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Two titans of Team USA were in action on Day 7 at the 2022 Winter Olympics as Shaun White took the final halfpipe runs of his Olympic career and Mikaela Shiffrin entered the super-G after skiing out of back-to-back races earlier this week. Elsewhere, the U.S. women's hockey team played a quarterfinal game, and American speed skater Kristen Santos was a medal contender in the women's short track 1000m. Here's how it all went down...
AYUMU HIRANO TRIPLES FOR HALFPIPE GOLD
It was an absolutely mind-bending men's halfpipe final Friday morning in China.
The podium price seemed to be upped with each athlete and each run, and it took a colossal 96.00-pointer from Ayumu Hirano -- his second successfully completed halfpipe run that included a clean triple -- to claim gold in a star-studded field.
Shaun White stomped his second run for 85.00 points but was unable to ride out clean in Run 3. White closed out an historic snowboarding career with a fourth-place Olympic finish.
Kaishu Hirano finished in ninth place, but you couldn't blink for any of his runs as the 19-year-old repeatedly boosted well over 20 feet above the 22.5-foot halfpipe walls with wild trick combinations. However, he fell on each of his three attempts.
Results: Men's Snowboard Halfpipe
🥇 Ayumu Hirano (JPN)
🥈 Scotty James (AUS)
🥉 Jan Scherrer (SUI)
-- Nate Stuhlbarg
Switzerland takes gold, bronze in women’s super-G
Gut-Behrami became the first woman to earn the gold medal as the reigning world champion. She earned her second medal at the 2022 Winter Games after finishing in bronze position in the giant slalom. The three-time Olympian also won bronze in the downhill at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Gut-Behrami — the seventh skier down — had a clean run, trimming the lines, taking big angles and choosing tracks to the inside of other skiers.
Austria’s Mirjam Puchner grabbed the silver in her Olympic debut with a time of 1:13.73, and Gisin — who won the combined event at the 2018 Winter Olympics — finished in bronze position at 1:13.81.
Defending gold medalist Ester Ledecka, who was the first woman to win gold in two separate disciplines at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, came up short in the super-G. She finished in fifth place, 0.43 seconds off Gut-Behrami’s pace.
Mikaela Shiffrin, who skied out in both of her first two events, completed the course and finished in the top 10 with a time of 1:14.30, nearly eight-tenths off the lead.
Results: Women's super-G
🥇 Lara Gut-Behrami (SUI)
🥈 Mirjam Puchner (AUT)
🥉 Michelle Gisin (SUI)
U.S. women's hockey survives quarterfinal scare, Canada flattens Sweden
The U.S. women's hockey team escaped a scare against the Czech Republic in their quarterfinal game. While the final score was 4-1, it was a much closer game than the score reflected. It was 1-1 until almost the midway point of the third period.
A major turning point in the game was when the U.S. was able to kill off a five-minute major penalty. Shortly after, Lee Stecklein scored the game-winning goal. A crucial moment for her first-ever Olympic goal.
Hilary Knight scored the first goal of the game for Team USA, just 48 seconds after Michaela Pejzlova scored for the Czechs. Savannah Harmon and Kendall Coyne Schofield also tacked on goals in the third.
The U.S. now awaits the winner of Finland/Japan for their semifinal matchup.
-Stephanie De Lancey
Who knew that the United States holding Canada to four goals in group play was essentially this tournament's equivalent of shutting out the powerhouse Canadians?
The Canadians absolutely demolished a fourth team, pounding Sweden 11-0, scoring double-digit goals for the third time this tournament in the process.
You have to feel for Sweden goalkeeper Emma Soderberg, who made 45 saves and lost while allowing 11 goals.
Canada has 44 goals in five games and this was the second time it scored 11 in the tournament, one off the dozen they hung on Switzerland.
It was 4-0 after one and 5-0 after two. Canada took 56 shots to Sweden's 11. Brianne Jenner and Sarah Fillier recorded hat tricks -- Jenner's second of the tournament -- and Sarah Nurse joined captain Marie-Philip Poulin with assists on four goals.
Canada will meet the winner of Switzerland vs ROC, the latter of whom it beat 6-1 in group play, in the semifinal on Monday.
-- Nicholas Mendola
In the Final A of the short track women's 1000m, Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands won the gold medal with a time of 1:28.391. Schulting defended her gold from the 2018 PyoengChang Olympics and remains the first skater from outside of China or South Korea to win a gold medal in the women's 1000m. Schulting's gold, to go along with her silver from the 500m, is the fourth Olympic medal of her career and the 50th gold medal for the Netherlands at the Winter Games, but only the second in short track, as 46 of the country's 50 gold medals have come in speed skating.
Choi Min-Jeong of South Korea captured the silver medal (0.052 seconds behind) while Hanne Desmet of Belgium secured the bronze over a half-second off the pace. Desmet's bronze is the first medal of the 2022 Winter Olympics for Belgkum (seventh medal overall at the Winter Games) and the country's first short track medal in Olympic history.
American Kristen Santos was in medal position in the Final A, but finished fourth after a late collision with Italy's Arianna Fontana, who received a penalty. Corinne Stoddard and Maame Biney finished third and fifth, respectively, in the B final.
Results: Women's 1,000m
🥇 Suzanne Schulting (NED)
🥈 Choi Min-Jeong (KOR)
🥉 Hanne Desmet (BEL)
-- Keenan Slusher
Germany wins first-ever skeleton gold
Christopher Grotheer won Germany's first-ever gold medal in skeleton with a four-run total time of 4:01.01, improving on the country's previous-best finish of seventh in men's skeleton. Germany traditionally dominates the two other sliding sports (luge, bobsled) having won gold medals in all four luge events at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
For the first time since the 2006 Torino Olympics, the host nation didn't win gold in this event. Grotheer's compatriots Axel Jungk joined on the podium 0.66 seconds back in silver-medal position, while Yan Wengang captured the bronze medal for China's first Olympic medal in any sliding sport.
Andrew Blaser, the lone U.S. athlete competing in the event, didn't qualify for the final heat.
Results: Men's Skeleton
🥇 Christopher Grotheer (GER)
🥈 Axel Jungk (GER)
🥉 Yan Wengang (CHN)
-- Keenan Slusher
Team USA remains strong in women's curling
Team USA remained undefeated after beating China 8-4. Skip Tabitha Peterson helped the U.S. have a strong start by knocking out China’s only rock on her final throw in the first end.
The U.S. had three straight steals in the fourth, fifth and sixth ends. The U.S. did allow China two points in the seventh, but got both back in the eighth on a takeout by Peterson.
Finally, in the tenth, a takeout by the U.S. to clear the house with two stones remaining prompted China to concede, handing Team USA the victory.
-- Stephanie De Lancey
Van der Poel breaks his own world record in men’s 10,000m
Nils van der Poel was determined to win gold in the men’s 10,000m. He had multiple laps sub :30 seconds and broke his own world record with a time of 12:30.74. The gold medal adds to his 5,000m that he won earlier this week.
Italy’s Davide Ghiotto had the advantage of skating with van der Poel to help his pace. Ghiotto skated a personal best (12:45.98) and improved upon his 12th place finish from PyeongChang.
Netherlands Patrick Roest skated in an earlier heat and had to wait and watch anxiously. His time of 12:44.59 was good enough to hold on to the silver, his second of the Winter Games (5,000m).
Results: Men’s 10,000m
🥇 Nils van der Poel (SWE)
🥈 Patrick Roest (NED)
🥉 Davide Ghiotto (ITA)
-- Stephanie De Lancey
Marte Olsbu Roeiseland wins women's 7.5km sprint
Norway’s Marte Olsbu Roeiseland won the women’s 7.5km sprint with a time of 20:44.3, her third medal of these Olympics. She is the first athlete to win three medals at the 2022 Winter Games. She still has three events left and could become the first winter Olympian in any sport to win six medals in a single Games.
Sweden’s Elvira Oeberg finished second, winning her first individual Olympic medal. She won bronze in the mixed relay in 2014 and 2018.
Continuing the trend of first-time medals, Italy's Dorothea Wierer claimed bronze. It’s her first Olympic medal in her first Olympics.
Susan Dunklee shot clean and led the Americans with a 27th-place finish. Joanne Reid finished 34th, Deedra Irwin came in three spots behind her at 37th, and Clare Egan finished 46th. By finishing in the top 60, all four qualified for the women’s 10km pursuit.
Results: Women's 7.5km sprint
🥇 Marte Olsbu Roeiseland (NOR)
🥈 Elvira Oeberg (SWE)
🥉 Dorothea Wierer (ITA)
-- Stephanie De Lancey
Niskanen edges out competition in men’s 15km individual
The men’s individual 15km race came down to three powerhouses in cross-country skiing. Iivo Niskanen earned gold with a time of 37:54.8, displaying pure jubilation after Alexander Bolshunov finished 23.2 seconds behind him. Niskanen earned his third Olympic gold medal of his career, second of these Games. Bolshunov was the last to start of the medalists and had an impressive late surge but couldn’t match Niskanen’s pace.
Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo had to overcome a poor start to even reach the podium. He managed to earn the bronze, becoming the youngest male to earn six medals at the Winter Olympics. He still has three more events and is favored to perform well in all of them.
Results: Men's 15km individual
🥇 Iivo Niskanen (FIN)
🥈 Alexander Bolshunov (ROC)
🥉 Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR)
-- Stephanie De Lancey
Australia’s Narracott leads women’s skeleton at halfway point
Canada’s Mirela Rahneva led the field after her first run, setting a track record with a time of 1:02.03, but struggled on her second run to drop to ninth.
Katie Uhlaender was the only American in the top 10, sitting in eighth and 0.83 seconds back of the lead.
The final two runs take place on Friday.
U.S. men’s curling rebounds against Great Britain
The United States men’s curling team claimed a 9-7 win over Great Britain in a game that was decided in the ninth end.
The defending gold medalists bounced back from a loss to Sweden to advance to 2-1 early in round robin action.