Beijing 2022

Beijing 2022 (93)

Anna Gasser believes the Kamila Valieva doping allegations should be attributed to "higher authorities", while she said she feels sorry for the teenage figure skater.

Valieva endured a controversial Winter Olympics after being allowed to compete despite a positive test for the banned substance trimetazidine coming to light.

The 15-year-old managed gold in the team event prior to the controversy and was favourite in the singles competition, but an error-strewn performance saw her finish fourth.

Valieva was visibly upset after missing out with her solo routine in Beijing, having come under scrutiny for much of the week on and off the ice.

Big Air gold medallist Gasser expressed her support for Valieva, who was able to continue her participation due to her age, while questioning those in power if the doping allegations are proved to be true.

"It hasn't affected me, but you still kind of suffer with her," Gasser told Stats Perform when asked about the situation.

"Doping in our sports is not that big of an issue because there's not really a lot to dope. But I was thinking, this girl is 15 years old. 

"She was one of the favourites and had pressure already and then there's doping accusations. From a humane perspective, I felt sorry for her. 

"Then she finished fourth as a big favourite. I think that both ice skating and figure skating are a tough sport. I think she has touched many people because you could see how hard the situation was for her. 

"Her coach's reactions were also kind of cold towards her. At 15 years old, I don't think you can actively do doping at that age. This must have been done by higher authorities if these allegations become reality."

Gasser is not the first to comment on the reaction from Valieva's coach Eteri Tutberidze, who reportedly asked her "why did you stop fighting?" in reference to an initial mistake on the teenager's opening triple axel, with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach also suggesting Tutberidze's reaction was "chilling".

Valieva remains the subject of an anti-doping investigation and her entourage – including doctors, coaches and other adults surrounding her – are also being investigated.

Aside from the controversy surrounding Valieva, Gasser insisted that the competition to retain her Olympic crown was much tougher than four years ago.

"Well, I knew it would be very hard to defend this gold medal because the sport keeps on getting younger, there's a lot of pressure from the young ones," she added. 

"On the other hand, the young ones have pushed me to my limit and inspired me. I have developed because of them. And that was very beautiful because I think you can empower each other that way. 

"And I have to say that sports-wise, defending the gold medal this year was a bit harder and more challenging than the gold medal from four years ago. Back then, I had quite a gap over my competitors. This time, it was quite balanced."

Thomas Bach reiterated his wish for peace as the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially closed the Beijing Games.

In his welcoming speech earlier in February, Bach stated: "There will be no discrimination for any reason whatsoever. In our fragile world, where division, conflict and mistrust are on the rise, we show the world: yes, it is possible to be fierce rivals, while at the same time living peacefully and respectfully together.

"This is the mission of the Olympic Games: bringing us together in peaceful competition. Always building bridges, never erecting walls. Uniting humankind in all our diversity."

And with tensions between Russia and the west rising over the possibility of a Ukraine invasion, Bach believes the Beijing Games have been the perfect example of "solidarity and peace", as he called on world leaders to be inspired by the athletes.

"Each and every one of you strived to achieve your personal best. We were deeply touched how you were wishing and cheering for your competitors to achieve their best as well.

"You not only respected each other: you embraced each other, even if your countries are divided by conflict.

"You overcame these divisions, demonstrating that in this Olympic community we are all equal – regardless of what we look like, where we come from, or what we believe.

"This unifying power of the Olympic Games is stronger than the forces that want to divide us: you give peace a chance," he said.

Bach also emphasised the importance of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has been ongoing for two years, and Bach stressed the crucial need for poorer nations to have equal access to the vaccines.

"If we want to finally overcome this pandemic, we must be faster," he said.

"We must aim higher, we must be stronger, we must stand together. Vaccination means caring for each other.

"In this Olympic spirit of solidarity, we call on the international community: give equal access to vaccines for everybody around the world."

While Norway and Germany rounded off a golden Winter Olympics in style, Sunday's final day of competition marked the end of a disappointing Games for a traditional power. Therese Johaug…

Finland took their first gold medal in men's ice hockey as they claimed a 2-1 win over the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in Sunday's final.

It was the 109th and final gold medal handed out at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Finland finished 16th in the medal standings, with eight in total.

Here are the key numbers around their historic victory.

1 - This was the first gold medal for Finland in any team sport at either the summer or winter Games. They debuted in men's ice hockey in 1952.

2 - It brought up Finland's second gold at the Beijing Games, after cross-country skier Iivo Niskanen won the men's 15km classic.

4 - This is the fourth medal for Finland under the tutelage of Jukka Jalonen. They won gold in the world championships in 2011 and 2019 and Olympic bronze in 2010.

7 - Sakari Manninen and Teemu Hartikainen had seven points each in the Olympics, leading the overall scoring of the men's tournament along with Juraj Slafkovsky of Slovakia and Canada's Adam Tambellini.

37 - Captain Valtteri Filppula, at 37 years and 337 days old, is the oldest gold medallist for Finland at the Winter Games since cross-country skier Veikko Hakulinen in 1960.

16 - This was the first time in 16 years that neither Canada or the United States had progressed to the men's semi-finals. 

Norway's Therese Johaug capped off a brilliant individual campaign, and her Olympic career, in Beijing as she claimed a third gold of the Games in cross-country skiing.

Johaug, who missed the 2018 Games due to a doping ban, won the very first gold medal in Beijing and rounded off the cross-country skiing events with a victory in the women's 30km mass start on Sunday.

It took Norway's gold medal total to 16, four in front of second-best Germany.

Johaug had already suggested she would be retiring before the next Olympics, in 2026 in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, and the 33-year-old is set to go out on top.

"It is a dream come true that I can stand here for Norway with three gold medals in the same Olympics," she said. "I was so, so happy 14 days ago when I got my first one, and I cannot believe I have more. It's fantastic to end my Olympic career with these three gold medals."

Jessie Diggins took silver, becoming the first American woman to win a distance medal in cross-country skiing, despite having struggled with food poisoning this week.

Diggins said: "That might have been the best race of my entire life, I'm not going to lie. It was also maybe the hardest race of my whole life." 

Kerttu Niskanen took bronze to secure her second medal of the Games. 

Great Britain break their duck

Great Britain finally claimed their first gold of the Games, as Eve Muirhead led her women's curling team to a 10-3 thrashing of Japan.

It followed on from the men's team taking silver on Saturday. The gold was Team GB's first in curling in 20 years.

"It's a dream come true," Muirhead, told BBC Sport. "That was my third semi-final, and the two I lost were hard but I bounced back and here we are. We are Olympic champions. It's such a special moment."

Finland end 70-year wait

Finland won their first Olympic gold in men's ice hockey, as they defeated the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 2-1.

It took Finland 70 years to win gold. They had previously clinched bronze in 1994, 1998, 2010 and 2014, and silver in 1988 and 2006.

The victory earned a presidential seal of approval, too.

"I heard our president is going to call me and I would like to talk to him," said coach Jukka Jalonen. 

Dominant Germany claim three more medals

It has been a brilliant Games for Germany, who have taken seven bobsleigh medals, adding to six golds and three silvers won in skeleton and luge. They have dominated on the tracks.

Francesco Friedrich steered Germany to a 12th and final gold, in the four-man event on Saturday, while Johannes Lochner finished second behind his team-mate.

Pilot Friedrich has now equalled compatriots Kevin Kuske and Andre Lange as the bobsleigh athletes with the most titles, with four gold medals each.

"We hope it goes on," he said. "Our goal is to make four more years. We want to make the Olympics with all our friends, our sponsors in Cortina. It's near Germany, so maybe we can make one or two buses for all our families and friends and sponsors to finish our careers together."

Germany also had a silver to celebrate in alpine skiing. They finished behind Austria and ahead of Norway in the mixed team parallel big final.

Great Britain has claimed its first gold medal of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on the final day after Eve Muirhead led them past Japan 10-3 in Sunday's women's curling final.

The golden finish takes Great Britain's medal tally to two following the men's curling team winning silver on Saturday.

Muirhead was competing at her fourth Winter Olympics, having claimed bronze in 2014, earning her maiden gold medal with a starring role alongside Vicky Wright, Jen Dodds, and Hailey Duff.

The 31-year-old, who had returned after hip surgery, scored four in the seventh to all but secure the victory for the British.

"It's a dream come true," Muirhead, told BBC Sport. "That was my third semi-final, and the two I lost were hard but I bounced back and here we are. We are Olympic champions. It's such a special moment."

The team's gold medal was Great Britain's first in curling in 20 years, while it marked the 23rd team to win gold at the 2022 Winter Olympics, edging the previous joint best mark of 22 from Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018.

The triumph also means Great Britain have claimed a gold medal at the past four Winter Olympics for the first time following Amy Williams (2010) and Lizzy Yarnold (2014, 2018) who both won gold in skeleton.

Sunday sees the final day of action at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and the last five medal events.

Great Britain's women will attempt to go one better than their male counterparts in the curling, the four-man bobsleigh concludes, while Norway will seek to add to their impressive medal haul in the final cross-country skiing event.

The rescheduled mixed-team parallel slalom should finally get under way, and the men's ice hockey final promises to be an intriguing one.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at Sunday's events, before the evening's closing ceremony.

Alpine skiing

The mixed team parallel slalom is due to take place after being rescheduled from Saturday due to windy conditions.

The event is part of the Olympic programme for just the second time, with Switzerland defending their title and Norway the reigning world champions.

It sees skiers race one another, two at a time, on side-by-side and identical slalom courses, with the first to reach the finish line scoring for their team. Each team contains two men and two women, who race against rivals of the same gender, with 16 teams entered and the competition operating in a knockout mode, with quarter-final places on offer to the first-round winners.

Switzerland won the first iteration in Pyeongchang, while Austria took silver and Norway claimed bronze.

Bobsleigh

The final bobsleigh event sees the four-man sleds compete, with the first two heats having taken place on Saturday.

The leaderboard at the halfway stage looks as many expected it would, with the team led by German pilot Francesco Friedrich leading the way, just ahead of the team of compatriot Johannes Lochner.

Canada's foursome led by Justin Kripps sat third, but the threat of a Germany sweep - as happened in the two-man event - remained, with Christoph Hafer's team in fourth.

German sleds have won five of the last seven four-man events at the Winter Games dating back to 1994 in Lillehammer.

Cross-country skiing

The cross-country skiing events have been largely dominated by Norway and Russian Olympic Committee, with the two teams accounting for eight of 11 gold medals so far (four each).

The final event on Sunday will be the women's 30km mass start, with Norway's Therese Johaug one of the favourites after taking gold in the 10km classic and skiathlon.

Finland's Krista Parmakoski (silver) is the only medallist from 2018 to compete here, and she will be looking to add to the bronze she won in the 10km classic.

Curling

Though Great Britain won their first medal of Beijing 2022 on Saturday, their men's curling team will have been disappointed to only take silver after losing to Sweden in the gold medal match.

Eve Muirhead leads her team into the women's final on Sunday against Japan, and will be confident of doing so having beaten them 10-4 in the round-robin stages.

Ice hockey

The men's final sees reigning Olympic champions Russian Olympic Committee take on two-time silver medallists Finland.

This will be Finland's first gold medal match since Turin 2006, which was the last Olympic final not to feature either the United States or Canada. Both the US and Canada were heavily impacted by the NHL refusing to release players for Beijing 2022, but this final still promises to be a strong one.

Belgium have long lived in the Winter Olympics shadows of their geographical neighbours, but Bart Swings ensured there was plenty to celebrate on Saturday.

France, Germany and Netherlands have historically, and recently, enjoyed plenty of podium success at the Games, but it has been in seriously short supply in the case of the Belgians.

In fact, until this weekend they had not held a Winter Olympics gold medal since Micheline Lannoy and Pierre Baugniet won the figure skating mixed pairs at the 1948 Games in St Moritz.

Swings took glory in speed skating's men's mass start event, an improvement on his silver medal from Pyeongchang four years ago as the 31-year-old backed up his top-ranked World Cup form of the past three seasons.

South Koreans Chung Jae Won and Lee Seung Hoon took silver and bronze, while last place went to Dutch great Sven Kramer, a nine-time Olympic medallist, who won four golds in his storied career and was making his final appearance at the Games.

Swings said after winning the 100th gold medal of Beijing 2022: "That silver medal in Pyeongchang was already incredible because I think it was about 20 years ago since we had won a medal.

"Now a gold medal following up on that silver is historical. It's unbelievable. I'm looking forward to getting home with my family and friends. I haven't seen them in a long time because of COVID-19. It's going to be amazing to see them and show them the gold medal."

Here, Stats Perform picks out some other standout numbers from Saturday's action in Beijing.

3 - Irene Schouten became just the second woman to win three gold medals in speed skating in a single Winter Olympics, as she won the women's mass start, adding that to her 3,000m and 5,000m victories. It meant she matched the three-gold feat of fellow Dutchwoman Yvonne van Gennip from the 1988 Calgary Games. Germany's Claudia Pechstein finished ninth in Saturday's race at the age of 49, signing off a 30-year Olympic career that saw her win five gold medals and nine medals in all.

4-3-2-1 - Niklas Edin is the poster boy for patience, finally getting his hands on gold with the Sweden men's curling team. The skip featured as the Swedes finished fourth in 2010, third in 2014, second in 2018, and the 5-4 win over Great Britain means Edin has finally led the team to first place. It makes him the first Olympian to go on a run of 4-3-2-1 finishes in the same event, and means Sweden are men's curling team champions for the first time.

7 - Russian Olympic Committee's Alexander Bolshunov struck gold in the cross-country mass start, which was shortened from 50km to 30km due to extreme weather conditions. It gave him a fifth medal and third gold of Beijing 2022, after previous triumphs in the skiathlon and men's relay. That also made him the seventh cross-country skier to win five medals in any single edition of the Olympics, and the first man. Bolshunov now has nine medals in his Olympic career, finishing on the podium every time he has competed.

20 - New Zealand's Nico Porteous is just 20 years and 88 days old, and this is his second Winter Olympics. He landed a bronze four years ago and became the youngest gold medallist in men's freeski halfpipe with a spectacular performance on Saturday, nailing his routine to deliver a third medal for his country at these Games. It is the first time New Zealand have won three medals in a Winter Olympics, with snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott having landed the first two.

Norway did not add to their golden haul on Saturday at the Winter Olympics, but they cannot now be caught at the top of the medal table.

Nearest rivals Germany, four behind Norway's all-time record haul of 15 golds, are involved in only three of the five medal events on Sunday's final day of the Beijing Games.

Germany's 11th gold of the games arrived when Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi completed victory in the two-woman bobsleigh, ahead of compatriots Mariama Jamanka and Alexandra Burghardt.

It was almost a 1-2-3 for Germany, only for Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Sylvia Hoffman to take bronze, with Kim Kalicki and Lisa Buckwitz having to settle for fourth place.

China sit third overall after Sui Wenjing and Han Cong delivered gold in the mixed pairs figure skating, fending off the Russian pair of Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov to earn the hosts a ninth triumph of the Games.

Norway's only medal of the day came in the men's cross-country mass start, which was shortened from 50km to 30km due to extreme weather, as Simen Hegstad Krueger took bronze.

Sweden won an eighth gold, a new Winter Olympics best for the nation, as their men's curling team, led by skip Niklas Edin, earned a 5-4 win over Great Britain in the final.

The silver put Team GB on the medal table for the first time, in a tie for 24th place, with either gold or silver to follow on Sunday in the women's curling.

Medal table:

1. Norway (G15 S8 B12, Total: 35)
2. Germany (G11 S8 B5, Total: 24)
3. China (G9 S4 B2, Total: 15)
4. United States (G8 S9 B7, Total: 24)
5. Sweden (G8 S5 B5, Total: 18)
6. Netherlands (G8 S5 B4, Total: 17)
7. Switzerland (G7 S2 B5, Total: 14)
8. Russian Olympic Committee (G6 S11 B14, Total: 31)
9. Austria (G6 S7 B4, Total: 17)
10. France (G5 S7 B2, Total: 14)

The Winter Olympics is wrapping up, and there were plenty of medals up for grabs on Saturday.

A youngster challenged over the experienced head in the men's freeski halfpipe final, while Irene Schouten clinched her third gold of the Beijing Games.

The Dutch speed skater has been a major success story and made it three of the best as she triumphed in the women's mass start, following her earlier wins in the 3000m and 5000m events.

"My dream was after these Games to be called an Olympic champion, and now I am a three-time champion. I am living the dream," said Schouten, who took bronze in the same event in 2018.

"It is a game. Not always the fastest wins, you need some luck. Today I had luck. I was fast, but I got some luck, too."

Schouten is the second woman to win three gold medals in speed skating at a single Olympic Winter Games, joining compatriot Yvonne van Gennip from 1988.

She has also joined Japan's Takagi Miho in winning four speed skating medals in Beijing. They are the fourth and fifth females to win four medals in speed skating at a single Olympic Winter Games.

In the men's equivalent, Bart Swings sealed Belgium's first Olympic Winter gold since 1948. 

Porteous bests reigning champion Wise

World champion Nico Porteous came out victorious on the slopes, claiming freeski halfpipe gold ahead of reigning Olympic champion David Wise, who was aiming for a third straight gold in the event.

Porteous is the first athlete from New Zealand to claim two medals in freestyle skiing. He took bronze in Pyeongchang.

At 20 years, 88 days, Porteous is the youngest gold medallist in men's freeski halfpipe, while Wise, who is 31 years and 234 days old, is the oldest medallist in the discipline.

Germany, ROC celebrate one-two combinations

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) claimed four medals on Saturday.

Silver and bronze came their way in the pairs figure skating, with Chinese duo Sui Wenjing and Han Cong claiming gold.

The ROC's success came in cross-country skiing, with Alexander Bolshunov cruising to gold in the shortened men's mass start. It marked his third top prize of the Games.

Ivan Yakimushkin finished 5.5 seconds behind, with Norway's Simen Hegstad Krueger, who raced for the first time in Beijing having had to isolate due to COVID-19, finishing third.

Germany also had a gold-silver combination to celebrate in women's bobsleigh.

Success for Sweden

There was heartbreak for Great Britain, as their men fell just short in a thrilling curling final against Sweden.

Great Britain had to come from 3-1 down to force an extra end, but Sweden prevailed 5-4, meaning Britain's 98-year wait for men's curling gold rolls on.

"It's still pretty raw," GB captain Bruce Mouat told BBC Sport. "That's going to be the case for quite a while.

"I'm trying to think how great our week was and [feel] proud how we went about it. We topped the table and had a really good semi-final performance so I'm trying to think about the other things apart from that game."

Sweden's women, meanwhile, downed Switzerland 9-7 in their bronze medal game. 

However, Sweden's men could not claim ice hockey bronze, as they were thrashed 4-0 by Slovakia.

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