U.S. wins 1st gold in women’s cross-country skiing

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Cross-Country Skiing - Winter Olympics Day 12_298935

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 21: Jessica Diggins of the United States (L) and Kikkan Randall of the United States celebrate as they win gold during the Cross Country Ladies’ Team Sprint Free Final on day 12 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on February 21, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South […]

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The United States has won its first Olympic gold medal in women’s cross-country skiing, and Norwegian skier Marit Bjoergen has become the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time by taking bronze at the Pyeongchang Games.

The Americans posted the fastest time in the semifinals to start on the front row in the finals Wednesday. Jessica Diggins passed the Swedes and the Norwegians on the final lap to make history in a major upset.

Sweden took silver.

Bjoergen and teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla won the bronze medal.

Bjoergen now has won 14 career medals at the Winter Olympic Games, passing Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjourndalen for the most ever. The 37-year-old previously took gold in the women’s 4×5-kilometer relay, silver in the 15-kilometer skiathlon and bronze in the 10-kilometer freestyle at Pyeongchang.

CLOSING CEREMONY:

7:15 p.m.

K-pop band EXO will play at the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Organizers on Wednesday announced the performance by the South Korean-Chinese group, which has a vast following among teenagers.

Among them is Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva, who is in second place in the women’s figure skating competition heading into the free skate Friday.

Medvedeva, 18, said she listened to Exo before her stunning short program in the team figure skating event last week. Russia won silver and she set a new record, though she surpassed it in Wednesday’s individual competition before teammate Alina Zagitova surpassed her.

She said after the team competition that she has autographs and letters from the members of EXO and they provided inspiration.

Organizers also said K-pop artist CL will perform at the ceremony, which is Sunday.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY:

Noora Raty has stopped 20 shots to lead Finland to a 3-2 victory over the Russians in the women’s hockey bronze medal game at the Olympics.

Petra Nieminen, Susanna Tapani and Linda Valimaki scored for Finland, which can claim to be the best of the rest in a sport dominated by North Americans.

Following up their bronze medals in 1998 and 2010, the Finns beat Russia 5-1 in pool play but had a tougher go in the medal round. The teams were even in shots — 22-22 — but the Russians never led after falling behind 2-0 off the opening faceoff of the second period.

Canada and the U.S. will play for the gold medal on Thursday.

MEN’S HOCKEY:

The Russian men’s hockey team has swept aside Norway 6-1 to set up a semifinal against the Czech Republic.

Russia charged to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period, outshooting Norway 19-2, and remained in control throughout the game as chants of “Red Machine” and “Russia” echoed around the half-empty Gangneung Hockey Center.

Nikita Gusev finished with a goal and two assists, while Slava Voynov had a goal and an assist.

After the disappointment of losing in the quarterfinals at home in Sochi four years ago, the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” — as they’re called due to International Olympic Committee sanctions over doping — are now guaranteed to play for a medal.

No Russian hockey team has won a medal since 2002.

MEN’S SKICROSS:

Brady Leman has earned gold for Canada in men’s skicross, beating Switzerland’s Marc Bischofberger in a wild final at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Leman took the lead early during Wednesday’s last round and then held off Bischofberger in a two-man duel after Canada’s Kevin Drury and Russian athlete Sergey Ridzik collided early on.

Ridzik picked himself up and raced down for bronze.

The elimination rounds included a handful of frightening crashes that forced several men to leave the course wrapped up in a medical sled.

The worst came when 2011 world champion Chris Del Bosco lost control in mid-air late in the run. The right side of the Canadian’s body slammed hard into the snow and he lay motionless for several minutes before emergency personnel carefully placed him on the sled.

MEN’S HOCKEY:

Pavel Francouz stopped all five shooters and Petr Kouka scored the shootout winner as the Czech Republic eliminated the United States men’s hockey team with a 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Jan Kovar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation Wednesday for the Czech Republic, which was fresher after winning its group and getting a bye into the quarterfinals. The U.S. looked fatigued after facing Slovakia in the qualification round and was outshot 29-20.

Ryan Donato and Jim Slater scored for the U.S, which again was led by its youngest players, including speedster Troy Terry. U.S. goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shootout. The Czech Republic’s Pavel Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.

FIGURE SKATING:

Alina Zagitova’s record-setting short program has given the 15-year-old Russian the lead over friend, training partner and two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva heading into Friday’s free skate.

Zagitova scored 82.92 points, breaking the mark of 81.61 that Medvedeva had set about 15 minutes earlier. Both scores topped the short program record Medvedeva set earlier in the Pyeongchang Games.

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada was third with 78.87 points.

The American trio of Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell struggled with early mistakes in each of their programs. Nagasu was ninth with Chen and Tennell right behind her.

BIG AIR CONTEST:

Surprise Olympic champion Red Gerard has logged some 18,000 miles on a post-victory tour that took him from Pyeongchang to Los Angeles to New York, and now, back to South Korea.

Ten days after his victory on the slopestyle course, the American has returned to the snow, where he qualified for the final of the big air contest — the newest, highest-flying snowboarding event at the games.

His agent, Ryan Runke, can barely keep up with all the phone calls. Sponsorship and media opportunities are flooding in, and the mission isn’t so much about grabbing everything he can, but finding the right fit.

WOMEN’S CURLING:

Canada’s world champion women’s curling team is out of the running for an Olympic medal after suffering a shocking loss to Great Britain at the Pyeongchang Games.

Canada’s 6-5 loss to Britain on Wednesday in the women’s round robin eliminates them from medal contention.

The Canadians came into the Pyeongchang Games as the favorite to win gold, and their lackluster performance has stunned the curling world.

Canada’s captain, Rachel Homan, says she is disappointed in the loss but said the British team simply played better.

WOMEN’S DOWNHILL:

Sofia Goggia of Italy has won the women’s Olympic downhill, with good friend Lindsey Vonn taking the bronze.

Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway was the surprise silver medalist after turning in a sizzling run as the 19th racer on the course. Mowinckel also earned silver in the giant slalom at these Games.

Goggia finished in a time of 1 minute, 39.22 seconds to hold off Mowinckel by 0.09 seconds. Vonn finished 0.47 seconds behind Goggia.

At 33, Vonn becomes the oldest female medalist in Alpine skiing at the Winter Games. The record was held by Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, who was just shy of her 33rd birthday when she won the downhill and the super-G at the 2006 Turin Olympics. This is likely Vonn’s last Olympic downhill race.Grab the FREE WDTN News App for iPhone or Android. Stay up to date with all the local news, weather and sports as well as live newscasts and events as they happen. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all the latest news, weather and sports.

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