PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):
Mikaela Shiffrin is feeling relaxed by her decision not to race in the Pyeongchang Olympic downhill and has produced a fast practice run to set her up for Thursday’s Alpine combined event.
The American acknowledged feeling ”a little bit of relief” after the program changed late Monday. Organizers brought forward the combined by one day to avoid forecast strong winds.
The demands of back-to-back race days meant Shiffrin opted out of Wednesday’s downhill to focus on combined, which includes a run of slalom, her specialist discipline.
Shiffrin posted the fifth-fastest time in Tuesday’s practice.
She is among the favorites to add the combined Olympic title to the giant slalom she won last Thursday.
Lindsey Vonn used the final practice run before Wednesday’s Pyeongchang Olympic downhill to test different racing lines on the course.
Some worked, some didn’t, and Vonn went outside a gate clocking the fourth-fastest time behind Ramona Siebenhofer of Austria on Tuesday.
The American star says, ”Some of the lines I took today I think were faster. Others not.”
Siebenhofer was 0.20 seconds faster than Michelle Gisin of Switzerland, whose sister Dominique tied for victory in the 2014 Olympic downhill.
Nadia Fanchini of Italy was third, 0.21 behind the leader. Vonn was 0.29 back, having stood up and carved a turn before the finish line.
Mikaela Shiffrin was fifth fastest, though she is preparing for the Alpine combined event on Thursday. Shiffrin will skip the downhill.
Canada’s Cassie Sharpe has given her country its first medal in Olympic freestyle halfpipe skiing.
Sharpe posted the top two scores in the women’s final at Phoenix Snow Park, with the 95.80 she put up during her second run the best of the finals.
France’s Marie Martinod added a second silver to go with the one she captured in Sochi four years ago when the sport made its Olympic debut. Martinod scored 92.60 on her second run but fell during her third to assure Sharpe of the gold.
American Brita Sigourney edged teammate Annalisa Drew for bronze. Drew scored 90.80 on her final run to slip past Sigourney only to have Sigourney, the next skier down, put up a 91.80.
Defending Olympic champion Maddie Bowman of the United States fell on the final hit during each of her three runs in the finals.
Many of the Alpine medalists at the Pyeongchang Olympics have dealt more than once with the rigorous process of recovering from long-term injuries. These ski racers have wrecked knees, broken assorted bones or banged-up their backs.
They have been forced to sit out a full season – or longer. And they keep coming back for more.
Among them is Swiss ski racer Lara Gut. Tuesday is the one-year anniversary of surgery to repair her anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus. She’s thrilled to be back to race in the women’s downhill.
When it comes to other sports, fans often hear about athletes sidelined for days at a time. A strained muscle here. A sore shoulder there. Not in Alpine racing. Not by a long shot. Like Gut, these Olympians’ statuses are best described as month-to-month or even year-to-year, rather than week-to-week.
Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are aiming to become the most accomplished figure skaters in Olympic history as the free dance begins at Gangneung Ice Arena.
Virtue and Moir lead their training partners and biggest rivals, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, by less than two points after their record-breaking short dance Monday.
The Canadians already have two gold and two silver medals at the Olympics. That total is tied with Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko and Sweden’s Gillis Grafstrom for most among figure skaters.
There are three American teams in medal contention, including reigning national champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who were third after the short dance.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who already have helped Canada win gold in the figure skating team competition, head into the ice dance free skate at the Pyeongchang Olympics in first place. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron are in second after overcoming a wardrobe malfunction in the short program Monday.
The three American teams are right behind them. American champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are in third, siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani are in fourth, and Madison Chock and Evan Bates are in seventh.
Also Tuesday, there are qualifying games in men’s hockey, and the women kick off their first bobsled heats. Not yet clear is whether there will be any resolution to a Russian doping case involving a curler that could jeopardize the country’s chances of marching under its own flag in the closing ceremony.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org