Messi scores vs Chelsea at 9th attempt to give Barca CL draw
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)
London (AP) - Lionel
Messi finally managed one of the few things he had yet to achieve in
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
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
"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
Bjoergen, American women make history at Olympics
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)
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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."
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."
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.
the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.
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)
(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
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.
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
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
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
Backup goalie Ryan
Miller played cleanup in the third, stopping 20 shots to preserve
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
and Max McCormick scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 36
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)
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
"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
City manager Pep
Guardiola accepted the referee's decision and played down its
"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
"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.
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.
appeared to show a home supporter and Aguero involved in a physical
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
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)
Korea (AP) - Ryan Donato and Ryan Zapolski got knocked down, but
they got up again and led the Americans into the quarterfinals at
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."
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.
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
"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
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.
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
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
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
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
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"
"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:
SURPRISE! NO LEDECKA
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.
NO SHIFFRIN, TOO
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
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."
Russian curling bronze medalist faces doping charge
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
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
"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)
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
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
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
"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)
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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)
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
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
— 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
"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
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.
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
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 —
"At the moment, I'm pumped!"
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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
"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
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
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
"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,
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
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
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,"
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?"
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
"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
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
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)
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
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
"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
"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
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
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)
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
"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
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
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)
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
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
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
PASSING THE AUDITION
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
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
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
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
"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)
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
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
"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."
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)
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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)
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
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 EDGES U.S. IN WOMEN'S
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
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
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
"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
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."
NO TURF TROUBLE
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
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
"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 START STRONG
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
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
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.
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)
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
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
"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
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)
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
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)
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
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)
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 —
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
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
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
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
"I killed it," the Olympic champion
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
"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
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
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
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
Kane leads Spurs' recovery in 2-2 draw at 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
"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
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."
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)
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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)
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
After the win, Swiss curler Jenny
Perret struggled to hold back her tears, dubbing her team's victory
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
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."
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)
Newcastle (AP) - Another
stumble at St. James' Park for Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
Another goal in an extraordinary season for Liverpool sensation Mohamed
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.
VAN DIJK'S RETURN
"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
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
TERRIERS HIT 4
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)
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
"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
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)
Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP) — For
one day at Pebble Beach, Ted Potter Jr. was better than the best in the
Look back even further, and his
three-shot victory in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is even more
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
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
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..