of Australia jumped into the lead.

The three-time Olympic champion White scored an 85 and was momentarily in second before strong runs by James and Ayumu Hirano of Japan. There’s one run to go.

The 35-year-old White executed his same run as he did in the opening, including his patented Double McTwist 1260 and then a frontside 1260 at the end, but this time made no mistakes. He pumped his board in excitement after finishing.

Hirano turned in the most difficult run but couldn’t surpass James. The sparse crowd booed over the scoring by the judges. The announcer called it one of the greatest runs ever.

First-run leader Taylor Gold fell to fifth.

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American snowboarder Taylor Gold grabbed the lead after the first run of the Olympic halfpipe competition, with Shaun White sitting in fourth place in his final Winter Games appearance.

Gold score an 81.75, earning the judge’s respect with his stylistic performance in the first of three runs. He may not have gone as big as other riders but was technically solid all the way through his run.

White started off strong in his bid for a fourth Olympic gold medal. The 35-year-old executed his patented Double McTwist 1260 and then a frontside 1260 at the end. His only real mistake was landing on his heel edge after his second trick, which slowed him down.

Ayumu Hirano of Japan set the bar high by landing his difficult-to-do triple cork 1440, which would’ve been good enough for first, but he fell later on the run. Hirano sat in ninth place.

Many of the top riders struggled on their opening run, including Scotty James of Australia. Wearing his trademark red boxing-glove mittens -- he views competitions as a title fight -- he fell on his first run.

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Mikaela Shiffrin is ready to have some “fun” when she returns to Olympic action in the super-G..

Shiffrin posted on Twitter early Friday morning in China to say she’s grateful “to have the opportunity to refocus on a new race, in the sport that I love so much.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is off to a rough start at the Beijing Games.

She went off-course within about 10 seconds in the giant slalom on Monday and after about half as much time in the slalom on Wednesday.

“I’ve had a lot of support over the last 48 hours,” Shiffrin wrote Friday, “and I have to thank everyone for that.”

The 26-year-old American won each of those events at past Games.

She has never entered an Olympic super-G before but did win that race at the 2019 world championships.

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More AP Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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