Finnish ice hockey player released from isolation

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BEIJING (AP) – The latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:

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Finnish men’s hockey forward Marko Anttila has returned to the team after being released from an isolation hotel at the Beijing Olympics. Coach Jukka Jalonen expects goalkeeper Jussi Olkinuora to be out later in the day.

Anttila has been in isolation for six days because he tested positive for COVID-19. Olkinuora was isolated on Monday.

“Of course it was disappointing for me, but otherwise it was just boring,” said Anttila after training. “Obviously it’s frustrating and I feel good physically and all those things. But I think hopefully it’s history now and I can get my (virus numbers up) to the right level.

Anttila says he first tested positive for the coronavirus just over three weeks ago. The 36-year-old had no symptoms after testing positive upon arrival in Beijing or during his isolation period.

Returning to hockey form is the bigger concern as Finland will play their first game against Slovakia tomorrow.

“Of course, the feeling on the ice isn’t that good at the moment, but physically I’m okay,” said Anttila. “I get workouts there and all that stuff, so it’s not a problem.”

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Finnish men’s hockey forward Marko Anttila has returned to the team after being released from an isolation hotel at the Olympics. Coach Jukka Jalonen expects goalkeeper Jussi Olkinuora to be out later in the day.

Anttila has been isolated for six days. Olkinuora was taken there on Monday.

“Of course it was disappointing for me, but otherwise it was just boring,” said Anttila after training. “Obviously it’s frustrating and I feel good physically and all those things. But I think hopefully it’s history now and I can get my (virus numbers up) to the right level.

Anttila says he first tested positive for the coronavirus just over three weeks ago. The 36-year-old had no symptoms after testing positive upon arrival in Beijing or during his isolation period.

Returning to hockey form is the bigger concern as Finland will play their first game against Slovakia tomorrow.

“Of course, the feeling on the ice isn’t that good at the moment, but physically I’m okay,” said Anttila. “I get workouts there and all that stuff, so it’s not a problem.”

Anttila called it “great news” that Olkinuora will also be released soon.

“Of course I’m very happy that the boys are coming back to the team,” said Jalonen. “We hope the best for them.”

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Japan’s Ryota Yamamoto jumped 108 meters (354 feet) and had 133 points in the first part of the Nordic Combined at the Beijing Olympics.

That gives him a 38-second advantage in the 10K cross-country race later on Wednesday.

Lukas Greiderer of Germany starts second, closely followed by Germany’s Julian Schmid and Johannes Rydzek. Top placed Johannes Lampater of Austria will be 1min 4s behind Yamamoto, as will Japan’s Sora Yachi.

The athlete who jumps the furthest and impresses the most gets to start the cross-country portion of Nordic Combined with a head start. The rest of the field follows, in order of finish in ski jumping. Whoever crosses the finish line first wins gold.

Four of the top seven Nordic Combined athletes, including second-placed Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway, recently tested positive for COVID-19 and did not compete on the normal hill. They may be able to make a comeback on the large hill on Tuesday and in the team competition next week.

Nordic Combined has been part of the Winter Olympics since the first Winter Olympics in 1924. It is the only Olympic sport without gender equalitysince only men compete.

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Lindsey Jacobellis won America’s first gold medal at the Olympics on Wednesday when she rode hard to the finish line in her snowboard cross final 16 years after a mistake cost her the title.

The 36-year-old racer competed in her fifth Olympics and claimed the first US victory in an otherwise dismal Games for the US

The win came after America’s top racer, skier Mikaela Shiffrin, slipped and failed to finish the first run of the slalom, giving her a 0-2 win in Beijing.

By Wednesday, Jacobellis was best known for carving out a massive lead in the final jump at the Torino 2006 games, but tweaking her board as she went over the crest, then fell and settled for silver.

This time she rode hard to the line, beating French Chloe Trespeuch and then covering her heart with her hands as she slowed. Canada’s Meryeta Odine won bronze.

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Petra Vlhova added an Olympic gold medal to her growing list of achievements by winning the women’s slalom at the Beijing Games.

It was Slovakia’s first Olympic medal in alpine skiing. Mikaela Shiffrin failed to finish the race again.

Vlhova, who has already won World Cup titles in this discipline, was only eighth fastest after the first run on the Ice River course. But she made up for it for an unofficial combined time of 1 minute, 44.98 seconds.

Katharina Liensberger of Austria was second on both stages, 0.08 seconds slower than Vlhova. Third was Wendy Holdener of Switzerland, 0.12 seconds behind Vlhova.

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After falling on his first attempt, snowboarder Shaun White hammered down a powerful qualifying halfpipe run to make it to the medal round of his fifth and final Olympics.

The three-time gold medalist fell on his first run with his signature trick – the Double McTwist 1260 – and finished in 19th place.

After a 50-minute wait from his fall, White returned to the top of the pipe and nailed the same run he had previously attempted.

Each driver had two attempts and only his best result counted. The top 12 advanced to the final on Friday. White finished fourth.

He stomped on each landing and bellowed a “Yeahhhh” from below. He qualified behind two-time silver medalist Ayumu Hirano, 2018 bronze medalist Scotty James and Hirano’s Japanese teammate Ruka Hirano.

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The medal ceremony for the team figure skating competition at the Beijing Olympics has been postponed due to an ongoing legal issue that could affect medalists, the IOC said.

The ceremony to award the gold medals to the Russian team, the United States silver medal and the bronze medal to Japan did not take place as planned on Tuesday.

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the reason was a “legal consultation” needed with skating’s governing body. Details of the case were not given.

In a one-line statement, the International Skating Union also cited ongoing legal talks.

If an athlete or team were disqualified, an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport would likely follow. Canada finished fourth and would move up.

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Norway’s Birk Ruud won gold in the Olympics’ first freestyle skiing big air event, returning as a leader in extreme sports after losing his father to cancer and injuring his knee.

A day after Eileen Gu’s gold medal temporarily destroyed Chinese social media site Weibo, the men put on another impressive show at Big Air Shougang – a closed steel mill now home to the world’s only permanent Big Air Jump.

Ruud has two Big Air gold medals at the Winter X Games and four World Cup wins, but only one since 2019. The 21-year-old’s father, Øivind, died of cancer last April and Ruud said the loss took him away Competition distracted skiing.

Ruud’s final score of 187.75 was significantly better than American silver medalist Colby Stevenson’s 183. Swedish veteran Henrik Harlaut took bronze with 181.

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Reigning Olympic snowboard champion Chloe Kim rode through the halfpipe on her first run.

She scored 87.75 points, good enough for first place in Wednesday’s women’s qualifier at Genting Snow Park.

The 21-year-old Californian spun up a notch in heat #2 but crashed with her switch-backside 720. She raised her hand as if to say, “Oh well.” She playfully stuck out her tongue as she stood up her score was waiting.

Mitsuki Ono of Japan was second in qualifying. This is a day after he appeared to be plagued by a hip problem and some ailments in training. Cai Xuetong of China had the third best result in qualifying, with Queralt Castellet of Spain also in the mix.

The biggest surprise was the performance of American Maddie Mastro, who finished just outside the top-12 as she advanced to Thursday’s final. She was in last place but was edged out by one of the last riders, Elizabeth Hosking of Canada.

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Lena Dürr leads the women’s slalom at the Beijing Games after two-time Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin had to retire from another race.

About five seconds into the slalom on Wednesday, Shiffrin went out of control. The 26-year-old American also fell early in the first round of the giant slalom on Monday.

Dürr led from the start as she was the first down the course known as the Ice River. The German skier clocked a time of 52.17 seconds, 0.03 seconds faster than Michelle Gisin of Switzerland.

Giant slalom gold medalist Sara Hector of Sweden is 0.12 seconds behind Dürr.

Dürr’s highest individual result at a major championship is 11th place at the World Championships in 2019. She has never won a World Cup slalom race.

The 30-year-old is expected to go into race two as the leader, with only lower-ranked riders remaining.

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Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin missed a goal early in the first run of the slalom at the Beijing Games and was eliminated.

Just like her first event of these Olympics, giant slalom, the American racer was ready for the day in seconds.

After Wednesday’s mistake in the slalom she won at the Sochi 2014 Games, Shiffrin sat on the side of the hill and bowed his head.

Shiffrin, 26, is attempting to become the first female alpine skier from the United States to win three Olympic gold medals in a career.

She said she hopes to compete in all five individual events at Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center.

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Defending downhill champion Sofia Goggia is on the slopes in Beijing training after falling last month and injuring her left knee and leg.

The Italian arrived late in China after spraining her left knee, partially torn a cruciate ligament and a “minor fracture” of the fibula in her leg. She also had some tendon damage after falling in a World Cup Super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy on January 23.

Goggia has won the last eight World Cup downhill runs that she has completed.

Goggia arrived in China on Monday and was examined by the Italian team’s medical staff. Then on Tuesday she did three runs of giant slalom and three runs of super-G training and did more of those on Wednesday.

The team say they haven’t decided yet if they will compete in the Super-G on Friday, but plan to participate in the first of three downhill practice sessions on Saturday. The downhill race is scheduled for Tuesday.

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

The Associated Press

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