August 14, 2022

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2.38am GMT 02:38 In the halfpipe, everyone knows it’s time to go big or go...

2.38am GMT


In the halfpipe, everyone knows it’s time to go big or go home, and five riders have gone home. Well, crashed. The exception in the first six is China’s Liu Jiayu, who goes a little conservative to land a clean run at last.
Like Liu, Japan’s Ruki Tomita hadn’t landed a clean run but does so here, and it’s not bad. She gets an 80.50 and will finish no worse than sixth. Her sister, Sena, is still on the podium bubble in third.

2.35am GMT


Australia alert: In a few minutes, Brendan Kerry is due up in the men’s free skate. His music is listed as To the Lovers, Butterflies and Hurricanes, which seems like an eclectic bunch but is surely two different songs, the latter by Muse. Or a cover band, which reminds me that I need to work on Stockholm Syndrome on drums. Tricky stuff.
Fellow Australian Nicholas Timmings is in last place (25th) after one run in the men’s skeleton. The USA’s Andrew Blaser is 20th. Team GB’s Matt Weston is 14th. They have two runs today and two tomorrow.

2.26am GMT


For all the focus on figure skating’s technical scoring, it’s the component scores that seem mysterious. How does Nikolaj Majorov only get 7.50s on performance and composition, then 7.57 on “interpretation of the music”?
Back at the halfpipe — Chloe Kim is human. She goes for a 1080-1260 combination, but that seems a bit too ambitious. She simply didn’t have the momentum for the 1260, and she ends up taking a hard fall. Not as hard as Mitsuki Ono, who took a divot out of the lip of the pipe. China’s Cai Xuetong didn’t fall, but she needed both hands on the wall to stay upright.
Second of three runs is complete. Reminder: Only the top score counts, so Kim’s fall doesn’t hurt. Well, it might hurt her backside a bit.
Standings:94.00 Kim (USA)90.25 Castellet (ESP)88.25 Tomita (JPN)
That’s Sena Tomita. Ruki is 11th.

Cai Xuetong of China gets too close to the wall. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

2.17am GMT


Sena Tomita improved from the first run (86.00) to the second (88.25), which means she remains in first place among the Women’s Halfpipe Competitors Who Are Not Chloe Kim.
But wait! Here’s 32-year-old Spanish snowboarder Queralt Castellet, whose best finish in her four previous Olympics is seventh four years ago. She’ll do better than that this time, finishing with back-to-back 900s for a 90.25. Castellet is in second, Tomita third.

2.14am GMT


The awesomely expressive Nikolaj Majorov is bringing it once more in the free skate. He has some awkward landings on his jumps, but I’ll argue that’s intentional just to ramp up the drama. What a showman.

2.12am GMT


Back to the halfpipe, because these programs in the men’s free skate take forever, we’re seeing China’s Liu Jiayu, who was in last place after the first run with a 11.25. She’ll stay in last place, skidding along the floor of the pipe early in her run for a 4.75.
Through six riders, the only athlete to improve her position is Canada’s Elizabeth Hosking, who’s up from fifth to fourth.

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Liu Jiayu’s first of two falls. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

2.05am GMT


At this hour …
In curling, the USA leads the ROC 3-1, while Team GB trails Switzerland 2-1.
Germany’s Christopher Grotheer is the early leader in skeleton with a time of one minute. Seriously: 1:00.00.
But turn to figure skating. My new favorite skater, Sweden’s Nikolaj Majorov, is up next. He’s skating to music from The Man in the Iron Mask.

1.59am GMT


Chloe Kim posts a 94.00

And she’s in tears at the finish, knowing she may have already won gold.
In lingo terms, she had a method air, a frontside 1080, a 900, a palate-cleansing 540 and then another 1080.
But you don’t have to know what any of that means to see that she’s simply at another level. Stranger things have happened, of course, but good luck topping that.

Priscilla Huff
Chloe Kim proving the adage: terrible rehearsal, fantastic show. She just said she had the worst practice run in her life, then threw down a 94. #Olympics2022 #Snowboard

February 10, 2022

1.54am GMT


Big score from Sena Tomita. She finishes a smooth run with a 1080 and gets an 86.00.
Queralt Castellet gets a 69.25, a score she’ll need to drop to get onto the podium.
China’s Cai Xuetong adeptly alternates big rotations with big air, finishing with a switch 900 for an 81.25.
The last rider to go before Chloe Kim is Japan’s Mitsuki Ono, who has a solid routine but not enough difficulty to move into the top three.
Meanwhile, in figure skating, the ROC’s Andrei Mozalev has fallen a couple of times.
Heeeeere’s Chloe …

Japan’s Sena Tomita floats through the air. Photograph: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

1.47am GMT


How often do you see someone fall up the wall in the halfpipe?
That’s what Japan’s Ruki Tomita just did, slipping as she approached the lip of the pipe. Her momentum carried her a few feet up before she slid back down.
Her sister, Sena Tomita, is up next. Then it’s Spanish veteran Queralt Castellet.

1.45am GMT


Back to curling — Team GB skip Eve Muirhead tried to get a blank in the third end, but her stone simply wouldn’t roll out of the house.
Translation for non-curling people: Team GB didn’t want that to happen.
Why? Because when you score, the other team gets the hammer (last shot), so if the team with hammer doesn’t have a shot at getting two or more, it may opt to just remove any remaining rocks and leave both teams scoreless in that end, thereby retaining the hammer.
But the tricky part is that you have to hit the opponent’s rock at an angle so your own rock also scoots out the rings. That’s the part Muirhead didn’t get done here.
Anyway — it’s tied 1-1 after three of 10 ends. Switzerland has the hammer now.

1.37am GMT

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Canada’s Brooke D’Hondt takes the way-too-early lead in the halfpipe with a 66.75. She’s 16. So if you need to motivate your kids to quit playing video games all day, call them in to watch this and put undue pressure on them. Parenting is hard.
Fellow Canadian Elizabeth Hocking bests that score with a 73.00.

Brooke D’Hondt gets a strong grab while airborne. Photograph: Bob Strong/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

at 1.39am GMT

1.33am GMT


Getting underway in women’s halfpipe with China’s Qiu Leng. The last of the 12 riders to go is the favorite and defending champion, the USA’s Chloe Kim.
Qiu’s routine is indeed routine. That’s a 53.75.
They’ll make three runs each, with only the best one counting. A lot of athletes in other sports surely envy the opportunity for second chances and third chances.

1.26am GMT


One end is complete in USA-ROC women’s curling, with former skip Nina Roth throwing two solid takeouts and current skip Tabitha Peterson putting in two good draws for two points.
Team GB and Switzerland blanked their first end.
We’ll keep an eye on that, but now it’s time for sports that go twirling and flipping and lutzing and double-corking.

1.20am GMT


Team GB today
The country’s curlers will play in all three sessions. The women have just opened against Switzerland. The men play Italy in five hours. Then just after midnight in the UK, the women return against Sweden.
That’s a brutal back-to-back schedule for Eve Muirhead. Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni won the world championship in 2019 and again last year. Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg is the defending Olympic champion and leads what’s arguably the best team in the world since the current lineup came together several years ago.
Matt Weston and Marcus Wyatt are up in skeleton, and Huw Nightingale is the snowboardcross representative.

Matt Weston gets started in training. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

1.13am GMT


Australia today
Brendan Kenny will be in the second group of skaters in the men’s free skate.
Nicholas Timmings starts in skeleton.
A quartet races in men’s snowboardcross.
Jessica Yeaton and Casey Wright compete in women’s 10km classic cross-country skiing.

1.06am GMT


Quick note on the men’s Alpine skiing combined, coming up in 85 minutes: There are no representatives from Team USA, Team GB or Team Australia. Ryan Cochran-Siegle, the surprise silver medalist in the super-G, was listed as “DNS” in yesterday’s practice and is not on the start list.
You’re welcome to watch anyway, but in 25 minutes, we’ll be dividing our attention between the halfpipe and figure skating. The men’s free skate will extend longer than most operas, with the top skaters going last, so halfpipe will be higher priority at first.
But first — curling. The defending champion US men opened with a clutch win over Not Russia, and the same teams face off in women’s play right about now.

John Shuster provides some calm, low-key guidance for his teammates. Photograph: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

I played doubles today, by the way. It’s hard. Especially when you haven’t spent most of your life on ice.

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12.45am GMT


Hello world. I’m Beau Dure, and I’ll be your conduit of Olympic news and commentary until midnight Eastern time.
A question I’m pondering is what we expect from Olympic athletes. It’s a question worth considering when we wonder what has happened with Mikaela Shiffrin and whether she is suffering from the weight of expectations and no longer has her father to help her cope with it.
Also consider Lindsey Jacobellis.
In 2006, she was a national villain. She had lost a sure gold medal by showboating on the final jump of the snowboardcross final, and fans and pundits piled on the vitriol.
Most of those people don’t know the rest of her career. Five individual world championships and one team. Ten X Games wins. I had interviewed her and bumped into her when we were on the same plane to Europe for the Games, and I couldn’t believe that she would ever be a national scapegoat.
Yesterday, she gave a textbook example of shrugging off pressure. She flew through the final as if in a Zen state of complete control.

Lindsey Jacobellis beams upon receiving the one prize that had eluded her until now. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Maybe it’s time for a few hundred people to apologize.
Today, two more Americans grapple with expectations. Chloe Kim is up in the women’s halfpipe, and Nathan Chen goes in men’s figure skating. It’ll be exciting. But maybe we can give them a break if they don’t do exactly what everyone wants?
Rant over. Let’s have some fun and see what surprises us today …

12.15am GMT


Coming up today
Times are all in local Beijing time. For Sydney it is +3 hours, for London it is -8 hours, for New York it is -13 hours and San Francisco is -16 hours.

9.05am and 2.05pm and 8.05pm Curling – 12 matches spread across the men’s and women’s competitions
9.30am Figure skating – Nathan Chen goes for gold as the men perform free skating
9.30am – 3.15pm Snowboard – it starts with the women’s half-pipe, with the final scheduled for 10.25am, and then it is the men’s cross, with the final right at the end of the session
10.30am and 2.15pm Alpine skiing – it is the men’s combined event, they do the downhill in the morning, and the slalom in the afternoon
12.10pm and 4.40pm and 9.10pm Ice hockey – four matches in the men’s preliminaries, of which the pick is probably the US v hosts China in the evening slot.
3pm Cross-country skiing – the women race the 10km classic
7pm Freestyle skiing – tomorrow evening in Beijing it is the mixed team aerials
8pm Speed skating – the women’s 5,000m
9.30pm Luge – it is the team relay, which promises to be as wild as it sounds – do not miss it


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