A supporter of Russian athlete wait before the preliminary round of the men's hockey game between Slovakia and the team from Russia at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Latest: Russian fans proudly wave flag at Olympics

February 15, 2018 - 3:49 am

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

Russian fans are proudly waving their country's flag at the Pyeongchang Olympics, where Team Russia is technically banned and Russian athletes must compete under the Olympic flag.

Many fans say the ban makes them more determined to represent their country.

Hockey star Ilya Kovalchuk has one rule for such fans: Put down the flag if they want to take a photo with him.

The athletes from Russia are banned from using the flag or national symbols. The fans say that makes them even more patriotic and committed to make sure the athletes know that Russians are at these Olympics.

At hockey and figure skating, the Russians have been among the loudest fan bases.


5 p.m.

French skiers are unhappy that Olympic organizers wouldn't allow them to wear stickers on their helmets to commemorate David Poisson, a teammate killed in a training crash last November.

The sticker showed a drawing of a fish's head, a play on Poisson's name in French, which means fish. The International Olympic Committee has strict rules preventing Olympians from wearing unauthorized labels or stickers on their gear.

"I'm really very disappointed that they didn't allow us to wear it, given that it's not commercial advertising for anything," French skier Adrien Theaux said after placing 26th in the men's downhill on Thursday.

Poisson, 35, was killed in training at the Canadian resort of Nakiska. The French wore tri-color hearts with "DP" in the center during World Cup races this season.


4:40 p.m.

Ragnhild Haga of Norway has won her first gold medal in the women's 10-kilometer freestyle at the Pyeongchang Olympics, dusting the field by more than 20 seconds.

She finished in just over 25 minutes Thursday.

Sweden's Charlotte Kalla won her second medal of the Olympic Games by finishing in second, while Norway's Mart Bjoergen and Finland's Krista Parmakoski finished tied for third with identical times of 25 minutes, 32.4 seconds.

It is the 12th career medal for Bjoergen, leaving the 37-year-old one shy of matching the record of 13 held by Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen.

USA's Jessica Diggins finished in fifth place and now has three top-six finishes at the Olympic Games.


4:30 p.m.

The Dutch Olympic team has been hit by a 4-year-old match-fixing scandal involving one of its speedskating coaches.

The Dutch Olympic committee says it has officially warned Jillert Anema for an attempt at match-fixing in the Olympic team pursuit four years ago at the Sochi Games. Anema also worked for the French team.

In a 2014 letter to Anema published Thursday, the committee chastised him for asking a Dutch team leader not to be too hard on the French squad in the quarterfinals because a humiliating result might have funding consequences for their team.

Anema is in Pyeongchang and trains Dutch speedskater Jorrit Bergsma and his American wife, Heather. Jorrit Bergsma is a medal favorite in the 10,000-kilometer race later Thursday.


4:10 p.m.

Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who is almost a lock to be the No. 1 NHL draft pick in June, won't play for Sweden in its Olympic opener against Norway even though he's healthy.

The 17-year-old Dahlin has drawn rave reviews from teammates for Sweden and Frolunda, his team in the Swedish Hockey League. Analyst Craig Button says Dahlin is far and away the best 2018 draft prospect.


4 p.m.

A San Francisco Bay area radio station has fired one of its hosts over comments he made about 17-year-old Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim on another station.

Program director Jeremiah Crowe of KNBR-AM said in a statement Wednesday that host Patrick Connor has been fired.

On Tuesday, on the Barstool Sports network on SiriusXM, Connor made vulgar comments about Kim, then said "the countdown is on" until her 18th birthday.

Connor apologized on Twitter, calling his comments "inappropriate."

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, without referring directly to Connor, said on Twitter that his network sometimes misses the mark with humor, but "cry babies" will not dictate its actions.

Kim, of Torrance, California, won gold in the women's halfpipe Tuesday at the Pyeongchang Olympics.


3:50 p.m.

The Crown Prince of Norway had not planned to be at the men's downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics, but the wind changed the race schedule, allowing him to see two of his compatriots take home gold and silver medals.

Crown Prince Haakon joined a jubilant victory photograph Thursday with gold medalist Aksel Lund Svindal and silver medalist Kjetil Jansrud.

Haakon told The Associated Press that he was supposed to see the super-G on Thursday, but the Alpine schedule was blown off course by fierce winds.

Norway dominates at the men's super-G and has won four straight Olympic titles, including gold for Svindal in 2010.

There would have been no royal presence had downhill been raced last Sunday as intended.

Haakon says unfortunately he will not be able to attend Friday's super-G, where more Norwegian medals are expected.


3:25 p.m.

Pierre Vaultier of France has defended his title in men's snowboardcross at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Vaultier barely qualified for the final after crashing during the semifinals but recovered to win his second Olympic gold medal on Thursday with relative ease.

Jarryd Hughes of Australia took silver, with Spain's Regino Hernandez earning a rare Winter Games medal for his country by taking bronze.

Americans Nick Baumgartner and Mick Dierdorff advanced to the final, but both washed out on a jump and finished well back of the leaders.


2:55 p.m.

American Mikaela Shiffrin has won gold in the women's giant slalom in her Pyeongchang Olympic debut.

She used a hard-charging final run to win her second career Olympic gold medal.

The 22-year-old American standout trailed by 0.20 seconds heading into the last run, but made up ground in no time by powering through ruts that had developed on the course.

Shiffrin finished 0.39 seconds ahead of Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel at Yongpyong Alpine Center. Federica Brignone of Italy captured bronze, 0.46 behind Shiffrin's combined time of 2 minutes, 20.02 seconds. First-run leader Manuela Moelgg of Italy wound up eighth.

At the 2014 Sochi Games, Shiffrin won the slalom crown at age 18. She will defend that title Friday.

There were still 37 lower-ranked ski racers left to go, all of whom were well back of the leaders after the first run.


2:40 p.m.

Defending gold medalist Canada has clinched the top spot in pool play by edging the United States 2-1 in an early Olympic showdown between the dominant powers in women's hockey.

Meghan Agosta and Sara Nurse each scored in the second period, and Genevieve Lacasse made 44 saves. Canada and the United States are the only countries to ever win gold at the Olympics.

Lacasse stopped Hilary Knight at the post inside the final 90 seconds. Brianne Decker hit two posts, the second in the final seconds, before punching, pushing and shoving. Officials reviewed the final play and ruled no goal.

The Canadians also had two goals disallowed, the second midway through the third for Haley Irwin kicking the puck in off her left skate.

The Americans have not taken home gold since 1998, while Canada is here looking for a fifth straight.


2:35 p.m.

Eeli Tolvanen shined with a goal and three assists as Finland flashed skill and sharp shooting to beat Germany 5-2 in each team's Olympic opener.

Tolvanen, the Nashville Predators' top prospect, scored at even strength and assisted on a power-play goal by Sami Lepisto and captain Lasse Kukkonen's first goal in the Olympics or world championships since 2006. Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Mika Pyorala also scored for Finland on Thursday.

Former New York Islanders goaltender Mikko Koskinen stopped 22 of 24 shots for the victory. Germany goaltender Danny aus den Birken allowed five goals on 20 shots.

Brooks Macek and Frank Hordler scored for Germany, which could not match Finland's firepower.

Stars prospect Miro Heiskanen had a turnover that led to one of Germany's goals but played a strong game overall.


2:05 p.m.

Tongan cross-country skier Pita Taufatofua jokes that he has two primary goals when he competes in his first Winter Olympics: Don't hit a tree and finish before they turn the lights off.

The medal podium is far from the mind of the famously shirtless Tongan, who qualified for the event despite having taken up the sport less than a year ago and having spent less than 12 weeks of his life on snow.

The 34-year-old Taufatofua says his real long-term goal in Pyeongchang is to inspire others from the South Pacific.

He says he knows he won't medal on Friday, "but in four years, someone from Tonga might. In eight years, someone from the Pacific might." He says kids who are watching will have "access to something they never knew existed before."


1:40 p.m.

Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany have won Olympic pairs figure skating gold with a flawless, record-setting free skate.

Savchenko and Massot scored 159.31 points in their program set to music by Armand Amar on the final day of pairs skating at the Pyeongchang Games. That gave them 235.90 points, catapulting them from fourth place after a shaky short program. It's Germany's first pairs gold since 1952.

China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, who led after the short program, recovered from a slow start to their free skate to score 153.08 points. But their early bobbles proved costly — they finished with 235.47 points, less than half a point off the top step of the podium.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford added a bronze medal after winning team gold with Canada.


This item has been corrected to show that Canada won team gold, not team bronze.


1:20 p.m.

Canadian Olympic skeleton racer Dave Greszczyszyn is not American. He's not from Florida. He doesn't know any of the at least 17 people killed by a gunman who opened fire at a high school not far from Miami.

But he has been a schoolteacher all over the world. And that's why news of the latest U.S. school shooting nearly moved him to tears.

The first thing Greszczyszyn found out about when he awoke hours before racing Thursday in Pyeongchang was the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Even half a world away, it left him wondering again why these things happen.

"When I woke up I looked at my phone and saw that," Greszczyszyn said after his race. "Pretty upsetting. Yeah, something's got to be done. Up in Canada, we still have some of those every once in a while, but we're pretty lucky. We don't have, I guess, the same numbers. But anytime there's something like that in a school, it's obviously not good."

Greszczyszyn was 21st after the first two runs of the competition, which ends Friday.


1:10 p.m.

Pyeongchang Olympic organizers say 16 people were treated for scrapes and light injuries caused by high winds whipping through some venues.

Organizing committee spokesman Sung Baik-you says 13 staff members and three spectators were injured Wednesday. All were released.

Sung says most of the damage was in the Olympic Park area in Gangneung, which is on the coast and is the base for ice hockey and other ice sports. Pyeongchang is in the mountains and houses primarily snow and ski events.

Sung says 60 temporary tents were damaged along with signs and fences. Flying debris accounted for many of the injuries.

The wind and cold that has hit the Olympics subsided on Thursday with clear skies, light winds and above-freezing temperatures across most of the venues.


12:55 p.m.

Aksel Lund Svindal has won the men's downhill in Pyeongchang, making the 35-year-old Norwegian the oldest-ever Olympic gold medalist in Alpine skiing.

Svindal was 0.12 seconds faster than Norwegian teammate Kjetil Jansrud down the 1 4/5-mile (2.9-kilometer) course at Jeongseon. Beat Feuz of Switzerland took bronze, 0.18 behind Svindal's time of 1 minute, 40.25 seconds.

Lower-ranked skiers are yet to start in the 57-racer lineup, though none is regarded as a threat to the medal-winning times.

The men's downhill was one of three Alpine races that were supposed to be held earlier in the week, but were postponed because of gusty winds.


12:30 p.m.

Norway's big two racers are atop the Olympic downhill standings after the 20 best-ranked men have completed their runs.

Aksel Lund Svindal leads teammate Kjetil Jansrud by 0.12 seconds, with world champion Beat Feuz of Switzerland 0.18 back in third place.

They were the three most touted prerace favorites.

Svindal excelled on the bottom half of the Jeongseon course after some uneasy moments on snow that seems faster after several days of pounding by blustery winds.

The 57-skier race started in near-perfect calm and cold conditions. It was 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) under sunshine and blue skies broken up by a few wispy clouds.

If he stays in first, the 35-year-old Svindal would be the oldest-ever Alpine Olympic gold medalist.


12 p.m.

An attorney for the woman who filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against Shaun White says the snowboarder's comments "directly impugn" the woman's character.

Lena Zawaideh, a former drummer in White's band, Bad Things, filed a lawsuit in 2016 saying White sexually harassed her and refused to pay her wages after he fired her. The lawsuit was settled in May for an undisclosed amount.

White referred to the lawsuit as "gossip" in a news conference shortly after winning this third gold medal at the men's halfpipe Wednesday. He later apologized for that remark on NBC's "Today" Show.

Lawrance Bohm, Zawaideh's attorney, says in a statement that "Ms. Zawaideh believed that this matter was in the past," but that White's comment "minimized the problem of sexual harassment in this country."


11:45 a.m.

North Korean pairs skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik have finished their Olympic program with a season-best free skate, delighting their cheering section in the upper level of Gangneung Ice Arena.

The couple qualified for the Olympics on merits after finishing third at last month's Four Continents. They were also 15th at last year's world championships.

Their triple toeloop-double toeloop combination was a bit shaky, and their timing was off on their side-by-side double axel, but they mostly landed all of their elements.

Still, they will finish well out of the medals.


11:30 a.m.

U.S. pairs skater Alexa Scimeca-Knierim has broken down in tears after her free skate performance with husband Chris Knierim, saying shootings at a Florida high school had her "emotionally drained."

Scimeca-Knierim didn't blame the news from Florida for a poor routine by the only American pair at the Olympics. But she says she was stressed out when she saw the news on television at the arena.

"We are so privileged and lucky to be doing what we are doing," she said, "and it's so sad that 17 people died in the United States. I told Chris today he'd need to be so much stronger than me.

"I am disappointed with the way we performed today, but so many people at home are hurting because their children have died."

She stopped to gather herself as her husband patted her on the head.

"I was not focused on it while we were skating, but now that we are done, after we've skated, there's an emotional hurt. I am overwhelmed."


11 a.m.

Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim became the first Americans to land a quad twist in an Olympic competition when they hit the four-revolution element in the pairs free skate.

The rest of their program didn't go nearly as well.

Knierim fell on both of their triple jumps, a salchow and the toeloop that was supposed to lead into a double toeloop. The married couple was also out of synch on their combination spin and a bit shaky on their throw triple flip.

They'll wind up far out of medal contention, but they've already had a successful Olympics. They were an integral part of the U.S. winning the team bronze.


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