Olympics Live: US figure skaters file appeal to get medals

The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:

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Attorneys for the U.S. figure skaters who won silver in the team event have notified the International Olympic Committee that they have filed an appeal to have the medals awarded before the end of the Beijing Games, The Associated Press has learned.

The medal ceremony has been delayed because of the controversy surrounding Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, who helped Russia win gold in the team event. She failed a pre-Olympics drug test, but the result wasn’t revealed until after the team competition.

AP obtained a copy of a letter sent to IOC president Thomas Bach Saturday in which attorneys said they would ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a ruling before Sunday’s closing ceremony.

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Bart Swings of Belgium has captured the gold medal in the final men’s speedskating event of the Beijing Olympics, the mass start.

Swings improved on the silver medal he won in the frenetic event at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. South Korea grabbed the other medals, with Chung Jae Won taking the silver and defending Olympic champion Lee Seung Hoon settling for bronze this time.

Three-time world champion Joey Mantia of the United States just missed out on a medal. He posted the same time as Lee, but the replay showed the tip of the South Korean’s skate crossed the line just ahead of Manti’s blade.

The women’s mass start will close out speedskating at the Ice Ribbon.

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Alexander Bolshunov has sprinted to his third Olympic gold medal, winning a 30-kilometer mass start cross-country ski race that was rescheduled and shortened because of strong wind and frigid temperatures.

The Russian was part of a five-man breakaway in the final kilometer. He pushed ahead on the final climb into the stadium, taking the title in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 32.7 seconds.

Russian teammate Ivan Yakimushkin crossed the line 5.5 seconds behind for silver, and Simen Hegstad Krueger of Norway took bronze, 7 seconds behind.

Bolshunov also won gold in the skiathlon and the relay at the Beijing Games. He took silver in the 15-kilometer classic ski race and bronze in the team sprint.

World Cup leader Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo fell off the back of the lead group about 33 minutes into the race and took his bib off and walked off the tracks with about 7.9 kilometers to go.

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The International Olympic Committee member who oversaw Beijing Winter Games preparations since 2015 has been put back on its executive board.

Juan Antonio Samaranch, whose father of the same name was IOC president from 1980-2001, was voted into the only open vice president slot. There are four vice presidents. The younger Samaranch was previously a vice president from 2016 to 2020.

It puts him into position for an expected run at the IOC presidency in 2025. Current IOC rules require Thomas Bach to stand aside after 12 years as president.

Samaranch replaces Yu Zaiqing of China, who had to step down after completing the maximum two consecutive four-year terms.

Samaranch’s return to the 15-member board was approved by the full membership meeting in Beijing ahead of Sunday’s closing ceremony. The voting was 72 for and four against. Nine members abstained.

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Defending Olympic champion Nana Takagi has crashed out of the mass start semifinals, the second time the Japanese speedskater has fallen while leading a race in Beijing.

Takagi stumbled and her left hand touched the rinkside padding before she slid on her side into the outer padding.

Takagi lost her balance while leading the team pursuit and crashed in the last corner, which cost the Japanese women a gold medal.

Ivanie Blondin, who led Canada to a gold medal in team pursuit, won her semifinal. Francesca Lollobrigida of Italy, silver medalist in the 3,000, won the other semi.

Also advancing to the final was Claudia Pechstein of Germany. The nine-time Olympic medalist turns 50 on Tuesday.

Americans Mia Manganello Kilburg and Olympic rookie Giorgia Birkeland also moved on.

There were three falls in the first semi, including Marijke Groenewoud of the Netherlands. She went down in a corner with four laps go go, but got up and finished fifth to qualify for the final.

Irene Schouten of the Netherlands, winner of the 3,000, also made the 16-woman final.

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Defending champion Lee Seung Hoon of South Korea has qualified for the final of men’s mass start speedskating.

Lee won the event that made its debut four years ago in his home country.

Also moving on to the final are 2018 silver medalist Bart Swings of Belgium, three-time world champion Joey Mantia of the United States, and 2020 world champion Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands.

Sven Kramer of the Netherlands qualified for the last Olympic final of his career. The 35-year-old skater who is a nine-time medalist finished seventh in the semifinals.

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Chinese organizers say a total of 97,000 spectators have attended medal events at the Beijing Olympics.

That’s less than two-thirds of the 150,000 predicted on the eve of the Olympics more than two weeks ago. The games close Sunday.

The number was revealed at an IOC meeting by the executive vice president of the local organizing committee, Zhang Jiandong.

Venues in Beijing and Zhangjiakou could have invited spectators to attend but fans were not allowed at Alpine skiing and sliding sports in Yanqing.

Plans to sell tickets to international visitors were scrapped last year because of the coronavirus pandemic and the block was extended to residents of China in January.

Spectators were to be invited from international communities living in mainland China, members of diplomatic missions and marketing partners.

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The men’s 50-kilometer cross-country ski race at the Olympics has been delayed and the length reduced to 30 kilometers because of the weather.

The International Ski Federation said the decision was made “in regards to the athletes safety to reduce the time of exposure of athletes in extreme conditions.”

The wind has blasted the Zhangjiakou National Cross Country Center all morning, sending plumes of snow into the air.

The temperature is hovering around minus 18 degrees C (0 degrees F).

The 50-kilometer race can take up to two hours to complete, leaving athletes exposed and susceptible to frostbite. The racers will ski a 7.1-kilometer course four times, instead of the originally planned six laps on an 8.3-kilometer course.

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The last Alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics has been pushed back a day because of strong winds.

The mixed team parallel event was rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday, the last day of the Winter Games. It will start at 9 a.m. Beijing time.

It was supposed to start Saturday morning and was delayed twice because of gusts of up to about 40 mph (65 kph) before it was scrapped for the day.

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The last Alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics will not be held as planned because of strong winds. A decision has not yet been made about whether to reschedule the event.

The team event was supposed to be held Saturday, but wind gusts at up to about 40 mph (65 kph) led to the announcement of two one-hour delays. The Winter Games end Sunday.

Organizers eventually said the race would not be held Saturday.

A meeting was being held “to discuss the potential rescheduling of the event.”

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Nico Porteous of New Zealand overcame the swirling wind to win the Olympic ski halfpipe final on a day when many skiers couldn’t land their best tricks due to the strong gusts.

Porteous scored a 93 in his opening run on a bitterly cold and breezy morning in the last event at the Genting Snow Park. His score held up in tough conditions where skiers struggled to link big air and spins.

Two-time Olympic champion David Wise took home the silver with his first-run score of 90.75. The 31-year-old Wise was the only winner the men’s event had ever known. He took the title at its Olympic debut in 2014 and again in 2018. Alex Ferreira of the United States threw down a strong first run, twirling his right ski pole at the bottom in elation, to end up with the bronze.

The last competitor to go, Aaron Blunck, crashed into the wall of the halfpipe while trying to land a trick in the gusty conditions. He stayed down for a moment before sitting up.

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Wind gusts of up to about 40 mph (65 kph) are pushing back the start of the last Alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics.

The start of the team event has been delayed twice Saturday for a total of two hours and now will not begin before noon local time.

The blue and red gate flags are whipping in the wind along the race course known as “Ice River” at the National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing zone.

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Nico Porteous of New Zealand grabbed the lead after the first run in the men’s ski halfpipe final on a challenging day to throw tricks due to swirling wind.

Porteous scored a 93 thanks to back-to-back double cork 1620s. Two-time defending Olympic champion David Wise sits in second place with a score of 90.75 after the first of three runs. Many of the competitors struggled with wind gusts, including Brendan MacKay of Canada who appeared to be blown off line by the wind.

Top qualifier Aaron Blunck called the gusty conditions “gnarly.” Although listed at 13 mph, the wind appears to be swirling in and through the halfpipe. The wind chill hovered around minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 32 degrees Celsius.)

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The last Alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics is being delayed because of strong wind.

The start of the team event has been pushed back an hour to 11 a.m. local time on Saturday — which is when it originally was scheduled to begin before a forecast of windy conditions prompted organizers to try to get going at 10 a.m.

Gusts of about 25 mph (40 kph) are kicking up snow near the bottom of the race course known as “Ice River” at the National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing zone.

The temperature is zero degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 Celsius) and feels like minus 8 Fahrenheit (minus 22 Celsius).

Mikaela Shiffrin is on the roster for the United States, which faces Slovakia in the opening round. Other first-round matchups are Switzerland vs. China, Italy vs. Russia, Norway vs. Poland, France vs. Czech Republic, Germany vs. Sweden, and Slovenia vs. Canada.

Top-ranked Austria received a first-round bye because there are only 15 nations in the 16-spot bracket.

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More AP Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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