The Latest: US-born skaters lead short program _ for now

The Latest: US-born skaters lead short program _ for now
Posted at 8:12 PM, Feb 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 17:17:22-05

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

12 p.m.

The top four spots midway through the women's figure skating short program are held by American-born skaters representing four different countries.

Bradie Tennell remains on top for the U.S. after her score of 64.01 points. She's followed by Isadora Williams for Brazil, Emmi Peltonen for Finland and Alexia Paganini for Switzerland.

Williams was born in Marietta, Georgia, and grew up in suburban Washington, D.C. But her mother is from Belo Horizonte and Williams has a large family still living in Brazil.

Peltonen was born in Nashville, Tennessee, while her father Ville Peltonen was playing in the NHL. Paganini was born in Connecticut to a Swiss father and holds dual U.S.-Swiss citizenship.


11:50 a.m.

Sofia Goggia of Italy is in first place and American Lindsey Vonn in position for the bronze medal after the top 20 racers in the downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway turned in a surprise second-place finish as the 19th racer on the course.

The only thing that could disrupt the podium finish is a surprise showing by one of the remaining lower-ranked skiers.

Nothing is guaranteed, though, especially after Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic made a late charge last week from back in the pack to take the super-G title. Ledecka, who also dabbles in snowboarding, didn't compete in the downhill.


11:45 a.m.

There have been some dramatic crashes in the women's downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Michelle Gisin of Switzerland crossed the finish line and then crossed her skis, sending her falling to the snow. She slid a ways before getting up and waving to the crowd.

Earlier in the race, Stephanie Venier of Austria crashed on the course. She went down on a hip and tumbled down the hill before coming to a stop. She got back up.

Later, two Italian racers crashed - Nadia Fanchini, who fell backward after a jump, and then Federica Brignone, who wound up sliding into the fencing on the side of the course.


11:20 a.m.

American ski racer Lindsey Vonn has the second-fastest time so far in the women's downhill after a solid run.

Vonn finished 0.47 seconds behind leader Sofia Goggia of Italy as the seventh racer to take the course at Jeongseon Alpine Center.

At 33, Vonn is trying to become the oldest female medalist in Alpine skiing at the Winter Games.


11 a.m.

Russian women's curling coach Sergei Belano says he is convinced a Russian curler charged with doping was slipped meldonium without his knowledge.

Belano says he doesn't believe Alexander Krushelnitsky would have taken the drug because it would be foolish to do so. Belano said he is certain someone must have drugged Krushelnitsky. Belano did not explicitly say who he suspects would have done such a thing, but he said that multiple housekeepers come in and out of the athletes' rooms each day.

Krushelnitsky won bronze with his wife in mixed doubles, but he now is likely to be stripped of the medal.

Russian curling officials have said Krushelnitsky could have been set up by a rival Russian athlete or a political enemy of the country.

Meldonium is designed for people with heart problems and some believe it can help athletes increase stamina. It was banned in sports in 2016.


10:40 a.m.

American figure skater Bradie Tennell fell during the opening combination in her short program at the Pyeongchang Olympics, such a rare mistake that not even she can remember the last time she made it.

Tennell, whose strength is her jumps, recovered to skate cleanly the rest of the way. The reigning national champion wound up with 64.01 points. As the first skater on the ice, that total should keep her in first place for quite a while.

The rest of the medal contenders all skate about two hours later.

"It was definitely unexpected," Tennell said of her fall on a triple toe loop, "but things happen. We're all human. We all make mistakes. You just have to get up and keep going."

The starting order is determined in part by world rankings, and Tennell dealt with injuries much of last season and did not compete in the biggest events. That forced her into the opening group, and she drew the No. 1 starting spot from among those skaters


10:30 a.m.

Skier Mikaela Shiffrin is thinking of her American teammates even if she's not racing with them in the downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Shiffrin wrote on her Twitter account: "This. Track. Is. So. Fun! Only slightly bummed I'm not skiing it today cause we have 4 girls who are ready to hammer down and I can't wait to watch!"

Shiffrin, who won Olympic gold in the giant slalom last week, decided to sit out the downhill when the Alpine combined was moved a day forward to Thursday due to weather concerns.

She didn't want to race on back-to-back days, like she did with the giant slalom and slalom, where she entered as the defending champion and finished fourth.


10:20 a.m.

U.S. champion Bradie Tennell has taken the lead in the women's short program at the Olympics.

Of course, she is the first skater to perform.

Tennell drew the opening spot, not an advantageous position in a field of 30. She has been consistent throughout her breakthrough season, but this time fell on the second part of her triple lutz-triple toe loop combination.

Tennell, who helped the Americans win the bronze medal in the team event, has earned 64.01 points. A score of 81.06 is the Olympic record, set last week by Russian Evgenia Medvedeva in the team competition.

The other Americans, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen, are slated to go 20th and 22nd, respectively. Medvedeva skates 25th.


9:40 a.m.

The Trump administration says Vice President Mike Pence was ready to meet with representatives from North Korea during his visit to the Olympic Games in South Korea but that North Korea canceled at the last minute.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says that Pence "was ready to take this opportunity" and would have used the meeting to emphasize U.S. concerns about the North's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Nauert says the U.S. regrets North Korea's "failure to seize this opportunity."


9:30 a.m.

Lindsey Vonn is set to compete in her last Olympic downhill, but she says she'd rather not focus on that right now.

Vonn, the downhill gold medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, is generally considered the favorite at the Pyeongchang Games. She's looked good in training runs.

Also Wednesday, the women's figure-skating competition starts with the short program. Among the competitors is American Mirai Nagasu, who in the team competition became the first U.S. woman to land a triple axel.

The Russians also have strong contenders, including two-time reigning world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, who broke her own short program world record in the team event. She has lost to only one skater since 2015 - her teammate Alina Zagitova. The medals will be awarded Friday.


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