Aussie skeleton Jackie Narracott is right in the medal chances as the shock star is already making history at the Winter Olympics.
Australia has a very real medal-winning opportunity at the Beijing Olympics on a stacked day of action on Saturday.
Aussie Jaclyn Narracott has posted the fastest time in the women’s skeleton and may be just two runs away from winning the gold medal when the event resumes on Saturday night.
Australia’s mixed team snowboard cross stars, including Belle Brockhoff, were also expected to challenge for a spot on the podium, but the event was a complete disaster for Australia with both Aussie teams crashing out in the quarter-finals.
There has also been immense drama away from the track with 15-year-old Russian figure skating superstar Kamila Valieva failing drug test.
‘Wow’: Aussie star shatters record
Jaclyn Narracott is shaping up to be a red hot medal chance in the skeleton as she was the first one down the track.
The Aussie, who is looking to become our first sliding medallist in history, was the first slider to go under 1:02:00 and set a new track record in a remarkable performance.
However, it didn’t last long as German Hannah Neise broke the record straight away.
It leaves Narracott 0.14 of a second behind Neise with the medal heat up next.
German Tina Hermann wasn’t able to go past Narracott and is 0.48 back in third, while it looks like Narracott will head into the final heat in second, barring something incredible.
‘Disaster’ as two Aussie teams crash out, star taken to hospital
Aussie champion Belle Brockhoff has been carried away from the Genting Snow Park venue after she took a hard fall during the mixed team snowboard cross event.
It was a nightmare quarter-final for Australia as both Aussie teams crashed out to miss out on a spot in the semi-finals. Neither Aussie team finished the race.
Aussie Josie Baff also took a tough fall, but was able to make it to the bottom of the run and was in good spirits when interviewed by Channel 7 after the race.
However, the news was much more serious for Brockhoff, who was transported down the hill while lying on a stretcher.
The event had to be delayed as Brockhoff received medical attention before she was loaded onto the back of the stretcher.
“It’s a disaster,” Channel 7 commentator Dave Culbert said in the moment Brockhoff crashed before it became apparent that she was in distress.
Aussie Olympic legend Lydia Lassila said in commentary for Seven: “She will be absolutely devastated”.
Brockhoff took a tumble when she took off from a large jump feature and landed on the back of a competitor’s board.
The Australian Olympic Committee released a brief statement on social media on Saturday afternoon.
“Belle Brockhoff appears to be ok,” the team posted on Twitter.
“Belle has been taken to the hospital for imaging after complaints of a sore neck. We should know more in the next hour.”
The Aus Olympic Team has updated and said that Brockhoff’s “CT & MRI all clear, Belle is out of the neck collar and heading back to the Athletes Village shortly.”
Brockhoff’s partner Cameron Bolton passed on his support when interviewed after the event by Channel 7.
“First of all, hope she’s doing well,” he said.
“I saw her go down past and heard from the team she’s doing OK. Just precautionary. They think everyone is good. Hopefully that’s the case.”
He was also bitterly disappointed about the snowboard cross squad’s results in Beijing.
“As a result, for sure it’s disappointing. Really there were no limits today for us. We could have been super high up there and really in contention. It’s really disappointing.
“It’s one of those things, right. I don’t think the Olympics could have gone much worse for the Australian border cross team to be honest.
“Belle did well fighting for the fourth. Everything else that could have gone wrong went wrong.”
He went on to say: “To come here and leave with almost nothing is tough”.
Star rages over teen freak’s bombshell
Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva has an unlikely defender — 2018 American bronze medalist Adam Rippon.
In a Twitter thread, Rippon took aim at the Russian federation and the International Olympic Committee for putting Valieva, 15, in a bad situation and failing to properly punish Russia for previous doping violations.
Olympic testers have confirmed she failed a drugs test in December, and the IOC is now appealing against Russia’s decision to allow her to continue competing in Beijing.
Valieva tested positive for a banned substance after leading Russia (which is competing as the Russian Olympic Committee) to gold in the team event.
The medal ceremony was pushed back as a result, and Valieva’s status for the individual event, in which she is a heavy favorite, is in doubt.
“The entire situation is heartbreaking,” Rippon wrote.
“This young girl is just 15. She’s a minor. The adults around her have completely failed her. They’ve put her in this awful situation and should be punished.
“The IOC’s ban on Russia’s participation in the Olympics was NOT strict enough. I believe that the ROC athletes are doing what they’re told in an effort to please their coaches and federation. I blame those in charge. Flops.”
Valieva’s positive test is from Christmas Day for Trimetazidine, a drug used by heart patients that improves blood flow and stamina. The ROC has stood by her, saying the failed test shouldn’t apply since it was outside the Olympics.
The situation is further complicated by Valieva’s age. She is viewed by the World Anti-Doping Agency as a “Protected Person,” which means she could avoid suspension by being ruled too young to know what substances she was given.
Valieva has been allowed to practice after Russian officials appealed her suspension. The case will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Beijing.
A positive test is a positive test,” Rippon wrote.
“Testing negative now doesn’t negate the fact that there were performance enhancing drugs involved in the process. It’s af***ing shame. It doesn’t need to come to this. SHE IS A CHILD. They put her sport performance ahead of her health and well-being. F*** them. They’ve ruined this Olympic experience for HER and for EVERYONE here.
“The ROC has miserably failed its athletes and embarrassed themselves on the world stage YET AGAIN. My heart breaks for the Russian athletes competing in Beijing who will have everything they do at these Olympics questioned.”
Valieva holds nine world records and became the first woman to land a quad jump at the Olympics on Monday.
The women’s figure skating event starts on Wednesday (AEDT) with the short program and finishes on Thursday (AEDT) with the free skate.
— New York Post
‘Should be arrested’: World blows up over halfpipe scandal
There was outcry in the men’s thrilling halfpipe final before Japanese superstar Ayumu Hirano walked away with the gold medal — ahead of Aussie silver-medallist Scotty James.
Hirano pulled out something special in his second run, completing a spectacular frontside triple cork 1440 to become the first person ever to land the trick at an Olympics. But one judge only gave him a score of 89, dragging his overall score for the second round down to 91.75 and leaving him in second position, behind James heading into the final runs of the event.
Viewers couldn’t believe the assessment and American snowboarding legend Todd Richards was absolutely scathing in his analysis of how Hirano was treated.
“Ahhh what? What? Is there a mistake? There’s no way, there is no way. A 91.75?” he said in commentary for NBC. “As far as I’m concerned, the judges just grenaded all their credibility.
“I’ve been doing this for so long, so long, I know what a good run looks like. I know the ingredients of a winning run. I know when I’ve seen the best run that’s ever been done in the halfpipe.
“Try to tell me where you’re deducting from this run. It’s unbelievable that this is even happening. It’s a travesty to be completely honest with you.
“I am irate right now.
“Someone call the authorities, there’s been a robbery.”
Fortunately for Hirano, the controversial call didn’t cost him. He produced another breathtaking run on his third trip to the pipe and this time the judges scored him a 96. It was enough for him to claim gold.