One day after U.S. speedskater Erin Jackson made history in the 2022 Beijing Olympics, newly-minted American Kaillie Humphries followed suit in the bobsled.
The 36-year-old Canada native who gained U.S. citizenship just two months ago captured gold in the Olympic debut of monobob after a dominating performance on the sliding track. Humphries took a commanding lead after the first two heats on Sunday then sealed the deal Monday in the final two heats to win her third Olympic gold.
U.S. teammate Elana Meyers Taylor brought home her fourth career Olympic medal, winning the silver after rallying in the final two heats.
(Looking for a recap of all the action Sunday in Beijing? We’ve got you covered.)
Despite the cloud hanging over figure skating because of the failed drug test of Russian star Kamila Valieva — the Court of Arbitration for Sport is expected to announce a ruling on Valieva’s eligibility Monday afternoon — competition continued with the free dance in ice dancing. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue earned the bronze medal, edging their American teammates Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who finished fourth behind the winning French pair.
And women’s hockey moved onto the semifinal round as Canada took on Switzerland, while Team USA faces Finland later Monday to determine which teams will move onto the gold-medal match.
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Freeskiers overcome nerves to advance to slopestyle final
ZHANGJIAKOU, China — Even Eileen Gu was sweating the slopestyle qualifier.
The Chinese freeskier needed a cleaner second run to advance to the final, where she is favored to medal if not win, on a day when several women struggled to qualifying land runs.
Gu, 18, ended up qualifying third at Genting Snow Park on Monday, eating a bun while she awaited her score before hurrying to halfpipe training.
“Qualifiers are always scarier for me than finals,” the American-born teen said. “The finals, pressure’s off, I just get to do my thing.”
Gu was not alone in battling nerves. Three-time Olympian Maggie Voisin led the Americans in qualifying, finishing fourth. Teammate Marin Hamill qualified seventh but it’s unclear if she will be able to compete after she crashed on the last jump of her second run.
Hamill was taken off on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance. It was not immediately clear the nature of her injury or her condition.
If she is unable to go, Voisin would be the USA’s only chance for a medal in Tuesday’s final.
“It wasn’t my best skiing, it wasn’t my cleanest skiing but just super grateful to make it into finals and tomorrow’s go time,” said Voisin, 23.
Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru and Norway’s Johanne Killi claimed the top two qualifying spots, while other top athletes struggled.
Canada’s Olivia Asselin and Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud entered the Games with each claiming a medal at X Games last month but qualified in 11th and 12, respectively. Gremaud took bronze in big air’s Olympic debut last week.
Canadian Megan Oldham claimed two medals at X Games last month but finished 13th, just outside the final. She would get to compete if Hamill is unable to ski.
Sarah Hoefflin, who claimed gold in Pyeongchang four years ago, failed to advance out of qualifying.
Voisin said she expects to see continued progression in the final, with some skiers attempting two double corks in their runs and most in the field trying at least one. The trick, which requires two off-axis flips with varying degrees of spins, is the hardest being done in women’s freeskiing today.
With the nerves behind for most everyone, they’re ready to showcase their sport in the final.
“I feel like I kind of got my messy runs out of the way and I’m ready to go full send,” Voisin said.
“I’ve done my part of pushing the sport and now these younger girls are really taking it to a whole new level. It’s still just such an honor to be a part of it. Those girls are pushing me. It’s going to be a really crazy final.”
— Rachel Axon
Americans Hubbell and Donohue win Olympic bronze in ice dance
BEIJING — Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue have known for months that this competitive season, and these Olympics, would be their last.
They’ll be going out with an Olympic medal.
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France won the event in dominant fashion, with Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov taking silver.
For Hubbell and Donohue, it was a particularly special moment, given the length and complexity of their partnership – and the fact that they are now looking to retirement. They first teamed up in 2011, after previously skating with different partners, and became a romantic couple shortly thereafter. A few years later, their off-ice relationship ended but they stuck together in competition.
This is the fifth consecutive Olympics at which Team USA has won a medal in ice dance.
— Tom Schad
American injured during freestyle skiing slopestyle qualifying
ZHANGJIAKOU, China – U.S. freeskier Marin Hamill was injured late in slopestyle qualifying at the Beijing Olympics and had to be taken off the course on a sled.
Hamill had nearly completed a clean second run when she fell landing on the final jump.
She received medical attention at the base the course for about 10 minutes before being carted off in a sled and loaded into an ambulance. U.S. Ski & Snowboard did not have an immediate update on her injury or her condition.
Hamill, 20, was competing in her first Olympics. Her first-run score was enough to qualify her for the final on Tuesday, but it’s unclear if she will be able to compete.
Caroline Claire, Hamill’s U.S. teammate, did not compete in qualifying after being injured in practice.
— Rachel Axon
Americans take gold and silver in Olympic debut of women’s monobob
BEIJING – It’s not required to get your new country a gift, but Kaillie Humphries wanted to do it, anyway.
Just 2½ months after becoming a U.S. citizen, Humphries won the gold medal in monobob at the Beijing Olympics on Monday. It’s her third overall, following the golds she won in two-man in 2014 and 2010, when she was representing Canada.
She was given a U.S. flag as she climbed out, and she bent over, overcome with emotion, before holding it aloft. A grin spread across her face as she chanted “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
“I want to … give back to a country that has adopted me, that has given me a longer career and has given me a safe place in order to compete,” Humphries said Sunday, after she’d taken an insurmountable lead with her first two runs.
The United States got a second medal with Elana Meyers Taylor taking the silver.
Meyers Taylor had to spend almost a week in isolation after testing positive for COVID on Jan. 29, and said Sunday that she was still struggling to recover. But her final run was the best of her four, allowing her to leapfrog Canada’s Christine de Bruin.
Meyers Taylor put her hands to her helmet as she crossed the finish line, then threw up her hands in triumph. It is the fourth Olympic medal for Meyers Taylor, who won silvers as a driver in two-man bobsled in 2014 and 2018 and a bronze as a brakeman in 2010.
Meyers Taylor and Humphries, who are largely responsible for monobob becoming an Olympic event, hugged, U.S. flags wrapped around their shoulders.
Humphries joins short-track speedskater Viktor Ahn as the only Winter Olympians to win gold medals for different nations, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon. Ahn won three gold medals for South Korea at the 2006 Olympics in Turin before moving to Russia and winning another three golds at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Humphries and Meyers Taylor will have a shot to add more medals later this week in the two-man bobsled. (Read the full story here.)
— Nancy Armour
Chloe Kim takes in Super Bowl in L.A. after winning gold in Beijing
But the American star was no longer hanging with the world’s best snowboarders in Beijing. Instead she was in Los Angeles at Super Bowl 56, palling around with famed DJ and record producer Steven Hiroyuki.
Kim watched the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in a thrilling game at SoFi Stadium.
It was a homecoming for Kim, who is from Long Beach, California, and currently resides in L.A.
US silver medalist withdraws from snowboard big air
The 24-year old from Westport, Connecticut, would have been among the contenders to qualify for the finals but apparently suffered an injury that prevented her from competing.
According to a spokesperson for U.S. Ski and Snowboard, “Julia is not competing due to a fall in practice a few days ago. Prioritizing her health.”
Marino withdrawing leaves Hailey Langland, Courtney Rummel and Jamie Anderson representing Team USA, though none are expected to compete for medals in this event.
— Dan Wolken
Kaillie Humphries one clean heat away from monobob gold
BEIJING — Gold is Kaillie Humphries’ favorite color. She’s about to get some more of it.
Already a two-time Olympic champion, Humphries is one run away from clinching a third gold medal, this one in the new event of monobob. She extended her lead in the third run and is now a whopping 1.55 seconds ahead of Christine de Bruin of Canada.
The real drama appears to be who will finish second to Humphries after the fourth and final run later Monday. Fellow American Elana Meyers Taylor, who was fourth at the midway point, had another fast start and moved up to third, with a real shot at catching de Bruin in the final run.
Meyers Taylor is just 0.18 seconds behind de Bruin, and 0.22 seconds ahead of Laura Nolte of Germany.
With families not able to be in Beijing, Humphries is wearing the wedding rings of her late grandmother and grandfather on her right middle finger behind an Olympic ring. All three of them are gold.
“I like gold,” Humphries said, laughing, after the first two runs Sunday. “I won’t like, I’m a gold person.”
She certainly is.
Her lead after the first two runs was so commanding that there was a larger gap between her and de Bruin (1.04 seconds) than there was between de Bruin and the bobsledder in eighth place, Yang Qing of China.
Humphries brushed two curves in her first run Monday, and finished with her slowest time of the three runs, 1:04.87. But no one else could get below 1:05, with de Bruin getting bumpy on her run and Nolte going sidways at one point.
That left room for Meyers Taylor, who has captured medals in the past three Olympics (silver in 2018 and 2014 as a driver and bronze in 2010 as a brakeman in two-man), to climb onto a spot on the medals podium.
She has consistently had the fastest start, which kept her close after the first two runs, and she paired another Monday with a relatively clean run to make up ground.
— Nancy Armour
Elana Meyers Taylor was brutally honest about how difficult it was to be stuck in COVID isolation at the Beijing Olympics.
She tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 29, and she, her husband and their toddler son were placed in separate rooms in a quarantine hotel two days later. Not until Saturday did she make it through a day and not “bawl my eyes out at some point.”
“Isolation is not a good place for anybody … especially when you’re at the Olympics, when you’re supposed to be at the peak of your peak,” Meyers Taylor said Sunday, after finishing fourth in the first two heats of monobob.
A three-time Olympic medalist, Meyers Taylor had big hopes that Beijing would be the Games where she would finally win a gold medal. She was ranked No. 1 in the world in both monobob and two-man, and her training after the World Cup season had gone very well.
Meyers Taylor tried to make do with the few pieces of workout equipment she had while in isolation, but it was no substitute for the fully stocked gym she would normally have had access to. She also missed the first training sessions, putting her at a disadvantage because “The Dragon” is such a new track and everyone but the Chinese sliders are still trying to learn it.
“Without having the quality training runs, it’s been hard to put together solid race runs,” Meyers Taylor said.
Meyers Taylor was 1.32 seconds behind U.S. teammate Kaillie Humphries, the leader after the first two heats, but just 0.10 seconds behind Germany’s Laura Nolte, who was in third.
— Nancy Armour
Americans in contention for ice dancing medals
BEIJING — The ice dance competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics will conclude Monday, with two American teams and with two Russian teams among those in the mix for medals.
The U.S. pair of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue have a lead of almost three points over their longtime rivals and training partners, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, after the first half of the competition, Friday’s rhythm dance. The teams are sitting in third and fourth, respectively heading into the free dance.
The Russian teams of Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov and Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin, meanwhile, are sitting in second and fifth.
France appears likely to take home gold, barring a major error in the free dance. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron set a world record with their rhythm dance score of 90.83 and have a cushion of almost two points over the rest of the field.
— Tom Schad
US men’s curling team’s backs are against the wall again
Team Shuster, the feel-good American story from the 2018 Olympics, returned mostly intact to defend its gold medal in men’s curling with the notable exception of swapping in Chris Plys, a long-haired, tattooed former world junior champion from Duluth, Minnesota, for Tyler George, the liquor store manager from Duluth who stepped away from competitive curling and is now working the TV booth for NBC.
It is, in essence, the same group of relatable, beer-drinking guys that was supposed to be replaced as the face of U.S. curling heading into 2018 by young, fit, high-performance athletes and instead wound up fighting their way into the Olympics and capturing America’s imagination.
In Pyeongchang, everything John Shuster threw turned to gold in that last week. The player who had been disparaged as a choker suddenly executed clutch shot after clutch shot, including a brilliant final blow against the mighty Swedish team to clinch the gold medal. The American team had just a few days earlier been sitting at 2-4 in the standings and on the verge of elimination.
Though Team Shuster’s current circumstance is not quite as dire, it’s not great in Beijing, either. The team is 3-3 in the round robin following a win over China and a loss to Canada on Sunday with work to do to make the top four
All 10 teams play each other in the round-robin competition with the top four advancing to the semifinals. The USA’s next match is Tuesday against Switzerland.
— Dan Wolken
Humphries and Meyers Taylor leaving legacy in bobsled beyond medals
BEIJING — Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor want the same thing.
An Olympic gold medal for themselves, of course. Bigger picture, though, both want more opportunities for every woman in bobsled.
“I want to make the sport better,” Meyers Taylor said. “I always want to leave the sport better than what I found it, and hopefully that’s happening.”
The evidence of it abounded Sunday at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre as monobob made its Olympic debut. Humphries took a commanding lead after the first two heats, while Meyers Taylor sits in fourth.
With the addition of monobob, women have the same number of medal opportunities as the men for the first time in the bobsled.
“It does provide a lot more opportunity,” Humphries said. “I would like to see that, in the future, women have four-man and that we can double our numbers as well, just like the men. And that the men will be able to do mono.”
Between them, Humphries and Meyers Taylor have six Olympic medals and seven world titles. They have dominated their sport for much of the last decade.
Humphries won gold as a driver in two-man at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics, and was the bronze medalist in 2018. Meyers Taylor has silver medals as a driver from the 2018 and 2014 Games, and a bronze as a brakeman from 2010.
But Humphries and Meyers Taylor have had to fight for opportunities their entire careers, which began not long after women’s bobsled was added to the Olympic program in 2002. Men’s four-man bobsled, meanwhile, had been in the Winter Games since they began in 1924, with the two-man race added eight years later.
Humphries and Meyers Taylor want things to be easier for the next generation until there is full equality between the genders at the Olympics.
“Just being here is just such a privilege because we really worked for it,” Meyers Taylor said. “To be here, to have that second opportunity is absolutely amazing.” (Read the full story here.)
— Nancy Armour
US moves up in medals table with chance to add more Monday
Norway continues to dominate the medal race, leading in both golds with nine and overall medals with 21.
Germany sits one behind Norway in the gold-medal chase with eight, and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) ranks second in total medals with 17.
The U.S. is tied with the Netherlands in both gold and overall medals, ranking third in the gold-medal race and sixth in the overall medals standings.
Team USA has an early opportunity to add medals Monday in women’s monobob and ice dancing.
Kamila Valieva’s doping case heads to Court of Arbitration for Sport
BEIJING — The news of Kamila Valieva’s failed drug test has become one of the defining subplots of the Games – casting a pall over the figure skating competition in Beijing, and drawing attention away from what’s happening on the ice.
All eyes will instead be on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and its panel of three arbitrators. Valieva’s hearing concluded around 2:10 a.m. and a decision is expected around 2 p.m. in Beijing (1 a.m. ET).
Valieva, 15, tested positive for a heart medication called trimetazidine, which is banned under anti-doping rules because it can increase blood flow and endurance.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency suspended her from competition, then revoked her suspension after she appealed – prompting the International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency and International Skating Union to seek a resolution on the matter from CAS, a Swiss-based court that usually has the final say on global sport disputes.
The news has prompted both sympathy for Valieva, who is considered a “protected person” under WADA rules because of her age, and calls for an investigation into the adults in her inner circle, including her polarizing coach, Eteri Tutberidze.
“We want WADA to investigate the entourage in this case,” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said Sunday.
The doping controversy has also prompted frustration from the figure skating community, given the way it has overshadowed the sport’s iconic quadrennial event.
— Tom Schad
US women’s curling team finds inspiration from men’s success
BEIJING – It was a massive surprise when the U.S. won the men’s gold medal in curling four years ago, reversing what had been a frustrating track record in the sport since it was added to the Olympic program in 1998.
But nowhere has it been a bigger source of inspiration than for the women’s side of the U.S. curling team.
“We want that gold medal,” said Nina Roth, who was the team’s skipper in 2018 and returned this time as the vice skip. “The guys won it four years ago, it’s our turn now.”
The odds are still against such a dramatic breakthrough for Team USA, but it’s at least within the realm of possibility after five games of group play.
Despite a 10-4 loss to Sweden on Sunday, the U.S. sits at 3-2 and in a three-way tie for third with four games remaining, heading into Monday morning’s match against South Korea.
The top four will advance to the semifinals. (Read the full story here.)
— Dan Wolken