The Latest: Crowds low at Olympic hockey playoff games

The Latest: Crowds low at Olympic hockey playoff games
Posted at 8:14 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 20:10:23-05

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Thinking the Olympic hockey arenas look empty? You're not alone.

International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel says he's disappointed with the crowds at some playoff games but acknowledges South Korea is not a hockey country. He says, "I think the pricing was also relatively high for people."

Tickets for the bronze and gold medal games run about $140 to $278 U.S. on the Pyeongchang Games website.

At the first Olympics without NHL players since 1994, there have been whole sectors of empty seats at some games.

The crowd of 2,092 that watched Sweden's quarterfinal against Germany was the lowest attendance at any Olympic men's game this century. Canada's quarterfinal game against Finland attracted just 2,265 people.

The Pyeongchang Olympic organizing committee says it sold 80 percent of tickets for hockey.


1:55 p.m.

The International Ice Hockey Federation says it won't review the use of shootouts to decide Olympic medal-round games.

The IIHF's insistence on shootouts after one period of overtime was questioned by some fans after the United States beat Canada for the women's gold medal in a shootout.

IIHF president Rene Fasel says, "Maybe the Canadians can practice a little more the shootout," adding, "I will never convince North Americans to accept (shootouts), but it is like it is."

Fasel says in a tournament it's not possible to play more than one period of overtime because players would not be able to recover for later games.

The U.S. men's team was also eliminated by the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals on a shootout.


1:45 p.m.

The United States biathlon team has announced it will boycott the final IBU World Cup meet in Russia next month.

The U.S. athletes released a statement Saturday saying that the International Biathlon Union's recent decision to move forward with the March 22-25 event in Tyumen, Russia- despite a recent doping scandal in that country - is "completely unacceptable."

The statement says, "In support of clean sport and our own physical safety, we cannot in good conscience participate."

The U.S. Biathlon team adds, "Holding the World Cup Final in Russia now sends an outrageous message of anti-doping indifference to the world."

The World Cup series website says 28 teams have applied to participate.

Athletes from Sweden and Canada have also expressed reservations about competing in the event.


1:25 p.m.

Confusion reigns over how the International Olympic Committee will decide what to do with the banned Russian Olympic Committee. They could readmit them, continue the ban or hedge with what the IOC says might be a "partial solution."

The IOC must announce by Sunday if the Russian Olympic Committee will be readmitted to the Olympic family after being ousted for a massive doping scandal. That would allow about 160 Russian athletes competing in Pyeongchang to fly their own flag on Sunday at the closing ceremony.

They've been competing here under a neural flag.

Two strikes against readmission are positive doping tests in Pyeongchang by two Russian athletes, including one who had to forfeit his bronze medal. That's half of the four doping cases reported so far at this year's Olympics.


1:15 p.m.

U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml calls his men's team's Olympic performance "disappointing" and acknowledges they "definitely have to rebuild" before the Beijing Games in 2022.

Riml said Saturday that the American skiing team "had quite a few ups and downs." He says it is now time for a "thorough evaluation" after finishing with three medals, all from Mikaela Shiffrin or Lindsey Vonn.

At Sochi four years ago, when Vonn was sidelined after knee surgery, the U.S. team collected five medals.

This time around, the American men had only one top-10 finish in their five individual events: Ted Ligety came in fifth in the combined.

Riml spoke to the AP after Britain eliminated the U.S. in the first round of the 16-nation team event. He described it as "a little disappointing."


1:05 p.m.

Norwegian cross-country skier Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo will not be going for a fourth gold medal at the Pyeongchang Games after all.

Norway's golden boy is not on the entry list for Saturday's 50-kilometer mass start.

Norwegian coach Tor Arne Hetland told state broadcaster NRK that the 21-year-old Klaebo was satisfied with three medals and decided to return to Norway early.

Klaebo won gold in the 30-kilometer skiathlon, the 4x10-meter relay and the sprint classic at the Winter Games to tie French biathlete Martin Fourcade for the most gold medals at Pyeongchang.

Klaebo is ranked the eighth-best long distance cross-country skier in the World Cup standings.


12:50 p.m.

Switzerland has beaten top-seeded Austria to take the gold medal in the Olympic debut of the Alpine team skiing event.

Switzerland was up 2-1 in the final matchup when Swiss ski racer Daniel Yule wrapped up the win as Austrian Marco Schwarz skied out along the side-by-side parallel slalom course.

Norway edged France in the bronze medal match. The countries were tied at 2, but Norway's top skiers were faster. Each team had two male and two female skiers.

The Swiss ski team ended the Pyeongchang Games with two gold medals and seven total. Austria's ski squad also had seven medals, including three gold. Norway's Alpine skiers also had seven medals, including one gold.

Several of the world's top racers, including American Mikaela Shiffrin and Austrian Marcel Hirscher, skipped the event.


12:30 p.m.

Top-seeded Austria and Switzerland will meet in the final of the Alpine team skiing event, which is making its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang.

Norway and France square off in the bronze-medal match.

It's an event that several of the top ski racers decided to skip. Marcel Hirscher isn't in the lineup for the Austrians.

This event closes out the Alpine ski program at the Pyeongchang Games.


12:15 p.m.

Top-seeded Austria has rolled into the semifinal round of the Alpine team event at the Pyeongchang Olympics by beating Sweden, 4-0.

Joining Austria in the semis are Norway, France and Switzerland. There are 16 seeded countries competing in a bracket-style tournament in an event that's making its Olympic debut.

Several of the world's top racers skipped the competition, including American Mikaela Shiffrin and Austrian Marcel Hirscher, to get back to focusing on the upcoming World Cup races.


11:50 a.m.

Great Britain has beaten the U.S. to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Alpine team skiing event, which is making its debut at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Quite a few of the world's top racers skipped the competition, including American Mikaela Shiffrin and Austrian Marcel Hirscher.

The competition has 16 countries seeded for a bracket-style tournament. Each team has four racers - two men and two women - competing in 1-on-1, side-by-side parallel runs.

Each race victory is worth one point. If the score ends up at 2-all, the tiebreaker is the lower combined time of each team's fastest man and fastest woman.

That's how Great Britain beat the U.S. after their match was tied at 2. Also advancing are top-seeded Austria, Sweden, Norway, Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland. Medals will be awarded Saturday.


11:35 a.m.

Canadian snowboarder Sebastien Toutant has soared to gold in the Olympic debut of men's Big Air.

Toutant scored a 174.25 in the final to give Team Canada its 11th gold of the Pyeongchang Games.

Kyle Mack of the United States took second with a score of 168.75. He had a chance to better Toutant but sat down on his third and final jump.

Billy Morgan of Great Britain earned bronze in front of a boisterous crowd at Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre.

Ivanka Trump was also in attendance. The daughter of president Donald Trump took in the finals as part of a whirlwind tour during the penultimate day of the games. Wearing a red ski suit with a blue knit USA cap, Trump joined Kim Jung-sook, wife of South Korean president Moon Jae-in.

Red Gerard, who captured the first gold medal for the United States in Pyeongchang in the slopestyle event two weeks ago, finished fifth.


11 a.m.

Ivanka Trump is watching snowboarders vying for medals at the men's Big Air competition at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Trump, who will lead the U.S. delegation at the closing ceremony Sunday, chatted with South Korean First Lady Kim Jung-suk while watching from a box.

Also sitting next to her is International Olympic Committee member and 1998 gold medalist Angela Ruggiero.

Trump was smiling and appeared to be having fun. She's wearing a Team USA hat and red snowsuit.

Music from Drake, Chance and South Korean artist Psy piped in over loudspeakers between competitors.


10:30 a.m.

Lindsey Vonn has said repeatedly that the Pyeongchang Olympics will be the last Winter Games of her career. But her U.S. teammate and heir apparent Mikaela Shiffrin isn't so sure she really means it. Vonn is 33. Shiffrin is 22. Each has won three Olympic medals.

"Whenever I hear anybody say something about this," Shiffrin says, laughing, at a press conference. "It's like, 'most likely,' 'probably,' 'maybe,' 'we'll see,' 'not sure.' I'm like, 'Knowing Lindsey, I don't believe her.'"

They were the only two members of the country's Alpine team to earn medals at the Pyeongchang Games.

Vonn won bronze in the downhill and Shiffrin won gold in the giant slalom and silver in the combined.


9:55 a.m.

The International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation says it isn't commenting yet on an alleged anti-doping rule violation by Russian women's bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva.

The federation says it will comment once the Court of Arbitration for Sport issues a ruling. The federation has been told by the court's Anti-Doping Division that the International Olympic Committee has filed a case against Sergeeva.

"At this point the IBSF is not in the position to give further information but will do so once (CAS) has taken a decision on the matter," the bobsled federation said.

Russian officials said Sergeeva tested positive for trimetazidine, ordinarily part of angina medication. It affects metabolism and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Sergeeva finished 12th at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The Russian team was barred from the Olympics in December for doping at the Sochi Games, but the IOC invited 168 athletes to compete under the Olympic flag.


9:45 a.m.

Ivanka Trump will get a taste of Olympic action on the final full day of events at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The daughter of President Donald Trump is expected to make stops at the men's Big Air final; the gold medal curling match, where the U.S. men have a chance to win their first-ever gold medal in the event; and speedskating.

Trump is leading the U.S. delegation at Sunday's closing ceremony.

In action already underway Saturday, surprise super-G champion Ester Ledecka has the fastest time so far in women's snowboard parallel slalom qualifying.


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