The podium from earlier stays intact: Johannes Strolz wins the gold, something that his father did in the same event many years ago. Aleksander Kilde holds second for Norway, and Canada gets bronze via James Crawford.
Strolz clocked 2:31:43 across his two runs: one downhill, one slalom.
Nick Baumgartner, the 40-year-old American, misses out on qualifying in the snowboard cross. He was leading for a while but Austriaâ€™s Julian Lueftner caught him up and then fellow USA rider Jake Vedder got past him.
Quick update: snowboardcross is sick. Itâ€™s a speed race, but on a long downhill course full of ramps and jumps and twists and turns. Nobody is doing tricks off the jumps, theyâ€™re just trying to get there. Four racers all go at the same time, the top two go to the next round, and there have been collisions aplenty while fighting for position. A couple of guys who have crashed have then allowed themselves to do some jumps on the way down after the chance to win has gone.
The last few slalomskiers are a long way behind the leadersâ€™ pace and so theyâ€™re having to go all out on attack. A lot of crashes or missed gates as a result. Seven of them havenâ€™t finished the run now.
Australiaâ€™s Adam Dickson misses out on a snowboardcross quarter-final. The quarters are all decided and are ready to go.
A couple of crashes in the combinedslalom: Pinturault of France and Zabystran of Czechia. That gets us halfway through the field of 24 with the podium unchanged.
If youâ€™re not familiar, the alpine combined event is one where the skiers do a downhill run and then a slalom run, adding their times together to see who wins. The downhill part is already done. Johannes Stroltz currently has top spot for Austria, with Norwayâ€™s Aleksander Kilde and Canadaâ€™s James Crawford next. Eight racers out of 24 are done.
For the Australians in the snowboardcross, Cameron Bolton has already qualified for the quarters, while Adam Lambert and Jarryd Hughes have dropped out. Huw Nightingale has gone for Great Britain too.
Right, whatâ€™s coming up? The menâ€™s snowboard cross finals are underway, first the one-eighth round, then the quarters, the semis, and the final. And the menâ€™s alpine combined slalom is about to start.
The ceremony takes place, with Chen flanked by Uno and Kagiyama, each delivered a panda mascot. I didnâ€™t actually see any medals handed out, but the panda is more important.
There it is, the one bauble that Chen had not won. Three world championships since 2019, after coming in fifth at the 2018 Olympics. Only a mistake could have cost him this win. But as weâ€™ve seen with someone like Mikaela Shiffrin, those mistakes can happen. Favourites stumble. Something goes wrong, something awry with the universe, and itâ€™s over in a flash. So Chen had to survive the pressure of knowing that if he didnâ€™t make a mistake, he would win.
Gold for Nathan Chen!
Nathan Chen brings the strut. Longer limbed than the others, somehow looser and more casual looking, he nonetheless nails every trick. He picks an Elton John medley as his backing – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road into Rocket Man into Benny and the Jets. Does the quad lutz twice, his signature. Gets a huge response from the crowd with each landing.
He just exudes relief after getting his routine right. And there seems no doubt on anyoneâ€™s face about who is winning. The Japanese trio sitting in gold, silver and bronze get bumped down one spot each, as Chen records a mammoth 218.63 for his free skate score, more than 22 points ahead of Kagiyama across both rounds. Uno settles for tres, Hanyu comes in fourth.
From Japan to Japan, with Kagiyama Uma. He goes much more dramatic, with the theme music from Gladiator. And itâ€™s a big bombastic routine, lots of gesturing and arms flung wide. The technical side looks good, the commentators saying he could have turned a couple of double spins into triple for more points. But he lands every trick – and thatâ€™s enough to net him 201.93.
Heâ€™s into the gold spot! Only Nathan Chen can take it from him.
Hello all. Iâ€™ve just been watching Uno Shoma doing his solo routine. He has a stumble on one of his early quads, put a hand down but kept his balance. More impressively than that, he comes back from that error to put in a brilliant routine from then on. A classical music backing, and heâ€™s appropriately fluent and classy in his routine. He gets the 1.00 deduction for the fall, but still clocks 187.1, and is ranked first with two competitors to come.
Ouch. South Koreaâ€™s Cha Junhwanâ€™s quad attempt results in a slide and a faceplant. He needs a second to get up and continue. Figure skaters are a tough, hardy bunch.
Georgiaâ€™s Morisi Kvitelashvili preceded Cha with a competent free skate that lacks the pizzazz (or the technical elements) to hang around in the top five.
Next up: with apologies to Hanyu, who can still get a medal if anyone falters, itâ€™s the Big Three. Shoma Uno has 105.90 points from the short program. Yuma Kagiyama has 108.12. Then itâ€™s Nathan Chen, trying to erase the disappointment of 2018.
On that note, Iâ€™m passing the baton to the other side of the planet. Please welcome Geoff Lemon, and Iâ€™ll see you tomorrow.
Who needs quads? Not Jason Brown, who puts the art of skating above all else.
Brownâ€™s quad-less program will never match the technical numbers of his peers. But he wrings out every Grade of Execution point available with flawless execution of every triple and every other element.
And heâ€™s so much fun to watch.
The judges, thankfully, appreciate that. His component scores are through the roof, including a 9.75 in performance and 9.82 in interpretation of the music.
Heâ€™s second behind Hanyu and may end up in seventh, but if we had a fan vote, heâ€™d be in the top three. The crowd may be small, but the applause builds as he finishes the program.
So hereâ€™s a question … if the USA ends up with a gold in the figure skating team event, would they technically be the first competitors to win a gold for the country in these Olympics? Or would it still be Lindsey Jacobellis because she was the first to receive the medal?
The third group in the menâ€™s free skate wraps with the ROCâ€™s Evgeni Semenenko. He slots into third place.
Menâ€™s Alpine combined downhill: The leader is Norwayâ€™s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (yes, Mikaela Shiffrinâ€™s boyfriend) by 0.02 seconds over Canadaâ€™s James Crawford. Make it two for Canada in the top three, with Brodie Seger third. The slalom, though, can drastically change the standings.
Menâ€™s hockey: Sweden has notched a first-period goal against Latvia.
And hereâ€™s Bryan Armen Graham on Chloe Kimâ€™s halfpipe win:
The quad axel. The hardest jump ever attempted in Olympic competition. Two-time defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu gave it a go. Didnâ€™t happen. The impact on the ice was pretty hard, and maybe that explains why he fell on his next jump.
But the rest of the program is stellar. He racks up points on one sequence with a quad toeloop-triple toeloop combo (17.51), quad toeloop-single euler-triple salchow (18.85) and a triple axel (12.00) that looks effortless. He moves into first, for now. He would need to see a couple of skaters stumble to reach the podium.
â€œThe ruggedness of flannel rarely finds its way onto figure skating ice,â€ says NBCâ€™s always entertaining Johnny Weir as Canadaâ€™s Keegan Messing gets underway in the free skate to the acoustic tones of Mumford and Sons playing Home. (Not live, sadly. Wouldnâ€™t that be cool?)
His routine is tremendous. He wonâ€™t get on the podium with the jumps heâ€™s attempting, but no one could complain about the showmanship. Near the end, he pulls out a trick I hadnâ€™t seen before, going in an arc with his torso touching the ice.
Messing fell hard during warmups. Not during his program. He finished 12th in 2018. Heâ€™s guaranteed a top-11 finish here.
Next up: defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu.
(This post has been updated with a photo of Messingâ€™s flannel.)
Curling, women: Switzerland 6, Team GB 5
A well-played extra end leaves Eve Muirhead a draw to a small but reasonable space for the win. She thinks itâ€™s on the mark, her sweepers think itâ€™s on the mark, but it slides a little too far, and Switzerland takes the point and the game.
Denmark beat China 7-6 on a 10th-end draw through a tight space by Madeleine Dupont, and Sweden closed out China 8-5.
I won my doubles game 11-2 today.
The dayâ€™s skeleton action is wrapping up with German sliders Christopher Grotheer and Axel Jungk sitting 1 and 2 ahead of Chinaâ€™s Yan Wengang. Two ROC sliders are next, then two-time silver medalist and six-time world champion Martins Dukurs of Latvia.
Team GBâ€™s Matt Weston is tied for 13th. The USAâ€™s Andrew Blaser is 21st, and Australiaâ€™s Nicholas Timmings is buried in the basement (25th).
Alina Paetz, who throws Switzerlandâ€™s last rocks even though Silvana Tirinzoni is the skip, nearly won the game … for Team GB. A takeout attempt into a gaggle of rocks shook up the house and barely left a Swiss stone outcounting the best GB stone.
Off to an extra end, and Team GB has hammer. Eve Muirhead is showing no ill effects from slipping and falling onto her rear end.
The menâ€™s free skate is crawling along. The third of four groups is just warming up now. At this rate, Nathan Chen wonâ€™t take the ice until after midnight Eastern time. (Which means someone else will be live-blogging it, which I know is a crushing disappointment to everyone.)
This third group includes Canadaâ€™s Keegan Messing, who did his short program barely 24 hours after landing in Beijing, thanks to a positive Covid test. As I typed that sentence, he fell hard during warmups.
It also includes defending gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu, who took himself out of contention for a repeat with a less-than-stellar short program but could perhaps get enough points for the podium.
Hereâ€™s your update on the ROC figure skating situation:
The ROCâ€™s menâ€™s skaters, including team event gold medalist (for now) Mark Kondratiuk, are competing today as scheduled in the free skate.
Meanwhile, the team event medals continue to sit, unawarded.
Some erratic play in the ninth end forces Team GB to take one point, taking the lead but handing the hammer back to Switzerland for the last end.
Sweden broke open its game against Japan by stealing three in the sixth and then scoring three more with hammer in the eighth. Itâ€™s 8-4, and Japan will likely concede it they donâ€™t get a big number here.
We may soon get an update on the ROC figure skating brouhaha. In the meantime, hereâ€™s a tweet about my former USA TODAY colleague Christine Brennan, one of the worldâ€™s top authorities on figure skating scandals.
Spainâ€™s first silver
Snowboarder Queralt Castellet has made history.
Curling, women: USA 9, ROC 3
Bang-bang, bang-bang. Tabitha Peterson hits back-to-back runbacks (knocking one of her own stones into her opponentâ€™s) to score three points in the seventh end, and the ROC concedes the game.
Team GB is in a much closer game. They have the hammer in the ninth end after Switzerland tied it with two points in the eighth. Weâ€™ll stick with that on my big TV for now. The small monitor has figure skating. My phone has a cool disc golf game. My window has the darkness of night.
Back to Australiaâ€™s Brendan Kerry — he wound up doing three combinations for a free skate score of 160.01. Thatâ€™s the best of the day so far, and he has the top overall score (244.80) as well. So if the next 16 skaters fall …
Gold! Chloe Kim (USA), women’s snowboard halfpipe
Back-to-back. First woman to do that in this event.
You canâ€™t take any of this for granted, of course. Olympic favorites can easily falter. Kim took care of business right away.
She has the luxury of going for a truly massive final run with the gold already locked up. She goes for the 1260 again. And again, she doesnâ€™t get it. No matter.
Spainâ€™s Queralt Castellet takes silver, her first Olympic medal in five tries. Japanâ€™s Sena Tomita has bronze.
Final halfpipe runs are up now.
Sena Tomita falls and therefore wonâ€™t improve on her third-place standing.
Chinaâ€™s Cai Xuetong just misses her top score and lands in fourth.
That leaves one rider who can beat Chloe Kim. Can Mitsuki Ono pull it off?
The bulk of his jumps are early in the program, starting with a quad toeloop-triple toeloop combination, then a triple axel-triple toeloop.
Could someone please start the music? Chloe Kim has clinched a medal, by the way.
Kerryâ€™s quad looks fine, but his landing is a little wobbly, and he opts out of the second half of the combo. He does the same with his second combo. Will he add some combos later? Indeed he does, putting one in his third jumping pass.
As the music segues to Muse, all of his little technical boxes on the score bug are green. Thatâ€™s good.
Weâ€™ll resume in a bit. The halfpipe competition is wrapping up.
In the halfpipe, everyone knows itâ€™s time to go big or go home, and five riders have gone home. Well, crashed. The exception in the first six is Chinaâ€™s Liu Jiayu, who goes a little conservative to land a clean run at last.
Like Liu, Japanâ€™s Ruki Tomita hadnâ€™t landed a clean run but does so here, and itâ€™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.
Australia alert: In a few minutes, Brendan Kerry is due up in the menâ€™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 menâ€™s skeleton. The USAâ€™s Andrew Blaser is 20th. Team GBâ€™s Matt Weston is 14th. They have two runs today and two tomorrow.
For all the focus on figure skatingâ€™s technical scoring, itâ€™s the component scores that seem mysterious. How does Nikolaj Majorov only get 7.50s on performance and composition, then 7.57 on â€œinterpretation of the musicâ€?
Back at the halfpipe — Chloe Kim is human. She goes for a 1080-1260 combination, but that seems a bit too ambitious. She simply didnâ€™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. Chinaâ€™s Cai Xuetong didnâ€™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 Kimâ€™s fall doesnâ€™t hurt. Well, it might hurt her backside a bit.
Standings: 94.00 Kim (USA) 90.25 Castellet (ESP) 88.25 Tomita (JPN)
Thatâ€™s Sena Tomita. Ruki is 11th.
Sena Tomita improved from the first run (86.00) to the second (88.25), which means she remains in first place among the Womenâ€™s Halfpipe Competitors Who Are Not Chloe Kim.
But wait! Hereâ€™s 32-year-old Spanish snowboarder Queralt Castellet, whose best finish in her four previous Olympics is seventh four years ago. Sheâ€™ll do better than that this time, finishing with back-to-back 900s for a 90.25. Castellet is in second, Tomita third.
The awesomely expressive Nikolaj Majorov is bringing it once more in the free skate. He has some awkward landings on his jumps, but Iâ€™ll argue thatâ€™s intentional just to ramp up the drama. What a showman.
Back to the halfpipe, because these programs in the menâ€™s free skate take forever, weâ€™re seeing Chinaâ€™s Liu Jiayu, who was in last place after the first run with a 11.25. Sheâ€™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 Canadaâ€™s Elizabeth Hosking, whoâ€™s up from fifth to fourth.
At this hour …
In curling, the USA leads the ROC 3-1, while Team GB trails Switzerland 2-1.
Germanyâ€™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, Swedenâ€™s Nikolaj Majorov, is up next. Heâ€™s skating to music from The Man in the Iron Mask.
Chloe Kim posts a 94.00
And sheâ€™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 donâ€™t have to know what any of that means to see that sheâ€™s simply at another level. Stranger things have happened, of course, but good luck topping that.
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 sheâ€™ll need to drop to get onto the podium.
Chinaâ€™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 Japanâ€™s Mitsuki Ono, who has a solid routine but not enough difficulty to move into the top three.
Meanwhile, in figure skating, the ROCâ€™s Andrei Mozalev has fallen a couple of times.
Heeeeereâ€™s Chloe …
How often do you see someone fall up the wall in the halfpipe?
Thatâ€™s what Japanâ€™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 itâ€™s Spanish veteran Queralt Castellet.
Back to curling — Team GB skip Eve Muirhead tried to get a blank in the third end, but her stone simply wouldnâ€™t roll out of the house.
Translation for non-curling people: Team GB didnâ€™t want that to happen.
Why? Because when you score, the other team gets the hammer (last shot), so if the team with hammer doesnâ€™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 opponentâ€™s rock at an angle so your own rock also scoots out the rings. Thatâ€™s the part Muirhead didnâ€™t get done here.
Anyway — itâ€™s tied 1-1 after three of 10 ends. Switzerland has the hammer now.
Canadaâ€™s Brooke Dâ€™Hondt takes the way-too-early lead in the halfpipe with a 66.75. Sheâ€™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.
Getting underway in womenâ€™s halfpipe with Chinaâ€™s Qiu Leng. The last of the 12 riders to go is the favorite and defending champion, the USAâ€™s Chloe Kim.
Qiuâ€™s routine is indeed routine. Thatâ€™s a 53.75.
Theyâ€™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.
One end is complete in USA-ROC womenâ€™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.
Weâ€™ll keep an eye on that, but now itâ€™s time for sports that go twirling and flipping and lutzing and double-corking.
Team GB today
The countryâ€™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.
Thatâ€™s a brutal back-to-back schedule for Eve Muirhead. Switzerlandâ€™s Silvana Tirinzoni won the world championship in 2019 and again last year. Swedenâ€™s Anna Hasselborg is the defending Olympic champion and leads whatâ€™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.
Brendan Kenny will be in the second group of skaters in the menâ€™s free skate.
Nicholas Timmings starts in skeleton.
A quartet races in menâ€™s snowboardcross.
Jessica Yeaton and Casey Wright compete in womenâ€™s 10km classic cross-country skiing.
Quick note on the menâ€™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 â€œDNSâ€ in yesterdayâ€™s practice and is not on the start list.
Youâ€™re welcome to watch anyway, but in 25 minutes, weâ€™ll be dividing our attention between the halfpipe and figure skating. The menâ€™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 womenâ€™s play right about now.
I played doubles today, by the way. Itâ€™s hard. Especially when you havenâ€™t spent most of your life on ice.
Hello world. Iâ€™m Beau Dure, and Iâ€™ll be your conduit of Olympic news and commentary until midnight Eastern time.
A question Iâ€™m pondering is what we expect from Olympic athletes. Itâ€™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 donâ€™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 couldnâ€™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.
Maybe itâ€™s time for a few hundred people to apologize.
Today, two more Americans grapple with expectations. Chloe Kim is up in the womenâ€™s halfpipe, and Nathan Chen goes in menâ€™s figure skating. Itâ€™ll be exciting. But maybe we can give them a break if they donâ€™t do exactly what everyone wants?
Rant over. Letâ€™s have some fun and see what surprises us today …
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 â€“ 12 matches spread across the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s competitions
9.30am Figure skating â€“ Nathan Chen goes for gold as the men perform free skating 🥇
9.30am â€“ 3.15pm Snowboard â€“ it starts with the womenâ€™s half-pipe, with the final scheduled for 10.25am, and then it is the menâ€™s cross, with the final right at the end of the session 🥇
10.30am and 2.15pm Alpine skiing â€“ it is the menâ€™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 â€“ four matches in the menâ€™s preliminaries, of which the pick is probably the US v hosts China in the evening slot.
3pm Cross-country skiing â€“ the women race the 10km classic 🥇
7pm Freestyle skiing â€“ tomorrow evening in Beijing it is the mixed team aerials 🥇
8pm Speed skating â€“ the womenâ€™s 5,000m 🥇
9.30pmLuge â€“ it is the team relay, which promises to be as wild as it sounds â€“ do not miss it 🥇
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