Cheers, Luke. Brilliant stuff, what a finish there – Norway do it again! Forward into the 11th night session of these Beijing Winter Olympics and a couple of the busiest hours of the Games so far.
Initially, our focus will be at Capital Stadium where Kamila Valieva will capture all the attention as the short program continues in the women’s figure skating short program. From the 30 in the running, the top three are all Russian – Anna Shcherbakova was the 2021 World Cup champion and Alexandra Trusova is just as likely to end up on the podium when the competition concludes on Thursday.
The other medal event on the agenda tonight is the final two runs of the two-man bobsleigh, the penultimate of which begins in just over an over. As has been the case at the sliding centre over the last week, Germans are all over the medal positions – three pair in the top four. Leading the way are Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis, who set track record to get the party started yesterday. But they were shaded in the second run by their countrymen Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer, the duo who were second in the world last year. It might be a race in two with Rostislav Gaitiukevich and Aleksei Laptev from the ROC currently in third trying to spoil that.
The 25 competitors in the men’s freestyle aerials are just now beginning their first qualifying round – that group will be reduced to an even dozen for the medal rounds tomorrow night. Ukranian Oleksandr Abramenko returns having won gold in 2018, likewise Jia Zongyang (CHN) who took silver in that event. However, it has been Russians dominating the World Cup events since the start of the pandemic, with Maxim Burov successful four times in those outings and looking the man to beat at Genting Snow Park.
For Team GB, a fantastic opportunity at the Water Cube for the tenth session of the men’s curling – a top of the table clash against the undefeated Sweden. If Bruce Mouat can skipper a victory tonight, they will pull level with the Swedes at 6-1 and will almost certainly progress alongside them to the medal matches later in the week.
And in a couple of hours from now at the National Indoor Stadium, in the men’s Ice Hockey, Canada and China are playing off for one quarter final spot. When considering the hosts went winless in the group stage, the Canadians really should get the job done there.
To paraphrase Mario Balotelli, why is it always them?
Was it not enough that Russia corrupted the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi with a devilish scheme that involved Federal Security Service agents passing steroid-riddled urine samples through a mouse hole before swapping them with clean urine? The act was so devious that the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, later called it “a shocking and unprecedented attack on the integrity of sports and on the Olympic Games”.
Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud soared to gold in the Olympic women’s freeski slopestyle final after holding off another last-gasp charge by Eileen Gu, the American-born emerging superstar representing China, who settled for silver by the narrowest of margins but stayed on course for a historic treble at the Beijing Games.
Kamila Valieva’s legal team has claimed that her positive drugs test may have come from a contaminated glass of water that contained traces of her grandfather’s heart medication.
Speaking after the daily media briefing in Beijing, International Olympic Committee member Denis Oswald confirmed the 15-year-old Russian’s explanation for her positive test for the banned angina drug trimetazidine was “contamination which happened with a product her grandfather was taking”.
Men’s snowboard big air: Hello! While Beau was finishing up with the women’s downhill I was taking a peek at the start of the big air finals and there’s been a big early score with Team USA’s Chris Corning opening with a 92.0 – and that’s against a strong field.
After the first run, local Su Yiming (89.50) and Norway’s Mons Røisland (89.25) sit second and third. Japan’s Takeru Otsuka, who completed one of the most technical runs going in qualifying, failed to land his first attempt.