Thu, Feb 15, 2018 - Page 16 News List

White wins gold as winds whip

SPEED SKATING GREATS:Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors set an Olympic record in the 1,000m ahead of the world record holder, while Taiwan’s Huang was 20th

AFP, PYEONGCHANG, South Korea

Front from left to right, Lukas Klapfer of Austria (bronze), Eric Frenzel of Germany (gold) and Akito Watabe of Japan (silver) celebrate after the cross-country portion of the Nordic combined individual normal hill 10km competition during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Photo: EPA

US snowboarding great Shaun White yesterday won his third Olympic gold in the halfpipe, but then faced questions over sex claims as strong winds disrupted the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

White watched bronze medalist Scotty James wipe out before nailing a spectacular last run of the day to snatch victory from Japan’s Ayumu Hirano.

It was redemption for the 31-year-old veteran, known as the “Flying Tomato” because of his red hair, who won gold in 2006 and 2010, but flopped in Sochi four years ago.

The medal brought the US their 100th Winter Olympics gold stretching back to speed skater Charles Jewtraw in 1924.

White, Chloe Kim, Jamie Anderson and Red Gerard have locked up all four snowboarding titles for the US so far in Pyeongchang.

However, White’s joy was punctured when he was questioned by reporters over a sexual harassment case involving the female former drummer of his band, Bad Things, which he settled out of court last year.

“Honestly, I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip, but I don’t think so,” White said when asked if the case had tarnished his legacy.

While the snowboarding went ahead, it was different elsewhere, as high winds forced organizers to close Gangneung’s Olympic Park to visitors and postpone the women’s slalom skiing and the women’s 15km individual biathlon.

In Gangneung, a coastal city, spectators were urged to stay indoors, shops were shut and visitors were turned away from Olympic Park.

High winds have badly disrupted the skiing events in particular, but officials said they had no concerns about fitting in all the ski events, which include another 10 gold medal races before the closing ceremony on Feb. 25.

“If the wind continues to blow for the next 15 days, then I guess it might be a problem,” International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said.

Wind also delayed the ski jumping portion of the Nordic combined, but resumed later in the evening, with Germany’s Eric Frenzel retaining his Olympic crown following a dominant cross-country display.

The 29-year-old, Germany’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony, was fifth after the ski jumping with a leap of 106.5m, but then surged to gold in the 10km ski race.

Japan’s Akiko Watabe won the silver medal with Lukas Klapfer of Austria, the leader after the jumping, forced to settle for bronze.

The unified Korean women’s ice hockey team ended their Group B campaign with a 4-1 defeat to Japan, following 8-0 thrashings by Switzerland and Sweden.

The two Koreas scored the only goal of their tournament through Korean-American Randi Griffin in the second period.

It comes after North Korea’s Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik reached the pairs figure skating final.

“There has been no discomfort and now that we have competed, [we could see] how strong our Korean people can be when we are together,” Kim said. “We are one people sharing the same bloodline.”

In speed skating, Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors bounced back from an injury-plagued season by claiming a gold in the women’s 1,000m.

She set an Olympic record of 1 minute, 13.56 seconds to finish ahead of world record holder Nao Kodaira of Japan, whose compatriot Miho Takagi took the bronze.

Taiwan’s Huang Yu-ting finished in 20th place 2.88 seconds behind Ter Mors.

Additional reporting by Reuters, staff writer

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