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Olympics Live: Men’s downhill moved to Monday | Health/Fitness

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BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:

Alpine skiing’s power couple will have a busy day on the Olympic slopes — as long as the wind calms down, that is.

Mikaela Shiffrin and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde are now both supposed to race Monday after the men’s downhill was pushed back a day because of too-strong gusts at the scheduled start Sunday. Shiffrin and Kilde are dating.

Kilde is considered the man to beat in the downhill. The Norwegian leads the World Cup standings in that event and was fastest during training in China on Friday.

Shiffrin is the defending Olympic champion in the women’s giant slalom, which already was on the Alpine program for Monday.

The two-leg GS will be raced at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on the technical slope at Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center. In between those runs, the downhill will be held at noon on the speed slope about a half-mile away.

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The Australian mixed doubles curling team received a late reprieve and returned to competition at the Beijing Olympics after an earlier announcement that it would head home after Tahli Gill returned a series of positive COVID-19 tests.

The Australian Olympic Committee said Gill and Dean Hewitt could continue under the close contact provisions.

“We are thrilled for Tahli and Dean and I am delighted that our headquarters team continued pressing her case, after earlier advice that the pair could no longer compete,” said Geoff Lipshut, head of the Australian delegation.

Gill and Hewitt, representing Australia’s first-ever Olympic curling team, were back at the Ice Cube in time to play Switzerland in the round robin competition. They are winless in seven games.

Gill contracted COVID-19 prior to the games. Ongoing testing alternated between negative and positive. She had been allowed to compete under the close contact arrangements after discussions with the IOC and games organizers. The AOC said earlier Sunday that initial attempts to return Gill to competition were rebuffed by the IOC and health authorities.

The International Olympic Committee says Olympic officials will meet with Netherlands state broadcaster NOS, which has been frustrated by fallout from its journalist being manhandled by a games security official during a live report.

NOS, which pays rights fees for the Beijing Olympics, disputed comments made Saturday by an IOC spokesman that it was contacted about the incident.

In a rare public criticism of the IOC by an official rights holder, NOS said none of its management nor reporter Sjoerd Den Daas had spoken to anyone from the Olympic body.

China-based Den Daas was pushed away from the camera by the guard while broadcasting live on Friday evening before the opening ceremony.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams clarified that contact with NOS on Friday and Saturday was through the Olympic broadcasting subsidiary, and that a meeting scheduled Sunday “should be the end of the matter.”

Olympic organizers say they’re addressing complaints about isolation conditions for athletes who test positive for the coronavirus and working to ensure they have clean rooms, better food and access to training equipment.

“These are exactly the kind of things we have to address. It’s a duty. It’s a responsibility. We have to make sure that the expectations are met,” said Christophe Dubi, the International Olympic Committee’s executive director for the games.

The comments came after multiple complaints about the isolation conditions. The German team called the situation for its athletes “unreasonable” and said rooms should be bigger and cleaner.

Russian biathlon competitor Valeria Vasnetsova said she couldn’t stomach most of the food she was given, and mostly survived on a few pieces of pasta. Soon after the post, a team spokesperson posted a picture showing what he said was improved food, including salmon, cucumbers, sausages and yogurt.

A total of 363 people inside the Olympic bubble have tested positive for COVID.

The first event of the Alpine skiing schedule at the Beijing Olympics, the men’s downhill, has been postponed because of strong wind that made it too dangerous to race.

No new date was announced immediately.

The first women’s race — the giant slalom — is scheduled for Monday, with Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. defending her Olympic gold from 2018.

At the top of the speed course, known as The Rock, the wind was whipping at 30 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph, when Sunday’s men’s race originally was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

The start was delayed three times for a total of three hours in the hope that the wind would relent. But eventually the decision was made at 1 p.m. to put it off to another day.

Wind was also an issue for Alpine skiing at the 2018 Pyongchang Games, where multiple races were postponed and the schedule was shuffled repeatedly.

Saturday’s third and final training session for the men was stopped after just three skiers because of wind. None of the world’s top racers had ever seen the course until the first training run on Thursday. The usual pre-Olympics test events were scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The powerful Russian figure skating team is in first place in the team competition at the Beijing Games after a winning performance from world champion Kamila Valieva and another strong skate from Mark Kondratiuk.

The team representing the Russian Olympic Committee has 45 points, two ahead of the U.S., which had a couple of shaky performances from Karen Chen and Vincent Zhou to slip out of first place.

The biggest surprise on the second of three days of team competition was Japan. Wakaba Higuchi was second in the women’s short program before 18-year-old Yuma Kagiyama delivered a personal-best score of 208.94 points to easily win the men’s free skate, sending the Japanese team into medal contention with 39 points.

The team competition concludes Monday with the women and pairs free skate and the free dance.

Australia’s first-ever Olympic mixed doubles curling team has pulled out of the Beijing Games after Tahli Gill returned a series of positive COVID-19 tests.

The Australian Olympic Committee said it was trying to make arrangements to have Gill and Dean Hewitt fly home rather than having Gill remain in an isolation hotel. They will miss their final two games and finish 0-7 in round robin play.

Gill contracted COVID-19 prior to the games. Ongoing testing alternated between negative and positive. She had been allowed to compete under the close contact arrangements after discussions with the IOC and games organizers.

Attempts to return Gill to competition were rebuffed by the IOC and health authorities, Australian Olympic team head Geoff Lipshut said.

“We made the case that Tahli was at the end of the infection cycle but further positive results early this morning ended our hopes. Rather than remain in isolation, we now have the option of returning Tahli and Dean home,” Lipshut said.

Zoi Sadowski Synnott won New Zealand’s first gold medal in Winter Olympics history, stomping down a pressure-packed run on her last trip down the mountain Sunday to win the title in women’s slopestyle.

The 20-year-old was one of the very few to put down clean run on a supersized course, where hardpacked snow and bone-cold wind chills made things difficult for all 12 finalists, including two-time defending champion Jamie Anderson, who finished ninth.

Sadowski Synnott went into her last of three runs trailing American Julia Marino but came up big.

She landed a double-cork 1080 on the second jump, and while not repeating that jump the way she did when she won the Winter X Games last month, her backside 1080 off the final kicker was more than enough.

She raised her hands in the air after landing, knowing what she’d done. Marino and third-place finisher Tess Coady of Australia knew it, too. They gang-tackled her at the finish line to celebrate.

Olympic favorite Kamila Valieva nearly eclipsed her own world record in the short program of the team figure skating event at the Beijing . That sends her Russian team into the lead heading into the men’s free skate later Sunday.

The 15-year-old Valieva’s score of 90.18 points to “In Memoriam” by the Russian pianist and composer Kirill Richter at the Beijing Games was just off the record of 90.45 points set just weeks ago at the European championships.

The Russians moved into first place with 36 points, two ahead of Day 1 leader Team USA and seven ahead of Japan.

Karen Chen took the ice for the Americans but made a couple of mistakes, including a fall on her triple loop near the end of the program. That left her in fifth place in the short program and cost her team valuable points.

Wakaba Higuchi was second, pushing her Japanese team into podium contention. Reigning gold medalist Canada survived the cutoff thanks to a strong performance from Madeline Schizas, while China claimed the last spot in the free skates by winning a tiebreaker with Georgia.

More AP Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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