Winter Olympics 2022 – Shaun White’s farewell, Mikaela Shiffrin’s return and more updates from the action in Beijing

Thursday night had big shoes to fill after Team USA’s electric Wednesday night showing at the 2022 Winter Olympics — which included gold-medal performances from figure skater Nathan Chen and snowboarder Chloe Kim — but a couple of Olympic legends set out to keep the winning energy going.

First, three-time gold medalist Shaun White looked to add a finishing touch to his hardware collection as he competed in his last Olympic snowboard halfpipe competition. Then, two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin, who failed to finish in her first two races of these Games, turned things around in the super-G.

While White gave a heck of an effort and Shiffrin completed her run, neither athlete reached the podium.

But the early slate in Beijing was far from lacking in excitement as the eventual gold medalist, Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, showed out in the biggest way but received a lackluster score from the judges — which sent the internet into a frenzy.

If the aforementioned events weren’t reason enough to lock in, the US women’s hockey team faced off with the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, and it was a closer game than expected through two periods.

We had you covered with updates of all the action:


White’s last Olympic halfpipe run

Shaun White removed his helmet and waved it in the air, breaking into a big smile. He fell on his third run, and his highest score of 85 on his second run wouldn’t get him to the podium. As he did at the Sochi Olympics, he finished in fourth place.

White stopped at the scoring area, hugging his competitors around him and shedding a few tears. The weight of the moment — of competing for 25 years and changing the landscape of halfpipe — landed on him.

A gold medal in Torino. A gold medal in Vancouver. A gold medal in Pyeongchang. A legend. –Aishwarya Kumar


Hirano puts on a halfpipe show

Japan’s Ayumu Hirano is the new Olympic halfpipe champion — and wow, was there drama.

In his second run, 23-year-old Hirano dropped what many saw as the greatest run in snowboard halfpipe — which included the toughest halfpipe trick, the triple cork — only to be given the second-best score, after Australia’s Scotty James .

The broadcast’s commentators and social media erupted in fury, with #robbed and #triplegate trending on Twitter.

But Hirano had another chance, and he made the most of it. In his third run, he came back out and landed an even better performance. This time, the judges awarded him a 96.00 — and with it, the Olympic gold.

This is Hirano’s first gold, after winning silver in the last two Olympics. James finished with the silver, and Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer won the bronze medal. –Aishwarya Kumar


Shiffrin finishes super-G

Mikaela Shiffrin won’t medal in the super-G, but she put her Olympic struggles behind her Friday with an impressive performance in Beijing.

After recording two uncharacteristic “Did Not Finish” results in the giant slalom and slalom races earlier in the week, leaving doubt as to the rest of her competition schedule, Shiffrin completed the super-G with a time of 1:14.30.

Shiffrin appeared understandably relieved after she crossed the finish line, and she smiled at the bottom of the hill. She was the 11th of 44 skiers to compete and was in eighth place at the time of her finish.

Shiffrin won the 2019 world championship title in the event but had never competed in it during previous Olympics. She will still have two more chances to win a medal during these Olympic Games — next week’s downhill and combined races. She won silver in the latter in 2018. — D’Arcy Maine


US women’s hockey wins again

The US survived a scare against the Czech Republic in the Beijing Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament quarterfinals, finally putting them away 4-1.

The Americans outshot the Czech team 59-6, but the game was tied entering the third period thanks to outstanding goaltending from goalie Klara Peslarova (56 saves). This was the first Olympic tournament for the Czech Republic. Read more, from Greg Wyshynski, here.


IOC appeals to reinstate Valieva’s suspension

The International Olympic Committee is appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to reinstate the provisional suspension of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva after she tested positive for a banned substance.

The ITA confirmed in a statement on Friday morning that Valieva, 15, tested positive for trimetazidine in December. It was the first official confirmation of the details of the case since it was reported on Wednesday. More, from Elaine Teng, here.


Mixed results on the track for Team USA

Kristen Santos wiped out on the final lap of the women’s 1,000-meter short-track speed skating final as the Netherlands’ Suzanne Schulting took gold.

Schulting set a world record in the quarterfinals as she came through in a remarkable 1:26.514. This means back-to-back golds for Schulting in the 1,000-meter, as she led from start to finish. The reigning Olympic champion finished ahead of South Korea’s Choi Minjeong in silver and Belgium’s Hanne Desmet in third.

Santos was in the mix for a medal until the crash in the final lap as she tangled with Italy’s Arianna Fontana.

Elsewhere for Team USA, Corinne Stoddard and Maame Biney both made it through to the B final. Stoddard came third in 1:29.845, while Biney skated at 1:30.736. — Tom Hamilton


Super-G is for fun

If you watched Shiffrin compete earlier this week, you likely felt for the decorated skier after her unanticipated struggles. You also likely noticed that she did not look to be having anything resembling “fun” on the mountain. On Thursday, she looks to change that with a hearty dose of super-G, because as Shiffrin said, “super-G is fun.”

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