Elana Meyers Taylor set to leave COVID-19 isolation and prepare for bobsled competition

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Meyers Taylor revealed on Tuesday that she tested positive for COVID-19. She had to give up her spot as flag bearer at the opening ceremony, but bobsledding doesn’t start until about a week after the Olympics start. Official women’s monobob training begins February 10 and competition begins February 13. Training for the two-man event begins February 15 and competition begins February 18.

So Meyers Taylor always had the chance to come back and compete. She posted a video to Twitter on Saturday showing her lifting a huge barbell in what she called an “isolation hotel workout”.

“Fortunately, I have a lot of friends abroad,” she said during her TV appearance. “They sent me notes on the track and did different things like that. I also have tons of videos from our coaches, who did everything they could to keep me engaged and involved. So I went through that as much as I could, watching videos and doing whatever I could to stay prepared.

Meyers Taylor is the only woman to win three Olympic bobsleigh medals for the United States.

Gusts disrupt men’s downhill training

The final practice session for Sunday’s men’s downhill was canceled due to high winds, and the sudden decision left competitors grumbling because three skiers – including two of the race favorites – were able to make one final trip down the unknown Olympic course in Yanqing, China.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde Norway, who lead the World Cup standings in the event, and Mathias Mayer from Austria, gold medalist in the downhill in 2014 and in the super-G in 2018, joined the Italian Christof Innerhofer in the performance of their errands. But after checking the winds and talking with the early finishers, race officials called off the remainder of the session.

“Of course, I can accept all this criticism coming from the riders, from some coaches, that it’s a three-rider advantage now,” the race referee said. Marcus Waldner, noted. But officials had no choice, Waldner said. “We are an outdoor sport,” he added, “and we always make decisions in terms of safety.”

This was hardly a comfort to the other participants. Almost none of the runners had seen the Olympic course until this week, and all had hoped to use the final run to hone their approaches to its twists, turns and jumps.

“It is sure that it is a small advantage” Marco Odermatt of Switzerland said they got an extra race. “Like that, it’s probably not super fair. But anyway, with wind, it won’t be the most beautiful race anyway. Yet on an Olympic track where everything is new, you really want to get the same amount of practice.

Innerhofer, who learned to ski, said he wanted to use the track to get a little more familiar with the lines he’ll be riding on Sunday. “Now I feel ready,” he said. Others must have complained that they wouldn’t be so lucky.

I’m a little angry because I wanted to go, I wanted to ski,” said Daniel Hemetsberger from Austria. “The wind was really strong in the middle part, but I think we had the opportunity to slow down there. We are all adult athletes. We are all professionals. We could do it.

Norway’s Therese Johaug wins first Beijing Games gold medal in skiathlon

Therese Johaug of Norway won the first gold medal of the Beijing Games, dominating the 15-kilometre skiathlon after opening up a sizable lead halfway through the race that determines the world’s best all-around skier.

Johaug, 33, a 14-time world champion and three-time Olympic medalist, left the peloton after the first half of the race, which is half in the “classic” uphill and downhill style and half in the “skating” style. » less regulated.

The leader of the World Cup, Natalya Nepriaeva of Russia, retained Teresa Stadlober of Austria in a close battle for silver and bronze. Nepryayeva edged surprise medalist Stadlober by three-tenths of a second, but both finished more than 30 seconds behind Johaug, whose winning time was 44 minutes, 13.7 seconds.

The gold medal is Johaug’s second in an Olympic race, joining a collection that includes relay gold at the Vancouver Games in 2010 and silver and bronze at Sochi 2014.

However, she missed the Pyeongchang Games in 2018, while serving a doping suspension for testing positive for a banned steroid in 2016. Johaug and Norwegian ski officials blamed the result on the error of a team doctor, claiming that he accidentally gave her the substance in a lip balm.

But the international ski federation pushed for a longer ban, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport agreed, extending his suspension to 18 months.

The race was held in the freezing and windy conditions of the Zhangjiakou National Cross-Country Center, on a day so cold that dozens of skiers competed wearing hats and face masks and tape on their cheeks to avoid gales, a rarity in a sport that involves so much effort.

American jessie diggina heroine of the 2018 Games after her spectacular final stage won gold in the women’s team sprint, finished sixth, nearly a minute behind Johaug.

“A really promising start,” said Diggins, whose specialty is sprint racing and who would have been a surprise medalist in a race that required so much classic skiing, her weakest style.

Diggins, the American star, had wanted to kick off the Olympics with a bang, but she couldn’t match the power of Johaug and a group of other European skiers in the classic first half of the race.

The skiathlon is a unique test, however, as it requires skiers to excel in both classic-style skiing, in which the skis stay in a straight line, and freestyle skiing, or skating, a movement similar to ice skating.

It’s an event that has always proven difficult for American skiers, most of whom grow up freestyle skiing and then learn to ski classic when they get older and start competing. European skiers are much more likely to have been introduced to classic style skiing at a young age.

Diggins has spent countless hours over the past four years trying to improve his recurve performance. Those efforts helped her become the first American to win the prestigious Tour de Ski in 2021, an eight-stage multi-sport race that takes place at three venues in multiple countries over 10 days.

She will still have several chances for a medal in Beijing, especially in the individual sprint, scheduled for Tuesday.

A close battle looms for men’s luge gold

germany Johannes Ludwigaustria Wolfgang Kindl and that of Italy Dominik Fischnaller were the leaders in men’s luge after the first two runs at Yanqing Sliding Center, and that bodes very well for them. There have been 15 previous Olympic men’s luge competitions; in all 15, the eventual gold medalist was no worse than third after the first two runs.

Ludwig, this season’s World Cup champion, completed both runs in 1 minute, 54.501 seconds. He knows he’s two points away from gold, but he didn’t want to discuss what an Olympic victory would mean.

“I’ll see tomorrow,” Ludwig said. “I think that would be another big point in my career, but it hasn’t happened yet. That’s why we’ll talk about it tomorrow, okay?”

Kindl finished in 1:54.540 and Fischnaller in 1:54.805.

“I’ve never been in this position after day one,” Fischnaller said. “I’m excited about it, to be honest. We will return to the village, have dinner, tomorrow morning we will prepare the sled again – and then it will be time to leave.

Felix Loch, the two-time men’s Olympic champion from Germany, was fourth just behind Fischnaller in 1:54.883. Latvian Kristers Aparjods (1:54.961) completes the top five.

“I like tight races”, American luge veteran Chris Mazzer noted. “The close race is so important. Often this year, the race has not been tight. It looks like a 1-2 showdown and that bronze is still anyone’s game. It’s pretty awesome.

Mazdzer – the 2018 Olympic silver medalist who was a little shaken after a training accident on Friday that left him unable to walk in the opening ceremony – is the best American at the halfway point, sitting ninth seat and two seats in front West Tucker. Jonny Gustafsonwho is making his Olympic debut, is 18th going into Sunday’s final rounds of competition.

Mazdzer and West emerged as favorites for the men’s spot in the U.S. entry in the team relay, a race where Americans believe they can medal.

“The goal was always to do the relay, to try to have the best chance of winning a medal in there,” West said.

The Kumaritashvili family from Georgia finally saw one of their own take part in an Olympic luge race, with Saba Kumaritashvili – the cousin of Nodar Kumaritashviliwho died in a practice accident on the opening day of the Vancouver Games in 2010, is 30th at the halfway point.

And Poland Mateusz Sochowicz, who was seriously injured in an accident on the Yanqing track in November – fractured his left kneecap and cut his right leg to the bone – sits in 27th place, facing long chances of getting a fourth race on Sunday. Only the first 20 after the third round will advance to the final round.

Material from The New York Times was used in this compilation.

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