America’s women broke an ice hockey gold medal drought stretching back 20 years on Thursday as a Russian curler admitted doping and was stripped of bronze at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
American skier Mikaela Shiffrin was denied gold in the women’s combined, while veteran team-mate Lindsey Vonn bombed out of the same event, in a sad end to her Olympic career.
In the ice hockey, USA edged fierce rivals Canada 3-2 on penalties, celebrating ecstatically when goaltender Maddie Rooney saved the decisive attempt from Canada’s Meghan Agosta. America’s win torpedoed a 24-game Olympic win streak for Canada, the four-time defending champions. It also edged USA 12-11 ahead over their fierce rivals in Olympic and world titles.
Away from the competition, Russia’s Alexander Krushelnitsky was stripped of his mixed doubles curling bronze medal after testing positive for meldonium, an endurance booster.
The 25-year-old was one of 168 Russian athletes who passed rigorous testing to compete as neutrals in Pyeongchang, after Russia were banned over a major doping scandal.
Krushelnitsky’s case comes as the International Olympic Committee consider whether to lift Russia’s suspension in time to fly their flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony.
In skiing, Shiffrin was restricted to second place in the women’s combined, meaning she ends the Games with one gold and one silver, a far cry from the potential five titles she had targeted.
“I came into these Olympics knowing I could be a medal threat in multiple disciplines,” the 22-year-old said.
She added: “After the gold in the giant slalom, I was really hopeful and positive. Then I had a tougher day in the slalom (when as defending champion, she lost her title) but it still feels good.”
Vonn, 33 and competing at her last Olympics, led the combined after the downhill race, but she only lasted a couple of gates in the slalom before skiing out.
There was a shock in the men’s slalom as the favourites Marcel Hirscher and Henrik Kristoffersen both imploded, allowing Sweden’s Andre Myhrer to become the event’s oldest champion at 35 years and 42 days. -AFP