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Update February 2018

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern

Update February 22, 2018

Messi scores vs Chelsea at 9th attempt to give Barca CL draw

Barcelona's Lionel Messi fights for the ball against Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas during a Champions League round of sixteen first leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Rob Harris

London (AP) - Lionel Messi finally managed one of the few things he had yet to achieve in football.

At his ninth attempt, the five-time world player of the year finally scored against Chelsea, salvaging a 1-1 draw on Tuesday and halting his longest drought against any opponent after 730 minutes.

By cancelling out Willian's opener, Messi also gave Barcelona a narrow edge in their Champions League round-of-16 matchup heading into the second leg at Camp Nou on March 14. The night's other game produced a far more conclusive outcome with Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski both scoring twice as Bayern Munich beat 10-man Besiktas 5-0.

It was far tighter at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea deploying Eden Hazard as a false nine and containing Barcelona's energetic pressing before being made to pay for a rare slip in concentration in the 75th minute.

Andreas Christensen, the 21-year-old center back who displaced 32-year-old captain Gary Cahill from the starting lineup, passed laxly across his own penalty area. Barcelona capitalized. Andres Iniesta beat Cesar Azpilicueta to the ball, skipped past the defender's attempt to tackle and squared for the unmarked Messi to turn into the bottom of the net. It prevented Barcelona from slipping to only its second loss in all competitions since August.

"We lacked more clear-cut chances, but the good thing is we managed to force an error out of them and score an equalizer," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said through a translator. "We go back to the Camp Nou happy."

Twice, though, Barcelona had gifted Willian the space to hit the post in the first half. It was third time lucky in the 62nd for Willian, who drifts in and out of the team but was the outlet of Chelsea's most dangerous moments against the five-time European champions.

The Brazilian was left unmarked just outside the penalty area to receive a pass from Eden Hazard. Sergio Busquets charged forward to block Willian but ended up on flat on his back after Willian shimmied past him.

"We gave too much space to Willian to shoot," Valverde said. "The pass to him was perfect, the control was perfect. And we just had to get closer to him."

They didn't. Willian picked out a gap in the defense to send the ball into the bottom right of the night.

"We stayed compact, had a plan," Willian said, "and did exactly what we expected."

Described by Valverde as a "clash of styles," this was not a meeting of equals.

While Barcelona enjoys a seven-point lead at the top of the Spanish league, Chelsea is in a scrap to even secure one of the Premier League's four Champions League qualification places. Recent damaging defeats at Bournemouth and Watford have left Chelsea with only a one-point hold on fourth place — and no chance of defending its title with Manchester City 19 points ahead.

Now Chelsea, which won its only European title in 2012, has to find a way to at least score at Barcelona next month to secure passage to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014.

"We have to go there to attack and score because 90 minutes defending at the Nou Camp is an eternity," said Cesc Fabregas, who joined Chelsea from Barcelona. "It is a suicide mission."

Bjoergen, American women make history at Olympics

United States' Jessica Diggins, left, and Kikkan Randall celebrate after winning the gold medal in the women's team sprint freestyle cross-country skiing final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Steve Reed

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) - Marit Bjoergen made Olympic history and the United States women's cross-country team won its first medal ever - and it was gold.

Bjoergen won her 14th medal at the Winter Games by taking bronze with her Norwegian teammates on Wednesday in the team sprint. That made her the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, breaking the tie she held with Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen.

Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall led the way as the American women pulled off a huge upset in the same race. The only other American to win a medal in cross-country skiing was Bill Koch, who took silver in the 30-kilometer race at the 1976 Innsbruck Games.

The Americans posted the fastest time in the semifinals and started on the front row in the final. Diggins passed the Swedes and the Norwegians on the final lap to win the first Olympic gold medal for the United States in the sport. Sweden took silver.

The 37-year-old Bjoergen has won four medals at the Pyeongchang Games. She took gold in the women's 4x5-kilometer relay, silver in the 15-kilometer skiathlon and bronze in the 10-kilometer freestyle. She still has one event remaining - the 30-kilometer mass start on Sunday - if she chooses to participate.

Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Martin Johnsrud won the men's team sprint, giving Norway a 13th medal in cross-country events at Pyeongchang.

A team of Russians took silver and France edged out Sweden for third.

It was the third gold medal for Klaebo, equaling French biathlete Martin Fourcade for the most golds so far at Pyeongchang.

The 21-year Klaebo became the fourth male athlete to win three gold medals at the Winter Games before turning 22, joining American speed skater Eric Heiden, Austrian Alpine skier Toni Sailer and South Korean short-track speedskater Ano Victor.

Leman earns Olympic gold for Canada in men's skicross

From left; Brady Leman, of Canada, Terence Tchiknavorian, of France, and Marc Bischofberger, of Switzerland, run the course during the men's ski cross elimination round at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Will Graves

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) - Skicross is built on one very simple tenant: to go as fast as you possibly dare for as long as you possibly dare and hope everything works out in the end with the understanding that it usually won't.

It's a mindset that led Brady Leman to a fourth-place at the Sochi Olympics four years ago. One that the Canadian knew he had to go against - at least for a few seconds - if he wanted to reach the top of the podium at Phoenix Snow Park.

So in the middle of the treacherous course that sent a handful of riders to the hospital in medical sleds following frightening crashes, Leman did something he almost never does. He slowed down, opting for control over speed.

The decision paid off with gold.

Leman navigated the tricky middle section that wreaked havoc with portions of the field then held off Marc Bischofberger of Switzerland in the finals on Wednesday to give him a measure of redemption for the near miss in Sochi. Leman was a close fourth heading in the last segment in Russia but washed out, allowing France to sweep all three medals.

Not this time, thanks in no small part to Leman's decision to ease up.

"That's super counterintuitive as a ski racer," Leman said. "You just try to go full gas everywhere but you weren't able to there and it's too bad there were a lot of crashes."

Skicross is basically a NASCAR race held on snow down the side of a mountain. Competitors race side-by-side over bumps, jumps and dips at speeds well over 40 mph. Olympic organizers put together a demanding test, one that gave the skiers more of what they usually ask for, namely fewer turns and longer straightaways.

It may have been too much of a good thing. So many athletes wiped out in training, including Leman and Bischofberger, that the course was altered overnight in an attempt to make it a bit safer.

"They made some good fixes," said Canada's Kevin Drury, who came in fourth after colliding with Russian bronze medalist Sergey Ridzik early in the final. "You definitely had to be on it, you had to be balanced in the air."

Something Drury's teammate and 2011 world champion Chris Del Bosco was not during the first round of elimination. Del Bosco came out of a jump too high and lost control. His skis ended up over his head and his right side slammed hard into the snow. He lay motionless for several moments while medical attendants rushed to his aide.

The 35-year-old Canadian was able to lift one of his hands to fans as he was taken to the ambulance, though there was no immediate update on the extent of his injuries. Terence Tchiknavorian of France appeared to injure his right leg after landing a jump awkwardly and Christophe Wahrstoetter of Austria became tangled up in the fence after colliding with Erik Mobaerg of Sweden.

There was a lengthy delay while Del Bosco was treated, though Leman said that's just part of doing business. He edged Bischofberger in the first quarterfinal after the course was cleared, a sequence that would repeat itself two more times, though Leman wasn't aware the final essentially turned into a two-man race after Drury and Ridzik got tangled up.

"I could see one shadow behind me and I knew someone was hot on my tail and so I was just going like crazy," Leman said.

So was Bischofberger, who joked he felt like "an old man" after a wipeout in training forced him to spend copious amounts of time with the Swiss team doctor hoping to get his achy back good enough to race. He managed to earn silver, though there was no stopping Team Canada.

In addition to Leman and Drury, teammate Dave Duncan reached the consolation final. Not bad in a sport invented by Americans and largely dominated by Europeans.

"Right now we're the best nation in the world in skicross and have been for the past couple of years," Leman said. "It's a great day for our team."

Couture, Boedker send Sharks to 3-2 win over Blues

St. Louis Blues goaltender Carter Hutton makes a glove save during the third period of the team's NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 in St. Louis. The Sharks won 3-2. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

Warren Mayes

St. Louis (AP) - With five goals and two assists in his last four games, Mikkel Boedker is on quite a tear at an opportune time.

Boedker and Logan Couture each had a goal and an assist, sending the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the slumping St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.

"When you're on a roll, the puck seems to find you a little bit," Boedker said. "It feels really good. Obviously, it's a good time of the year to be productive."

Joonas Donskoi also scored and Martin Jones made 30 saves for San Jose, which has won five of its last six games.

"He was money tonight," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said about Jones. "I think the story of the game was that Jonesey was big at the right times and we capitalized on some of the mistakes they made."

Ivan Barbashev and Vladimir Tarasenko had the goals for the Blues, who have lost a season-high four straight.

St. Louis coach Mike Yeo was not happy with his team's performance.

"I didn't think we played well," Yeo said. "Desperation time was a while ago. This is where pride has to come in. We have to make sure we stop the bleeding and we have to start building confidence in the game that we're playing.

"We can't accept the fact that we're playing good and not winning hockey games. We need points. We need wins and we need to start doing it now."

After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for five goals in the second.

San Jose took a 1-0 lead when Couture knocked in a loose puck at 6:35. Boedker fired in a shot from the point that goalie Carter Hutton blocked but couldn't corral. Couture was on the spot and scored his 24th of the season.

"It's been a good year so far offensively," Couture said. "I think I've capitalized on the chances I've had. Tonight was a nice one to get the puck on my stick and have a wide-open net. Hopefully I can continue it."

St. Louis answered at 8:23 when Barbashev scored on a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that sailed over Jones' arm.

Donskoi beat Hutton on a wrist shot from the left circle at 12:05. Couture assisted on Donskoi's first goal in 17 games.

Boedker gave San Jose a 3-1 lead at 15:54 when he scored from the left side of the net.

"It was just a matter of putting it home," he said.

Tarasenko cut the margin to 3-2 on a power play when he fired in the rebound of a shot by Vince Dunn at 19:36 for his 24th of the season. Tarasenko has 10 points in his last nine games (four goals, six assists) against the Sharks.

Despite the late goal, it was not a good period for the Blues.

"They were just better than us in the second period," Yeo said. "We were sloppy. I thought we were drifting all over the place."

San Jose's Brent Burns prevented a goal with less than five minutes left. During a scramble in front of the net, the puck hit the post and was sliding along the goal line when Burns knocked it out.

"You work for your own luck," Yeo said. "You earn your luck. We just dug ourselves too big a hole against a good defensive team."

This was the first meeting between St. Louis and San Jose this season. The Blues swept the three-game season series last year, outscoring the Sharks 11-3 overall, and had won four straight against the Sharks.

Hutton made his second start in the last five games and stopped 20 shots. Previously against the Sharks, he was 4-0-1 with a 0.98 goals-against average, a .968 save percentage and two shutouts in five career starts.

"I think the time for moral victories has come and gone," Hutton said. "We've got to win hockey games and get points."

Blues defenseman Colton Parayko agreed.

"We've got 21 games left and there's a lot of points left out there on the board," Parayko said. "We have a group that can win and we're looking forward to the stretch." 

NOTES: The Sharks acquired C Eric Fehr from Toronto for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft. ... Blues C Vladimir Sobotka was out of the lineup with an illness. It was the first game he has missed this season. ... The Blues have recalled forward Sammy Blais from the AHL for the fourth time this season. Blais, who leads the San Antonio Rampage with 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists), last played for St. Louis on Dec. 16, when he got hurt against Winnipeg. ... San Jose forward Tomas Hertl missed another game with an upper-body injury.


Sharks: At the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Blues: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Update February 21, 2018

Marchand scores in OT to lift Bruins over Flames 2-1

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand, right, scores the game-winning goal on Calgary Flames goalie David Rittich, from the Czech Republic, during overtime NHL hockey action in Calgary, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Associated Press

Calgary, Alberta (AP) - Brad Marchand scored his 22nd goal 3:36 into overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday.

After a turnover by defenseman TJ Brodie deep in the Flames end, Riley Nash sprung Marchand on a breakaway and he slipped the puck through the pads of rookie goaltender David Rittich.

David Pastrnak also scored for Boston (36-13-8), which moved within one point of Tampa Bay for first place in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Bruins, who are 12-1-2 in their last 15 road games, have two games in hand on the Lightning.

Boston has lost only three times in regulation in the last 28 games (21-3-4). Tuukka Rask made 28 saves.

Matthew Tkachuk scored for the Flames (30-21-9), who fell to 1-3-4 in their last eight home games. They began the day one point out of third place in the Pacific Division.

Ducks 2, Golden Knights 0

Las Vegas (AP) - Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Getzlaf scored to lead Anaheim over Vegas in their Pacific Division showdown.

The Ducks regained sole possession of third place in the division, two points ahead of Los Angeles and Calgary. They are a point behind second-place San Jose.

Starting goalie John Gibson (22-15-6) stopped all 13 shots he saw for Anaheim, but was inadvertently clipped by Vegas' Reilly Smith behind the net with three seconds left in the second period and didn't return due to a lower-body injury.

Backup goalie Ryan Miller played cleanup in the third, stopping 20 shots to preserve the win.

Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury (19-7-2) made 18 saves.

The Ducks have won four of five away from home. Anaheim became just the seventh team - and fifth in regulation - to win on Vegas' home ice.

Vegas, which leads the NHL with 82 points, had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Capitals 3, Sabres 2

Buffalo, N.Y. (AP) - Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 35th goal and Washington reclaimed the top spot in the Metropolitan Division with a win over Buffalo.

John Carlson had a goal and assist and Philipp Grubauer stopped 32 shots in a game the Capitals led 2-0 after two periods.

Evgeny Kuznetsov sealed the victory by scoring into an open net with 26 seconds remaining. Washington completed a 2-1-1 road trip and bounced back from a 7-1 loss at Chicago on Saturday.

Washington improved to 34-18-7 for 75 points, one ahead of idle Pittsburgh.

Kyle Okposo and Evander Kane scored late for the Sabres, who dropped to 2-7-1 in their past 10 home games.

Wild 5, Islanders 3

New York (AP) - Matt Cullen and Tyler Ennis scored in Minnesota's three-goal second period against New York.

Jason Zucker added two goals and Joel Eriksson Ek also scored for the Wild, who have earned at least one point in six of their past seven games (4-1-2). Devan Dubnyk stopped 32 shots.

Ross Johnston, Anders Lee and Tanner Fritz scored for the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak, coming off a 50-save shutout against the Rangers on Thursday night, finished with 27 stops.

Kings 3, Blackhawks 1

Chicago (AP) - Torrey Mitchell and Andy Andreoff scored during Los Angeles' dominant first period against Chicago.

Dion Phaneuf added his second goal in three games since joining Los Angeles in a trade with Ottawa, and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves in the Kings' second straight win since a three-game slide. Los Angeles (32-22-5) also improved to 3-3 on its seven-game trip as it fights for playoff positioning in the Western Conference.

Last-place Chicago looked awful for most of the night during its ninth loss in 10 games, and Quick turned away a possible comeback early in the third. Anton Forsberg made 29 stops for the Blackhawks (25-27-8), and Patrick Sharp snapped an 11-game scoring drought with his seventh goal of the season.

It was the first game at the United Center since the Blackhawks banned four fans from their home games for directing a racist taunt toward Washington's Devante Smith-Pelly. The team also apologized to the forward and the Capitals.

Predators 5, Senators 2

Nashville, Tenn. (AP) - Viktor Arvidsson scored twice to reach 20 goals this season, and Nashville beat Ottawa.

Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Craig Smith also scored for Nashville, which ended a two-game skid and tied Winnipeg for first place in the Central Division.

The Predators recorded two power-play goals and scored on the man advantage in their second straight game after going six games without converting on the power play.

Pekka Rinne made 36 saves to earn his 30th win of the season.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Max McCormick scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 36 shots.

The Predators improved to 12-3-3 in their last 18 games.

Man City's quadruple bid ends in shock FA Cup loss to Wigan

Wigan Athletic players celebrate at the end of the English FA Cup fifth round soccer match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City at The DW Stadium, Wigan, England, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Wigan Athletic won the game 1-0. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Associated Press

Manchester, England (AP) - Manchester City's pursuit of a quadruple ended on Monday when it was surprisingly eliminated from the FA Cup by losing at third-division Wigan 1-0.

Wigan beat City in the 2013 FA Cup final, but this was an even bigger shock. Will Grigg's late goal was enough for the League One side to pull off the upset in the fifth round. They host Southampton in the quarterfinals next month.

"We had to ride our luck with a couple of flashing crosses, but that's what makes the FA Cup so special," Wigan manager Paul Cook said. "Our lads deserve a lot of credit for the amount of work and the level of energy they put in. To beat a Man City team you have to do that."

City was forced to play the entire second half with 10 men after left back Fabian Delph was red-carded on the stroke of halftime for a strong challenge on Max Power.

City manager Pep Guardiola accepted the referee's decision and played down its significance.

"We played good in the second half even with 10 so the influence in terms of the way we played wasn't too much," he said. "Of course, with 11 it's easier. We conceded one shot on target in 90 minutes and we lost. Football is like this.

"Of course, we are sad and we want to go through because the FA Cup is a nice competition and you want to go to the quarterfinals. They score a goal, we were not able to. We congratulate Wigan for their victory."

While Delph's red card led to Guardiola and Cook exchanging strong words on the touchline and in the tunnel at halftime, both managers said there wasn't a problem.

"From our point of view we're trying to get every edge in everything we can," Cook said.

"We certainly wish them well fighting on all fronts because they represent English football so well."

City enjoyed 83 percent of possession and 29 shots to Wigan's four, but could not take advantage. Sergio Aguero headed over early on and Ilkay Gundogan forced a good save from Christian Walton before miskicking from another good position.

Aguero looked like opening the scoring after breaking into the box just before the interval, but Walton produced another fine save.

Controversy then erupted when referee Anthony Taylor dismissed Delph following a sliding challenge on Power.

Taylor initially had a yellow card in his hand, but eventually brandished the red one, sparking vociferous complaints from City players, who felt the decision was harsh.

Guardiola was also angered and encroached on to the field, his arguments with Cook continuing for some time afterwards.

City was further frustrated after the break and Grigg capitalized on a Kyle Walker error to win it for Wigan 11 minutes from time. The Northern Ireland international seized possession on halfway and charged upfield before slotting a fine shot past Bravo from the edge of the area.

Wigan survived a nervy finish, with the final whistle prompting a pitch invasion.

Television pictures appeared to show a home supporter and Aguero involved in a physical exchange.

Aguero appeared to strike the supporter after the latter said something to the forward, who had to be held back by his City teammates.

Guardiola and Cook said they did not see the post-match incidents because they were in the changing rooms.

US beats Slovakia 5-1, will play Czechs in Olympic quarters

The puck shot by Ryan Donato (16), of the United States, sails past Jan Laco (50), of Slovakia, for a goal during the third period of the qualification round of the men's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, Pool)

Stephen Whyno

Gangneung, South Korea (AP) - Ryan Donato and Ryan Zapolski got knocked down, but they got up again and led the Americans into the quarterfinals at the Olympics.

Donato and Zapolski took blows to the head, stayed in the game and were two of the biggest reasons the U.S. beat Slovakia 5-1 Tuesday in the qualification round to move on to face the Czech Republic on Wednesday. As they got to their feet, the '90s hit "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba with its familiar chorus of "I get knocked down but I get up again" blared over the speakers,

Donato scored two goals to tie his father, Ted, with four in a single Olympics and Zapolski stopped 21 shots in arguably his best game of the tournament while facing elimination for the first time. Along with Donato, fellow college player Troy Terry showed he can thrive on the big stage with three assists in a breakout performance by a team that had scored only four goals in the previous three Olympic Games.

"We all had to show up," Zapolski said. "We know we have to win now to keep moving on. I think that's something that shows how strong this team is and how resilient we are. We had I think our best game today."

The offensive outburst included a power-play goal by James Wisniewski and goals at even strength by Mark Arcobello and Garrett Roe. Donato was the star, scoring twice against Slovakia for the second time after doing it in a 2-1 victory in group play.

Between periods, Donato saw video of his dad - who had four goals for the U.S. at the 1992 Albertville Games and coaches him at Harvard - in the stands and said, "I've never seen him smile like that before."

Donato took a shoulder to the jaw from defenseman Michal Cajovsky just as Ladislav Nagy ran over Zapolski. Donato had his bloody nose on the bench but didn't miss a shift, setting the screen on Wisniewski's 5-on-3 power play goal.

"He's a really tough kid, and you see how much just of a natural goal-scorer he is," Terry said. "He's fun to play with and if I get the puck to him I know it's got a pretty good chance of going in."

Slovakia scored a second-period, power-play goal by Peter Ceresnak through traffic that Zapolski had little chance of stopping. Zapolski was on his game after giving up some soft goals in the preliminary round and showed his toughness when he took the shot to the head from Nagy. He said he felt like he a pinched nerve in his neck.

"My hands and feet went numb a little bit," Zapolski said. "A little bit of a stinger. I think I just needed time for the feeling to come back. It took a little bit. It was a little bit of a scary thing for me kind of losing feeling in your body for a little bit, but it went away pretty quickly."

Scoring on the 5-on-3 power play that came with Cajovsky ejected and Nagy in the box was the kind of confidence-building goal the U.S. needed, and getting to five against the team coach Tony Granato called perhaps the best defensive team in the tournament has the Americans feeling good going into the quarterfinals.

"I think people saw tonight we have a very fast team and a team that can play good hockey," Terry said. "So we have a lot of belief in our team and we're excited to keep going."

Despite a 4-0 loss to the Russians to wrap up group play, Granato and his players believe they've gotten better each game and see a benefit in playing the extra qualification-round game to keep improving. As top-seeded Sweden, the Russians and Canada wait for the other winners, the Czech Republic is up next for the U.S.

"There's some different weapons that we'll have to be aware of," Granato said. "They're a little bit more deeper offensively. But I think what we learned from our team is it doesn't matter what the other team does. We have to attack, we have to get in on the forecheck, we have to use our offensive players that we do have, the skillset that we do have."

In other qualification games later Tuesday, Finland played South Korea, with the winner advancing to take on Canada; Slovenia faced Norway, with the winner advancing to play the "Olympic Athletes from Russia"); and Germany played Switzerland, with the winner advancing to face Sweden.

NOTES: Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco allowed five goals on 33 shots. ... St. Cloud State defenseman Will Borgen was a healthy scratch again for the United States. ... Veteran forward Jim Slater returned to the lineup, replacing Chad Kolarik. ... Former NHL player and coach Craig Ramsay coaches Slovakia.

Vonn trying not to think of downhill as her last at Olympics


United States' Lindsey Vonn competes in women's downhill training at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Jeongseon, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Pat Graham and Howard Fendrich

Jeongseon, South Korea (AP) - Lindsey Vonn prefers not to dwell on what shapes up as a significant story line for the women's downhill at the Pyeongchang Games.

"I've tried not to think about it as being my last Olympic downhill. Just focus on the moment, the right here and the right now. And I think later I'll reflect on how much I enjoyed it and how much my teammates and my coaches made it special for me," Vonn said ahead of Wednesday's contest. "But you can't get too sentimental right now, because I still have to race. I still have to be focused. And afterward, I'll do some reflecting."

What she also hopes to do, of course, is win a second gold medal in her sport's fastest event, to go along with the one from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Vonn missed the Sochi Games four years ago after tearing ligaments in her right knee and has said this will be her last go-round at an Olympics.

She was asked this week how her health is at the moment.

"Everything's great. I feel like a million bucks," she said with a smile. "And 33!"

Vonn, generally considered the greatest female ski racer in history, was in strong form heading into these Olympics, winning the last three World Cup downhills she entered beforehand.

Most consider her the favorite, and she looked good in training runs. She produced the fastest time Sunday and the third fastest Monday despite easing up before the finish. In the final practice Tuesday, she was fourth fastest, trying different racing lines to see which created the most speed.

"Some of the lines I took (Tuesday) I think were faster, others not," Vonn said course-side, before going to analyze her run on video. "Everything feels pretty good."

Vonn promised an "all or nothing" effort.

"There's really no need to be nervous or think about pressure or expectation," she said. "If I'm nervous then I'm going to lose anyway, so what's the point?"

Here are other things to know about the women's downhill:


The woman responsible for one of the most stunning Alpine results in Olympic history will not be in the starting hut four days later.

Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic, who had only once finished as high as seventh place in 19 career World Cup races, came out of nowhere to beat Vonn and others and win the super-G on Saturday.

She's also a snowboarder, though, and instead of entering the Alpine downhill, she will switch to her other sport and try to qualify Thursday in the parallel giant slalom. That would make Ledecka the first athlete to compete in ski racing and snowboarding at the Winter Games.

Italy's Sofia Goggia, who edged Vonn in March to win the only World Cup downhill ever raced on this track, called Ledecka's double duty "one of the coolest things in the whole Olympics."

The last women's super-G champ who skipped the downhill at the same Winter Games was Diann Roffe of the U.S. in 1994.


The altered Olympic program of back-to-back race days has not helped Mikaela Shiffrin.

Shiffrin opted out of the downhill after the schedule was changed late Monday by forecast strong winds, moving the Alpine combined event forward one day.

She will now focus her energy on Thursday's combined, which adds the times of a downhill and one run of slalom, her specialist discipline.


There will be no repeat Olympic champion in this race, even though there were two winners - yes, two - in 2014.

Four years ago, Slovenia's Tina Maze and Switzerland's Dominique Gisin tied for the downhill title with the same time down to the hundredth of a second. It was the first time in 78 years of Olympic Alpine skiing there were double gold medals.

Maze and Gisin have since retired; Gisin's younger sister, Michelle, is in the lineup and was second fastest in the final practice run Tuesday. The bronze medalist last time, Lara Gut of Switzerland, is also a strong contender. 


Racers consider this a course that is neither particularly creative nor particularly steep, so the skiers need to generate pace on their own. "It's easy," Italy's Nadia Fanchini said. "Very beautiful, but very, very easy."

Update February 20, 2018

Russian curling bronze medalist faces doping charge


In this Feb. 7, file photo, Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky practices ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

James Ellingworth and Stephen Wade

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) — Russia could lose its chance to be reinstated before the end of the Winter Olympics because of a doping charge against curling bronze medalist Alexander Krushelnitsky.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said in a statement Monday that it has "initiated a procedure involving" Krushelnitsky, who finished third in mixed doubles with his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams says a failed doping test could keep Russia's banned team from marching under the national flag at the closing ceremony.

Russian athletes are participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics as "Olympic Athletes from Russia." The IOC suspended the Russian Olympic committee last year in connection with a massive doping scheme at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi but allowed 168 athletes to compete under neutral uniforms and without the Russian national flag.

Adams confirmed the positive test and says it could have "consequences" in evaluating the behavior the Russian team, which was required to abide by restrictions — including bans to some medal favorites — and to undergo extra drug tests.

Russian curlers said a coach told them that Krushelnitsky tested positive for a banned substance. Women's skip Viktoria Moiseeva said the coach "came to tell us the news" late Sunday.

She added the team wanted to comfort Krushelnitsky and Bryzgalova but "we thought that there are no words to comfort now. We just tried to stay away."

Russian Curling Federation president Dmitry Svishchev told The Associated Press that Krushelnitsky tested clean as recently as January 22, the day before he flew to a pre-Olympic training camp in Japan.

Svishchev said it was possible someone spiked Krushelnitsky's food or drink with meldonium, which was banned in 2016. He suggested that rival Russian athletes or Russia's political enemies could be responsible.

"It can't happen at the Olympic Village because everyone eats the same canteen food," he said. "It could happen at training camp or in the intervening period. ... There's a possibility of it being something within the team, that something happened during training camp, or as a political means to achieve some goal."

The curling team trained in Japan in January, bringing in some Russian athletes who had not qualified for the Olympics as practice partners.

Meldonium is the substance that Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova was suspended for after testing positive at the Australian Open in 2016. Before it was banned, many Russian athletes used the drug, which is designed for people with heart problems and some believe can help athletes increase stamina.

Krushelnitsky's "A sample" tested positive. Adams said a second sample would be tested, and results could be announced within 24 hours.

The Norwegian team finished fourth, and could get the bronze if the positive test is confirmed.

Adams says Russians at the games have undergone "rigorous testing" and adds that "Russians were tested to a significant level more than others."

The case was the talk of the rink at curling.

Though to the uninitiated, the idea of a curler using performance-enhancing drugs may seem bizarre, the sport does demand a high level of athleticism at the Olympic level. Curlers need to have strong core muscles and upper body strength in order to manage the often rigorous sweeping that helps them guide the rock down the ice.

Fitness is even more important in mixed doubles, the event Krushelnitsky was competing in. Because there are just two curlers on each team instead of the four in traditional curling, there is little rest between throws, and both teammates are often heavily involved in sweeping.

"It's physically demanding out there. It's not like you don't need any muscles," said Swiss curler Silvana Tirinzoni, whose team beat the Russian women's team 11-2 at Monday's round robin. "We have to be fit and we have to be working out. My sweepers are working out like five times a week, go to the gym, so it (performance-enhancing drugs) can help, but we shouldn't do that. I think that's stupid."

Tirinzoni said if the reports were confirmed, they would be disappointing. But she said she still had no reservations about playing against the Russian athletes on Monday.

"I think clean athletes have the right to compete," she said. "It's not about me to make those kind of decisions. So I believe the team we played today, they are as clean as we are."

Wardrobe issues causes Olympic stress for French skaters

Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France perform during the ice dance, short dance figure skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 19. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Dave Skretta

Gangneung, South Korea (AP) — The first notes of Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" had just played when Gabriella Papadakis suddenly became aware that people were about to see a whole lot more of her shape than she had planned.

The French ice dancer's glittering emerald costume at the Olympics had come unhooked at the neckline and later in the routine her left breast was exposed live on television.

When the clasp became unhooked, the 22-year-old Papadakis was more worried about holding up her outfit than making sure her twizzles and rhumba were in sync. Her swinging short program with partner Guillaume Cizeron at the Pyeongchang Olympics was threatening to go down in history alongside Janet Jackson's infamous wardrobe malfunction during her halftime performance at the Super Bowl.

"I felt it right away and I prayed," Papadakis said. "That's about what I could do."

Somehow, the French couple kept things together through most of their Latin program, producing a score of 81.93 points Monday that left them second behind Canadian stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

Not all the program, though.

It was during the final element, when Papadakis leaned back in Cizeron's arms, that her costume rode upward to reveal her breast. The performance was being shown live on international television, and people immediately began posting screen-grabs of the incident on social media.

"Our coverage of ice dancing was live tonight. Once a competitor's brief wardrobe issue became evident, we purposely used wider camera shots and carefully selected replays to keep the issue obscured," NBC said in a statement to The Associated Press. "We have edited the video for all television encores and online replays."

It was the second wardrobe mishap during the skating program at the Pyeongchang Games. American-born ice dancer Yura Min, competing for South Korea, had the back of her costume come unclasped during her short program with partner Alex Gamelin in the team competition.

Papadakis and Cizeron, considered the biggest threat to Virtue and Moir for gold, still managed to gain level-four marks for all their elements save their final straight line lift. That left the French duo less than two points behind their Canadian training partners on a packed leaderboard.

It's unclear whether the judges docked the couple for the wardrobe issue. The rules state losing any part of a costume, even a hair clip, can lead to a one-point deduction.

"It's a little bit frustrating to know that it's not because of something that we did," Cizeron said. "It's just a costume issue, something as stupid as that, so it's a little bit disappointing."

Papadakis was nearly in tears as she approached reporters after the routine, which is required of any Olympic competitor after competition. But she was in better spirits an hour later, when she no doubt realized that her chance of a gold medal was still intact.

"It was pretty distracting, kind of my worst nightmare happening at the Olympics," Papadakis said. "I told myself, 'I don't have a choice. I have to keep going,' and that's what we did. I think we can be proud of ourselves being able to deliver a great performance with that happening."

Messi aims to score against Chelsea at 9th attempt

Lionel Messi is shown in action during the Spanish La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Getafe at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Feb. 11. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Tony Jimenez

London (AP) — As unlikely as it sounds, Lionel Messi is still waiting to score his first goal against Chelsea after drawing a blank in eight previous Champions League matches.

The five-time World Player of the Year is likely to get another chance to break his duck this week and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes the past will count for little when Barcelona visit Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

"I hope we maintain this tradition but we are speaking about a fantastic player," Conte said ahead of the last-16, first-leg Champions League game. "The most important thing is the present.

"We must have great respect but at the same time we must be excited to play this type of game and take on this type of challenge. It won't be easy because we know very well this player, we are talking about one of the best in the world."

The teams have produced some epic games in the past although they have not met in the Champions League since Chelsea pulled off a remarkable backs-to-the-wall semifinal victory over Barcelona on the way to winning the trophy in 2012.

Messi missed a penalty in the second leg at the Nou Camp as the London club overcame the first-half dismissal of captain John Terry, and a 2-0 deficit, to draw the game 2-2 and secure an unforgettable 3-2 aggregate win.

Bayern Munich host Besiktas in Tuesday's other game while the following day sees Manchester United traveling to Sevilla, and Shakhtar Donetsk playing host to Roma.

Two weeks ago, the prospect of a Chelsea win over Barca would have been unthinkable after Conte's men had slumped to successive defeats by two of the Premier League's lesser lights.

The London club were still smarting from a 3-0 home loss against Bournemouth when they traveled to Watford and succumbed to an embarrassing 4-1 reverse.

Chelsea have got back on track since then, though, easing past West Bromwich Albion 3-0 in the league last Monday before swatting aside second-tier Hull 4-0 in the FA Cup four days later.

Conte has several selection dilemmas. He must choose between captain Gary Cahill and Antonio Rudiger for a place at the back, and between Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud up front.

Cesc Fabregas will also be desperate to play against his former team but may have to settle for a spot on the bench.

Barca have lost only once in 38 matches this season since falling in the Spanish Super Cup to Real Madrid in August. They have a seven-point lead at the top of La Liga and have reached the final of the Copa del Rey.

Messi is having another stellar campaign, scoring 27 times in all competitions, and he helped set up two goals in Saturday's 2-0 win at Eibar.

Philippe Coutinho is ineligible for Barca following his move from Liverpool.

Here's a closer look at the week's other games:



Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes must decide which of his in-form attacking midfielders should play.

Arjen Robben shone for the runaway Bundesliga leaders in Saturday's 2-1 win at Wolfsburg but Thomas Mueller could take his place on the right, with James Rodriguez coming in to partner Arturo Vidal, having been rested at the weekend.

The victory means Heynckes has won 21 out of 22 games since returning as coach.

Besiktas surprised many by advancing from a group featuring Porto, Monaco and Leipzig.



France midfielder Paul Pogba missed Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round win over Huddersfield through illness and United manager Jose Mourinho is unsure whether he will feature against Sevilla.

Asked whether Pogba had a serious problem, Mourinho replied: "I don't know and, honestly, I don't care."

United are a distant second in the Premier League, 16 points behind Manchester City. Mourinho's team has been inconsistent in recent weeks, winning two and losing two of their last four games in all competitions.

Sevilla, fifth in their domestic league, have won three matches in a row and are hoping to have Ever Banega and Luis Muriel back after injury.



After a difficult run domestically, Roma have turned things around with three straight wins.

Turkish winger Cengiz Under scored his fourth goal in three matches to help the team to a 2-0 victory at Udinese on Saturday that left Roma in third place, two points ahead of Inter Milan.

"We've got to make the most of the fact they've had a winter break and might not be match fit," Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said of Ukraine's Shakhtar.



The first-leg matches played last week saw defending champions Real Madrid beat Paris Saint Germain 3-1 and Liverpool crush Porto 5-0.

Manchester City cruised to a 4-0 win at Basel while Tottenham retrieved an early two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 at Juventus.

As athletes struggle, Kim Jong Un dreams of Olympic glory

Kim Ryon-Hyang, of North Korea, skis during the first run of the women's slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 16. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Eric Talmadge

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) — Kim Jong Un wants to turn his country into an international sports power — think East Germany in the 1970s and 80s. The North Korean leader is pouring resources into training and infrastructure, athletes are getting more recognition than ever and the country now even has an all-sports television channel, though it's not clear how many citizens are able to actually watch it.

But while Kim's decision to send a team to Pyeongchang made a political splash, North Korea's athletes have battled for dead last in most of their competitions. It appears Kim's country has a lot of work to do.

Though Kim hasn't gone out and cited it by name, the East German example is an enticing precedent for a status-hungry country like North Korea.

While smaller in population — 16 million in 1990 for East Germany, 25 million for today's North Korea — East Germany was second only to the Soviet Union in the medal count at three summer games. It was the top medal winner at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games and runner-up in four others.

North Korea, meanwhile, has participated in nine Winter Olympics, starting at Innsbruck in 1964. It has won only two medals: a silver and a bronze, in speedskating and short-track speedskating.

But in a major policy statement in 2015, Kim vowed to improve that record.

Published with the typically unwieldy title of "Let Us Usher in a New Golden Age of Building a Sports Power in the Revolutionary Spirit of Paektu," the statement called on the ruling party to help athletes win at the Olympics, world championships and other international contests.

"Only sportspeople can cause the flag of our republic to be hoisted in the sky of other countries in peace time," it said.

North Korea didn't even have a roster for Pyeongchang until last month. Only two of the 22 athletes that ended up coming to the Olympics had qualified in pre-Games' competitions. It entered seven men and 15 women, all but three of the women were in ice hockey on a combined North-South team, which gave up 22 goals and scored just once in its first four games.

The rest of the athletes were in alpine and cross country skiing, short-track speedskating and figure skating.

They still might have a chance to medal. Short track speed skating has another race to go on Tuesday, the men's 500-meters, and 16-year-old Jong Kwang Bom is entered to compete.

With few athletes prepared and ready when Kim Jong Un announced on New Year's Day that he wanted to send a delegation, the North instead dispatched more than 140 musicians, a demonstration taekwondo team, a 229-woman strong cheering squad and 21 journalists, though the Olympics have gotten virtually no coverage back home in the North.

As expected, the cheering squad turned out to be major clickbait. Kim also grabbed front-page headlines by sending his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, on an unprecedented trip across the Demilitarized Zone for a member of the Kim family. She attended the opening ceremony and presented South Korean President Moon Jae-in with an invitation to visit Pyongyang.

In actual competition, the North's best performance has come from figure skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Kik, who finished 13th with their best pair skate ever. They were the only North Koreans to have actually qualified for the Olympics, though the North missed a registration deadline and the two had been replaced until politics intervened on their behalf.

Ryom and Kim were never a medal threat and outperformed only three other pairs. But they were absolutely stellar compared to the rest of the North's athletes:

— Speedskater Choe Un Song took a hard fall in practice and finished last in his 1,500-meter short track heat.

— Alpine skier Kim Ryon Hyang was 54th out of 54 finishers in the women's slalom and 67th out of 67 finishers in the giant slalom.

— Ri Yong Gum finished 89th out of 90 in women's 10-kilometer free cross-country race.

— In men's cross country, Han Chun Gyong was 101st and teammate Pak Il Chol 107th in the 15 kilometer free. There were 116 men in that race.

— Choe Myong Gwang and Kang Song Il were the final North Korean skiers to compete. They raced in Sunday's giant slalom and came in 74th and 75th out of 75 finishers.

Even so, the North has made noteworthy strides in sports since Kim Jong Un assumed power in late 2011. It holds three weightlifting world records and has a top-notch judo team, and its women are a world-class football power.

One of Kim's first big projects was the construction of Masik Pass, the country's first luxury ski resort, where its elite skiers now train. The North has renovated its stadiums, built or improved skating parks around the country and Pyongyang now has its first international football school to train young players. The most talented have the opportunity to travel abroad to further hone their skills.

Daniel Pinkston, a North Korea expert and lecturer at Troy University in Seoul, says Kim Jong Un sees sports as a means of bolstering the North's international status and providing the public with something to feel proud of.

But he notes that achieving the phenomenal success of an East Germany is probably beyond North Korea's capabilities.

"It's one piece of many in the effort to modernize North Korea and promote 'national glory' domestically and internationally. The DDR is the gold standard, but that was a different era, and everything can't be replicated," he says, using the abbreviation for East Germany's formal name.

One thing the North almost certainly won't be able to replicate is East Germany's use of doping, though there are indications it might be flirting with the idea.

In some of its most prominent cases, London gold medalist and world record-holding weightlifter Kim Un Guk tested positive after the World Championships in 2015; double medal winning shooter Kim Jong Su was expelled from the Beijing Olympics in 2008 for taking a banned beta-blocker; and North Korea was banned from competing entirely in the 2015 women's World Cup after five members of its team at the 2011 World Cup tested positive for steroids.

Update February 19, 2018

Hirscher gets gold again, Braaten wins slopestyle

Austria's Marcel Hirscher who took the gold celebrates during the flower ceremony for the men's giant slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 18. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Dennis Waszak Jr.

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) — Two events, two gold medals for Marcel Hirscher.

The 28-year-old Austrian has a good chance to leave the Pyeongchang Olympics with one more.

Hirscher won the men's giant slalom Sunday , finishing in 2 minutes, 18.04 seconds, and beating Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen by 1.27 seconds — the largest victory in the event at an Olympics in 50 years . He also won the alpine combined last Tuesday, and still has the slalom — his best event — to come.

"At the moment, I'm pumped!" Hirscher said.

Norway's Oystein Braaten was also excited after winning the men's ski slopestyle, edging American Nick Goepper for the gold.

"First run, I did what I planned to do, what I wanted to do as well as I could, and it held up against all the great runs today," Braaten said. "Just being a part of a final like this was amazing."

Norway won its fifth cross-country skiing gold of these games, taking the men's 4x10-kilometer relay. Oleksandr Abramenko was the winner of the men's aerials, giving Ukraine its first medal of these games and just its third gold ever at the Winter Games.

In a dramatic photo finish in the biathlon 15-kilometer mass start, Martin Fourcade edged Simon Schempp to win his second gold medal of the games. And, in the last medal event of the night, Nao Kodaira won the women's 500-meter speedskating title in an Olympic record.

At Yongpyong Alpine Center, Hirscher led after the first run, but saw Kristoffersen rise from 10th-fastest in the morning to having the quickest time in the second run.

"Wow, it was not so easy to be the absolute favorite in this discipline, then sitting up there as the leader from the first run knowing that Henrik ripped it," Hirscher said. "I had no choice. I knew I have to give 100 percent and I had to go into this battle."

France's Alexis Pinturault took the bronze, finishing 1.31 seconds behind Hirscher.

Ted Ligety, the 2014 Olympic champion, was 15th with a time of 2:21.25.

At Phoenix Snow Park, Braaten was the big star on the slopes despite most eyes being set on American Gus Kenworthy, who came out as gay about two years after capturing the silver medal in Russia. Kenworthy failed to land any of his three runs and finished last.

"It didn't work out for me, which is a bummer," said Kenworthy, who had become a strong, steady voice in the LGBT community. "I would've loved to have landed a run for sure. Definitely disappointing."

Before the start of the contest, a screen grab of NBC showing Kenworthy sharing a tender moment with his boyfriend, Matt Wilkas , at the bottom of the hill went viral.

"To be able to do that, to give him a kiss, to have that affection broadcast to the world, is incredible," Kenworthy said. "The only way to really change perceptions, to break down barriers, break down homophobia, is through representation. That's definitely not something I had as a kid. I never saw a gay athlete kissing their boyfriend at the Olympics. I think if I had, it would've made it easier for me."

Canada's Alex Beaulieu-Marchand won the bronze.


The Norwegian team of Didrik Toenseth, Martin Johnsrud Sundby, Simen Hegstad Krueger and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo won the cross-country relay in 1 hour, 33 minutes and 4.9 seconds.

That was good enough to beat the second-place Russian athletes by 9.4 seconds. France took the bronze.

Of the eight golds awarded in cross-country events in Pyeongchang, Norway has all but three. The Norwegians have won 11 overall medals in cross-country — two off the record set by the Soviet Union in Calgary in 1988.


Abramenko scored a 128.51 on his third and final jump, edging out China's Zongyang Jia by just 0.46 points. Ilia Burov, an Olympic athlete from Russia, got bronze.


Kodaira's 36.94 seconds made her the first woman to race under 37 seconds at sea level, bettering her old mark of 37.07 set in November in Norway.

Two-time defending champion Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea took silver in 37.33 and Karolina Ervanova of the Czech Republic earned bronze. Brittany Bowe was the highest U.S. finisher in fifth place.


Fourcade was caught by Schempp over the frantic final 100 meters and the two skiers came to the line neck-and-neck.

Fourcade, the world's No. 1 biathlete, reached out his left foot ahead of Schempp as both skiers slid through the finish. The Frenchman quickly slammed his ski pole to the ground thinking he'd lost the race, but replays showed he won by the narrowest of margins.

It was a reversal for Fourcade, who had taken silver in a dramatic finish to the same event in Sochi four years ago.

Russian athlete suspected of doping at Olympics

A Russian supporter waves a flag before a men's hockey game between the team from Russia and the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

James Ellingworth

Gangneung, South Korea (AP) — The Russian delegation at the Pyeongchang Olympics has announced that one of its athletes has failed a drug test.

Two Russian state news agencies cited Konstantin Vybornov, spokesman for the "Olympic Athletes from Russia" team, as saying the delegation received an official notification from the International Olympic Committee of the positive test.

The IOC later Sunday said it had taken note of Vybronov's statement.

Vybornov said a "B'' sample taken from the athlete will be analyzed within 24 hours, but did not name the athlete or the sport involved.

A confirmed doping case could be an obstacle to Russia's efforts to have the Russian team formally reinstated in time for the closing ceremony.

"Doping testing and sanctioning at the Pyeongchang 2018 is independent from the IOC. Therefore, the IOC cannot communicate on individual cases while the procedure is still ongoing," the IOC said in a statement. "However, we take note of the statement by a spokesperson of the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) delegation."

The IOC added that "if the case is confirmed, it will be considered" by the IOC body which would be considering whether to reinstate Russia.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport, which rules on Olympic doping cases, said it had not received any notification.

"No new case received and no rumors of it so far," Matthieu Reeb, the court's secretary general, said in an e-mail.

As part of IOC sanctions for Russian doping at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, athletes from the country had to undergo IOC vetting including an examination of their drug-testing history before being invited to the Olympics. Dozens were rejected.

The IOC suspended the national Olympic committee, meaning that Russian athletes are competing in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag in Pyeongchang. The IOC has said Russia could be reinstated for the closing ceremony if it follows IOC rules, including anti-doping regulations.

The only other doping case so far at the Pyeongchang Olympics came when Japanese short-track speedskater Kai Saito tested positive for a banned diuretic and was removed from competition. His case is ongoing.

Bubba Watson wins at Riviera for the 3rd time

Bubba Watson poses with his trophy on the 18th green after winning the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club on Sunday, Feb. 18, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

Doug Ferguson

Los Angeles (AP) — Bubba Watson was feeling low about his health and even worse about his golf. It reached a point that he wondered if he would ever win again, and he says he talked with his wife on a dozen occasions about retiring.

Being back at Riviera changed his outlook and made him a winner again.

Watson stayed in the game with three key putts early on the back nine, then fulfilled a playful pledge he forgot he even made on the par-3 14th by holing a bunker shot for birdie that allowed him to seize control Sunday in the Genesis Open. He never gave anyone a chance the rest of the way, closing with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory over Tony Finau and Kevin Na.

Watson won for the first time in two years, his longest drought of the decade. He joined Lloyd Mangrum and Ben Hogan as three-time winners at Riviera. And he won for the 10th time in his PGA Tour career, an important milestone to him.

"Nobody thought that Bubba Watson from Bagdad, Florida, would ever get to 10 wins. Let's be honest," Watson said. "Without lessons, head case, hooking the ball, slicing the ball, can't putt, you know?"

He put on a clinic at Riviera, somehow managed to keep his focus, carved shots around, over and through the trees, and he made all the right putts.

Watson talks the way he hits the ball — all over the map — and he was particularly elusive about what caused him to lose so much weight last year. He says he reached close to 160 pounds, which he says affected his game and ultimately his confidence.

"I'm here. I'm healthy," he said. "There are people that are a lot sicker than me in this world, so the illness is nothing."

Watson, who finished at 12-under 272, moved from No. 117 to No. 41 in the world, making him eligible for the World Golf Championship in Mexico in two weeks.

Na hit a wedge close to perfection from the worst angle on the reachable par-4 10th hole for a birdie and two-putted for birdie on the 11th to briefly take the lead. He fell back with consecutive bogeys from the trees and shot 69. Finau lurked all day. His last chance was an eagle putt on the 17th that stopped inches short of the hole.

Patrick Cantlay had a one-shot lead going to the back nine until he ran into tree trouble on the 12th and 13th holes. The UCLA alum could do no better than pars the rest of the way for a 71 to tie for fourth with Scott Stallings (68).

Phil Mickelson also was in the hunt. He was within one shot of the lead when he hit a 4-iron from a deep bunker on the 15th hole to just right of the green. But he went after birdie and watched the ball roll 20 feet down the hill, leading to bogey. Mickelson shot 68 and tied for sixth.

Coming off good weeks at Phoenix and Pebble Beach, Mickelson has three straight top 10s for the first time since 2009.

The biggest moment for Watson involved his desperation to find a bathroom after they teed off on the 14th. Cameron Smith, who shot 71 and tied for sixth, told him there was one off the 15th tee and he was only a couple of shots away.

"I said, 'Nah, I'm just going to hole it and go to the bathroom.' And then I holed it," he said.

His caddie, Ted Scott, mentioned before Watson stepped into the bunker that he hadn't holed out in some time, so after the ball splashed out of the sand and rolled against the pin before dropping, he turned to Scott and said, "You called it."

Smith came over and told Watson, "You called it." By then, Watson had forgotten their conversation.

No matter. He never came close to bogey until it didn't matter, and he holed an 8-foot par putt on the 18th. The tears began flowing moments later.

"You never know if you're going to play good again," Watson said as his voice choked. "You never know if you're going to lift the trophy."

It was that four-hole stretch that carried him — a 10-foot birdie putt after hitting his approach into the bunker on the par-5 11th; the 8-foot par save after coming up short on No. 12; another 8-foot save on No. 13 when another shot came up short; and the bunker shot on the 14th.

"It went real fast where I went from losing to winning," he said.

With that, he wrapped up another fun-filled week in L.A. He won Riviera with a 64-64 weekend in 2014. He won Riviera in 2016 while filming a cameo in "Girl Meets World." This time he made a cameo in the NBA All-Star celebrity game, which included an infamous highlight of Tracy McGrady rejecting his shot .

The distractions helped. The health helped even more.

As for that retirement talk?

"I was close," he said. "My wife was not close. My wife basically told me to quit whining and play golf. I would rather be healthy than play golf, so that's what I was focusing on. I was focusing on the wrong things. Pitiful me, not how beautiful my life was."

Federer overpowers Dimitrov to win 97th career title

Roger Federer of Switzerland holds up the trophy as he celebrates winning his match against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in the men's singles final of the ABN AMRO world tennis tournament at the Ahoy stadium in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Sunday, Feb. 18. (AP Photo/Patrick Post)

Mike Corder

Rotterdam, Netherlands (AP) — Roger Federer came to the ABN AMRO World Tournament aiming to secure a return to the top of the world rankings. He achieved that goal Friday. On Sunday, he put an exclamation point on a remarkable week by winning the tournament for good measure.

Federer overpowered an ailing Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in less than an hour to win his 97th career title.

"What a week it's been. Absolutely amazing," Federer said. "The goal was to make the semis and I won the tournament so of course I'm incredibly excited and so, so happy."

The 36-year-old Swiss extended his domination over the player once dubbed "Baby Fed" for the similarities in their playing style, registering his seventh victory in as many meetings.

Federer's third title at the Rotterdam tournament comes a day before he officially returns to the top of the rankings, more than five years after he was last world No. 1.

He will become the oldest person to hold the No. 1 position when the rankings are updated on Monday. It's been more than five years since Federer was last No. 1, and 14 years since he first reached the top spot.

Federer, who has 20 Grand Slams to his name, said his next target is 100 career titles. He moved a step closer Sunday.

Federer said ahead of the final that the more aggressive player would win and Dimitrov started the strongest, winning his first game to love as he slammed powerful forehands and backhands past Federer.

But the Swiss great quickly started matching Dimitrov's groundstrokes and converted his first break point in the fifth game. Federer broke Dimitrov again to go up 5-2 and then served out the set.

Federer kept the pressure on Dimitrov in the second set, breaking the Bulgarian in the first game and continuing to dominate on his way to victory in just 55 minutes.

Federer won a massive 82 percent of points on his service compared to 55 percent for Dimitrov.

After his strong start, the Bulgarian appeared to be struggling physically, but said afterward that he simply wasn't good enough.

Tournament director Richard Krajicek said Dimitrov was ill Saturday night and was short on energy on court.

"Against Roger in the current situation he is in you can't play any less than 100 percent," Dimitrov said.

Rochdale score late vs Spurs to set up Wembley replay

Rochdale and Tottenham players compete for the ball during their English FA Cup fifth round match at the Crown Oil Arena in Rochdale, Sunday, Feb. 18. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Rochdale, England (AP) — What a difference a few days can make.

After coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Juventus in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, Tottenham made 11 changes to their team on Sunday and were held 2-2 by English third-tier team Rochdale in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

"It was an amazing game and an amazing event for us," Rochdale manager Keith Hill said of his bottom-of-the-table team. "We took the opposition on and we know how good they are.

"I can't describe my emotions. It was special. I've never had a moment like that."

Rochdale had decided to dig up and re-lay the bumpy, almost grassless pitch that was used in the previous round against Millwall — and the reason became clear early on against Tottenham.

Not for this team the typical third-tier fare of long-ball football. Hill's Rochdale stroked the ball around to excellent effect to nullify the gulf in class between the sides and secure a lucrative replay later this month at Spurs' temporary Wembley home.

It was no more than Rochdale deserved when Ian Henderson capped a sweeping move on the stroke of halftime with a low shot from 12 yards to score his sixth goal in as many FA Cup matches this season.

Eight-time FA Cup winners Tottenham, who left the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen out of their starting lineup, stepped up a gear in the second half and Lucas Moura, signed from Paris Saint Germain in the midwinter transfer window, equalized in the 59th minute.

Moura, making his first start for Tottenham, lifted the ball over goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a clever series of passes from the visiting team.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino then sent on Kane and Alli for the closing stages and the England pair combined to put their team in front with three minutes to go.

Alli was sent flying by a challenge from Harrison McGahey and Kane stepped up to rifle Tottenham in front from the penalty spot with the 34th goal he has scored for his club this season.

Then, just as Rochdale's dreams of a trip to Wembley seemed to have died, substitute Steve Davies pounced on a left-wing cross and drove in a stoppage-time shot to the delight of the Spotland crowd.

"When they bring on the big guns and Harry Kane scores, I've got to follow suit haven't I?" Davies joked.

Hill believed his Rochdale side deserved another crack at Tottenham on Feb. 28.

"It was sacrificial behavior at times and going 1-0 up we almost lit the bomb and knew what would come," he said. "The heads could have gone down at 2-1 but they didn't.

"We got what we felt was a deserved equalizer. We'll see the replay as an opportunity. We'll go to Wembley and have a go."

The winner of the Tottenham-Rochdale replay meets Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea in the quarterfinals.

Pochettino said Rochdale's performance came as no shock.

"I was not surprised," he said. "The FA Cup is magic. The motivation is always massive."

On Saturday, Manchester United beat Huddersfield 2-0 and Brighton knocked out Coventry 3-1. Southampton defeated West Bromwich Albion 2-1 while second-tier Sheffield Wednesday drew 0-0 with Swansea.

On Friday, Chelsea crushed Hull 4-0 and Leicester beat Sheffield United 1-0.

The last match of the fifth round takes place on Monday when Premier League leaders Manchester City take on third-tier Wigan in a repeat of the 2013 final.

Man United, who have won the FA Cup 12 times, will host Brighton in the quarterfinals while last year's runners-up Chelsea face a tricky trip to Leicester.

Man City or Wigan will host Southampton.

Update February 17-18, 2018

Frida Hansdotter dethrones Shiffrin in Olympic slalom

Frida Hansdotter, of Sweden, skis during the first run of the women's slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 16. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Pat Graham

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) — Frida Hansdotter looked at her time on the video board — hardly believing it was true — and let out a yell.

This was way too good to hold in.

A few anxious moments later, it became official: Hansdotter — Olympic slalom champion.

The Swedish skier dethroned reigning champion Mikaela Shiffrin and held off everyone else Friday at the Pyeongchang Games.

"I was just screaming, 'Yes!' Or something like this," Hansdotter said, smiling.

In second position after the opening run, Hansdotter seamlessly weaved her way through the technical course on the final run to finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 38.63 seconds. She realized it was a good performance (hence the scream). Still, she restlessly watched as first-run leader Wendy Holdener of Switzerland glided down the hill.

Hansdotter won by a scant 0.05 seconds.

"I can barely believe it," said Hansdotter, who trailed Holdener by 0.20 seconds after the morning run. "I had a good day today."

Before the day began, the 32-year-old Hansdotter could very well picture a podium that included her. But one that didn't include Shiffrin? Now that was hard to fathom since the American has been so consistently good in the discipline all season. A conservatively skiing Shiffrin wound up fourth, with 20-year-old Austrian skier Katharina Gallhuber grabbing the bronze.

"It's racing. It's slalom. Everything can happen," Hansdotter said. "If you're not skiing your best and fast, then you're not on the podium."

Hansdotter became the second Swedish woman to capture an Olympic slalom gold, joining Anja Paerson, who won the event at the 2006 Turin Games. She had a chance to speak with Paerson, who offered some simple advice: Have fun and ski fast.

She did just that through the sun-splashed course at Yongpyong Alpine Center.

"It's so nice the last few years that she has succeeded," Paerson said. "But she has always been behind Mikaela Shiffrin and today she can show that she has capacity. ... It's so huge. She's so worth it."

Hansdotter finished fifth in Sochi four years ago in the slalom, and 15th in the event at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Her World Cup resume includes a number of close calls (18 runner-up finishes) to go with four wins since her debut on the circuit on Oct. 23, 2004. She also has three world championship podium finishes in the slalom — all behind winner Shiffrin.

Not this time, though. The moment belonged to Hansdotter.

"I'm surprised today. I wasn't so nervous," Hansdotter said. "I wanted to take this day and enjoy. I had a smile on my face at the start. I really take the chance. So I think that was my thing today.

"To be able to ski at this level is so much fun and now I bring home a gold medal. It is a lot of hard work and a lot of years, but it is worth every minute when I am standing here."

Worth the wait: Federer will be world No. 1 at 36

Roger Federer faces the media Friday Feb. 16, in Rotterdam, Netherlands, after becoming ranked as the world number one player. (AP Photo/Michael C. Corder)

Mike Corder

Rotterdam, Netherlands (AP) — Roger Federer added another highlight to his age-defying career resurgence by returning to the top of the world rankings on Friday after more than five years and becoming the oldest No. 1 at 36.

"What an amazing run it's been and a journey it's been for me ... to clinch world No. 1," said Federer, who won three of the last five Grand Slams to put him on track to the top.

Beating leading Dutch player Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals at the ABN AMRO World Tournament means Federer becomes the oldest player - male or female - to top the tennis rankings. He surpasses Andre Agassi, who held the men's record at age 33.

"Getting to No. 1 and enjoying it right here at 36, almost 37 years old is an absolute dream come true," Federer said. "I can't believe it."

Federer will leapfrog 31-year-old Rafael Nadal to No. 1 when the rankings are updated on Monday.

Also a record will be the five-years-plus which have elapsed since Federer was last No. 1, and the 14 years since he first reached the top spot.

"This one, because I'm a little bit older, is a little bit more special maybe, because there's just so much that has to go into it, so much has to be right for it to work out, and it did so. It's a very deep satisfaction," Federer said.

On Monday, he will extend his record of 302 weeks at No. 1 since the rankings began in 1973. Pete Sampras is a distant second with 286 weeks at the top. Novak Djokovic is the closest active player, with 223 weeks at No. 1.

"Reaching No. 1 is one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport," Federer said.

"Sometimes at the beginning you get there just because you play so well. Later, you sometimes try to fight it back and you wrest it back from somebody else who deserved to be there, and when you're older you feel like you have to put maybe double the work in. So this one maybe means the most to me throughout my career."

Federer, the 2005 and 2012 ABN AMRO champion, plays lucky loser Andreas Seppi of Italy in the semifinals on Saturday. Seppi beat qualifier Daniil Medvedev of Russia 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3.

Federer won the Australian Open in January for his 20th Grand Slam title and edged closer to the top of the rankings. He had not originally planned to play in Rotterdam but accepted a wild card when it became clear he might be able to take back the top spot. Nadal hasn't played since retiring hurt in the Australian Open quarterfinals.

Haase made clear he was going to make Federer fight, and broke him in the ninth game and fired an ace to take the set 6-4.

But Federer stepped up a gear and blew Haase away in the second set, reeling off 11 straight points to race to 3-0 in taking the set 6-1.

Federer then broke Haase twice early in the third for 3-0, and swept to the victory.

Earlier, Grigor Dimitrov beat Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semifinals, where he will meet 2017 finalist David Goffin, who progressed when his quarterfinal opponent Tomas Berdych pulled out sick.

Federer's success so far in Rotterdam has come despite spending four hours a day watching highlights from the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

"I'm like the No. 1 cheerleader of the Swiss squad," he said.

Reintegrated Mahrez helps Leicester into FA Cup quarters

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, left, celebrates scoring his side's winning goal during the English FA Cup fifth round match against Sheffield United at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, Friday, Feb. 16. (Martin Rickett/PA via AP)

Steve Douglas

London (AP) - Back in favor at Leicester, Riyad Mahrez helped the team reach the FA Cup quarterfinals by resuming his lethal partnership with Jamie Vardy on Friday.

Vardy earned Leicester a 1-0 win over second-tier Sheffield United in the fifth round by heading in a cross from Mahrez, who was starting for the first time since the collapse of his move to Manchester City at the end of the January transfer window.

Mahrez spent more than a week in self-imposed exile after being denied a transfer to the English Premier League leaders, missing two games and a string of training sessions.

He began his reintegration by going on as a substitute last weekend — coincidentally in a league match against Man City — and was given a standing ovation by Leicester fans when substituted in injury time on Friday. He applauded them back.

"The most important thing in the game was the fans supported Riyad," Leicester manager Claude Puel said, "and when I replaced him, it was a good feeling with the fans. It's important to stay united about this."

Chelsea also advanced against opposition from the League Championship, beating Hull 4-0 with Willian scoring twice and Olivier Giroud netting his first goal since joining from Arsenal.



Vardy and Mahrez linked up to devastating effect when Leicester stunned the soccer world by winning the Premier League in 2016.

During that memorable season, Vardy set a record by scoring in 11 straight league games and the England striker is on another run, having scored in five straight games in all competitions.

His latest goal was a far-post header that looped over the goalkeeper in the 66th minute, following a cross from the right by Mahrez.

"To see Riyad and Jamie play together again on the pitch was a good feeling," Puel said.

The goal would have given Vardy extra satisfaction, considering he is a boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan.



With Eden Hazard rested, this was a chance for other members of Chelsea's attack to stake a claim for a starting place in next week's Champions League match against Barcelona.

They didn't disappoint.

Giroud, Willian and Pedro Rodriguez, the three-pronged forward line, all scored in the first half against Hull as Chelsea roared into a 4-0 lead by the 42nd minute.

Both of Willian's strikes were from outside the area and came off passes by Giroud, who scored the fourth with a neat near-post finish from a cross by debutant Emerson Palmieri. Cesc Fabregas set up Pedro's goal with a superb pass over the defence.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte now has plenty of options up front for the last-16 first leg against Barcelona, with Giroud vying with fit-again Alvaro Morata for the striker spot while Pedro and Willian are competing for a place alongside Hazard.

"For sure when I go home, I have many good doubts," Conte said.

Chelsea reached the quarterfinals for the 12th time in 17 seasons.



The rest of the fifth round takes place from Saturday to Monday, with the two Manchester clubs and Tottenham still involved.

City finish off the round by visiting third-tier Wigan in a repeat of the 2013 final won surprisingly by Wigan.

United visit Huddersfield on Saturday, when it's also: Sheffield Wednesday vs. Swansea, West Bromwich Albion vs. Southampton; and Brighton vs. Coventry. Tottenham is away to fourth-tier Rochdale on Sunday.

'Burned rock' foul causes rare stir at Olympic curling

Canada's skip Rachel Homan ‘throws’ a stone during a women's curling match against Sweden at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Kristen Gelineau

Gangneung, South Korea (AP) — A rare moment of controversy in the typically ultra-polite sport of curling erupted Friday over a foul known as a "burned rock" in the Canada vs. Denmark women's match.

The drama unfolded in the fifth end, or period, of the already tense game, when a Danish player touched a stone that was in motion. That is a foul called a "burned rock."

When burned rocks occur, the opposing team has three choices: They can ignore the foul, rearrange the stones to whatever position they think they would have ended up if the stone hadn't been touched, or remove the stone from play.

Canada's captain, or "skip," Rachel Homan chose to remove the stone. While such a move was within her rights, it is considered the most aggressive option. Canada, which was behind before the foul, then went on to score four points, taking the lead at 6-4.

In most sports, this wouldn't even be considered a controversy. But curling has a deeply ingrained ethos of good sportsmanship, and players are usually exceedingly polite to their rivals. Tweets from curling fans immediately began to flow, with some criticizing the move as unsportsmanlike.

Denmark tied the score in the final end, forcing the game into overtime. Homan then flubbed her final shot of the match, giving Denmark a steal of one point and a 9-8 victory over the Canadians.

Afterward, Danish skip Madeleine Dupont said she disagreed with Canada's decision to remove the rock.

"I wouldn't have done it, but we're different that way," she said. "I'm not going to be mad about it. She can choose to do whatever she wants."

Asked if it felt even better to win the game after the controversy, Dupont replied: "It does."

"I felt like we had a good game," she said. "I think we were just happy to be there and they were just afraid to lose."

Homan said she was simply following the rules.

"There are options, and we've burned rocks in the past and they've come off," she said. "Burning a rock is not something that you can do. So obviously, we've done it in the past and they just happened to do that then. So it's just the rules, I guess."

Update February 16, 2018

Svindal wins Olympic downhill to become oldest Alpine champ

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal reacts in the finish area of the men's downhill at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Jeongseon, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Graham Dunbar

Jeongseon, South Korea (AP) — As he approached his 35th birthday, Aksel Lund Svindal didn't always feel like he would make Olympic history as the oldest Alpine gold medalist.

His body felt the strain of too many high-speed crashes and season-ending surgeries, and it wouldn't let him train at the high intensity he likes.

Fast forward two months from December, and no one was quicker on the downhill course at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

"I am old," said the tough Norwegian, confirming this would be his last Olympics. "So I guess this is the beginning of the end somehow."

He certainly made his last chance count on Thursday, finally getting the only downhill honor missing from an impressive career.

Svindal finished 0.12 seconds faster than teammate and close friend Kjetil Jansrud, making up lost time on a masterful ski on the bottom half of the 1 4/5-mile (2.9-kilometer) course.

Beat Feuz of Switzerland took bronze. The world champion — and the standout racer of the classic World Cup downhills in January — was 0.18 behind Svindal's winning time of 1 minute, 40.25 seconds.

The new year brought new hope for Svindal that his body would hold up for the Olympics.

"I was struggling in the beginning of the season," he said, acknowledging the impact of landing four jumps Thursday that made him creak a little. "Definitely the jumps were longer today, I felt that, but it's working better than I feared in December."

Even getting to South Korea was a little voyage into the unknown for Svindal, who ended his past two seasons in January for surgery on his knees. Both were a direct result of a fearsome crash in Kitzbuehel, Austria, in January 2016.

"This is basically the first year I've skied in February for four years or something like that," Svindal said. "I've been in the hospital every other year."

The 2016 crash ensured he missed the Olympic test event in South Korea two years ago, which Jansrud won.

The postponement of Sunday's scheduled downhill due to fierce winds bought valuable time and an extra look at the course in the opening part of the combined event on Tuesday. In that race, Svindal was faster than Jansrud in the downhill for the first time.

At race-time Thursday, there was near-perfect calm and cold conditions. It was 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) under sunshine and blue skies with only a few wispy clouds.

Svindal had uneasy moments, as if tricked by snow made harder and faster by days of buffeting from the wind.

He went wide at one turn and fought through the air off one jump while posting the eventual eighth-fastest time at the mid-point. Fighting for his title, Svindal clawed it all back and punched the air with his left fist after seeing he had beaten then-leader Feuz.

"I think I pushed just to the right amount and felt fast," said the new Olympic champion, who never led at a time split until the finish.

At 35, Svindal is three months older than Mario Matt was in 2014 when the Austrian won the Olympic slalom.

The oldest Olympic medalist in Alpine racing is still Bode Miller, who was 36 when he took bronze in super-G at the 2014 Sochi Games. The American also won bronze in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic downhill, while Svindal got silver.

Svindal now has four Olympic medals, taking home one of each color from the Vancouver Games. He also won world championship gold medals in downhill in 2007 and 2013, and two season-long World Cup downhill titles.

Svindal and Jansrud will return to action on Friday in the super-G, which they have won, respectively, at the past two Winter Games.

A fifth straight Norwegian win in men's Olympic super-G looks probable. A podium sweep would not be a surprise, either, with 25-year-old Aleksander Aamodt Kilde also among the contenders.

"What I've learned the most? Probably never give up," Kilde, who placed 15th Thursday, said of Svindal. "He's been through a lot of tough injuries and always just kept working. When he's back, it's there. He's on top."

American Shiffrin rallies on final run to win giant slalom


Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, celebrates her gold medal in the Women's Giant Slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

David Brandt

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) — Finally, it was an ideal day for skiing.

American Mikaela Shiffrin celebrated by using a hard-charging final run to win the women's giant slalom Thursday. It's the first of several Olympic titles she hopes to earn at the Pyeongchang Games.

The 22-year-old trailed by 0.20 seconds following her first run, but she powered through a bumpy course on her second run to win by 0.39 seconds. Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel won silver at Yongpyong Alpine Center while Federica Brignone of Italy got bronze.

"I don't know when it was, at some point today after the first run I thought, like, 'I can really win this,'" Shiffrin said. "I just tried to hang on to that feeling and then focus on my skiing a bit.

"It's crazy. There's so much emotion."

The weather was nearly perfect for racing, with temperatures around 21 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-6 Celsius) and a light wind. It was a welcome break after the past few days, when three of the four opening Alpine races were postponed because of bad weather.

Shiffrin was initially expected to chase as many as five medals in Pyeongchang, though her mother said Thursday she wouldn't compete in the super-G. The only thing that might slow her down is exhaustion, due to a compact schedule thanks to all the delays.


Canada clinched the top spot in pool play by beating the United States 2-1 in what could be a preview of the gold-medal game.

Meghan Agosta and Sara Nurse scored for Canada and Genevieve Lacasse made 44 saves, including stopping Hilary Knight at the post with less than 90 seconds remaining.

Kendall Coyne scored for the Americans. Brianne Decker hit the post two times, including once in the final seconds of the game before the rivals ended up in a scrum. Officials reviewed the play and ruled no goal.

Canada and the United States are the only two countries to ever win Olympic gold. Canada has won the past four Olympics; the United States won in 1998.


Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot jumped from fourth place to Olympic gold in pairs figure skating after a record-setting free skate.

Savchenko and Massot scored 159.31 points in their program, which gave them 235.90 points overall. It is Germany's first pairs gold since 1952.

China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong were the leaders coming into the day but slipped to silver after a slow start in their free skate.

Canada's Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford earned bronze.


— Pierre Vaultier of France defended his title in men's snowboardcross. Vaultier barely qualified for the final after crashing during the semifinals but recovered to win his second Olympic gold medal. Australia's Jarryd Hughes won silver and Spain's Regino Hernandez got bronze. Americans Nick Baumgartner and Mick Dierdorff made the final but finished well back of the leaders.

— Norway's Ragnhild Haga won her first gold medal in the women's 10-kilometer freestyle, topping the field by more than 20 seconds. Sweden's Charlotte Kalla won silver for her second medal of the Pyeongchang Games. Norway's Marit Bjoergen and Finland's Krista Parmakoski finished tied for bronze with identical times of 25 minutes, 32.4 seconds.

Sam Saunders opens strong again at Riviera; Woods has 72

Tiger Woods, with the gallery looking on, twists as he watches his approach shot from the rough on the 12th hole during the first round of the Genesis Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club Thursday, Feb. 15, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

Doug Ferguson

Los Angeles (AP) — Tiger Woods lost a ball in a tree early in his round, played from the wrong hole late and ended his return to Riviera with a reasonable start in the Genesis Open.

It was more of the same for Sam Saunders, and hope that it will get better as the week goes on.

Saunders played bogey-free over his final 16 holes on a firm, difficult course at Riviera for a 4-under 67 to share the lead with Tom Hoge and Dominic Bozzelli among the early starters Thursday.

A year ago, Saunders opened with a 64 to lead after the opening round, only to follow with a 77 that took him out of the mix for the rest of the week.

"Last year was kind of a hot day. I just kind of had everything going for me," Saunders said. "Today, I just played good golf. I actually left a lot of shots out there. I'm very pleased with my round, but I missed a lot of very makeable birdie putts, and it could have been a lot better round today. But it was fun because I was very in control of what I was doing out there."

Hoge birdied the 15th and 18th holes, two of the stronger holes at Riviera.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson was among those playing in the afternoon, and he already was in a hole. Johnson chopped up the fifth hole, going over the green from deep grass for his third shot, and then taking two to get on the putting surface on his way to a triple bogey.

Woods opened with a birdie by playing the short par-4 10th to perfection. His fourth shot was sailing toward the eucalyptus trees, and before long, Woods was riding in a cart back to the tee. The ball was never found, presumably lost in the tree. He made double bogey. Woods finished by playing his second shot to the ninth green from a bunker on the 10th hole. He still managed par.

In between was mostly a decent day with Woods converting seven putts inside 10 feet, a mixture of pars and birdies, in a 72.

"I'm not that far off to really putting some good numbers out there," Woods said. "I've got to clean up my card — too many bogeys out there. If I can just clean that up, I can start making my way up the board."

Woods played with Justin Thomas, who had a 69, and Rory McIlroy, who had a 71.

They had the largest gallery of the day, most of them to see Woods, who had not played at Riviera since 2006. It was never hard to figure out where Woods was on the golf course, and that was particularly true for Saunders.

He was teeing off on the par-3 fourth when he looked down the hill at Woods playing the 18th.

"I looked over and watched because I grew up watching Tiger do what he did," Saunders said. "And I'm a big fan like we all are out here and it's really cool to see him out and we all want him to be out here every week and playing well. It just brings a different buzz to the tournament and it's really good for the game of golf, so it's cool for me to be playing in a tournament that he's playing in and be able to compete against him, a guy that I grew up just in awe of basically."

Saunders knows all about the energy one player can bring to a tournament. He heard plenty of stories about his grandfather, Arnold Palmer, who first brought the masses to golf more than a half-century ago.

"I think that's why I have so much respect for what he did and admire his career so much, because I didn't get to see my grandfather's firsthand like I got to see Tiger's growing up watching TV," Saunders said. "I know there's a lot of parallels there."

Chez Reavie was in the group at 68 and he was the only player from the morning to play bogey-free.

The most encouraging start might have belonged to Graeme McDowell, who has been hitting it well in practice and getting nothing out of it on the golf course. McDowell has missed the cut in four straight starts. He opened with a 69.

"I need to string some numbers together, get in the mix a little bit on the weekend, start believing in myself a little bit," McDowell said. "That's that little 'X' factor that you can't go practice.  You can't go practice having the belief, you know?"

Batshuayi double delights Dortmund in Europa League

Dortmund's double scorer Michy Batshuayi dribbles with the ball against three Atalanta defenders during the Europa League match between Borussia Dortmund and Atalanta Bergamo in Dortmund, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 15. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

London (AP) — Michy Batshuayi scored twice, the second goal arriving in stoppage time, to earn Borussia Dortmund a 3-2 comeback win over Atalanta in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Arsenal powered past Ostersund 3-0, Atletico Madrid thrashed Copenhagen 4-1 and Italian league leader Napoli slipped to a surprise 3-1 home defeat against Leipzig.

Batshuayi, who has been in sparkling form since joining from Chelsea on loan in the mid-season transfer window, helped host Dortmund record their first victory in European competition this season.

Dortmund hadn't won in eight previous appearances and only joined the Europa League after finishing third in its Champions League group.

Andre Schurrle put Dortmund ahead after 30 minutes, only for Josep Ilicic to score twice for the Italian visitors in the 51st and 56th.

Batshuayi equalized in the 65th before grabbing the late winner. The Belgian striker replaced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Dortmund following his move to Arsenal.

"Michy is a real goal-scorer, it was a good move to bring him here," Dortmund manager Peter Stoeger said. "Things are looking good. He is well liked, fully integrated and our goals and his personal goals align."



Arsene Wenger had expressed concern that his Arsenal team had never practiced, much less played, on an artificial surface like the one at Swedish side Ostersund.

He needn't have worried.

Arsenal had little trouble easing to a 3-0 win thanks to an early strike by Nacho Monreal and passes by Henrikh Mkhitaryan that led to two more goals.

Monreal scored after 13 minutes when he pounced after a shot by Alex Iwobi was saved by goalkeeper Aly Keita.

Mkhitaryan, who joined Arsenal from Manchester United two weeks ago, intercepted a pass in the area before his cross went in off Ostersund player Sotirios Papagiannopoulos in the 24th minute.

Mkhitaryan then laid on the third goal for Mesut Ozil in the 58th minute before Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina saved a stoppage-time penalty by Tom Pettersson.

"People wondered why we didn't practice (on the pitch) before but the warm-up is good to adapt to the speed of the ball, for technical ability and the accuracy of the passing," said Wenger.

"We adapted very well because we're at a good technical level. They were very nervous at the start and we took advantage of it."

Arsenal were without injured striker Alexandre Lacazette while Aubameyang is ineligible to play in the competition.

Winning the Europa League may be the best chance for Wenger's team to return to the Champions League next season.

Arsenal are sixth in the English Premier League, eight points behind Chelsea, who hold the fourth and last qualifying berth.



Atletico Madrid overcame an early deficit in Denmark and strolled to a 4-1 win over Copenhagen.

After Viktor Fischer's opener, Atletico responded with goals by Saul Niguez, Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann and substitute Vitolo.

Atletico have reached two Champions League finals since winning the Europa League in 2012. They returned to the continent's second-tier competition after a disappointing group phase in this season's Champions League.



Napoli are staring at an exit after falling 3-1 at home to Leipzig.

Substiute Adam Ounas gave Napoli the lead in the 52nd minute but Leipzig fought back with a double by Timo Werner and another goal by Bruma.

Leipzig are a distant second to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.



A hat-trick by Manuel Fernandes led Lokomotiv Moscow to a 3-2 comeback victory at Nice, who had gone 2-0 ahead with a double from Mario Balotelli.

Athletic Bilbao were lifted by two goals from 37-year-old striker Artiz Aduriz in a 3-1 win at Spartak Moscow, while AC Milan triumphed 3-0 at Bulgaria's Ludogorets.

Lazio lost 1-0 at FCSB in Bucharest while Lyon beat Villarreal 3-1. Celtic edged Zenit 1-0 and Plzen drew 1-1 at Partizan.

Real Sociedad drew 2-2 with Salzburg, Sporting Lisbon won 3-1 at Astana and Marseille defeated Braga 3-0.

Greek police detained 18 people, believed to be supporters of Dynamo Kiev, for questioning after a bar in Athens was damaged ahead of the Ukrainian team's 1-1 draw against AEK.

Update February 15, 2018

Ronaldo scores 2 as PSG learn Champions League lesson

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his side's 2nd goal during the Champions League Round of 16 first leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Feb. 14. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Tales Azzoni

Madrid (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain showed their strength against the European champions, but it wasn't enough to stop Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo scored a goal in each half as Real Madrid came from behind to defeat PSG 3-1 in their first-leg match in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, taking a commanding lead into the second leg in Paris on March 6.

Ronaldo increased his Champions League tally with Madrid to 101 goals in 95 matches, a record for a player with the same club. He has 11 goals in seven Champions League matches this season, the most of any player.

"It's always special when you score and the team wins," Ronaldo said. "It was an important victory. It's not over yet but we have a good advantage for the second leg."

Ronaldo has scored in each of the first seven Champions League matches this season, also a record. He has netted at least 10 goals in the tournament for seven straight seasons.

"We always end up saying the same things about him," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said of Ronaldo. "He always makes the difference in important games and that's what he did tonight."

On a mission to become a major force in European soccer, PSG played well from the start in an exciting back-and-forth match against the two-time defending champions, but the late goals significantly hurt their chances of finally succeeding in the Champions League.

This was PSG's first significant test since the Qatari-funded club spent a record 222 million euros to sign Neymar from Barcelona in a bid to break into the continent's elite.

"Our team played a great game, we showed a lot of personality," PSG coach Unai Emery said. "We deserved a better result."

Triumph against PSG could help Madrid turn their fortunes around in what has been an up-and-down season for the Spanish powerhouse. Zidane's job has been in doubt after a series of poor results in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey.

"This club has 12 Champions League titles and there's a reason for that," Zidane said. "The players know how important this competition is. We showed our worth for the whole 90 minutes."

PSG struck first with a goal by Adrien Rabiot, but Ronaldo equalized by converting a penalty kick just before halftime and added to the lead in the 83rd. Marcelo sealed the victory three minutes later.

Madrid, who have won the Champions League in three of the last four seasons, had appeared in control but PSG opened the scoring in the 33rd with Rabiot's shot from inside the area on a play that involved all three PSG forwards. Kylian Mbappe started it with a run on the right side, then Edinson Cavani smartly let the ball through after Mbappe's cross into the area and it ended with Rabiot after Neymar's attempt was deflected by a defender.

Not long before the goal, Ronaldo squandered one of the game's best chances in a one-on-one situation with Alphonse Areola, his shot hitting the goalkeeper's face. Ronaldo also missed soon after, sending a close-range shot over the crossbar.

But he was perfect from the penalty spot just before halftime after Toni Kroos was gently pulled inside the area by Giovani Lo Celso, the young midfielder who was a surprise addition to the starting lineup in place of Lassana Diarra.

Areola dived the correct way — to his right — but wasn't able to stop Ronaldo's firm shot. Areola had just made a brilliant save on Karim Benzema's well-placed strike from just outside the area.

It was PSG who were in command in the second half, creating most of the significant chances, but Ronaldo struck again by scoring the go-ahead and slightly chaotic goal with his knee after Areola parried a low cross by substitute Marco Asensio.

It only got better for Madrid when Marcelo scored from inside the area after another cross from Asensio from the left side.

"In the end we always get beaten the same way," Rabiot said. "It's annoying and I'm very disappointed. It's easy to score eight past Dijon and score four or five in the (French) league, but we have to be decisive in games like this."

The match had to be briefly stopped in the second half after a cross by Neymar hit the face of referee Gianluca Rocchi, who continued after receiving medical assistance.

Mane scores hat trick as Liverpool rout Porto 5-0

Liverpool's Sadio Mane, right, escapes Porto's Jesus Corona during the Champions League round of sixteen first leg match between FC Porto and Liverpool FC at the Dragao stadium in Porto, Portugal, Wednesday, Feb. 14. (AP Photo/Luis Vieira)

Porto, Portugal (AP) — Liverpool put one foot in the Champions League quarterfinals with a 5-0 away rout of Porto in the first leg of their last-16 match on Wednesday.

Sadio Mane scored a hat trick and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino provided the other two goals to give the Premier League side a huge advantage ahead of the second leg at Anfield on March 6.

"It was hard work, but in the end the boys enjoyed it," Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said after the club's first appearance in the knockout stage of the Champions League for almost nine years.

"I saw a lot of fantastic performances tonight and a result like this is only possible if everyone is really at the top of their game," Klopp said. "They did it well and that's the only way to be successful."

Liverpool are the top-scoring side in the competition with 28 goals.

"We knew we were facing a great team but we weren't expecting this," said Porto defender Alex Telles, whose team was without injured midfielders Danilo Pereira and Andre Andre. Striker Vincent Aboubakar was also out with a muscle problem.

A mistake from Porto goalkeeper Jose Sa allowed Mane's shot to squirm under his body after a slow start from the visitors, and Salah displayed all his class to make it 2-0 four minutes later inside the first half-hour.

James Milner hit the post but Salah was well-placed to take the rebound, lift it with his left foot and then head it past Sa before slotting into the empty net without letting it touch the ground.

It was the African player of the year's sixth goal in the competition, and his ninth in eight games across all competitions.

The home side showed promise after the break but were caught on a counterattack when Sa saved Firmino's effort, only to push the ball toward Mane's feet. The Senegal striker needed no second invitation for his second goal.

Sa was playing in place of Iker Casillas, dropped earlier this season after falling out of favor with Porto coach Sergio Conceicao, who must have been reconsidering his decision after a shaky performance from the 24-year-old Sa.

At the other end, Virgil van Dijk marshaled Liverpool's defence on his Champions League debut for the club following his winter switch from Southampton.

Firmino got the goal his performance deserved with a simple finish inside the left post from Milner's cross with 20 minutes remaining, and Mane took advantage of some lax defending to seal the win with a fine strike from distance late on.

"We needed to play as a team and that's what we did," Mane said after his first hat trick for Liverpool. "We played great football, created great chances and scored five goals. I enjoyed the fifth goal the most."

Fierce wind forces closure of Olympic Park in South Korea

A volunteer chases down solar film backing that blew off the Coca-Cola building inside Gangneung Olympic Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Stephen Whyno

Gangneung, South Korea (AP) — Sharp, gusting wind forced the temporary closure of the Olympic Park in Gangneung on Wednesday, the latest blow from wild weather that has affected the games for several days.

Sustained winds of 23 mph (37 kph) with stronger gusts howled through the Olympic Park near the coast, knocking over tents, signs and even small refrigerators. The conditions have repeatedly forced the postponement of events in the mountains to the west, notably Alpine skiing.

Local officials began evacuating Olympic Park at about 3 p.m., with public address announcements in Korean and English urging spectators to go indoors and eventually a police presence helped clear the area. Many spectators sought shelter in buildings near the Gangneung Hockey Centre. Normal activity resumed several hours later, before speedskating and hockey events were scheduled to being.

Inside the Gangneung Oval, home to long-track speedskating, Dutch oompah band Kleintje Pils had some fun with windy conditions by opening their performance with "Stormy."

There has been much discussion of the cold conditions at these Olympics, but temperatures had moderated on Wednesday — only for the wind to cause more disruptions. Gusts topping 45 mph have forced the postponement of three of four scheduled Alpine ski races, the latest coming Wednesday as the women's slalom was pushed back until Friday. The women's biathlon at Alpensia Biathlon Center was also postponed, until Thursday.

With ski racing, the wind can make it dangerous for athletes already traveling at as much as 75 mph; in technical events, such as the slalom, wind that changes direction can be considered unfair, because some skiers will get a helpful tailwind, while others will be hurt by a headwind.

"All of them are anxious to race, absolutely, but they all want to race in fair conditions. That's the main thing," U.S. women's Alpine coach Paul Kristofic said after the slalom was called off. "To have unstable wind like that for one racer and not for the other, it creates not the best sporting event."

Gusts of more than 15 mph pushed the women's biathlon back because that much wind makes it difficult for competitors to properly handle their rifles.

Indoor sport competitions weren't affected, but conditions surrounding some of the venues were treacherous. Several venue media centers, giant tents anchored with metal beams, were closed temporarily.

Russian gold-medal favorites lose opening game to Slovakia

Patrik Lamper (63), of Slovakia, battles for the puck against Russian athletes Sergei Mozyakin (10) and Vyacheslav Voinov (26) during the third period of a men's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

James Ellingworth

Gangneung, South Korea (AP) — The latest iteration of the Russian Red Machine started its Olympic hockey tournament against Slovakia on Wednesday and lost 3-2.

The Russians gave up a two-goal lead as defensive errors allowed Slovakia to end the first period at 2-2. Peter Ceresnak then scored the game-winner with a slapshot in the third period.

Before the tournament, the Russians were considered to be the gold-medal favorites in the first Olympics since 1994 without NHL players. However, they were also the favorites on home ice in Sochi four years ago, only to struggle under the pressure before losing to Finland in the quarterfinals.

This time around, they are playing under the name "Olympic Athletes from Russia" as part of the country's punishment from the International Olympic Committee for doping at the 2014 Sochi Games. If they win the gold medal, the Olympic anthem will play.

Still, the red and white jerseys are a powerful reminder of Russian and Soviet hockey heritage. And failing to beat Slovakia at the Olympics is a reminder of more recent problems.

Russian teams have now played Slovakia in four consecutive Olympic tournaments, losing three of those and winning in 2014 in a shootout.

The Russians scored twice in the first five minutes at the Gangneung Hockey Center, with Nikolai Prokhorkin scoring off an assist from Vladislav Gavrikov to take the early lead. Minnesota Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov followed up with another, hitting the puck in mid-air past Slovakia goaltender Branislav Konrad.

Slovakia recorded only four shots in the first period, but scored on two of them just before the intermission.

Peter Olvecky first beat Russian goalie Vasily Koshechkin with a wrist shot. Then Martin Bakos, who had been checked into the Russian bench minutes before, made it 2-2 on a breakaway after opposing defenseman Nikita Nesterov lost the puck at the blue line.

The Russians tried to respond after Ceresnak's goal but couldn't take advantage of two power plays in the final 10 minutes.

Update February 14, 2018

Alpine great Marcel Hirscher is an Olympic champion

Austria's Marcel Hirscher celebrates after completing the slalom portion of the men's combined at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Jeongseon, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Graham Dunbar

Jeongseon, South Korea (AP) — One of the greatest skiers of all time is finally an Olympic champion.

Marcel Hirscher, a six-time overall World Cup champion, won the men's combined at the Pyeongchang Games on Tuesday, using his silky skills in the slalom leg of the event to rise from 12th place after the opening run of the downhill.

Now a three-time Olympian, the 28-year-old Hirscher until now had only won a silver medal despite never finishing below fifth in any race.

"I'm super happy because now this stupid question has gone away, if I'm thinking that my career is perfect without a gold medal," Hirscher said. "Now the questions is zzzzzzit — deleted."

Hirscher's combined two-run time was 0.23 seconds faster than silver medalist Alexis Pinturault of France. Another Frenchman, Victor Muffat-Jeandet, took bronze, 1.02 behind Hirscher, after being 29th fastest in the opening downhill leg.

Victory was earned by posting the fastest slalom time despite skiing through a fierce cross wind that kicked up snow flurries.

"I was really talking to myself, 'Are they kidding me?'" Hirscher said. "Are they seriously meaning the wind is coming this hard, in this moment?"

Hirscher stretched toward the finish line in a star shape with his left ski high off the snow. He briefly raised both his arms then skied directly out of the finish area with a business-like expression on his face to await Pinturault's start two minutes later.

The fastest downhill racer in the early run, Thomas Dressen of Germany, dropped to ninth place, trailing Hirscher by 2.44 seconds. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway did not even race the slalom despite placing second in downhill.

Hirscher has won a record six World Cup titles as the season's best all-round skier and four world championship gold medals, including the combined in 2015. His 55 World Cup race wins is second on the all-time men's list.

But his best Olympic result was a runner-up finish in slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games. He was fifth in slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Games, and had fourth-place finishes in each giant slalom.

After the bonus of this victory, Hirscher looks certain to start as the favorite in his top two events of slalom and giant slalom, which will be raced in nearby Yongpyong.

Tuesday's race showed yet again that slalom, not downhill, is the key to success in the combined event.

Many of the best downhillers failed to finish, finding the slalom gates they rarely race too much to handle. It did not help that a swirling wind was whipping up mini-twisters of snow.

The reigning Olympic downhill champion, Matthias Mayer of Austria, was in third place but crashed off the course and knocked over a television cameramen as he slid down the bumpy slope.

Ted Ligety, the 2006 Olympic combined champion from the United States, was fifth.

Wind has buffeted both Alpine hills at the Pyeongchang Olympics, causing the men's downhill and women's giant slalom to be postponed until Thursday.

Weather was again a factor despite sunny blue skies in Jeongseon, though the race-time temperature for downhill was a frigid 12 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-11 degrees Celsius).

Gusts higher up the mountain forced organizers to lower the start, cutting about 20 seconds of skiing and making the downhill more like a super-G. Racers topped 75 mph (120 kph) but were guided to a safer line cresting the jumps.

"If it had been the downhill-only race, I'm not sure they would do this," said Jared Goldberg of the United States, who was ninth in the speed leg and then went off course in slalom.

Hirscher wore bib No. 2 for the downhill and seemed to benefit from tailwinds before gusts swirled more strongly during a 15-minute delay caused by the third racer, Pavel Trikhichev, crashing out. The Russian slid into the safety fences and bloodied his mouth.

After a shorter, 1 1/4-mile (2.05-kilometer) downhill, organizers cut 10 gates from the slalom to better balance the race.

That was enough for Hirscher, despite a late charge by Pinturault, who added silver to his bronze in giant slalom from Sochi.

Many expect Tuesday's race to be an Olympic farewell for combined, which has fallen out of favor with the rise in head-to-head parallel racing formats.

Combined was the original event at Alpine skiing's Olympic debut in 1936. Traditionalists like the mix of skills, but racers are now so specialized that those good at one discipline tend not to be competitive at the other.

Svindal, a two-time world champion in combined, has not skied a competitive slalom run in two years. Hirscher almost never races downhills, but he put down a good one on Tuesday.

"I killed it," the Olympic champion said.

Man City send out another statement with 4-0 win at Basel

Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan, left, fights for the ball against Basel's Marek Suchy, during the Champions League round of sixteen first leg soccer match between Switzerland's FC Basel 1893 and England's Manchester City FC in the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb. 13. (Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP)

Basel, Switzerland (AP) — Manchester City sent out another statement to the rest of Europe by thrashing Basel 4-0 away in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match on Tuesday, with Ilkay Gundogan scoring two of the goals.

The Premier League's runaway leaders scored three times between the 14th and 23 minutes — through Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero — before Gundogan added a fourth goal from long range in the 53rd minute.

City, who enjoyed 74 percent possession, scored four goals away from home for the third time in this season's Champions League and have only lost two games in all competitions, one of them against Shakhtar Donetsk when qualification for the last 16 was already guaranteed.

This is the best chance City have had to win Europe's biggest prize, especially with one of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain sure to be eliminated this round.

City didn't even have to be at their best on a bobbly pitch and near-freezing conditions to see off the Swiss champions, whose striker Dimitri Oberlin wasted chances either side of the visitors' flurry of goals. With his team still trying to win a quadruple of trophies, Guardiola had the luxury of substituting Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling around the hour mark for fit-again pair David Silva and Leroy Sane.

The return match is on March 7, when Juventus and Tottenham will also play their second leg after drawing 2-2 in Turin on Tuesday.

St. Jakob-Park hasn't been a happy ground for English teams, with Liverpool, Chelsea and — in this season's group stage — Manchester United all losing at Basel's atmospheric home in recent seasons in the Champions League.

Basel had their moments against City, especially early on when the visitors looked susceptible to a long ball behind center backs Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi. Oberlin could also have earned a penalty, after tumbling under a challenge from Otamendi.

"After 10 minutes, we could have been 2-0 down," Guardiola said. "After 20 minutes, we were 3-0 in the lead. We were clinical today."

It was a stroll for City from the moment Gundogan, playing in front of Germany coach Joachim Loew, met a corner by De Bruyne with a header that flew in at the near post. It was De Bruyne's 19th assist of a stunning season.

Four minutes later, Sterling crossed from the left, Silva chested the ball down and sent a dipping volley beyond the goalkeeper, who could only get his fingertips to the ball.

Aguero came into the match with 13 goals from 10 games in 2018 — four coming in one half against Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday — and naturally he got involved in the scoring.

Fernandinho was tackled 30 meters out but the ball fell to Aguero, who took one touch and shot low into the corner for his 198th goal for City.

Gundogan saved the best goal for last and it was another long-ranger that curled into the top corner from 25 meters.

That margin of victory gives Guardiola the option to rest key players for the second leg at Etihad Stadium, by which time City might have won the English League Cup — they play Arsenal in the final on Feb. 25 — extended their 16-point lead in the Premier League, and advanced to the FA Cup quarterfinals.

"If we play like we did today and in the past few weeks," Gundogan said, "we will be successful, for sure."

Kane leads Spurs' recovery in 2-2 draw at Juventus

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon greets Tottenham's Harry Kane, left, as Juventus' Mattia de Sciglio looks at them, at the end of the Champions League, round of 16, first-leg soccer match between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspurs, at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy, Tuesday, Feb. 13. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Daniella Matar

Turin, Italy (AP) — At a crucial moment in their Champions League last-16 match on Tuesday, Tottenham survived against Juventus simply by standing still.

Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris chose not to dive in either direction as Juventus forward Gonzalo Higuain approached to strike his second penalty of the game. With no big gaps appearing, Higuain smashed the ball straight down the middle and saw it cannon off the crossbar.

A goal would have given Juventus a commanding 3-1 lead at halftime. Instead, Spurs managed to recover from a terrible start and level in the second period to finish at 2-2, ahead of the second leg at Wembley on March 7.

Lloris had dived low to his right against Higuain's successful first spot kick, getting a hand to the well-placed penalty.

Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen scored in each half after Higuain had netted twice inside the opening nine minutes

"I feel so proud," Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino said. "We showed great character against a team that played two finals in three years, with amazing experience on the pitch.

"We are a young team in this competition. To show that performance is to be proud and to congratulate the players because they were fantastic."

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri reacted strongly afterward when it was suggested his team, who are going for a seventh successive Serie A title, should have beaten Spurs, who are  fifth in the Premier League.

"I think people have lost a bit of objectivity," said a clearly annoyed Allegri. "Juve plays to win but it's not favorite. You can't go to the final every year. I think the lads are having a great season, but it's a long leap from there to think they're going to win a last-16 match 3-0.

"That drives me nuts, because people don't have an idea about the other teams. I can't accept that people are getting depressed over a 2-2 draw, it seems like we lost 8-0."

It was also an exciting first half in Basel, with Manchester City scoring three goals before going on to win 4-0 to leave them with one foot in the quarterfinals.

Allegri went for an attacking lineup, with Federico Bernardeschi, Douglas Costa and Mario Mandzukic supporting Higuain.

And that paid off right from the start in a terrible opening 10 minutes for Spurs.

Mousa Dembele fouled Miralem Pjanic, 30 yards from goal, inside the first minute. Pjanic himself took the free kick and picked out Higuain, who beat the offside trap to volley into the far corner.

Matters swiftly went from bad to worse for Spurs as Ben Davies tripped Bernardeschi inside the area and referee Felix Brych pointed instantly to the spot.

Higuain stepped up and placed a precise penalty into the bottom left corner for his second goal of the match and his eighth in his last five matches.

Tottenham had a mountain to climb against a side who had reached the Champions League final in two of the past three seasons. Juventus had not let in a goal in 2018 and had only conceded one in their past 16 matches.

However, with Juventus content to sit back, Spurs began to dominate possession and almost got one back in the 26th but goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a great save to keep out Kane's header from point-blank range.

Higuain almost got his hat trick after a swift counterattack and some lovely interplay with Pjanic, but he fired narrowly wide of the left upright.

Buffon did well to tip another Kane effort round the post but Spurs were getting closer and did get back into the match 10 minutes from halftime.

Kane ran onto Dele Alli's through ball, took it round the onrushing Buffon and calmly deposited into an empty net.

It was the first goal Juventus had conceded in 696 minutes

Spurs pushed for the equalizer but Juventus almost extended their lead on the stroke of halftime when Serge Aurier brought down Douglas Costa in the area. Higuain stepped up again but failed to complete his hat trick, firing onto the crossbar.

He had another good chance to grab a third, shortly before the hour, but he headed a corner straight at Lloris, who had done well to tip Bernardeschi's effort round his post moments earlier.

Juventus were made to pay for their missed opportunities as Buffon was caught out by a low Eriksen free kick into the bottom left corner.

'New generation of Nigerians' marks Olympic bobsled debut

Members of the Nigerian women's bobsled team, from left, Akuoma Omeoga, Seun Adigun and Ngozi Onwumere, pose for a photograph at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Errin Haines Whack

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) — Growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota, Akuoma Omeoga was raised on Nigerian food, language and culture. Next week, the 25-year-old will represent her parents' homeland in the Winter Games, hurtling down the bobsled track with her tresses — dyed green as a tribute to the country — flapping beneath her helmet like a flag.

"One of the biggest things my parents did was speak the language at home," Omeoga recalled in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. "It's super familiar to me, even though it's not something that I speak fluently ... I can also relate."

Omeoga and fellow brakeman Ngozi Owumere, along with driver Seun Adigun, are all American-born, first-generation Nigerian immigrants who will represent the African nation in its Winter Olympics debut. The country is one of eight African nations competing in South Korea as part of the largest contingent of African athletes ever at a Winter Games.

For Adigun, her roots are as important as her birthplace, which is what pushed her to create Nigeria's first-ever bobsled team. To be a first-generation Nigerian is to have the patriotism of your homeland "almost pounded into you" by parents who don't want you to forget where you come from, explains Adigun, who also competed as a track athlete for Nigeria in the 2012 London Games.

"Although we're American, we're also Nigerian," she said." We're actually Nigerian first. That's the one culture that we know, that we were raised to respect and understand. To show people that it's okay to be both and it's okay to represent where you're from is a powerful message that, hopefully, we've been able to translate."

Owumere said the preservation of her African culture was especially important being raised in America. The team's Olympic journey has only reinforced the importance of that heritage, she said, and of leaving a legacy in Nigeria's name.

"After our parents are gone, who's going to be there?" she said. "The weight rests on us. We're the new generation of Nigerians."

It's a point that took on added meaning after President Donald Trump's reported comments earlier this year referencing some African nations as "shithole countries." Omeoga said she hopes the team's presence in South Korea this month offers a new image of who and what African immigrants can be and contribute.

The women are unapologetically Nigerian on social media, at public appearances and on the competition circuit, where they blast Nigerian music before races. At last week's opening ceremony, they entered the Olympic Stadium wearing green and white aso-oke, a Yoruba cloth worn on special occasions.

The team has also been eager to connect with fellow African athletes from such countries as Madagascar and Eritrea — also making its debut this year— and is close to Ghanaian skeleton athlete Akwasi Frimpong.

It is an important statement for the continent to be represented in the Winter Olympics, Adigun said.

"Just because you don't know what it means to see snow or to understand temperatures that are equivalent to ice, that doesn't mean you have to shy away from it," she said. "That's what Africa is representing — that we can take those risks and still be able to compete with the best in the world."

Not that it's not cold, Onwumere concedes, laughing. The Texan in her is shivering, but the Olympian is ready.

"Honey, it's super cold!" she said. "But we're here for the Winter Olympics. This is what we expected. We welcome it. We want it to be a little warmer, but we're fine with how it is."

Omeoga's attitude for those who would suggest that Nigeria doesn't belong is, "Why not?"

"There's nobody on this Earth that can tell you that you don't belong somewhere that you are," she said. "That's the biggest thing that we bring to this Games. You shouldn't be asking why (we are here); you should be asking how."

Update February 13, 2018

Hazard lifts Chelsea gloom with double in win over West Brom

Chelsea's Oliver Giroud, centre, vies for the ball with West Bromwich Albion's Ahmed Hegazi, left and Craig Dawson during the English Premier League match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Monday, Feb. 12. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Rob Harris

London (AP) — Antonio Conte received vocal backing from Chelsea supporters during a 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Monday that eased pressure building on the manager after back-to-back Premier League losses.

Eden Hazard scored twice, either side of Victor Moses' strike, as Chelsea returned to fourth place and West Brom remained stranded at the bottom, seven points from safety.

"We showed a response and we did well in front of our fans," Hazard said. "Now we have two games to play against Hull (in the FA Cup) and Barcelona (in the Champions League) ... but now we are back. We are Chelsea. We are the champions. We need to give everything."

Securing Champions League qualification is now the priority for Chelsea with any prospect of successfully defending the title evaporating long ago with leaders Manchester City 19 points ahead of the champions.

Chants of "Antonio, Antonio" rang around Stamford Bridge, reflecting a desire from sections of the fan base for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to resist dismissing Conte before the end of his second season.

It still seems unlikely — given the constant grumbles about his limited control of transfer policy — that Conte will be in charge for a third campaign with the west London club.

"We are getting used to the speculation," Conte said. "I think until the end we continue to live with this speculation. For me it is not important."

While managers are disposable commodities for Abramovich, retaining a player with the trickery and attacking threat of Hazard is essential. Six of Chelsea's last 10 league goals have been provided by Hazard.

The Belgium winger unpicked West Brom for the opener in the 25th minute. After holding off Gareth Barry while wriggling through the defence, Hazard played a one-two with new signing Olivier Giroud before stroking the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

West Brom, who saw on-loan Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge limp off with a hamstring injury inside three minutes, were blunt in attack. Salomon Rondon's strike in the side netting was the closest the ailing central England team came to scoring.

Such is the unease around Chelsea these days that the hosts could only ease up after Moses produced the second in the 63rd minute.

Moses broke down the right and passed to Cesc Fabregas, whose back-heel flick took a deflection off Craig Dawson to take the ball back into the path of the wingback to slot home.

Alvaro Morata, who came off the bench for his first appearance in almost a month, set up Hazard to cut inside and find a gap in the defence to fire Chelsea's third past Ben Foster in the 71st minute.

"We showed great character defensively and offensively," Hazard said.

That's now nine goals without reply for Chelsea in Conte's four games against West Brom. The sterner test will be when Barcelona are here next week in the Champions League last 16.

Combined Korean team doubles its shots in 8-0 loss to Sweden

Fanny Rask (20), of Sweden, shoots against South Korea's goalie Shin So-jung (31), of the combined Koreas team, during the third period of a women's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Gangneung, South Korea (AP) — The Korean women's hockey team is going through some growing pains.

Sweden scored four goals in the first period and routed Korea 8-0 on Monday night in a preliminary round game that did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm for the historic team.

The North Korean cheerleaders were back as part of a loud arena chanting, cheering and singing in support of the first team to feature both South Korean and North Korean players in an Olympics. They led the wave in the first intermission and roared as the Koreans tried to score on the power play in the second period.

The Koreans more than doubled their shot attempts from their opening 8-0 loss to Switzerland with 19, and they matched all eight they took in that loss in the second period alone.

"It's a learning experience for us," Korea coach Sarah Murray said. "We've never been in the Olympics before, never played the high-level teams like this before. Everything I learning for us, so every time we lose, it's just a chance for us to improve. A loss is a chance for a comeback, so we're just going game by game and we're looking forward to playing against Japan."

Pernilla Winberg had two goals and six of teammates scored as Sweden outshot the Koreans 50-19.

Murray noted her players kept shooting, not easing up despite the score. They managed five shots in the third period.

"You have to use an excuse as the rankings, but Sweden's ranked fifth and we're ranked ... 22nd," Murray said. "If you just look at the rankings, it's a tough game for us all. These games were going to be tough. We knew that. But the players didn't give up. They're not scared even though they're losing by so much."

Lundby carries dominant World Cup form to Olympic gold

Maren Lundby, of Norway, celebrates after winning the gold medal in the women's normal hill individual ski jumping competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Jim Armstrong

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) — After dominating the ski jumping World Cup this season, Maren Lundby wasn't about to be denied on the sport's biggest stage.

The 23-year-old Norwegian overcame frigid temperatures Monday to win the women's ski jumping normal hill gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Lundby, who has won seven of 10 events this season, nailed a jump of 110 meters for 264.6 points to capture Norway's second gold medal of the games.

"I knew when I landed I had won because I saw the green light go on," Lundby said, referring to the light that indicates how far you have to jump to take the lead. "I didn't look at the scoreboard but I heard the announcers say 'It's gold.'"

Katharina Althaus of Germany was second, followed by Sara Takanashi of Japan.

The temperature was minus-11 degrees Celsius (12 degrees Fahrenheit) at the start of competition at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center.

Athletes bundled up with blankets while waiting on the steps to take their jumps. The conditions have tested even the most seasoned winter sports veterans, but Lundby said it's all part of ski jumping.

"We've had a lot of competitions in heavy conditions," Lundby said. "We had a competition in Japan recently with similar conditions."

Althaus, who has two wins on the World Cup circuit this season, had a jump of 106 meters for 252.6 points.

It was a bittersweet result for Takanashi, who was the gold medal favorite four years ago in Sochi but failed to make the podium then.

She captured Japan's second bronze of the games but said she has some regrets.

"Four years ago, I had a terrible experience," said Takanashi, who had a leap of 103.5 meters. "But I have been practicing hard so I had a good sleep last night knowing I have done everything I could possibly do. Maybe I am just not at the caliber of a gold medalist now."

Lundby was also first in the first round but said she knew she had to improve on that jump of 105.5.

"The first jump was not so good because I was flying a little low and I was not sure If I was going to fly so far," Lundby said. "For the second jump, I knew better what I had to do and it was really amazing to fly over the green line."

Switzerland to face Canada in mixed doubles curling final

Switzerland Jenny Perret makes a call during the mixed doubles semi-final curling match against Russian athletes Anastasia Bryzgalova and Aleksandr Krushelnitckii at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Kristen Gelineau

Gangneung, South Korea (AP) — Switzerland's mixed doubles curling team secured a spot in the Olympic gold medal game against Canada by edging their Russian opponents 7-5 in a tense semifinal match on Monday.

The Russians, who will face Norway for bronze before Tuesday's final, blew their chance to tie the game in the final end after throwing their last stone too hard and missing the target.

After the win, Swiss curler Jenny Perret struggled to hold back her tears, dubbing her team's victory "unbelievable."

One of the more dramatic moments of the night came in the fourth end. With several rocks crowding the house, Aleksandr Krushelnitckii deliberately threw his last stone past the target, rather than attempting a maneuver into the center of the bullseye that risked giving the Swiss two points instead of one. But Krushelnitckii threw the stone so hard it crashed into the black push-off blocks known as the hack. The stone flipped over and dinged the ice, prompting the arena's ice technician to race over with a blowtorch and a water sprayer to fix the damage.

Curling ice isn't smooth like skating ice; it's covered in a nubbly coating of frozen water droplets called "pebbles," which help the stone move across the surface. Keeping the ice consistent is crucial, because any change can cause the stones to travel in a different way. Once fixed, the curlers resumed their game.

The mixed doubles event, which is making its Olympic debut at the Pyeongchang Games, has proven popular with fans and curlers who have praised its relatively rapid pace and potential for high scores.

Most standard curling matches last about three hours. In mixed doubles, the whole thing is over in about 90 minutes. Though the point of both curling styles is the same — to get your stone closest to the center of the house — mixed doubles has a few differences. There is only one man and one woman on each team instead of the four in single-gender curling, there are eight ends instead of 10, and each team throws six rocks instead of eight during each end. It all adds up to a zippier, more energetic match than traditional curling.

"The fact that you don't need to have four people, just one male, one female, I think that's helped grow the sport," said Kaitlyn Lawes, one half of Canada's mixed doubles team. "It's so much fun to play and I think the fans are loving it, because it's high scoring, it's fast-paced and I think it's fun for them to see how men and women interact on the ice."

Mixed doubles can be more physically exhausting for the players. There is little rest between shots, and the person who throws the stone also sometimes has to race ahead and sweep it. Lawes' teammate, John Morris, said he was so drained after the Olympic trials that he couldn't sweep for two weeks. Still, he is passionate about the new version of the sport.

"If I was just starting out curling and I had the choice to play team curling or mixed doubles, I'd play mixed doubles," Morris said. "It's more athletic and you don't have to take three hours to play, which is really nice. ... You can tell why all these other countries are picking up on it."

Mixed doubles also requires more mental stamina than traditional curling.

"You're definitely more involved in every shot, you always have to stay on," said U.S. curler Becca Hamilton, who competed in the mixed doubles round robin with her brother. "It's a lot more hands-on for the two players, because there's only two of us."

Earlier Monday, the Canadians swept to an 8-4 victory over Norway after getting off to a shaky start and missing several early shots. By the seventh end, Canada had a one-point lead. Lawes then threw the defining shot of the game, knocking Norway's stone out of the center of the house and leaving three Canadian rocks close to the target. That put Canada ahead 8-4, and Norway couldn't come back from the deficit.

"It was a high pressure game," Morris said, "but that's what I live for."

Update February 12, 2018

United stumble at Newcastle, Salah shines for Liverpool

Manchester United's Antonio Valencia, left, and Newcastle United's Christian Atsu clash during their English Premier League soccer match at St James' Park, Newcastle, Sunday, Feb. 11. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)

Steve Douglas

Newcastle (AP) - Another stumble at St. James' Park for Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Another goal in an extraordinary season for Liverpool sensation Mohamed Salah.

With a surprising 1-0 loss to Newcastle on Sunday, United ceded some of the initiative in the race for second place in the Premier League and left their manager cursing the "gods of football" on his latest fruitless trip to the northeast.

That's seven league games without a win for Mourinho at Newcastle, six of which came as Chelsea coach.

Worse was to follow for Mourinho, with Liverpool winning 2-0 at Southampton to trim the gap to second-placed United to two points with 11 games left.

Salah was again the star turn, setting up strike partner Roberto Firmino before scoring himself to make it 22 goals in his debut season for Liverpool. One goal behind Tottenham's Harry Kane, Salah could yet head to his first World Cup with Egypt as the Premier League's top scorer.

It looks like being a four-way battle for the three Champions League qualification places behind champions-elect Manchester City, who retained their 16-point lead thanks to United's slip-up.

Tottenham are two points behind Liverpool in fourth place and Chelsea are two points further back in fifth, with a game in hand against West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

In the other game Sunday, Huddersfield collected their first league win in nearly two months by beating Bournemouth 4-1 to climb out of the relegation zone.



Paul Pogba's position in Man United's team is up for debate following the arrival of Alexis Sanchez and the France international had another underwhelming match in center midfield alongside Nemanja Matic.

Pogba lasted 66 minutes before being substituted, seconds after Matt Ritchie put Newcastle ahead. He appeared to be feeling an injury in the warm-up and was seen walking gingerly after the match, although Mourinho said there was no problem with the player.

Pogba was also taken off midway through the second half of United's 2-0 loss at Tottenham on Jan. 31, before being dropped for the victory over Huddersfield last weekend. It is becoming a dilemma for Mourinho as he tries to accommodate Sanchez.

Ritchie's goal came from a free kick awarded after United defender Chris Smalling was booked for diving. From the set piece, the ball was nodded down to Dwight Gayle, whose flick was met with a first-time finish by Ritchie.

Sanchez squandered United's best chance, delaying his finish after rounding the goalkeeper and then seeing his shot blocked by sprawling defender Florian Lejeune.



"I enjoyed it today," said Liverpool center back Virgil van Dijk, with a smirk. No surprise there.

Van Dijk was booed on his every touch on his first return to Southampton since moving to Liverpool in late December for $100 million, making him the world's most expensive defender.

He didn't put a foot wrong, seemingly thriving in the atmosphere. Salah was accomplished at the other end, too.

Salah passed the ball across for Firmino to finish with a first-time shot in the sixth minute for 1-0. Firmino returned the favor in the 42nd, playing Salah through with a deft flick and the Egyptian made no mistake from a central position 12 yards out.



Huddersfield ended their run of five straight losses in style.

Striker Steve Mounie set up Alex Pritchard for the opening goal for Huddersfield and then scored himself after Junior Stanislas had equalized for Bournemouth. A shot from Mounie was deflected into the net off Steve Cook for 3-1, before Rajiv van La Parra converted an injury-time penalty to seal the victory.

Huddersfield jumped to 17th place and were replaced in the bottom three by Southampton.

6N: Scotland fight back to beat France 32-26

France's Virimi Vakatawa, center, is tackled by Scotland's Jonny Gray during the six nations rugby match at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, Sunday Feb. 11. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)

Edinburgh, Scotland (AP) — Greig Laidlaw booted 22 points in his first test start in nearly a year to guide Scotland to a 32-26 win over France on Sunday, kickstarting the team's Six Nations campaign after last week's mauling in Wales.

Right winger Teddy Thomas crossed for two tries in the opening 27 minutes to help the French to a 20-14 lead at halftime at Murrayfield.

They were also six points ahead at 26-20 going into the final 20 minutes, but Laidlaw booted four penalties in a row to ruthlessly punish France's indiscipline. The scrumhalf has been absent from his national team because of injury and involvement in the British and Lions tour of New Zealand.

"It's felt like a long time," said Laidlaw, a former Scotland captain. "I'm not a very good watcher."

Laidlaw finished the game at flyhalf, after Finn Russell's 65th-minute withdrawal, and a haul of six penalties and two conversions off first-half tries by Sean Maitland and Huw Jones. He didn't miss a shot at goal.

The Scots were hyped up coming into the tournament after beating Australia home and away last year, but were overwhelmed in a 34-7 loss to the Welsh in round one

"If you lose the first match and are serious about the competition, the maths is simple," Scotland captain John Barclay said. "We knew we had to put in a performance after last week."

France have started with back-to-back defeats after losing to Ireland 15-13 in Paris last week thanks to an injury-time drop goal.

"As long as we don't have discipline, then we won't win matches. It's a case of staying patient and playing to the rules," France captain Guilhem Guirado said on French TV. "We can't keep losing like this because of us and our mistakes."

Thomas lit up Murrayfield with a superb first try, the winger handing off Russell, sidestepping Peter Horne and then galloping past Stuart Hogg to reach the line. And when Maxime Machenaud booted over a penalty soon after, the Scots found themselves 10-0 down before they had even got started.

They responded by going right up the middle as Jonny Gray barged over Machenaud with a shuddering shoulder barge. Grant Gilchrist and Russell then moved the ball quickly out to Maitland to dot down in the corner.

Thomas pushed France further clear again when he picked up the ball as France swept left to right and chipped it over Hogg before charging for the line. Laidlaw came across to cover but a wicked bounce fooled the scrumhalf, allowing Thomas to collect and score.

Scotland were harder to shake off than last week, though, and hit back again.

Hogg's drive split the French defence and with Les Bleus scrambling for cover, Jones spotted a gap and raced in to score under the posts.

The teams then exchanged a pair of penalties apiece as Machenaud and Baptiste Serin knocked over for France, with Laidlaw responding for Scotland.

Serin kicked another penalty as the French went through 20 bruising phases, yet Laidlaw replied again with two penalties to put Scotland level at 26-26 with 16 minutes left.

France conceded yet another penalty on 70 minutes, which Laidlaw once again punished to put Townsend's team in front for the first time. The Clermont Auvergne scrumhalf then made sure of the victory with three minutes left as he again fired over

Olympic biathlon race produces a stunner as favorites falter

Arnd Peiffer, of Germany, climbs ahead of Vladimir Iliev, of Bulgaria, during the men's 10-kilometer biathlon sprint at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 11. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Steve Reed

Pyeongchang, South Korea (AP) — The two-man race between Martin Fourcade and Johannes Thingnes Boe for Olympic gold never materialized.

They've pretty much become the Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte of the biathlon — only they have skis and rifles instead of Speedos and swim caps.

So when neither landed on the medal podium Sunday at the Pyeongchang Games, it sent shockwaves through the biathlon world.

Fourcade, a Frenchman ranked No. 1 in the world, missed three of five shots from the prone position, forcing him to do three penalty laps. He finished eighth overall.

Thingnes Boe, the world's No. 2, was even farther behind. The Norwegian missed three from the prone position and one from the standing position with his .22 caliber rifle and wound up a distant 31st, more than a minute behind the leader.

No one was more stunned than Germany's Arnd Peiffer, who took home the gold medal after hitting all 10 of his targets.

"I don't know how this could happen," Peiffer said. "The other two guys, Martin and Johannes, they were dominating the whole season. They were dominating with their ski time; they were dominating on the range as well. So I didn't expect it was possible to be in front of them. I'm quite surprised."

Thingnes Boe just shrugged his shoulders, offering no explanation for his performance.

"This is the biathlon and this is the Olympics," he said. "It's hard."

The 29-year-old Fourcade has been the sport's most dominant competitor since the 2011-12 season, when he won the first of six straight World Cup titles. He also won two golds and a silver at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Thingnes Boe has been battling him all the way this season, sometimes beating Fourcade, but often finishing second.

Thingnes Boe ended the Frenchman's World Cup-winning streak on Jan. 15 with victory in the men's 15-kilometer mass start. Fourcade bounced back to defeat Thingnes Boe the following week in the final race before the Olympics.

After Sunday's race they shook hands, both discouraged by the stunning results.

"We're both not happy," Thingnes Boe said. "I think the other athletes should be happy that we failed today."

Last week, Michael Roesch of Belgium put the biathlon competition in perspective, saying bluntly: "Right now there are two guys fighting for the podium. It's Fourcade and Thingnes Boe — and then it's the rest of the world."

But on Sunday, the rest of the podium consisted of Michal Krcmar of the Czech Republic in second and Dominik Windisch of Italy in third.

"It was our lucky day and maybe not the day for them," Windisch said. "But they will have many other chances at this Olympic Games."

Thingnes Boe isn't so sure about that, at least when it comes to Monday's 12.5-kilometer pursuit.

The seeding for that race is based on the times from the sprint race. So Fourcade will start 24 seconds behind the leader, while Thingnes Boe will begin 1 minute, 24 seconds behind.

"I have no chance with mistakes," Thingnes Boe said. "I have to make the really perfect race to be fighting for a medal. Even then I might be too far back."

Sunday was another cold day at the Olympics and windy conditions affected all the shooters, some more than others.

Thingnes Boe said the wind on the shooting range gave him fits while Windisch said the difficult conditions on the course might have leveled the playing field.

"It was not easy," Windisch said. "It continued to change but maybe it was the best for me because I had something to concentrate on. Maybe that was my secret today."

Ted Potter outplays Dustin Johnson and wins Pebble Beach

Ted Potter Jr. poses with his trophy on the 18th green of the Pebble Beach Golf Links after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament Sunday, Feb. 11, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Doug Ferguson

Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP) — For one day at Pebble Beach, Ted Potter Jr. was better than the best in the world.

Look back even further, and his three-shot victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is even more remarkable.

He played so many mini-tour events that he lost track of how many he won, some of them only two-day tournaments that paid enough for a week's worth of food and gas. His biggest paycheck was $33,000. More recently, Potter was out of golf for two years recovering from a broken ankle that required two surgeries — one to insert 12 screws and two plates, another to remove all that hardware. There was no guarantee he would make it back.

Potter started the final round Sunday tied with Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world for the last year. Throughout the day, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day each made a run at the 34-year-old Floridian who had 46 missed cuts and only four top 10s in his previous 83 starts on the PGA Tour.

Potter beat them all.

He was the one chatting with Clint Eastwood and posing with the crystal trophy that comes with a $1,332,000 check and a return to the Masters.

"I'm so happy right now to get it done today, especially against the world No. 1, playing with him today," Potter said. "The win here at Pebble is just unbelievable."

Just don't call it a fluke.

Potter closed with a 3-under 69 and didn't drop a shot after a three-putt bogey on the opening hole. Making it tougher was playing in a threesome behind a foursome in the pro-am format, having too much time to think about the stage, the contenders and the opportunity.

He never flinched.

The key moment came behind the green on the par-3 seventh, the most picturesque at Pebble Beach. He and Johnson were side-by-side in light rough to a firm green that ran away from them. Johnson chipped nicely to 4 feet. Potter put a little more loft on his shot and holed it for a birdie and a two-shot lead.

No one got closer the rest of the way.

He wound up winning by three shots over Johnson (72), Mickelson (67), Day (70) and Chez Reavie (68).

Potter stepped awkwardly off a curb at the Canadian Open in 2014 and broke his ankle so badly that he didn't play another tournament until Canada two years later. He wound up having to work his way back to the PGA Tour through the developmental tour last year.

The 18th hole gave him plenty of time to consider how far he had come.

Day, trying to make eagle for his only chance at winning, hooked a driver off the deck over the sea wall. He found the ball on a mixture of sand and pebbles and played it off the beach , over the sea wall, over the green and into a bunker. Troy Merritt hit his shot into a cypress tree in front of the 18th green and it stayed up there, meaning he had to go back and play another shot.

Potter waited patiently, tapped in for a par to finish at 17-under 270 and only then did he show how much it meant. His voice choked with emotion.

"It's been a struggle," he said. "You break your ankle and you don't know what's going to happen with your swing, with your career. It's unbelievable right now. ... This has been a blast this week."

It was another disappointment for Johnson going into the final round. He now won only five out of 12 times when he took at least a share of the 54-hole lead into the final round. He fell back Sunday with a tee shot so bad on the par-3 fifth that it sailed over the edge of the cliff and he did well to escape with bogey, and then a shot he misjudged in a tough wind on No. 8 that went into the back bunker for another bogey.

"A few iron shots cost me a few bogeys," said Johnson, who played Pebble in 70-72 on the weekend. "Two under in 36 holes is not too good as well as I thought I was playing. I'd like to have put a little more pressure on Ted."

Mickelson began his move late with three birdies in a four-hole stretch ended at the par-3 17th . Needing an eagle to have any chance, his approach to the 18th was a few yards short and found a bunker. He failed to get up and down.

Mickelson had his highest finish since he was runner-up to Henrik Stenson in the 2016 British Open. Coming off a tie for fifth at the Phoenix Open, this is the first time he has put together consecutive top 5s since he won back-to-back in 2013 at the Scottish Open and British Open.

"I made a few good birdies coming down the stretch there to feel the nerves again," Mickelson said. "Unfortunately, it's not enough, but it was a great week, a lot of fun, perfect weather and really had a great time."

Reavie, a playoff loser in Phoenix last week, went out in 31 and was at 15 under, two shots behind. He made eight pars and a bogey on the back nine, with most of the damage coming on a wedge that came up short and into the bunker on the par-5 14th. With back-to-back runner-up finishes, Reavie goes to No. 43 in the world.

Potter now has a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, along with getting spots in the Masters and PGA Championship.

The other tournament also was a runaway. Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald teamed with Kevin Streelman to win the pro-am by seven shots..




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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

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Hazard lifts Chelsea gloom with double in win over West Brom

Combined Korean team doubles its shots in 8-0 loss to Sweden

Lundby carries dominant World Cup form to Olympic gold

Switzerland to face Canada in mixed doubles curling final

United stumble at Newcastle, Salah shines for Liverpool

6N: Scotland fight back to beat France 32-26

Olympic biathlon race produces a stunner as favorites falter

Ted Potter outplays Dustin Johnson and wins Pebble Beach


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