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Beijing Rewind, Feb. 18: US wins 2 more medals, Shiffrin's final chance delayed

A U.S. figure skater made history, a bobsledder is named flagbearer for the second time and Team USA picked up more halfpipe hardware.

BEIJING, China — The last Alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics has been pushed back a day because of strong winds. The mixed team parallel event was rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday, the last day of the Winter Games. It will start at 9:00 a.m. Beijing time Sunday (8:00 p.m. Saturday in the U.S.)

It was supposed to start Saturday morning and was delayed twice because of gusts of up to about 40 mph before it was scrapped for the day.

Mikaela Shiffrin is on the roster for the United States, which faces Slovakia in the opening round. Other first-round matchups are Switzerland vs. China, Italy vs. Russia, Norway vs. Poland, France vs. Czech Republic, Germany vs. Sweden, and Slovenia vs. Canada.

Top-ranked Austria received a first-round bye because there are only 15 nations in the 16-spot bracket. The event involves teams of two men and two women skiing side-by-side on identical giant slalom courses.

US takes silver, bronze in men's freeski halfpipe

Nico Porteous of New Zealand overcame the swirling wind to win the Olympic ski halfpipe final on a day when many skiers couldn’t land their best tricks due to the strong gusts.

Porteous scored a 93 in his opening run on a bitterly cold and breezy morning in the last event at the Genting Snow Park. His score held up in tough conditions where skiers struggled to link big air and spins.

Two-time Olympic champion David Wise took home the silver with his first-run score of 90.75. The 31-year-old Wise was the only winner the men’s event had ever known. He took the title at its Olympic debut in 2014 and again in 2018. Alex Ferreira of the United States threw down a strong first run, twirling his right ski pole at the bottom in elation, to end up with the bronze.

The last competitor to go, Aaron Blunck, crashed into the wall of the halfpipe while trying to land a trick in the gusty conditions. He stayed down for a moment before sitting up.

Chinese pair set world record in figure skating short program

Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China shattered their own world record for a short program at the Beijing Games on Friday night, giving them the narrowest of leads over Russian rivals Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov heading into the free skate to decide the Olympic champion.

Sui and Han, who won the short program at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games before settling for the silver medal, scored 84.41 points to their orchestral suite from the film “Mission: Impossible 2.” That topped the record of 82.83 points that they set during the short program of the team competition earlier this month.

Tarasova and Morozov, who are coached in part by the controversial Eteri Tutberidze, also would have broken the record with their short program. Instead, the fourth-place finishers in Pyeongchang were 16-hundredths of a point behind.

Brandon Frazier and Alexa Knierim, who were instrumental in helping the U.S. win team silver to open the Beijing Games, threw down one of their best short programs after a nearly two-week wait to compete again. They were in sixth after the short program.

Their teammates, Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc, were just a tenth of a point back in seventh after a marvelous short program set to “The White Crow” by British composer Ilah Eshkeri. Cain-Gribble literally danced her way off the ice with LeDuc, the first nonbinary American athlete to compete at the Winter Games.

Flagbearer Elana Meyers Taylor in position for another medal

Elana Meyers Taylor has been picked to be a flagbearer again. And this time, she’ll be able to take the job. The four-time Olympian bobsledder will carry the American flag into Sunday night’s closing ceremony of the Beijing Games.

Meyers Taylor was supposed to do it for the Opening Ceremony, but had to sit in COVID-19 isolation.

Meyers Taylor and brakeman Sylvia Hoffman are in third place in the two-woman bobsled event, finishing their first two runs in 2:02.79 — well ahead of Canada's Christine de Bruin, who posted a two-run time with brakeman Kristen Bujnowski of 2:03.21.

Monobob gold medalist Kaillie Humphries, seeking a fifth Olympic medal and fourth gold, has some work to do. Teaming with brakeman Kaysha Love, Humphries is fifth at the midway point in 2:03.38 — nearly six-tenths of a second away from bronze.

The final two runs will be seen in the U.S. Saturday.

Meanwhile, Germany could win another four medals combined in two-woman and four-man bobsled. The Germans have two sleds in each event in gold and silver medal position. Germany already swept the podium in the two-man event.

Canadians beat US for men's curling bronze

Sixteen years after he won the Olympic curling gold medal, Brad Gushue is going back to Canada with bronze.

The Canadians capitalized on a missed final shot by American — and reigning Olympic champion — John Shuster in the second-to-last end that turned a one-point edge into an insurmountable 8-5 lead.

Gushue won gold in Turin in 2006. Back then, he shared a podium with Shuster, who won bronze.

This time, the Canadian skip knocked his American counterpart off of it.

The Americans took a 5-4 lead with two points in the sixth, then Canada scored two in the eighth to take the lead. With the United States holding the last-rock advantage in the ninth, Shuster tried to knock loose two Canadian rocks in the scoring area but missed.

That gave Gushue two points, with one end to go. Canada’s third-to last shot cleared all of the American rocks out of the target area, leaving no chance for the U.S. to tie the match, and Shuster immediately conceded.

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