Events continue ahead of opening ceremonies in Pyeongchang

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim of the United States await their scores after competing in the Figure Skating Team Event - Pair Skating Short Program during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 9, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Olympic halfpipe champion Iouri Podladtchikov won’t defend his title because of injuries he suffered last month at the Winter X Games.

The 2014 gold medalist, known as the I-Pod, practiced on the Olympic halfpipe Friday but afterward said it would be “totally unreasonable” for him to compete.

The Russia native who competes for Switzerland took a nasty fall on his final jump at the X Games on Jan. 28, banging his face against the bottom of the pipe. He lay motionless for more than 10 minutes while medics stabilized his neck and strapped him to a stretcher.

He was diagnosed with a broken nose and released from the hospital the next day. He traveled to South Korea with the hopes of competing next Tuesday, but realized quickly it wouldn’t be possible.

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim of the United States await their scores after competing in the Figure Skating Team Event - Pair Skating Short Program during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 9, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Snowboarder Kelly Clark of the United States practices ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Snowboarder Shaun White of the United States practices ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
The Men's USA Ice Hockey Team practices ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Head coach Tony Granato of the Men's USA Ice Hockey Team works practice ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Men’s Downhill Skiing:

 

 

High winds in the weather forecast could move the marquee men’s downhill from its scheduled Sunday slot.

Race director Markus Waldner says a Monday lunchtime start is the favored backup plan.

Strong wind gusts forced a shortened practice run Friday to begin 564 feet (175 meters) lower down the Jeongseon race hill. The downhill start is at 4,495 feet (1,370 meters) altitude.

Racers risk being blown off a safe line in strong winds, which can shut down the only gondola carrying teams and officials up the mountain.

On Monday, the women’s giant slalom is scheduled at nearby Yongpyong with runs starting at 10:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.

Waldner says the men’s downhill could start between those times.

 

 

Women’s Skiing:

Lindsey Vonn will enter three races at what she says will be her final Olympics.

The U.S. skiing star, who missed the 2014 Sochi Games after surgery on her right knee, says she will compete in the downhill, the super-G and the combined. But she decided to sit out the giant slalom, saying that her knee “is just not really in a place to do that.”

The 33-year-old American said she wouldn’t be able to contend for a medal in the GS, “so there’s really no point.”

This is Vonn’s fourth Olympics. She won a gold in the downhill and a bronze in the super-G at Vancouver in 2010.

Her first race in South Korea is the super-G, scheduled for Feb. 17.

 

 

Men’s Ski Jump:

Team USA says 19-year-old American ski jumper Casey Larson has become the 100,000th man to compete at the Olympics.

Historian Bill Mallon calculated that Larson reached the milestone by being the 16th starter in Thursday’s qualifying at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Larson called the milestone “pretty cool.” He says he can add it to his Olympic checklist.

Larson was one of four athletes from the United States to qualify for Saturday’s normal hill final. Kevin Bickner, Michael Glasder and Will Rhoads also qualified.

Mallon conducted extensive research into who would become the 100,000th male athlete to compete since the modern games began in Athens in 1896.

 

 

Mixed Doubles Curling:

Despite holding a lead heading into the final round of curling’s mixed doubles match, the U.S. lost to reigning world champion Switzerland after the Swiss managed something exceedingly unusual: a perfect score known as a six-ender.

How rare is a six-ender?

Think of it as a perfect game in baseball.

Although Switzerland was behind by one point entering the final round, Jenny Perret and Martin Rios had an advantage: the right to throw the final stone of the game. They managed to get their first five stones into the house. They then promptly knocked the Americans’ lone rock out of the house.

According to the World Curling Federation, no curling team has ever managed a perfect score at the Olympics.

 

 

U.S. Olympic Team:

The chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee says there will be no American bid for the 2026 Winter Games but that the committee will keep its options open for 2030.

Larry Probst says the financial logistics of hosting the Winter Olympics two years before Los Angeles hosts the Summer Games in 2028 are too complex.

There is a possibility the IOC could award 2026 and 2030 together. Probst says the USOC is prepared to be part of the process if so.

Earlier this week, Salt Lake City said it would try to become the American candidate for a 2030 bid. Denver is also considering a bid.

 

 

Team Skating:

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford made up for teammate Patrick Chan’s shaky short program to give Team Canada the lead after the opening day of figure skating’s team competition.

The U.S. team was second, followed closely by Japan and the Olympic Athletes of Russia.

Duhamel and Radford scored 76.57 points in their program to finish behind Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, whose season-best 80.92 points dazzled a crowd full of Russian fans. But not even that big number could make up for teammate Mikhail Kolyada’s poor short program.

Nathan Chen was wobbly for the Americans, but the pairs team of Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim bailed him out with a dazzling performance set to music from “Moulin Rouge!”

The team competition resumes Sunday with the ice dance and ladies short programs.

 

Figure Skating:

 

 

Shoma Uno skated a near-flawless short program, the only stumble coming on his opening jump, and scored 103.25 points to give Japan the lead in figure skating’s team competition.

Alexei Bychenko put together a clean program to place Israel in a surprising second place, while the rest of the big hitters in the men’s competition kept hitting the ice.

Patrick Chan of gold medal-favorite Canada fell on both of his quads but rallied in the back half of his program to take third. Nathan Chen of the U.S. was fourth after doubling a triple toeloop and quad toeloop and falling on his troublesome triple axel.

The event continues later Friday with the pairs short program.