PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) – The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):
Defending champion the Netherlands will face Japan in the final of the women’s speedskating team pursuit, with both teams cruising in the semifinals.
It will be a North American battle for bronze, with the United States facing Canada.
The Dutch, led by Ireen Wust, took an early lead over the United States and never had to push, since the U.S. team, with Brittany Bowe sitting out the semifinal, was clearly seeking to conserve energy for the bronze-medal race.
And after six laps, the Dutch could already see the slow U.S. riders in the same lane as they cruised to at least a silver medal.
Japan was pushed a bit harder by Canada but steadily built up a comfortable lead, taking any excitement out of the second semifinal, too.
Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Martin Johnsrud have captured gold in the men’s team sprint, giving Norway a 13th medal in cross-country at the Pyeongchang Games to tie an Olympic record.
A team of Russians took silver Wednesday, and France edged out Sweden for bronze.
It was the third gold medal for Klaebo, tying him with French biathlete Martin Fourcade for the most at the Pyeongchang Games.
The 21-year Klaebo became the fourth male athlete to win three gold medals at the Winter Games before turning 22. He joins American speedskater Eric Heiden, Austrian Alpine skier Toni Sailer and KoreaN short-track speedskater Ano Victor.
Ester Ledecka’s quest for the second half of the rarest of Olympic doubles will start two days later than expected.
Olympic officials juggled scheduling at the action park because of heavy winds that are expected on Friday.
Ledecka, the Czech skier and snowboarder who won the super-G in Alpine in a shocker, is also entered in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom, where she is top-ranked. Qualifying runs were originally set for Thursday but have now been moved to Saturday and will be run the same day as the final rounds.
Women’s skicross qualifying was moved up a day to Thursday. The elimination rounds for that event were moved from Friday afternoon to the morning, before the winds are expected to hit.
The United States has won its first Olympic gold medal in women’s cross-country skiing, and Norwegian skier Marit Bjoergen has become the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time by taking bronze at the Pyeongchang Games.
The Americans posted the fastest time in the semifinals to start on the front row in the finals Wednesday. Jessica Diggins passed the Swedes and the Norwegians on the final lap to make history in a major upset.
Sweden took silver.
Bjoergen and teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla won the bronze medal.
Bjoergen now has won 14 career medals at the Winter Olympic Games, passing Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjourndalen for the most ever. The 37-year-old previously took gold in the women’s 4×5-kilometer relay, silver in the 15-kilometer skiathlon and bronze in the 10-kilometer freestyle at Pyeongchang.
K-pop band EXO will play at the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Organizers on Wednesday announced the performance by the South Korean-Chinese group, which has a vast following among teenagers.
Among them is Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva, who is in second place in the women’s figure skating competition heading into the free skate Friday.
Medvedeva, 18, said she listened to Exo before her stunning short program in the team figure skating event last week. Russia won silver and she set a new record, though she surpassed it in Wednesday’s individual competition before teammate Alina Zagitova surpassed her.
She said after the team competition that she has autographs and letters from the members of EXO and they provided inspiration.
Organizers also said K-pop artist CL will perform at the ceremony, which is Sunday.
Noora Raty has stopped 20 shots to lead Finland to a 3-2 victory over the Russians in the women’s hockey bronze medal game at the Olympics.
Petra Nieminen, Susanna Tapani and Linda Valimaki scored for Finland, which can claim to be the best of the rest in a sport dominated by North Americans.
Following up their bronze medals in 1998 and 2010, the Finns beat Russia 5-1 in pool play but had a tougher go in the medal round. The teams were even in shots – 22-22 – but the Russians never led after falling behind 2-0 off the opening faceoff of the second period.
Canada and the U.S. will play for the gold medal on Thursday.
The Russian men’s hockey team has swept aside Norway 6-1 to set up a semifinal against the Czech Republic.
Russia charged to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period, outshooting Norway 19-2, and remained in control throughout the game as chants of “Red Machine” and “Russia” echoed around the half-empty Gangneung Hockey Center.
Nikita Gusev finished with a goal and two assists, while Slava Voynov had a goal and an assist.
After the disappointment of losing in the quarterfinals at home in Sochi four years ago, the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” – as they’re called due to International Olympic Committee sanctions over doping – are now guaranteed to play for a medal.
No Russian hockey team has won a medal since 2002.
U.S. cross-country skiers Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall had the fastest time in the women’s sprint relay semifinals and have advanced to the finals at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The American women have never won a medal in cross-country skiing. The only American to ever win a cross-county medal was Bill Koch in 1976.
The finals begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday local time, which is 5 a.m. Wednesday Eastern time.
The Americans beat out a solid team from Sweden to win their heat.
Ten teams will compete in the finals.
Norway’s Marit Bjoernen is looking to make history of her own by becoming the most decorated Winter Olympic medalist of all time. She has 13 career medals overall, tied with Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjourndalen, and is looking to break that tie.
If there was a positive that the Americans took away from the two-man bobsled competition at the Pyeongchang Olympics, it’s that they now know what not to do.
But knowing what to do is still a work in progress. The U.S. men returned to the ice Wednesday for the first day of official training for the four-man competition. They’re desperate to figure out a course that has largely befuddled them to this point.
Four-man is the final sliding event in Pyeongchang, with two runs on Saturday and two more before the cauldron gets extinguished on Sunday.
U.S. pilot Codie Bascue says they had two really solid runs that will give them confidence for the rest of the week.
Any confidence boost would be helpful. The U.S. placed 14th, 21st and 25th in the two-man competition.
Brady Leman has earned gold for Canada in men’s skicross, beating Switzerland’s Marc Bischofberger in a wild final at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Leman took the lead early during Wednesday’s last round and then held off Bischofberger in a two-man duel after Canada’s Kevin Drury and Russian athlete Sergey Ridzik collided early on.
Ridzik picked himself up and raced down for bronze.
The elimination rounds included a handful of frightening crashes that forced several men to leave the course wrapped up in a medical sled.
The worst came when 2011 world champion Chris Del Bosco lost control in mid-air late in the run. The right side of the Canadian’s body slammed hard into the snow and he lay motionless for several minutes before emergency personnel carefully placed him on the sled.
Pavel Francouz stopped all five shooters and Petr Kouka scored the shootout winner as the Czech Republic eliminated the United States men’s hockey team with a 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Jan Kovar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation Wednesday for the Czech Republic, which was fresher after winning its group and getting a bye into the quarterfinals. The U.S. looked fatigued after facing Slovakia in the qualification round and was outshot 29-20.
Ryan Donato and Jim Slater scored for the U.S, which again was led by its youngest players, including speedster Troy Terry. U.S. goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shootout. The Czech Republic’s Pavel Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.
Alina Zagitova’s record-setting short program has given the 15-year-old Russian the lead over friend, training partner and two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva heading into Friday’s free skate.
Zagitova scored 82.92 points, breaking the mark of 81.61 that Medvedeva had set about 15 minutes earlier. Both scores topped the short program record Medvedeva set earlier in the Pyeongchang Games.
Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada was third with 78.87 points.
The American trio of Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell struggled with early mistakes in each of their programs. Nagasu was ninth with Chen and Tennell right behind her.
The injuries are starting to pile up in men’s skicross at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Three skiers left the course on medical sleds during the first round of eliminations following scary wrecks Wednesday.
Canadian Chris Del Bosco’s right side slammed violently into the ground at Phoenix Snow Park after he lost control in the air over one of the final jumps in the race that sends skiers side-by-side down the mountain.
France’s Terence Tchiknavorian landed awkwardly after a jump and appeared to injure his right leg. Austria’s Christoph Wahrstoetter became tangled up in the fence after colliding with Sweden’s Erik Mobaerg.
Surprise Olympic champion Red Gerard has logged some 18,000 miles on a post-victory tour that took him from Pyeongchang to Los Angeles to New York, and now, back to South Korea.
Ten days after his victory on the slopestyle course, the American has returned to the snow, where he qualified for the final of the big air contest – the newest, highest-flying snowboarding event at the games.
His agent, Ryan Runke, can barely keep up with all the phone calls. Sponsorship and media opportunities are flooding in, and the mission isn’t so much about grabbing everything he can, but finding the right fit.
Canada’s world champion women’s curling team is out of the running for an Olympic medal after suffering a shocking loss to Great Britain at the Pyeongchang Games.
Canada’s 6-5 loss to Britain on Wednesday in the women’s round robin eliminates them from medal contention.
The Canadians came into the Pyeongchang Games as the favorite to win gold, and their lackluster performance has stunned the curling world.
Canada’s captain, Rachel Homan, says she is disappointed in the loss but said the British team simply played better.
Sofia Goggia of Italy has won the women’s Olympic downhill, with good friend Lindsey Vonn taking the bronze.
Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway was the surprise silver medalist after turning in a sizzling run as the 19th racer on the course. Mowinckel also earned silver in the giant slalom at these Games.
Goggia finished in a time of 1 minute, 39.22 seconds to hold off Mowinckel by 0.09 seconds. Vonn finished 0.47 seconds behind Goggia.
At 33, Vonn becomes the oldest female medalist in Alpine skiing at the Winter Games. The record was held by Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, who was just shy of her 33rd birthday when she won the downhill and the super-G at the 2006 Turin Olympics. This is likely Vonn’s last Olympic downhill race.
There have been some dramatic crashes in the women’s downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Michelle Gisin of Switzerland crossed the finish line and then crossed her skis, sending her falling to the snow. She slid a ways before getting up and waving to the crowd.
Earlier in the race, Stephanie Venier of Austria crashed on the course. She went down on a hip and tumbled down the hill before coming to a stop. She got back up.
Later, two Italian racers crashed – Nadia Fanchini, who fell backward after a jump, and then Federica Brignone, who wound up sliding into the fencing on the side of the course.
Russian women’s curling coach Sergei Belano says he is convinced a Russian curler charged with doping was slipped meldonium without his knowledge.
Belano says he doesn’t believe Alexander Krushelnitsky would have taken the drug because it would be foolish to do so. Belano said he is certain someone must have drugged Krushelnitsky. Belano did not explicitly say who he suspects would have done such a thing, but he said that multiple housekeepers come in and out of the athletes’ rooms each day.
Krushelnitsky won bronze with his wife in mixed doubles, but he now is likely to be stripped of the medal.
Russian curling officials have said Krushelnitsky could have been set up by a rival Russian athlete or a political enemy of the country.
Meldonium is designed for people with heart problems and some believe it can help athletes increase stamina. It was banned in sports in 2016.
American figure skater Bradie Tennell fell during the opening combination in her short program at the Pyeongchang Olympics, such a rare mistake that not even she can remember the last time she made it.
Tennell, whose strength is her jumps, recovered to skate cleanly the rest of the way. The reigning national champion wound up with 64.01 points. As the first skater on the ice, that total should keep her in first place for quite a while.
The rest of the medal contenders all skate about two hours later.
“It was definitely unexpected,” Tennell said of her fall on a triple toe loop, “but things happen. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. You just have to get up and keep going.”
The starting order is determined in part by world rankings, and Tennell dealt with injuries much of last season and did not compete in the biggest events. That forced her into the opening group, and she drew the No. 1 starting spot from among those skaters
Skier Mikaela Shiffrin is thinking of her American teammates even if she’s not racing with them in the downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Shiffrin wrote on her Twitter account: “This. Track. Is. So. Fun! Only slightly bummed I’m not skiing it today cause we have 4 girls who are ready to hammer down and I can’t wait to watch!”
Shiffrin, who won Olympic gold in the giant slalom last week, decided to sit out the downhill when the Alpine combined was moved a day forward to Thursday due to weather concerns.
She didn’t want to race on back-to-back days, like she did with the giant slalom and slalom, where she entered as the defending champion and finished fourth.
The Trump administration says Vice President Mike Pence was ready to meet with representatives from North Korea during his visit to the Olympic Games in South Korea but that North Korea canceled at the last minute.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says that Pence “was ready to take this opportunity” and would have used the meeting to emphasize U.S. concerns about the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Nauert says the U.S. regrets North Korea’s “failure to seize this opportunity.”
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org