International wrap -- Day 2

12 February 2018

PYEONGCHANG 2018: The US won their first gold medal of the PyeongChang Winter Games on Sunday after Redmond Gerard took out the top spot in the men’s snowboard slopestyle at Phoenix Snow Park.

The 17-year-old was joined on the podium by Canada’s Max Parrot and Mark McMorris who finished with silver and bronze respectively.

Gerard -- who is the second youngest male athlete to win an individual gold medal at an Olympic Winter Games after Finnish ski jumper Toni Nieminen in 1992 -- said that he couldn’t believe he got to land the event’s winning run.

“That was crazy,” he said.

“I’m shaking right now, maybe from the cold, or maybe from the excitement, I don’t know.”

The US snowboarder finished with a best score of 87.16, just 01.16 points ahead of rival Parrot.

“I can’t believe I got to land my run. Just to land a run would have been funny to me and to get on the podium, but to get first is crazy,” he said.

“After I landed the second jump I was like, ‘come on, don’t blow it on the last jump, let’s just make it through.’ It feels awesome, I’m really happy that we can get a medal under our belts.”

In the men’s 5000m speed skating, the Netherland’s Sven Kramer won gold ahead of Canada’s Ted-Jan Bloemen and Norway’s Sverre Lunde Pedersen in bronze.

Reflecting on his fourth Olympic gold medal, and his third consecutive 5000m title, Kramer said that his secret to success was that “I just really love what I’m doing.”

“I’m really enjoying the sport,” he said.

“It keeps me up every day and I have a really, really nice team. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really tough sometimes but in the end enjoying it is the big secret.”

Norway claimed all three spots on the podium at the men’s 15km + 15km Skiathlon event at the Alpensia Cross Country Centre with Simen Hegstad Krueger winning gold in a time of 1:16.20, eight seconds ahead of Martin Johnsrud Sundby with silver and less than ten seconds ahead of Hans Christer Holund with bronze.

In the women’s moguls, France’s Perrine Laffont won gold with a score of 78.65 while defending Olympic Champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada claimed silver and Kazakhstan’s Yulia Galysheva took bronze.

Austria won its first gold medal of the Games with David Gleirscher taking out the top spot in the Luge men’s singles.

Silver went to Chris Mazdzer, USA, and bronze to Germany’s Johannes Ludwig.

At Alpensia, Arnd Peiffer of Germany won gold in the men’s biathlon 10km sprint, with silver going to Michal Krcmar of the Czech Republic and bronze to Italy’s Dominik Windisch.

“When I was in the finish I thought, ‘OK, I did a good job today, I shot clean, I did a good job on the track, top six is possible.’ That was my thought in the finish,” Peiffer said.

Switzerland has progressed into the mixed doubles semifinals following a dramatic last stone from Jenny Perret secured three points and clinched a 9-8 victory over Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR).

Norway was victorious against China in a tie-breaker which decided who would secure the last berth for semifinals.

Following their victory, Kristin Skaslien said that he and teammate Magnus Nedregotton were “very happy to be there” and that “it’s like a dream come true”.

“We did some relaxing, some sleeping, played some air hockey, just tried to think of nothing of curling and then go out now on the ice with blank sheets and do our best – and it worked,” he said.

“Canada is the big favourites, we’re the underdogs, so we just have to focus on our game and try to play our best.”

Meanwhile at Gangneung Ice Arena, the figure skating team event continued with Canada maintaining their lead as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) jumped into second place on the second day of the competition, six points behind on 39.

The US currently sits in third place with 36 points.

Canada’s ice dancers, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, gave a strong performance on Sunday, solidifying the team’s position as gold medal favourites.

“Obviously we are in a good position right now, but we know that there are three big events to come,” Moir said.

The figure skating team event will conclude on Monday with the men’s and women’s free skating and the free dance.

David Barden

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