Happy ending for skiing superstar Mikalea Shiffrin? – That was the Olympic night
So far, the Olympic Winter Games in China have been games to forget for Mikaela Shiffrin – this could finally change. Before the decisive slalom in the alpine combination, the US ski star has good prospects in the race for the medals. A German freestyle skier makes it to the finals, the biathlon races will end a day earlier than planned.
In the halfpipe final: German freestyle skier Sabrina Cakmakli has reached the halfpipe final. The 27-year-old from Garmisch-Partenkirchen finished twelfth in Thursday’s qualifying and secured the final spot for this Friday’s finals. Four years ago in Pyeongchang, the sports soldier finished eighth. China’s top favorite Eileen Gu, who won the qualifier, is reaching for her third medal of the Games in the icy snow tunnel of Zhangjiakou. The 18-year-old won gold in the big air discipline and silver in slopestyle.
Good starting position: The German ski crosser Daniela Maier has secured a good starting position for the knockout round. The 25-year-old from Vöhrenbach took third place in the heat on Thursday and will therefore initially be up against two supposedly weaker opponents in the round of 16 (7:00 a.m. CET). Teammate Johanna Holzmann finished 20th. Gold favorite Sandra Näslund from Sweden goes into the medal fights with the best time. The two best starters in each round of sixteen advance to the next round.
Medal in sight: US ski star Mikaela Shiffrin has good prospects for her first medal at the Winter Games in China. The 26-year-old is fifth at halftime in the alpine combination on Thursday. Her gap to the leading Christine Scheyer from Austria is only 0.56 seconds after the downhill, which is her weaker discipline. Second is the Czech Ester Ledecka (+0.01), third is Scheyer’s compatriot Ramona Siebenhofer (+0.14). The decision will be made in the slalom from 7:00 a.m. CET. Shiffrin has already won three Olympic medals, but retired early in both giant slalom and slalom in China. She finished ninth and 18th in the Super-G and downhill.
Laying: The extreme cold and expected strong wind make it necessary to postpone the next biathlon race. The women’s mass start, which was actually planned for Saturday, will be brought forward by one day to Friday due to the difficult weather conditions, as the World Association IBU announced on Thursday. This means that the two final competitions for the ski hunters in the mountains north-west of Beijing will take place on the same day. After the women’s mass start at 3:00 p.m. local time (8:00 a.m. CET), the men’s competition follows two hours later at 5:00 p.m. local time (10:00 a.m. CET).
Bad Ice Cream: Two-man bobsleigh Olympic champion Francesco Friedrich expressed his frustration with the ice quality of the track in Yanqing after the training session on Thursday. “The track is totally worn out, if you drive so far back, it’s not fun to drive because you keep getting into grooves and it’s borderline for the foursome with the cold ice because it just breaks out,” said Friedrich, who started training runs three and four with starting number 22. The four-man bobsleigh pilots Johannes Lochner and Christoph Hafer will probably do without the final training session after good runs.
Replacement: In the fuss surrounding the canceled medal ceremony in the Olympic figure skating team competition, IOC boss Thomas Bach has met the angry US team for a debate. Mark Adams, spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, did not want to give details of the conversation as a result of the doping scandal involving Russian Kamila Valiyeva on Thursday in Beijing. The AP news agency reported that Bach temporarily offered the US team Olympic torches instead of their silver medals as a gift until the doping case was clarified. The background is the positive doping test of 15-year-old Valiewa. If the team Olympic champion wins a medal in the individual event, according to an IOC resolution, there should be no award ceremony there either. The athletes’ representative of the US Olympic Committee had sharply criticized this.
No new corona cases: The strict protective measures at the Beijing Winter Games continue to prove effective. For the second time this week, no new corona infections were discovered in the closed Olympic bubble. As the organizers announced on Thursday, all of the 68,970 corona tests carried out the day before inside the bubble were negative. No new cases were detected in Olympic participants at Beijing Airport either. The total number of infections since travel to the Winter Games began on January 23 remained at 435 overall.
Clarity: Before the next winter games, the World Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) wants clarity about whether professionals from the North American NHL league will take part in the Olympics. IIHF President Luc Tardif was disappointed in Beijing on Thursday that it was not possible to have players from the best league in the world due to the corona pandemic. After the cancellation from North America shortly before Christmas, it was a big challenge to organize the Olympic tournament in Beijing. “I don’t want to be in the same situation in Cortina in 2026,” said Tardif. The goal for the next winter games in Italy is to reach an agreement early on.