The U.S. men’s hockey team is looking to go unbeaten in the preliminary round at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
The U.S. improved to 2-0 after defeating Canada 4-2. It was the first time the U.S. beat their archrival at the Olympics since the 2010 Vancouver Games.
They are scheduled to play Germany on Sunday morning with first-place on the line.
(Looking for a recap of yesterday’s action? We’ve got you covered.)
Meanwhile, speedskater Erin Jackson makes her 2022 Olympic debut along with fellow Americans Brittany Bowe and Kimi Goetz in the women’s 500 meters. Jackson, the favorite to win gold, nearly missed out on competing. She slipped at the U.S. trials in this event and didn’t make the team, but Bowe gave up her spot in the 500 before later receiving a third quota spot in the event.
But the action begins with the debut of the women’s monobob, a new Olympic bobsled event. Team USA has two gold-medal favorites in three-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor and Kaillie Humphries, a newly minted U.S. citizen who won three Olympic medals, including two gold, for Canada at previous Games.
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MEDAL COUNT: How each country is performing at the Winter Games
BEIJING – Marco Odermatt has owned the giant slalom this season, and now he owns an Olympic gold medal in the event.
The 24-year-old Swiss skier plowed through snow and poor visibility Sunday to win the men’s giant slalom at the Beijing Games.
“I really risked everything in the second run because I wanted not just the medal, I wanted the gold medal,” Odermatt said. ”It’s difficult because you can lose everything but today it paid off.”
It was the first time snow fell during an Alpine skiing race at this year’s Olympics and the bad weather conditions caused the second run to be postponed by 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Odermatt coped with the conditions and the delay — and a first-run mistake — to post an unofficial combined time of 2 minutes, 09.35 seconds.
Zan Kranjec of Slovenia took silver, 0.19 seconds behind, and world champion Mathieu Faivre of France earned bronze, 1.34 behind.
Team USA’s River Radamus just missed out on a medal as he was knocked off the podium late and finished fourth. Radamus, who turned 24 on Saturday, finished 1.6 behind Odermatt and just .26 back of Faivre.
The skiers had been racing and training on artificial snow until the real thing started to fall on Saturday at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center. A second women’s downhill training run was canceled because of the conditions on Sunday.
— Associated Press
BEIJING — A rare snowstorm in Beijing on Sunday brought a distinct winter vibe to the 2022 Winter Olympics. But it also might have extinguished the Olympic flame at the Bird’s Nest.
Photos taken by a USA TODAY photographer early Sunday afternoon show no visible flame in the Olympic cauldron at the medals plaza outside the stadium, where it was lit during the opening ceremony on Feb. 4. The flame traditionally remains lit for the entire duration of the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee referred questions about the flame to the Beijing 2022 organizing committee, whose spokespeople did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
The Olympic flame is one of the most recognizable symbols of the Games, beyond perhaps the Olympic rings. It is lit before every edition of the Olympics at a special ceremony in Olympia, Greece, using “the ancient method of the sun’s rays in the parabolic mirror,” according to an IOC document.
The flame is then transported to the host city through the ballyhooed torch relay, which can take several months and involve thousands of torch bearers.
— Tom Schad
ZHANGJIAKOU, China – When American freestyle skier Maggie Voisin takes to the slopestyle course at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, she will do so with a heavy heart.
After coming back from shredded knee ligaments and a broken ankle to make it to these Games, the physical pain that she endured will not be at the forefront of her mind. Instead it will be the emotional pain.
Voisin, now a 23-year-old veteran of three Olympic Games, lives with heartbreak every day that will never go away or get any better, it will only take time and practice to cope with, the best she can.
“A little over a year ago I lost my brother to suicide,” said Voisin during her first week in China. “He was in the Army, so I wear his dog tag. I don’t usually wear it every day.
“But I wear it when I compete and it hangs at my heart.”
This tragedy doesn’t – and shouldn’t – define 5-foot-3, 115-pound Voisin, who grew up in Whitefish, Montana, not far from Glacier National Park, an opportunistic place for all kinds of winter sports with a big family that participated in all of them.
She got so good so fast at freeski slopestyle and big air that she qualified for the 2014 Olympics and was one place away from a podium finish in slopestyle at the 2018 Games.
But in the last year, after her older brother Michael’s death on Jan. 23, 2021, Voisin tried to push through, preparing and showing up for competitions, and being unable to snap the bindings in place in this dangerous sport that requires complete concentration.
“Obviously that was just the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to my family,” Voisin told MTN Sports. “Never in my life obviously have I experienced anything like that, or death that close to me, especially in that way and it rocked my world more than I think I ever let people know.
“I just I felt it in my performance, and I ended up only competing once last year, just because, I’ll be honest, I tried to go to multiple events and just had a breakdown.”
This, right here in China, right now, is the comeback of her life so far in a career full of them.
The question is, will she be rewarded with her first Olympic medal?
— Lori Nickel
CARLSBAD, Calif. – When Kaillie Humphries won her first world championship in bobsled, there was no trophy. There were for the winners of the two men’s events, however. Large, gleaming silver cups engraved with the names of previous champions, a celebration of both the sport’s present and its rich past.
This was in 2012, mind you, a dozen years after the women’s two-man race had made its debut at the world championships.
“I grew up in a household where you could do whatever you wanted, and gender didn’t play a factor at all. So when I came into bobsled, I thought, `Well, this isn’t right,” Humphries said.
Again, it wasn’t about the trophy. Humphries already had her signature piece of hardware, having won the first of her two (so far) Olympic gold medals in the event two years earlier while representing Canada. But it symbolized the dismissiveness the sport has for women, seeing them as afterthoughts or interlopers rather than full and equal participants.
With an assist from her parents, Cheryl and Ray Simundson, Humphries offered to purchase a trophy that could be given to future women’s world champions. Chastened, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation took care of it, and Humphries was its first recipient the following year.
The trophy still lacked the Stanley Cup-like recognition of previous champions, however. Humphries and her parents took it upon themselves to modify it, adding the names of past winners and giving it a new base so there was room for future champions.
“I hit a different part in my career where it wasn’t so much about me anymore, it was about making a difference. It was about changing the game,” Humphries told USA TODAY Sports. “I’m able to stand on the shoulders of all the women that were before me. I have the opportunity to even be at an Olympics because of the women in the ‘80s and the ‘90s and the early 2000s that competed when the Olympics weren’t even an option.
“And I want to make sure that the women after me also have greater opportunity.”
Humphries has a huge lead after the first two heats of the monobob, which is making its debut in Beijing. The final two heats are Monday.
— Nancy Armour
Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt skied through poor visibility amid falling snow and took the lead after the first run of the men’s giant slalom on Sunday at the Beijing Olympics.
Odermatt, 24, has won four of the five giant slalom races this season on the World Cup circuit and he leads the discipline standings as well as the overall standings.
After finishing his run, the Swiss skier waved his hand in front of his face to indicate difficulty in seeing the course clearly.
It’s the first time snow has fallen during an Alpine skiing race at this year’s Olympics.
Stefan Brennsteiner of Austria was 0.04 seconds behind in second and world champion Mathieu Faivre of France was 0.08 behind in third.
The second run is scheduled for later Sunday.
Snow has been falling since Saturday at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center, where athletes had been racing and training on artificial snow until then. A second women’s downhill training run scheduled for Sunday was canceled.
More than a third of the field failed to finish on the course known as The Ice River. After one fall, the race was slightly delayed while course workers searched for a loose ski that had become buried in the snow.
— Associated Press
BEIJING — Kaillie Humphries is halfway to a third Olympic gold medal.
Humphries, who won gold as a driver in two-man in 2014 and 2010, has a full second lead after the first two heats of monobob Sunday. U.S. teammate Elana Meyers Taylor is in fourth, 1.32 seconds back, going into the last two heats on Monday.
Humphries set the pace with her first run, establishing a track record as monobob made its Olympic debut. She was a touch slower on the second, but is still clearly the person to beat, finishing the two runs in a combined 2:09.10.
Christine de Bruin of Canada, who finished fourth in the World Cup monobob standings this season, is second, 1.04 seconds behind Humphries. Laura Nolte of Germany, bronze medalists in last year’s world championships, is third, 1.22 behind Humphries.
This is the first Olympics as an American for Humphries, who represented Canada in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014 — winning gold both times — and Pyeongchang, where she was the bronze medalist.
— Nancy Armour
ZHANGJIAKOU, China – Qualifying in women’s freeski slopestyle was postponed on Sunday as wind and low visibility made for difficult conditions on the start.
The postponement pushed the entire freeskiing slopestyle competition back a day. Women will now have qualifying on Monday and a final on Tuesday. The men, who were originally scheduled to compete Monday, will have qualifying on Tuesday and a final on Wednesday.
The competition was originally set to start at 10 a.m. local time before organizers delayed for at least two hours. In that time, workers tried to clean snow off the top rail sections and painted lines on the course.
It continued snowing throughout the delay, and wind and visibility didn’t improve. From the base of the course, it was difficult to see beyond the last jump.
Both conditions would have made it difficult if not dangerous for athletes to compete. The course features three large jumps at the end, and not being able to see landings or, potentially worse, getting blown around in the air could easily lead to injury.
By postponing, organizers avoided the type of disaster the female snowboarders faced in Pyeongchang four years ago when the final was held in windy, adverse conditions.
Organizers expected to determine when the competition would be rescheduled later Sunday. Regardless of timing, it will make for a hectic few days for the athletes.
The women’s final and men’s qualifying had originally been scheduled for Monday, followed by the men’s final on Tuesday.
There had been a break in the freeskiing schedule set for Wednesday, but some athletes competing in the halfpipe will now have competitions on back-to-back days.
— Rachel Axon
BEIJING — Kaillie Humphries’ first competitive run at the Olympics as an American was a historic one.
Humphries had the top time in the first heat of monobob Sunday, which is making its Olympic debut at the Beijing Games. Humphries trailed U.S. teammate Elana Meyers Taylor after the start, but picked up speed in the second half of her run and finished in 1:04.44.
Laura Nolte of Germany was second, 0.30 seconds behind, and Meyers Taylor and Christine de Bruin of Canada are 0.68 back. The second run is later Sunday, and the third and fourth runs are Monday.
Humphries and Meyers Taylor were instrumental in getting a second medal opportunity for women bobsledders, who have only been allowed to compete at the Olympics, in a two-man race, since 2002. Men’s four-men was part of the first Winter Olympics, in 1924, and the two-man was added eight years later.
Humphries and Meyers Taylor had pushed for a four-man race, like the men have, but were rebuffed by international bobsled officials, who say there aren’t enough countries that could field teams. As part of its effort to improve gender equity, the International Olympic Committee agreed to add monobob, beginning in Beijing.
“It’s not what the men have … but at least we (both) have two opportunities to compete so we are equal in medal opportunities,” Humphries told USA TODAY Sports in November.
And both Humphries and Meyers Taylor are favorites to win medals in both races. Humphries is the reigning world champion in both monobob and two-man, while Meyers Taylor won the overall monobob title this World Cup season.
Both are previous Olympic medalists, too. Meyers Taylor has won silvers at the last two Olympics as a driver, and also has a bronze as a brakeman in 2010. Humphries won gold medals for Canada in two-man in 2010 and 2014, as well as a bronze in 2018.
Humphries asked Canada for her release in 2019, revealing that she had filed a formal complaint a year earlier alleging verbal and emotional abuse by Todd Hays, Team Canada’s bobsled coach. The case is ongoing, with the findings of one investigation tossed out and Hays suing Humphries for defamation.
Humphries has lived in the United States since 2016, and married Travis Armbruster, a former U.S. bobsledder in 2019. But she feared as late as last fall that she wouldn’t get her U.S. citizenship in time to compete in Beijing.
She was sworn in Dec. 2, and is wearing a helmet painted like a U.S. flag. She also had her long, blonde hair tied back with a red, white and blue scarf.
— Nancy Armour
BEIJING — Two U.S. ice dance teams are in medal contention after the first half of the event Saturday.
Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue placed third in the rhythm dance portion of the event, with a score of 87.13 while skating to a compilation of music from Janet Jackson.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the reigning national champions, are in fourth — but trailing their compatriots by almost 3 full points (84.14).
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are in first after turning in a world-record rhythm dance score of 90.83. And Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia are in line for the silver.
Competition continues Monday with the free dance.
— Tom Schad
It’s already been an eventful stay on Beijing for American bobsled star Elana Meyers Taylor, who tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival on Jan. 29 and spent time in quarantine. Meyers Taylor was scheduled to carry the flag for the USA in the opening ceremony but had to pass up the honor with speedskater Brittany Bowe filling in.
These Olympics mark Elana Meyers Taylor’s fourth Olympic Games, but it will be her first as a mother. Meyers Taylor took off during the 2019-20 bobsled season to welcome son Nico in February 2020 with husband Nic Taylor, a fellow bobsledder she married in 2014.
Olympian Elana Meyers Taylor shows daily life in COVID isolation
Bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor tested positive for COVID on Jan. 29 inside the Beijing Olympic bubble. Her husband Nic and son Nico also tested positive and are quarantined apart.
Sandy Hooper, USA TODAY
Meyers Taylor enters the 2022 Beijing games with three Olympic medals – two silvers (in 2014 and 2018) one bronze (2010).
She begins her quest for two more medals with the debut of women’s monobob Sunday followed by the two-man competition next week.
— Cydney Henderson
The U.S. sits sixth in the overall medals table heading into Sunday’s events after adding gold Saturday in the debut of mixed-gender team snowboardcross.
Lindsey Jacobellis, who on Wednesday won the USA’s first gold medal of these Games, added a second one, pairing with partner Nick Baumgartner, who finally captured his first medal in his fourth Olympic Games.
Their gold medal bumped the U.S. tally to five, tied with Sweden and the Netherlands and three behind Norway and Germany. Norway leads in total medals with 17, followed by Germany and Austria with 14.
BEIJING – The Kamila Valieva controversy is taking its toll on the patience of Russian skaters.
The ice dancing partner of the daughter of Valieva’s controversial coach tried to shut down questions about the Olympic doping scandal four times in a 1½ minute interview with journalists Saturday night – after ending an interview with the wire services a few minutes earlier.
ROC skater Gleb Smolkin did his best to shield his 19-year-old partner Diana Davis, the Detroit-based daughter of Russian coach Eteri Tutberidze, from any scrutiny in the wake of Valieva’s positive drug test.
– Christine Brennan
Speedskater Erin Jackson, one of the few Black competitors in an overwhelmingly white sport, is favored to win a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. Five years ago, she switched from inline skating to ice, and now the 29-year-old enters the Olympics as the No. 1-ranked skater in the world at 500 meters.
That’s a lot of pressure to bear, sure. But Jackson relishes it.
“When there’s not enough pressure, I feel like I get a little too relaxed,” she said. “The more pressure we can put on me, the better.”
— Tom Schad
The U.S. men’s hockey team, which improved to 2-0 by beating archrival Canada, takes on defending silver medalist Germany (1-1) in the final preliminary-round game. First place in the pool is on the line, and if the USA wins or loses in overtime, it will get a bye to the quarterfinals. It still has a chance at a bye even with a regulation loss. The Americans have the top two scorers in Beijing in college forwards Sean Ferrell (six points) and Ben Meyers (four).
Moments of Olympic glory aren’t just paybacks for years of hard work. In many countries, they are a payday.
USA TODAY surveyed nearly 60 national Olympic committees and received responses from 20.
A look at how much money 20 countries are paying their athletes for medals won at the Beijing Olympics.
– Rachel Axon