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.

Two of the great under-performers of the 2022 Winter Olympics could strike gold on the final Saturday of the Games.

Star US skier Mikaela Shiffrin has endured a dismal fortnight, and the same can be said for the Great Britain team as a whole.

All this could change, as Shiffrin bids to end her Beijing campaign on a high with a first medal at her sixth attempt, while Team GB are guaranteed at least silver in men's and women's curling. They have yet to appear on the medal table, with curling proving the team's salvation.

Sweden will face Slovakia in the men's ice hockey bronze medal game, ahead of Sunday's final between Finland and Russian Olympic Committee.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at Saturday's gold medal events.

Alpine skiing

Shiffrin remarked that she felt "like a joke" after failing to finish the women's combined – a third DNF of her difficult trip to China. She has also had a ninth place and an 18th, so Shiffrin has a lot on the line in the mixed team parallel slalom.

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.

Bobsleigh

Germany lead the way in the battle for the top of the podium after two of the four heats staged so far, with the sled piloted by Laura Nolte in gold medal position, ahead of defending champion Mariama Jamanka.

That creates the possibility of a German one-two, although the USA's Elana Meyers Taylor sat third with aspirations of improving on that position going into Saturday, when the competition concludes.

Cross-country skiing

Finland's Iivo Niskanen is the reigning champion in the 50km mass start and has a gold, silver and bronze from Beijing, but he is sitting out Saturday's event.

There are a host of challengers lining up to succeed Niskanen as champion. Among them, Russian Olympic Committee's Alexander Bolshunov will be looking to improve on his silver from 2018 and add to his four medals accrued so far in Beijing.

Norway's Simen Hegstad Krueger and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo could also be in the mix, along with the likes of Bolshunov's team-mate Denis Spitsov.

Curling

Standing between Bruce Mouat's Team GB rink and the gold medal are a strong Sweden team, led by skip and former army tank commander Niklas Edin.

Edin was not mincing his words when he described the showdown as "a clash of the titans in our sport".

Great Britain edged their round-robin tussle 7-6 in Beijing but also have recent experience of losing to Sweden. Competing as Scotland, the GB men were beaten 10-5 by the Swedes in the 2021 World Championship final.

Edin said of Saturday's match: "It might be nerve-wracking, but it's going to be a super well-played game. For the last couple of years they've probably been the most consistent team. And in championships over the past seven, eight years we've been the most consistent team."

Sweden also feature in Saturday's women's bronze medal game, taking on Switzerland, after losing 12-11 to Great Britain in Friday's semi-final.

Figure skating

China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong set the highest score ever achieved by a duo in a short programme to edge ahead in the pairs skating on Friday, with Saturday's free skating to come.

Their score of 84.41 points eclipsed that of Russian Olympic Committee's Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (84.25), with a second Russian pair consisting of world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov in third.

China have won gold in the pairs once before, when Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, a married couple, triumphed on the Vancouver ice in 2010.

Freestyle skiing

New Zealand have taken a gold and silver from Beijing so far, both going to snowboard marvel Zoi Sadowski-Synnott. Now freeski world champion Nico Porteous will look to follow her lead and reach the podium in the men's halfpipe final.

Porteous will compete in a field otherwise made up of competitors from the United States and Canada, and by setting the second-best score in qualifying has already served a reminder of his medal credentials.

US star Aaron Blunck led the way in qualifying, with another American, Birk Irving, in third. But perhaps all eyes should be on David Wise, winner of this event at the last two Games. At the age of 31, Wise is chasing a hat-trick, and posting the fourth-best score in qualifying suggests the man from Reno, Nevada, should not be discounted.

Speed skating

Action on the speed skating rink wraps up on Saturday with the men's and women's mass start events.

Korea's Lee Seung Hoon is the men's defending champion and is joined in the field by the silver medallist from four years ago, Belgium's Bart Swings. The last time Belgium won a Winter Olympics gold was in the pairs figure skating at the 1948 Games in St Moritz. American Joey Mantia is another with serious designs on gold.

In the women's event, the Dutch duo of Irene Schouten and Marijke Groenewoud are likely to be there or thereabouts, along with Canada's Ivanie Blondin and Italy's Francesca Lollobrigida.

History was made in Beijing on Friday as Johannes Thingnes Boe secured victory in the men's 15km mass start biathlon event.

It meant Norway became the first ever nation to win 15 gold medals at a single Winter Olympic Games, overtaking Canada's previous record total of 14 from 2010.

Boe's success was his fourth gold at Beijing 2022, and fifth medal overall, with Norway cementing their place at the top of the medal table with five more on Friday, including Boe's.

Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen took bronze in the same event, while Tiril Eckhoff and Martu Olsbu Roiseland claimed silver and bronze respectively in the women's 12.5km mass start.

Roiseland became the first athlete to win a medal in all four individual biathlon events at a Winter Games, while Haavard Holmefjord Lorentzen added another bronze in the men's 1000m speed skating.

Hosts China moved up to fourth in the medal table following another win for Eileen Gu in the women's freeski halfpipe, her second gold of the Games.

Netherlands sit level with Sweden in joint-fifth place after Thomas Krol won the men's 1000m speed skating event

Switzerland leapfrogged Austria into seventh after a one-two in the men's ski cross big final as Ryan Regez took gold and Alex Fiva won silver.

France remain 10th behind the Russian Olympic Committee despite gold for Justine Braisaz-Bouchet in women's 12.5km mass start.

Medal table:

1. Norway (G15 S8 B11, Total: 34)
2. Germany (G10 S7 B5, Total: 22)
3. United States (G8 S8 B5, Total: 21)
4. China (G8 S4 B2, Total: 14)
T5. Netherlands (G7 S5 B4, Total: 16)
T5. Sweden (G7 S5 B4, Total: 16)
7. Switzerland (G7 S2 B5, Total: 14)
8. Austria (G6 S7 B4, Total: 17)
9. Russian Olympic Committee (G5 S9 B13, Total: 27)
10. France (G5 S7 B2, Total: 14)

Eileen Gu told herself she was the best before going out and proving it as China's home Winter Olympics superstar landed a second gold medal of the Games in Beijing.

The United States-based teenager triumphed in the women's freeski halfpipe, posting a best score of 95.25 to win comfortably from the Canadian pair of Cassie Sharpe and Rachael Karker.

It made Gu, at the age of 18 years and 168 days, the youngest athlete to win three individual medals at any single edition of the Winter Olympics.

Dubbed the 'Snow Princess', Gu said the Olympic experience had been a life-changer.

"It has been two straight weeks of the most intense highs and lows I've ever experienced," she said. "It has changed my life forever."

After gold in the freeski big air and silver in slopestyle, this was her sign-off event at Beijing 2022, with Gu delivering a mesmerising display of agility and skill after giving herself a pep talk.

"Instead of looking to other athletes and being like, 'Oh, what are they doing? How can I be like them?', I try to build myself up more," Gu said. "So, it's the opposite of what I do in training, but at the top I said, 'My name is Eileen Gu, and I'm the best halfpipe freeskier in the world'."

Gu burst into tears as her achievement sank in. She also cast a little doubt over her future in the sport. Asked if she might consider competing for the USA in future, Gu said: "I have no idea what I'm even doing next year. I'm going to go to college, but in terms of skiing competitively, am I going to continue competing? Who knows?

"I love skiing and I would love to continue competing, but in terms of resources and time and, you know, what else I'm juggling. It just depends, right? I'm going to do whatever feels right and hopefully be able to create some kind of positive change out of any decision that I make."


Medals record for Norway

Johannes Thingnes Boe's fourth biathlon triumph in Beijing established a Winter Olympics landmark as it gave Norway a 15th gold medal, a record haul for a single edition of the Games.

Norway were already the most successful nation in Winter Olympics history, and they have been hammering home that status over the past fortnight.

Boe's latest run to glory came in the 15km mass start, which he won by 40.3 seconds from Sweden's Martin Ponsiluoma. Norway also took bronze through Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen.

The 28-year-old Boe, who also has a bronze from the 20km individual, enjoyed having a team-mate on the podium and said of Norway's record feat: "I feel really proud. We have both been a part of it, winning gold today and also in the men's relay where Vetle won a gold medal for us, so we are making history and as a nation we are really proud."

Norway also landed silver and bronze in the women's 12.5km mass start, which was won by France's Justine Braisaz-Bouchet, ahead of Tiril Eckhoff and Marte Olsbu Roeiseland.

Roeiseland's bronze gave her a fifth medal in Beijing, a second third-place finish to add to three gold-winning performances, and she said: "I was maybe not at my best in this cold, but I really tried to fight, and it was so fun to race with Tiril today, we raced the whole race together and the position in the standing was really tough. Today I'm just so happy with the bronze, for me it was like gold actually."

Champion Braisaz-Bouchet said: "I was so shocked I won. I'm really happy to say I'm Olympic champion. It's quite amazing."


Regez leads Swiss cross double

Ryan Regez and Alex Fiva delivered a Swiss one-two in freestyle's men's ski cross, with champion Regez finding the equilibrium he had been seeking all week when it mattered most.

"I've been really nervous for the whole week," Regez said. "It's my first Games and the last big event was the World Championships last year, which Alex won, and I was just super nervous there as well and I was skiing in my head, so thinking whilst skiing and there I messed up.

"Today it was just a lot of pressure on me because I won the last two World Cup events. I'm in the lead of the overall World Cup so for sure everyone was just hoping I would come here and take the victory and eventually it worked out, but there was just so much going on, so much pressure. I phoned a lot with family, friends, and yesterday I had a long talk with my coaches.

"That just calms me down a lot and that was really important. Today actually I wasn't nervous at all, which was quite unusual. In the morning, yes I was, but then as soon as I went on the mountains everything was gone and I just could ski free."

 

Dutch skaters back up to speed

Thomas Krol delivered a fifth long-track speed skating gold medal for the Netherlands team, but a first for eight days after the wins began to dry up.

Krol's victory came in the 1,000 metres, as he edged out fast times from Canada's Laurent Dubreuil and Norway's Haavard Holmefjord Lorentzen.

"It's really hard to express all the emotions that are going through me, a dream just came true," said the 29-year-old, who has aspirations to become a pilot when his sporting career ends. "I'm so intensely happy that I made it. It means everything.

"I was expecting my time not to be fast enough because there were more great skaters coming. So, it was a nerve-wracking 10 minutes for me."

Dubreuil put disappointment at missing out on gold into context, saying: "My daughter especially helped me. She is just three years old, and she doesn't care about my results. Seeing her not even one per cent sad after my race when I called them, she was running around and having so much fun, running and jumping and yelling. It made me realise, it's just sport."

Sandra Naeslund claimed Winter Olympics gold for Sweden in the women's freestyle ski cross to add her name to an elite list.

The 25-year-old stormed to victory ahead of Canada's Marielle Thompson, with Daniela Maier claiming bronze after Marielle Thompson was bumped down for an infringement.

Naeslund joins Thompson and Jean-Frederic Chapius as the only freestyle skiers to have won Olympic gold, the world championship title and the crystal globe in the event.

Canada have won a medal in all four Games this event has been held, though unlike in 2010, 2014 and 2018, they were unable to stand top of the podium.

Stats Perform picks out some other standout numbers from Thursday's action in Beijing.


7 - Japan's Miho Takagi won her seventh Olympic medal with victory in the women's speed skating 1000m, surpassing China's Wang Meng (six) for the most medals won by an Olympian representing an Asian nation in the Winter Games.

12 - Brittany Bowe claimed bronze in the same event to make it 12 medals for the United States in the women's 1000m, followed by 10 for the Netherlands, who won silver thanks to Jutta Leerdam.

3 - Switzerland's Michelle Gisin became the third athlete to defend her Olympic title in the women's alpine combined after Janica Kostelic in 2002 and 2006 and Maria Hofl-Riesch in 2010 and 2014.

5 - Gisin's team-mate Wendy Holdener won silver for her fifth Olympic medal as Switzerland achieved a gold-silver finish in a women's alpine skiing event at the Winter Games for a third time, previously doing so in the 1956 downhill and 1984 downhill.

7 - Canada prevailed 3-2 winners against the USA in the women's ice hockey final to win their fifth gold medal since its introduction to the Games in 1998. This was the seventh medal in event for both nations, having each made the podium every year the event has been contested.

4 - With two goals on Thursday, Canada's Marie-Phillip Poulin is the only ice hockey player – male or female – to score in four Olympic Games finals, scoring seven times in total across those games.

17 - Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, both 17 years old, won gold and silver respectively in the women's single figure skating, marking the first time that multiple figure skaters under the age of 18 finished on the podium of the event since 1998 when American duo Tara Lipinski (15) and Michelle Kwan (17) won gold and silver respectively.

Eileen Gu has already delighted China by sealing gold and silver medals at Beijing 2022 in freestyle skiing, and she is looking for a third success on Friday.

If the qualifying performance of the 'Snow Princess' on Thursday is anything to go by, Gu will be a worthy hot favourite for the freeski halfpipe.

Elsewhere, Team GB will find out what colour their first medal of these Games will be in the men's curling final, while Netherlands aim for more speed skating gold and biathlon signs off with its final two events.

The two-woman bobsled heats are also due to take place, along with the pairs short programme in figure skating, and the men's semi-finals of the ice hockey as Finland face Slovakia and the Russian Olympic Committee go up against Sweden.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at Friday's medal events:

Biathlon

The men's 15km mass start takes place on Friday, with France's Quentin Fillon Maillet gunning for his sixth medal.

He became the first biathlete to win five medals at a single Winter Games after securing two golds and three silvers in Beijing, although he has not won a men's World Cup mass start race in the past two seasons.

There will be plenty of competition as six of the last seven World Championship gold medallists in the mass start are competing here, including the Boe brothers of Norway.

In the women's 12.5km mass start, which has been rescheduled from Saturday due to anticipated weather conditions, Norway's Marte Olsbu Roeiseland is looking to match Fillon Maillet's current haul by winning a fifth medal in Beijing.

If she does win a medal, Roeiseland will also become the first biathlete to finish on the podium in all four individual events at a single Winter Games.

The last three world champions in this event, including Roeiseland, will be competing, with Italy's Dorothea Wierer and Austria's Lisa Theresa Hauser looking to overcome the dominant Norwegian.

Curling

Great Britain will win a medal at Beijing 2022, which did not look like it would be the case for the majority of these Games.

Bruce Mouat and his team celebrated a hard-fought 8-4 win against the United States in the semi-final on Thursday, and will face Niklas Edin and his Sweden team in Friday's gold medal match after they beat Canada 6-3.

"I'm really struggling to sum it up, but I guess you saw from our reaction there that it was just pure elation," Mouat said after beating the champions from PyeongChang 2018.

"It's going to be amazing. Niklas and his team have been our rivals for so many years now. We’ve played them in numerous Europeans and World Championships, so it feels really nice to be able to play them in a larger final."

Great Britain beat Sweden 7-6 in the round-robin stage earlier at these Games.

Freestyle skiing

As usual when she competes at these Games, all eyes will be on Gu. She comfortably qualified in first place on Thursday with scores in her two runs of 93.75 and 95.50, with no-one else in the field achieving a score higher than 89.50 from either jump.

"I was journaling last night, I wrote some affirmations, I was like, 'I am fresh. I am not tired. I am excited'," the 18-year-old said after sealing her place in the final.

"The joke is I'm actually exhausted, I'm not fresh, but I was writing in my journal to try to convince myself that I was - and it's working, I slept well last night."

Canada's Rachael Karker, Estonia's Kelly Sildaru, who won bronze in the slopestyle, and Great Britain's Zoe Atkin completed the top four in qualifying and will likely be Gu's biggest competition.

Speed skating

In the men's 1,000m, the Netherlands will be aiming to become the first country to win the event at three consecutive Olympic Winter Games, following Stefan Groothuis (Sochi 2014) and Kjeld Nuis (PyeongChang 2018).

Kai Verbij may be their best hope as the reigning world champion, though Thomas Krol leads the World Cup 1,000m rankings. 

China's Gao Tingyu, who won the 500m, is looking to become only the second skater to win both 500m and 1,000m at the same Winter Games after Eric Heiden of the United States did so in 1980.

Norway extended their lead atop the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics medal table with another gold in the Nordic Combined on Thursday.

Erik Valnes and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo secured gold in the men's cross-country skiing sprint event on Wednesday, and a day later Norway took first place in the men's team Gundersen large hill/4x5km race.

Norway had suffered the blow of being without Jarl Magnus Riiber due to coronavirus, but the team led by four-time Olympic champion Joergen Graabak ultimately coasted to a comfortable win just under 55 seconds ahead of Germany.

Although that was Norway's only medal of any kind on the day, it was enough to increase their lead to four over 10-gold Germany, who – like the United States in third (eight) – did not get any event wins on Thursday.

It was a good day for Canada as well, who beat USA 3-2 in the women's ice hockey final to clinch their fourth gold.

They also took silver in the women's ski cross big final through Marielle Thompson while Sweden's Sandra Naeslund claimed gold, moving them up to fourth ahead of hosts China.

The Russian Olympic Committee had a bittersweet conclusion in the women's figure skating singles. They took gold and silver with Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, respectively, but 15-year-old Kamila Valieva finished outside the medals despite leading the standings after Tuesday's short program routine.

Switzerland stayed one clear of the Russians and moved level on six golds with Austria and the Netherlands when Michelle Gisin took the women's Alpine combined slalom ahead of compatriot Wendy Holdener.

And the final gold of the day went to Japan and Miho Takagi, who finally got the victory she wanted after three silvers at these Games.

She emerged victorious in the women's 1,000 metres speed skating, setting a new Olympic record of one minute, 13.19 seconds.

Medal table:

1. Norway (G14 S7 B8, Total: 29)
2. Germany (G10 S7 B5, Total: 22)
3. United States (G8 S8 B5, Total: 21)
4. Sweden (G7 S4 B4, Total: 15)
5. China (G7 S4 B2, Total: 13)
6. Austria (G6 S7 B4, Total: 17)
7. Netherlands (G6 S5 B4, Total: 15)
8. Switzerland (G6 S1 B5, Total: 12)
9. Russian Olympic Committee (G5 S9 B12, Total: 26)
10. France (G4 S7 B2, Total: 13)

Kamila Valieva was inconsolable after the Russian teenager endured a nightmare free skating routine to slip off the podium at the Winter Olympics.

Valieva had been on course to win the figure skating singles title after Tuesday's short programme, having controversially being cleared to compete despite failing a drugs test.

However, the immense pressure the 15-year-old has been under in Beijing appeared to have taken its toll as she fell on multiple occasions in an error-strewn performance on Thursday.

Valieva, who tested positive for trimetazidine after a test taken in December, could only finish fourth after a score of 141.83 for her final routine have her 224.09 overall at the Capital Indoor Stadium.

Anna Shcherbakova [255.95] took gold and Alexandra Trusova made it a Russian Olympic Committee one-two, with Kaori Sakamoto of Japan taking bronze.

Shcherbakova said: "The importance of this is so huge that I cannot fully understand it yet. At the moment I have only felt the happiness from the fact that I was able to do everything I am capable of in my programme.

"I still haven't realised that the competition has finished and this is the result. I haven't understood what has happened."

Valieva was reduced to tears after she was unable to claim a second medal. She won team gold last week before her failed drugs test came to light and prompted calls for the youngster to be thrown out of the Games.

Drink wine, ski fast - Gisin reveals winning formula

Michelle Gisin led a Switzerland women's Alpine combined one-two ahead of Wendy Holdener, with Federica Brignone taking bronze for Italy.

Gisin was 12th after the downhill but surged to the top of the podium following a rapid slalom run of 52.25 seconds, and revealed a drop of wine helped her claim gold on the back of a super-G bronze.

She said: "I had a glass of wine before the super-G with Loic (Meillard) and Luca Aerni and after the super-G they wrote on my door: 'Drink wine: ski fast'.

"So I drank a glass of wine with them again yesterday, of course."

Mikaela Shiffrin was left feeling "like a joke" after the American recorded her third DNF of the Games.


Canada dethrone USA to claim 'insane' ice hockey gold

It was Canada's day as they beat fierce rivals the United States in the women's ice hockey final, gaining sweet revenge for their loss in the gold-medal match four years ago.

The Canadians came out on top 3-2 at the Wukesong Sports Centre to win gold for a fifth time, and for a fourth time they did it at the expense of their old foes.

Sarah Nurse scored her fifth goal of the tournament and also broke the record for most points (18) and most assists (13) in a women's Olympic ice hockey competition.

Canada forward Sarah Fillier said: "It is insane. I can't stop shaking. It's a dream come true. I don't think I can find the words. I'm still shaking."


Persistence pays off for Takagi

Miho Takagi finally added an individual gold medal to her collection in the women's 1,000 metres, some 12 years after making her Olympic debut, adding to the three silvers she has won in these Games.

The Japanese speed skater clocked an Olympic record time of one minute, 13.19 seconds to strike gold.

A smiling Takagi said: ""I remembered what my older sister 'Nana' said to me this morning, 'It’s amazing if you win four silvers'.

"But I wasn’t able to accept any kind of pressure from outside. All I was thinking about was to finish the race, and start really well. I thought I would just go for it."

The United States' Nick Goepper won his third successive Winter Olympics medal in the men's freeski slopestyle and became the oldest medallist in event in the process.

Goepper, who won bronze in 2014 and silver in 2018, is only the third freestyle skier to win three Olympic medals in the same event.
 
Aged at 27 years and 339 days, Goepper posted a best score of 86.48 to finish behind compatriot Alex Hall (90.10) as the USA continued its dominance in the sport. 

The USA have won six medals in this event in the three times its has appeared at the Games, while the 31 medals won in freestyle skiing is four more than next-best Canada.

Jesper Tjader took bronze off his first run of 85.38 – Sweden's first medal in this event, and their third in men's freestyle skiing overall at Beijing 2022.

"It means a lot. My goal with the Olympics is to land my best run ever, and today I finally landed it. I couldn't be more stoked," Tjader said.

Stats Perform looks at some more of the standout numbers following the conclusion of Wednesday's action in Beijing.


2 - Erik Valnes and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo led Norway to the team sprint gold medal, the latter becoming the first cross-country skier – male or female – to win two Olympic hold medals in the team sprint.

1 - The Russian Olympic Committee placed second to Sweden in the women's 4x6km relay, meaning they are the first nation to win an Olympic medal in all three biathlon relay events at a single Winter Games following their success in the mixed relay and men's relay.

3 - After helping Sweden to finish second in the cross-country team sprint, Jonna Sundling completed a full set of medals at Beijing 2022 as she added to the gold won in the individual sprint and bronze in the relay.

8 - France came out on top in the men's Alpine skiing slalom for the first time since 2006 thanks to Clement Noel. It is the eighth medal France have won in the event, matching Italy in second but still some way behind Austria (18).

3 - Korean athlete Choi Minjeong successfully defended her gold medal in the women’s 1500m in short-track speed-skating, which was her third medal in Beijing following silver medals in the 1000m and 3000m relay.

Clement Noel was in dreamland after conquering the stress to end France's 16-year wait for an Alpine skiing Olympic gold medal on Wednesday.

A blistering second run of 49.79 seconds sealed the men's slalom title in Beijing.

Noel finished four-hundredths of a second off the podium in fourth place in the PyeongChang four years ago, but took he took the top step on this occasion.

The 24-year-old was in sixth place after his opening run before claiming gold by a huge margin of 0.61 seconds from AustrJohannes Strolz, with Sebastian Foss-Solevaag taking bronze for Norway.

Not since Antoine Deneriaz took the men's downhill title at the Turin 2006 Games had France won an Olympic Alpine skiing gold medal before Noel delivered on the big stage.

He said: "Olympic Games is always stressful, it's once every four years. You have one race, around one minute and 40 seconds just to prove that and show your best skiing so for sure it was stressful.

"I was quite fast in training last few days, I had good feelings, way better than in January. That also fuelled me up for this race today. I knew that I liked the snow. I was quite confident, it’s not the same as a World Cup race.

"Everybody will push hard for the Olympics and I had to do this also without asking myself too many questions."

He added: "It was a goal for me to go back to France with a medal. I knew that I can do this, but it's always really difficult to do it in the most important moment, so [I'm] really happy to manage that pressure and to do it pretty well, especially on the second run."

 

Finland's women claim ice hockey bronze, USA men's team stunned by Slovakia

Finland celebrated winning a women's ice hockey bronze medal at the expense of Switzerland at the Wukesong Sports Centre.

The Swiss were consigned to a 4-0 defeat as their opponents produced an inspired performance.

There was an upset in the men's competition earlier in the day as the United States were consigned to a 3-2 loss by Slovakia.

With no NHL participation in Beijing, a young American side led 2-1 late in regulation time. However, Marek Hrivik struck with 43 seconds left to force 10 minutes of overtime and Peter Cehlarik was the only player to convert his penalty in a shoot-out to send Slovakia through along with Finland, the Russian Olympic Committee and Sweden, who beat Canada 2-0 to advance.

 

Fontana makes history

Arianna Fontana became Italy's most decorated Winter Olympian when the speed skating legend won an 11th medal.

The 35-year-old great took silver in the 1500 metres behind reigning champion Choi Minjeong in what is her fifth Games.

Fontana has won more medals than any other short-track skater and broke another record in the Chinese capital.

She moved beyond cross-country skier Stefania Belmondo to go out on her own as Italy's greatest Winter Olympics athlete.

 

Canada rock Republic of Korea

The final event of the men's short-track speed-skating competition was one to remember, with Canada beating Republic of Korea to relay gold.

Canada came out on top in the 5000m event, stunning the Korean team in a tense final.

There was also drama in the battle for bronze, with Italy getting the verdict in a photo finish despite clocking the same time as the ROC.

Kamila Valieva takes to the ice looking to secure her second figure skating medal of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games on Thursday.

The Russian teenager was controversially cleared to continue competing this week despite testing positive for performance-enhancing drug trimetazidine in December.

Valieva won a team figure skating gold last week before her positive test was revealed and is on course to win the singles title after leading the way in the short program routine on Tuesday.

Another teen sensation, China's Eileen Gu – who has already won freeski big air gold and slopestyle silver - begins her quest for a third medal in Beijing as the women's freeski halfpipe qualification gets underway.

Stats Perform takes a look at Thursday's upcoming medal events:

Alpine skiing

The women's alpine program ends with the combined event, with 2018 Olympic champion Michelle Gisin from Switzerland hoping to become the third woman to successfully defend the title after Janica Kostelic of Croatia (2002-2006) and Maria Hofl-Riesch of Germany (2010-2014).

We could see Mikaela Shiffrin's redemption story after the American, who has had a Games to forget so far, crashed out of the giant slalom and slalom, before finishing ninth in the super G and 18th in the downhill.

A silver medallist at PyeongChang 2018, Shiffrin is also the reigning world champion, and achieved the best time in training on Wednesday.

Figure skating

Valieva leads the way in the women's single skating event after receiving 82.16 points in the short program on Tuesday.

The 15-year-old is ahead of another Russian, Anna Shcherbakova (80.20) and Japan's Kaori Sakamoto (79.84) heading into Thursday's free skate.

Freestyle skiing

In the women's ski cross event, all eyes will be on Sweden's Sandra Naeslund. She has won eight out of nine races of this season's World Cup, including the final event before the Olympics last month.

Marielle Thompson of Canada, the 2014 Olympic champion, is the only other woman to have won a World Cup event this season, and she will be hoping to complete an inspirational return after rupturing her ACL in her right knee last March.

The qualification for the men's and women's freeski halfpipe begin, with Gu aiming to win another medal in front of her adoring fans in Beijing, with the women's final set to take place on Friday.

Ice hockey

The anticipated women's gold medal game between Canada and the United States takes place on Thursday.

Both teams comfortably made it to the final on Monday after Canada beat Switzerland 10-3 and USA overcame Finland 4-1 in the semis.

The rivals have already played each other in Beijing, with the Canadians winning 4-2 in the group stage.

Nordic combined

The final event of the Nordic combined, the team Gundersen large hill 4x5km relay, will see Norway's team of Joergen Graabak, Jens Luraas Oftebro, Espen Bjoernstad and Espen Andersen looking to increase their nation's dominance.

Norway (three) is the only country to have won more than one Nordic combined medal so far, but they will likely face competition from the other nations to medal: Germany, Austria and Japan.

Speed skating

In the women's 1000m, we will certainly have a new champion after Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands, who won gold in 2018, recently retired.

Fellow Dutch skater Jutta Leerdam, the 2019 world champion, is her nation's best hope, while United States duo Brittany Bowe and Erin Jackson, who won gold in the 500m, are also among the favourites.

Japan's Miho Takagi could become the third reigning world sprint champion to win Olympic 1000m gold after Karin Kania-Enke of Germany and American Bonnie Blair.

Great Britain flagbearer Dave Ryding takes to the slopes on Wednesday, as he looks to seal the nation's first medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

And he has the support of Liverpool and England footballer Jordan Henderson.

There are two finals in the men's freestyle skiing, too, while Finland and Switzerland's women go for bronze in the ice hockey.

Medals are up for grabs in the biathlon, cross-country skiing and short track speed skating. Here, Stats Perform looks at the main events to come on Wednesday.

Alpine ski

It has been a frustrating Games so far for Team GB, with no medals recorded as of yet. However, one of their big hopes will go for glory in the men's slalom.

Ryding, 35, made history by winning the first World Cup title for Great Britain just prior to the Games. However, he is one of six different winners in the six World Cup slalom events held so far this season, meaning the Olympic field is wide open.

But, he has the full backing of not only Team GB, but his beloved Liverpool, whose captain Henderson sent a message of support to Ryding.

"I just wanted to send you a quick message to say big congratulations on the win and all the very best in Beijing," Henderson said in the video message.

"I hope it goes well. It's nice to hear you are a big Liverpool fan. I hope to see you at Anfield when you get back. Take care mate, good luck.”

Sebastian Foss-Solevag, the 2021 world champion, must be considered among the favourites. 

Biathlon

Belarus will be looking to defend their title from 2018 in the women's 4x6km relay, though Sweden and France – silver and bronze medallists respectively in Pyeongchang – are also contenders.

Sweden are the current World Cup leaders, with Norway second and France third, with Belarus down in fifth place.

Cross-country skiing

There are two medal events in cross-country skiing on Wednesday, in the men's and women's team sprints.

The United States are the reigning women's champions, while Norway hold the title in the men's. Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo is part of the team, and he is hunting a fourth medal in Beijing.

Freestyle skiing

Likewise, six more athletes will win medals in freestyle skiing. The men's freeski slopestyle final is perfectly poised. Switzerland's Andri Ragettli topped the qualifying standings, but only just ahead of big air gold medallist Birk Ruud, while reigning Olympic champion Nicholas Goepper came third, with fellow Americans Alex Hall and Colby Stevenson finishing in the top six too.

Another American, Chris Lillis, is going for gold in the men's aerials. He helped the United States to victory in mixed team aerials last week.

Ukrainian Oleksandr Abramenko will be out to defend his title, though World Cup leader Maxim Burov is the favourite.

Short track speed skating

Canada, Italy, China, South Korea and the Russian Olympic Committee will battle it out for a podium place in the men's 5000m relay, with 2018 champions Hungary having failed to make the cut.

In the women's 1500m, South Korea are again well represented, with reigning champion and world record holder Choi Min-jeong involved, along with current World Cup leader Lee Yu-bin.

However, Suzanne Schulting is the 2021 World Short Track Speed Skating champion at all distances and has enjoyed a wonderful Games so far, setting two Olympic records, one world record and winning four medals (two gold, two silver).

An Olympic record was set by Canada's women in the speed skating team pursuit as they capitalised on a slip-up from Japan.

Ivanie Blondin, Isabelle Weidemann and Valerie Maltais took advantage of a late fall by Japan's Takagi Nana to clinch gold at the National Speed Skating Oval on Tuesday.

Japan led every lap and looked to be storming towards victory, yet Canada kept themselves within touching distance and pounced when the mistake came.

Canada crossed in an Olympic record time of two minutes and 53.44 seconds, ahead of Japan by 11.03 seconds, with the Netherlands claiming bronze after beating Russia in the B final.

It was Canada's first Olympic gold in the event and just their second medal in women's team pursuit after a silver in 2006.

 

Canada have now won gold in five different women's speed skating events across their Olympic history, which equals a record set by the Netherlands.

Weidemann, meanwhile, has completed a set of medals in Beijing. She claimed bronze in the 3,000m and took silver in the 5,000m, and becomes the third Canadian speed skater to win at least three medals at a single Games, after Cindy Klassen (five in 2006) and Gaetan Boucher (three in 1984).

"It's always sad to see another team fall," she said. "We've watched Japan for so long, they have taken it to a new level. We have constantly been chasing them."

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