Olympics Live: US figure skater Zhou out of COVID quarantine

BEIJING ( Associated Press) — The Latest on the Beijing Winter Olympics:

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American figure skater Vincent Zhou is out of quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 at the Beijing Games, and he plans to perform in the exhibition gala that traditionally closes the Olympic program on Sunday.

Zhou had just helped the US win team silver on Feb. 7 when he got a phone call that he had tested positive. The timing of the result, the day before the men’s short program, left him no choice but to withdraw from the event.

Zhou said he didn’t watch it because “it was too emotionally difficult,” but he kept track of the results and was happy to see teammate Nathan Chen win the gold medal. He spent his time instead “watching Netflix for the first time” in an isolation hotel about 30 minutes from the Olympic Village.

Among those that reached out to Zhou was singer Josh Groban, whose music is used in his short program. Zhou said that made him feel “appreciated and supported” while he spent the long days locked in his room.

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French skier Clement Noel put down a blistering second run to win the slalom at the Beijing Olympics by a large margin on Wednesday.

Noel moved up from sixth following the first leg to beat first-run leader Johannes Strolz of Austria by 0.61 seconds after posting the fastest second run.

World champion Sebastian Foss-Solevaag of Norway held his position and picked up the bronze, finishing 0.70 behind.

Noel finished fourth in the slalom at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

Strolz also won the gold medal in the combined last week.

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The United States is out of the men’s hockey tournament at the Olympics in stunning fashion after blowing a late lead.

Marek Hrivik scored with 43.7 seconds left in regulation, Peter Cehlarik had the winner and Slovakia beat the US 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday to knock the top-seeded Americans out in the quarterfinals. The US led for almost half the game before the tying goal when Slovakia pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker to play 6-on-5.

The US had gotten accustomed to playing tight games in the tournament, beating Canada by two goals and Germany by one. But blown coverage in front allowed Hrivik to knock a loose puck past goalie Strauss Mann, who was impressive until that point.

Coming up empty on four power plays, including three in the third period, came back to bite the Americans. Matty Beniers hit the post on one of the best scoring chances the US had in the third, but the team could not crack Patrik Rybar, who was playing a second consecutive day in net for Slovakia.

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US bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor is thinking about retiring after 15 years in the sport.

She has raced on at least 15 different bobsled tracks in 11 countries. She’s had no fewer than 41 different teammates in her sleds.

She possesses more Olympic medals than any bobsledder in US history, with a chance at one more this weekend. She has become an advocate, fighting for equality for women in sports. And she became a wife and mother along the way.

Meyers Taylor hasn’t said for sure what her plans are, but she is thinking about retirement and hinted that the women’s race at the Beijing Olympics — it starts Friday and ends Saturday — may represent her final official time in a sled.

“There’s a good chance that it’s my last one,” Meyers Taylor said.

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Mikaela Shiffrin was fastest in a downhill training session ahead of Thursday’s Alpine combined race at the Beijing Olympics.

The American skier finished 0.93 seconds ahead of Wendy Holdener of Switzerland and 0.94 ahead of Ester Ledecka, who is attempting to win a second event at a second straight Olympics after successfully defending her gold in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom.

Shiffrin was second in the combined at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and won the event at the world championships last year.

Defending Olympic champion Michelle Gisin was a second slower than Shiffrin.

The 26-year-old Shiffrin is still seeking her first medal at the Beijing Games. The two-time Olympic champion didn’t finish the giant slalom or the slalom, was ninth in the super-G and 18th in Tuesday’s downhill.

Only 14 skiers trained on Wednesday, with 12 of those listed on the start list opting out.

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Canada beat the United States 7-6 in the Olympic women’s curling tournament and moved ahead of the Americans in the race for the four-team playoff.

Jennifer Jones’ Canadian foursome (4-3) took the lead with back-to-back two-point ends in the second and third. The Americans tied it with two in the eighth and a steal of one in the ninth when Jones missed a takeout with the last stone and slammed her broom to the ice in frustration.

Canada retained the last-rock advantage in the 10th and final end, though, and delivered an easy draw to win it.

The Americans (4-4) could still qualify for the semifinals with five wins, if they beat Japan on Wednesday night and get some help.

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Johannes Strolz of Austria is leading the first run of the men’s slalom with only lower-ranked skiers remaining as he bids for a second gold medal at the Beijing Games.

Strolz will take a 0.02 second advantage over Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway into the second run. World champion Sebastian Foss-Solevaag of Norway is third, 0.06 behind.

The 29-year-old Strolz won the Alpine combined on Thursday in his first ever Olympic race. Before a win in Adelboden, Switzerland, last month, he had a career-best finish of 10th in more than eight years of World Cup racing and was dropped from the powerhouse Austrian team at the end of last season.

There have been six different winners in six World Cup slaloms this season.

Lucas Braathen leads the discipline standings but he straddled a gate and is out of the race. Another pre-race favorite, Manuel Feller, did the same.

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Freestyler skier Alex Hall led a 1-2 American finish in the men’s Olympic slopestyle competition with a trick on his first run where he completely stopped his rotation mid-air and went the other direction.

Hall’s opening run earned a score of 90.01 and it stood up throughout the competition. His teammate Nick Goepper turned in a creative run on his second pass to earn silver. Jesper Tjader of Sweden took home bronze.

The Americans have now earned six of nine Olympic medals since the event made its debut in 2014. Goepper has three of them, including silver from the 2018 Pyeongchang Games and bronze from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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More Associated Press Winter Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/ Associated Press—Sports

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