Olympics Live: New Zealander Porteous wins ski halfpipe gold

BEIJING — The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:

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Nico Porteous of New Zealand overcame the swirling wind to win the Olympic ski halfpipe final on a day when many skiers couldn’t land their best tricks due to the strong gusts.

Porteous scored a 93 in his opening run on a bitterly cold and breezy morning in the last event at the Genting Snow Park. His score held up in tough conditions where skiers struggled to link big air and spins.

Two-time Olympic champion David Wise took home the silver with his first-run score of 90.75. The 31-year-old Wise was the only winner the men’s event had ever known. He took the title at its Olympic debut in 2014 and again in 2018. Alex Ferreira of the United States threw down a strong first run, twirling his right ski pole at the bottom in elation, to end up with the bronze.

The last competitor to go, Aaron Blunck, crashed into the wall of the halfpipe while trying to land a trick in the gusty conditions. He stayed down for a moment before sitting up.

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Wind gusts of up to about 40 mph (65 kph) are pushing back the start of the last Alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics.

The start of the team event has been delayed twice Saturday for a total of two hours and now will not begin before noon local time.

The blue and red gate flags are whipping in the wind along the race course known as “Ice River” at the National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing zone.

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Nico Porteous of New Zealand grabbed the lead after the first run in the men’s ski halfpipe final on a challenging day to throw tricks due to swirling wind.

Porteous scored a 93 thanks to back-to-back double cork 1620s. Two-time defending Olympic champion David Wise sits in second place with a score of 90.75 after the first of three runs. Many of the competitors struggled with wind gusts, including Brendan MacKay of Canada who appeared to be blown off line by the wind.

Top qualifier Aaron Blunck called the gusty conditions “gnarly.” Although listed at 13 mph, the wind appears to be swirling in and through the halfpipe. The wind chill hovered around minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 32 degrees Celsius.)

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The last Alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics is being delayed because of strong wind.

The start of the team event has been pushed back an hour to 11 am local time on Saturday — which is when it was originally scheduled to begin before a forecast of windy conditions prompted organizers to try to get going at 10 am

Gusts of about 25 mph (40 kph) are kicking up snow near the bottom of the race course known as “Ice River” at the National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing zone.

The temperature is zero degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 Celsius) and feels like minus 8 Fahrenheit (minus 22 Celsius).

Mikaela Shiffrin is on the roster for the United States, which faces Slovakia in the opening round. Other first-round matchups are Switzerland vs. China, Italy vs. Russia, Norway vs. Poland, France vs. Czech Republic, Germany vs. Sweden, and Slovenia vs. Canada.

Top-ranked Austria received a first-round bye because there are only 15 nations in the 16-spot bracket.

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