live updates from day 6, Chloe Kim wins halfpipe gold, Aussies in action, schedule, events, figure skating final, Jarryd Hughes, how to watch, results,
American sensation Chloe Kim gave a snowboarding masterclass as she successfully defended her Olympic halfpipe title at the Beijing Games on Thursday.
But Australian star Breeana Walker made a stunning start to her Olympic campaign, leading the times after the first practice run in the all-new monobob event.
Walker’s time of 1:04.40 was 0.05 seconds faster than Canadian Christine de Bruin (1:04.45), with Germany’s Laura Nolte (1:04.52) in third place.
The event sees competitors using standardized bobsleds which weigh around 162kg, making it incredibly difficult for the competitor to manage both the driving and braking roles which are usually split in the two or four person events.
Women can compete in monobob and two-man bobsled, while men have two-man and four-man bobsled events.
His second run is now over.
Meanwhile, four Australians endured heartbreaking exits in the men’s snowboard cross finals, failing to emulate Belle Brockhoff’s brilliant ride who finished fourth in the event yesterday.
Jarryd Hughes was unable to defend his PyeongChang 2018 silver medal after crashing on the first lap of the race leaving him to deliver a tearful interview on live television.
And a Swedish gold medalist has specacularly accused a rival team of “corruption”.
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Australian Hughes was the only boardercross medalist from those games to support and compete in Beijing and is also the reigning world champion in the mixed event alongside Belle Brockhoff.
But he has struggled with injuries in recent years, having undergone six knee surgeries as well as ankle surgery just four months ago.
He struggled in classification races before collapsing in his first race.
An emotional Hughes told Channel 7: “I was in a good position, didn’t have the best start…I had to send it inside and exploded. That’s how the border sometimes happens… But that’s not the result I wanted.
“(I) hold back tears, just really disappointed with my result… There’s been a lot of feedback, especially since the surgery.”
He added: “I’m so disappointed. That’s not why I came here. It’s just a crap result.
Three-time Olympian Cam Bolton stood out among the four Australians, finishing the standings in eighth position and finishing his first race run in first position.
But having to finish in the top two again in the quarter-finals, he was beaten at the last corner, having passed second place just a corner before.
Fellow Australians Adam Lambert and Adam Dickson failed to finish in the top two in their first qualifying races, with Lambert missing just 0.03 seconds.
“CORRUPTION” CLAIMS THE ROCK OLYMPIC GAMES
Swedish Olympic gold medalist Nils van der Poel has accused the Dutch speed skating hierarchy of ‘corruption’ after a report by Duch said officials tried to influence ice makers to create conditions that suitable for Dutch athletes.
Van der Poel previously won gold in the 5,000 metres, Sweden’s first medal in speed skating since 1988.
“It’s not my idea of fair play,” van der Poel said, referring to a report that the Dutch team had a scientist trying to influence Ice Ribbon oval ice master Mark Messer.
“It’s the biggest scandal in our sport,” he said.
“We have cases of doping in our sport from time to time. I don’t see how it’s any less serious.
He was careful not to criticize the Dutch skaters, but instead aimed his spray at their speed skating bosses. “I have the greatest respect for Dutch speed skaters. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for these guys. They pushed me to push myself,” he said.
“It’s an abomination,” added van der Poel. “I like it to be fair, to be fair. I like that it’s about sport and competition. I hope that it is not a question of affecting the judges, of affecting the administrative staff.
“When you do things like that, we really have to question the authenticity of the results.”
ITALIAN STAR’S KISS PROTEST
Italian speed skater Arianna Fontana won short track gold in the women’s 500m.
The 10-time Olympic medalist then lambasted her country’s National Olympic Committee in the latest act of a bitter row, revealing that Italian Olympic officials ‘didn’t want her’ to compete in Beijing.
After winning the gold, the 31-year-old screamed loudly and skated over to her husband and coach Anthony Lobello Jr for a rinkside kiss – snubbing her team officials in the process.
“When I crossed the line – all that screaming – I don’t usually scream, it was just a way to let it out, all that anger,” she said.
“We had people who didn’t want me here. My federation was not really in agreement with me having my husband as a coach.
“My family and I had to go through a bad situation, people who didn’t want me here. They didn’t want me to coach my husband, but today we proved he was the best coach possible.
“They didn’t help. In fact, they tried to find ways so that we wouldn’t be here at all. It was hard. Today we proved he is an incredible coach. It was my best choice, my best decision to have him by my side.
“I saw a few (Federation officials) in the hallway – they didn’t even come to congratulate me,” Fontana added.
“I wasn’t looking for them to come to me. It’s actually better if they stay away.
CHEN MAKES HISTORY AS AUSSIE FLAG BEARER HITS PB
Nathan Chen demolished the competition to win Olympic gold in figure skating on Thursday, easily beating defending champion and fierce rival Yuzuru Hanyu twice, who finished fourth.
The American scored 332.60 points overall, finishing more than 20 points clear of silver medalist Yuma Kagiyama of Japan.
He finished fifth in 2018 but has since won three world championships and become an all-time great.
Skating to an Elton John shuffle, the 22-year-old lived up to his ‘Quad King’ moniker by landing five quadruple jumps in his free skate.
Australian Olympic flag bearer and three-time Olympian Brendan Kerry broke his personal best in the free skate portion with a score of 160.01 to finish with a total score of 244.80.
He finished 17th, beating his previous best finish of 20th at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang.
Kerry clocked a season-best 84.79 in the short program to comfortably qualify for the medal round, despite struggling to execute her jumps in practice.
Kerry’s total element score for the short program is 45.93 while he scored 38.86 for his presentation.
KIM MAKES HISTORY
Kim, 21, had the halfpipe title in the bag after just the first of three runs, scoring a whopping 94.00 to give her a virtually unassailable lead.
She grabbed her helmet and dropped to her knees after slipping into the finish area, then got back up and turned the rest of the competition into her own private victory lap.
She fell on her second run and received a hug from California-born Chinese freestyle skiing star Eileen Gu, who was watching in the finish area, before heading back up the hill for her third and final attempt.
By then she had already won the title, and although she crashed again in her last race, she celebrated with the other riders when she slipped into the finish area.
Kim admitted to having had the “worst workout of her life” before taking gold in the halfpipe final.
Spaniard Queralt Castellet took silver in 90.25 and Japan’s Sena Tomita bronze in 88.25.
China’s top prospect Cai Xuetong, third in qualifying, finished fourth in 81.25 despite vocal support from Gu and the flag-waving crowd.
Kim became the youngest woman to win an Olympic medal in snowboarding when she won gold in the halfpipe aged 17 at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
She took a two-year hiatus after her Olympic success as she struggled to cope with the pressures of stardom.
24E NABS STAR SKELETON
Elsewhere, Nick Timmings of Western Australia made his Olympic debut in the men’s skeleton, the 31-year-old finishing 24th after the opening two runs.
Timmings was the big winner of the 2021-22 IBSF North American Cup in December, his first-ever overall title.
CROSS COUNTRY DUO BACK FOR REVENGE
Cross-country skiers Jessica Yeaton and Casey Wright again achieved great results in the women’s 10k classic.
The pair were unable to advance to the quarter-finals of the sprint event at the National Cross-Country Ski Center earlier in the week.
Yeaton came in 52nd – an Australian record – while Wright finished in 65th.
This time around Yeaton finished 51st and Wright 67th in another strong result in a field of 98 competitors.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Olympics, Yeaton explained how training in the forests of Alaska helped prepare her for her Olympic dream.
Yeaton had spent his childhood in Perth, Texas and Dubai, but moved to Alaska at age 12.
His training approach carried many risks, including run-ins with bears.
“Two years ago I was training, riding my bike with my boyfriend, and we came across two grizzly bears, and they both got up on their hind legs and growled at us,” said Yeaton to reporters.
“I thought that was the end – (but) if you were in Alaska, you would tell this story to other athletes, and they would be like, ‘oh yeah, me too!'”
“I think I prefer to train in places where I can be alone and not have to worry about that stuff,” she explained.
“The training is great there, if you have friends around you’re fine, but doing things on your own maybe not, but for the most part it’s fine.”
DAY 6 – Calendar of Events – Australians
12:30 p.m.: Brendan Kerry — Figure Skating (Men’s Free Skating)
12:30 p.m.: Nick Timmings — Skeleton (Men’s Heat 1)
2 p.m.: Nick Timmings — Skeleton (Men’s Heat 2)
From 2:15 p.m.: Jarryd Hughes, Adam Lambert, Adam Dickson, Cam Bolton — Snowboard (Men’s Snowboard Cross Qualifications)
6 p.m.: Jessica Yeaton and Casey Wright, cross-country skiing (women’s 10 km classic)
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