Russia is planning to appeal against the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) decision to ban the country's athletes from the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, according to Oleg Matytsin, the country's Minister of Sport.

The IPC confirmed the decision to bar both Russian and Belarusian Paralympians from the games on Thursday, reversing an earlier announcement that they would be able to participate as neutrals.

Russia's ban was announced just a day before the Beijing Games are scheduled to begin, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had called for such a measure in the face of international pressure and boycott threats from athletes.

Matytsin, speaking to the state-owned news agency TASS, confirmed that Russia is now working on an emergency appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"We are currently working to establish our legal position to file lawsuits on the protection of our athletes' rights, against the discrimination of athletes based on their ethnicity and the use of sports as a tool of a political pressure," he said.

"Today's decision of the International Paralympic Committee to bar our team is a blatant violation of athletes' rights and a manipulation of the Olympic Charter and human lives' values in pursuit of political goals.

"It is extremely inadmissible to put in action any type of sanctions with regard to [Russia's] Paralympians, who have already arrived for the tournament.

"We are drafting a lawsuit to be considered before the Opening Ceremony and the actual start [of the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games]."

The IPC's decision came one week after Russia invaded Ukraine and means that a 71-strong team of Russian Paralympians will be forced to sit out the Games, barring the success of an appeal.

Ukraine, meanwhile, will have 29 representatives in Beijing, while Russian athletes or teams have also been hit with bans by bodies such as the World Athletics Council, FIFA and UEFA, as the international sporting community attempts to apply pressure to the nation.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from the 2022 Winter Olympics following a U-turn by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The IPC announced on Wednesday that the two nations were set to compete in Beijing, albeit under the Paralympic flag and without being included in the medal table.

That was despite the International Olympic Committee (IOC) calling for athletes from Russia and Belarus to be prevented from taking part in all international sporting competitions.

However, just a day before the Games are due to begin, the IPC has reversed its decision amid fierce backlash and threats of boycotts.

It means 83 athletes will now no longer be able to compete in the nine-day event, including a 71-strong team from Russia.

IPC president Andrew Parsons said in a statement on Thursday: "At the IPC we are very firm believers that sport and politics should not mix. However, by no fault of its own the war has now come to these Games and behind the scenes many governments are having an influence on our cherished event.

"The IPC is a membership-based organisation, and we are receptive to the views of our member organisations. When our members elected the board in December 2021 it was to maintain and uphold the principles, values, and rules of the Paralympic Movement.  

"As board members that is a responsibility and duty we take extremely seriously. In taking our decision yesterday we were looking at the long-term health and survival of the Paralympic Movement.  

"We are fiercely proud of the principles and values that have made the Movement what it is today. However, what is clear is that the rapidly escalating situation has now put us in a unique and impossible position so close to the start of the Games."

The new announcement comes a week on from Russia invading Ukraine, with neighbouring Belarus effectively used as a staging post for part of the advance.

A joint statement from Ukrainian athletes and the Global Athlete group condemned the IPC's original ruling on Wednesday, accusing the governing body of issuing "another blow" to every Ukrainian athlete and citizen.

Parsons explained that the situation in the athletes' village had become "untenable", leading to the surprise U-turn on the eve of the event.

"Yesterday we said we would continue to listen, and that is what we are doing," he said. "In the last 12 hours an overwhelming number of members have been in touch with us and been very open, for which I am grateful.  

"They have told us that if we do not reconsider our decision, it is now likely to have grave consequences for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Multiple NPCs, some of which have been contacted by their governments, teams and athletes, are threatening not to compete.

"Ensuring the safety and security of athletes is of paramount importance to us and the situation in the athlete villages is escalating and has now become untenable. 

"In order to preserve the integrity of these Games and the safety of all participants, we have decided to refuse the athlete entries from RPC and NPC Belarus. 

"To the Para athletes from the impacted countries, we are very sorry that you are affected by the decisions your governments took last week in breaching the Olympic Truce. You are victims of your governments' actions. 

"Athlete welfare is and always will be a key concern for us. As a result of today's decision 83 Para athletes are directly impacted by this decision. However, if RPC and NPC Belarus remain here in Beijing then nations will likely withdraw. We will likely not have a viable Games. If this were to happen, the impact would be far wider reaching.

"I hope and pray that we can get back to a situation when the talk and focus is fully on the power of sport to transform the lives of persons with disabilities, and the best of humanity."

The World Athletics Council announced on Tuesday that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.

A number of other sporting federations, including FIFA and UEFA, have also banned teams and athletes from Belarus and Russia.

Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to compete at the 2022 Winter Paralympics as neutrals, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed.

The IPC made the announcement on Wednesday, two days before the nine-day event is scheduled to officially begin in Beijing.

While competitors from Russia and Belarus have been cleared to take part in the global showpiece, they must compete under the Paralympic flag and will not be included in the medal table.

IPC president Andrew Parsons said in a statement: "The IPC and wider Paralympic Movement is greatly concerned by the gross violation of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarusian governments in the days prior to the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. 

"The IPC Governing Board is united in its condemnation of these actions and was in agreement that they cannot go unnoticed or unaddressed.

"In deciding what actions the IPC should take, it was fundamental that we worked within the framework of our new constitution to remain politically neutral and within the IPC Handbook, the rules and regulations that govern the Paralympic Movement. 

"Such neutrality is firmly anchored in the genuine belief that sport holds the transformative power to overcome our shortcomings and summon from within us the best of our humanity, especially in the darkest of moments.

"What we have decided upon is the harshest possible punishment we can hand down within our constitution and the current IPC rules."

The announcement comes six days on from Russian president Vladimir Putin ordering an invasion of Ukraine, with neighbouring Belarus effectively used as a staging post for Russian military.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week called for athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus to be prevented from taking part in all international sporting competitions.

In a statement issued on Monday, the IOC's executive board accused the governments of Russia and Belarus of a "breach of the Olympic Truce" following the attack on Ukraine.

Referencing that statement, Parsons declared further sanctions may follow, with the IPC confirming members will be invited to decide whether to suspend or terminate the membership of the two nations.

"Post-Beijing 2022, we will also take measures with our 206 member organisations to determine whether any breaches of the Olympic Truce for future Paralympic Games could lead to the possible suspension or termination of an NPC [National Paralympic Committee]," he said.

"It is deeply disappointing that such action is required. However, the IPC Governing Board believes it to be necessary in order to hold governments to account for actions that impact directly on the Paralympic Movement, the Paralympic Games and Paralympic athletes. 

"This is especially so given the origins of the Paralympic Movement, arising out of the horrific events of the Second World War.

"Now that this decision has been made, I expect all participating NPCs to treat the neutral athletes as they would any other athletes at these Games, no matter how difficult this may be. 

"Unlike their respective governments, these Paralympic athletes and officials are not the aggressors, they are here to compete in a sport event like everybody else.

"The eyes of the world will be watching the Paralympic Winter Games in the coming days.  It is vital we show to world leaders through our sport that we can unite as human beings and that our true power is found when promoting peace, understanding and inclusion. 

"This is at the core of what the Paralympic Movement does and what it stands for. We should not lose sight of this now, no matter what the circumstances."

The World Athletics Council announced on Tuesday that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.

A number of other sporting federations, including FIFA and UEFA, have also banned teams and athletes from the eastern European countries.

The National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine has confirmed that a 29-strong team will represent their country at the upcoming Winter Paralympics in Beijing, despite Russia's invasion of their homeland.

Russia launched an assault on Ukraine late last week, leading to a strong backlash from the international sporting community.

After the International Olympic Committee (IOC) condemned Russia's breach of the Olympic Truce, which remains in place until after the end of the Winter Paralympics, Ukrainian athletes penned an open letter to the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to call for the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes ahead of the Winter Games, telling the governing bodies; "your legacy will be defined by your actions."

While the IPC is due to make a decision on Russian and Belarusian participation on Wednesday, Ukrainian Paralympians have moved to confirm that they are departing for the games from undisclosed locations, to compete in biathlon and cross-country skiing events.

"Part of the team is in one place, part is in another," a spokesperson told Public Sports.

"I hope that today we will unite and get to the airport and go to Beijing together. The team is not in Ukraine.

"We will not tell where we are. When we come to Beijing, we will tell. I hope that tomorrow, March 2, we will be in Beijing.

"The team is going [in] full as we planned."

Later that afternoon, a tweet from the official account of the Paralympic Games displayed the Ukrainian athletes prior to their departure for China. 

Ukrainian athletes have signed an open letter addressed to the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees calling for the immediate suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes ahead of the Winter Paralympics.

After weeks of rising political tensions, Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday, with the conflict escalating further over the weekend.

Russia's actions have been widely condemned, and several leading athletes have demanded their entry into the 2022 Beijing Games be blocked.

A letter published by Global Athlete read: "We write to you today on behalf of Ukrainian Athletes to call on you in your leadership capacity of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to immediately suspend the Russian and Belarusian National Olympic and Paralympic Committees.

"Any suspension must also include the banning of all athletes from international sport, including the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games.

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine, supported by Belarus, is a clear breach of the Olympic and Paralympic Charters – a breach that must be met with strong sanctions.

"If the IOC and IPC refuse to take swift action, you are clearly emboldening [this] violation of international law and your own Charters.

"Your lack of action will send a message to every athlete and the world that you have chosen Russia and Belarus over athlete interests. Your legacy will be defined by your actions."

The IOC this week condemned Russia's breach of the Olympic Truce, which remains in place until a week after the end of the Paralympic Games.

The Paralympics will take place between March 4 and March 13.

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."

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 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, prevailing in the women's 30km mass start on Sunday.

Already guaranteed top spot in the medal table, that win took Norway's total of golds to 16, four in front of Germany. It is the second successive games in which Norway has finished top of the pile.

A Games that has seen Germany dominate the sliding events was fittingly capped with a German victory in the four-man bobsleigh.

Francesco Friedrich piloted Germany to a 12th and final gold while Johannes Lochner finished second behind his team-mate.

Canada took bronze, with 14 of the country's 26 medals at these Games being of that variety.

A total of four golds is Canada's lowest since the 1994 Games in Lillehammer (three) and, ending the final day in 11th, the 2022 Olympics marked the first in which the North American nation has finished outside the top 10 in the medal table since its home games in Calgary in 1988, when it did not win a single gold.

Great Britain did not win a medal of any colour at that Games, but a late rush in curling ensured the Brits avoided that fate in Beijing. 

A 10-3 victory over Japan in the final on Sunday meant the women won gold a day after the men's team had to settle for silver. Team GB finished 19th in the table.

Medal table:

1. Norway (G16 S8 B13, Total: 37)
2. Germany (G12 S10 B5, Total: 27)
3. China (G9 S4 B2, Total: 15)
4. United States (G8 S10 B7, Total: 25)
5. Sweden (G8 S5 B5, Total: 18)
6. Netherlands (G8 S5 B4, Total: 17)
7. Austria (G7 S7 B4, Total: 18)
8. Switzerland (G7 S2 B5, Total: 14)
9. Russian Olympic Committee (G6 S12 B14, Total: 32)
10. France (G5 S7 B2, Total: 14)

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)

Snowboarding star Shaun White has spoken of his "beautiful journey" after confirming his retirement following the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

White was emotional last Friday as he competed in his final event at the Winter Games, the men's halfpipe, where he agonisingly finished in fourth place.

The American is the first and so far only snowboarder to win three gold medals, and had already announced before the Games in China that it would be his last, bringing a much-decorated 22-year career to an end.

He took to Twitter on Friday to write a farewell message.

"I slid down the halfpipe at the Olympics for the final time," he posted. "Typing this now makes me just as emotional as I felt last Friday. It brings me tears of joy.

"It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and I am overwhelmed with appreciation. Closing this chapter of my life has made me reflect on that past 22 years as a professional snowboarder with gratitude."

White went on to thank numerous people who have helped him through his career, insisting that "Still competing at the Olympics at the age of 35. It takes a village, and I am so incredibly lucky to have had such wonderful and talented humans in my corner over the years."

He also thanked his family as well as skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, who he credited as a "positive influence", and also thanked snowboarding's organisers, his fellow competitors and his fans.

White went on the say: "Snowboarding was my first love. Like any new relationship, it was intoxicating. Snowboarding gave me a rush, made me feel invincible, filled my life with adventure. It gave me purpose and I got to be creative.

"I will of course miss snowboarding professionally, but this won't be the last time you see [me] cruising down the mountain.

"I am beyond humbled and grateful for this beautiful journey. It has been an honor and a privilege. This has been the ride of my life!"

As well as his Olympic success, at the X Games, White won 23 medals overall, of which 15 were gold. Thirteen of those gold medals came in snowboarding and two in skateboarding.

Eight of his X Games golds came in the halfpipe event, with the other five achieved in slopestyle.

He was the first snowboarder to score a perfect 100 in the halfpipe in the Winter X Games, achieving that 10 years ago in Aspen, Colorado.

White triumphed first at the Winter Olympics as a 19-year-old in Turin in 2006, defending his title in 2010 in Vancouver, and recovering from missing out on the Sochi podium four years later by landing gold again at Pyeongchang 2018.

His score of 97.75 in his second run at Pyeongchang stands as an Olympic record.

Snowboarding star Shaun White has spoken of his "beautiful journey" after confirming his retirement following the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

White was emotional last Friday as he competed in his final event at the Winter Games, the men's halfpipe, where he agonisingly finished in fourth place.

The American is the first and so far only snowboarder to win three gold medals, and had already announced before the Games in China that it would be his last, bringing a much-decorated 22-year career to an end.

He took to Twitter on Friday to write a farewell message.

"I slid down the halfpipe at the Olympics for the final time," he posted. "Typing this now makes me just as emotional as I felt last Friday. It brings me tears of joy.

"It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and I am overwhelmed with appreciation. Closing this chapter of my life has made me reflect on that past 22 years as a professional snowboarder with gratitude."

White went on to thank numerous people who have helped him through his career, insisting that "Still competing at the Olympics at the age of 35. It takes a village, and I am so incredibly lucky to have had such wonderful and talented humans in my corner over the years."

He also thanked his family as well as skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, who he credited as a "positive influence", and also thanked snowboarding's organisers, his fellow competitors and his fans.

White went on the say: "Snowboarding was my first love. Like any new relationship, it was intoxicating. Snowboarding gave me a rush, made me feel invincible, filled my life with adventure. It gave me purpose and I got to be creative.

"I will of course miss snowboarding professionally, but this won't be the last time you see [me] cruising down the mountain.

"I am beyond humbled and grateful for this beautiful journey. It has been an honor and a privilege. This has been the ride of my life!"

As well as his Olympic success, at the X Games, White won 23 medals overall, of which 15 were gold. Thirteen of those gold medals came in snowboarding and two in skateboarding.

Eight of his X Games golds came in the halfpipe event, with the other five achieved in slopestyle.

He was the first snowboarder to score a perfect 100 in the halfpipe in the Winter X Games, achieving that 10 years ago in Aspen, Colorado.

White triumphed first at the Winter Olympics as a 19-year-old in Turin in 2006, defending his title in 2010 in Vancouver, and recovering from missing out on the Sochi podium four years later by landing gold again at Pyeongchang 2018.

His score of 97.75 in his second run at Pyeongchang stands as an Olympic record.

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.

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."

China's "snow princess" Eileen Gu says her life has changed forever after her historic success at the Winter Olympics.

Gu made history on Friday in Beijing, becoming the youngest athlete to win three individual medals at the Winter Games.

The 18-year-old from California, who elected to represent China rather than the United States at the Games, won gold in the halfpipe final, building on her triumph in the big air and her second-place finish in the slopestyle event.

She is also the youngest medallist in women's freeski halfpipe, and the first freestyle skier to win three medals at a single Winter Games.

Indeed, Gu is the first reigning world champion to win the event, and along with American David Wise, she is the only other freestyle skier to win the crystal globe, X Games, world championships and an Olympic gold medal in a single event.

"It has been two straight weeks of the most intense highs and lows I've ever experienced in my life," said Gu, who is also a model.

"It has changed my life forever. The second I landed the last 16 in big air I knew my life was never going to be the same again.

"Even then I would have never imagined that I'd walk away with another silver and another gold.

"I'm so honoured to be here and I'm even more honoured by this platform that I've been given to be able to spread this message and inspire young girls through my own passion for the sport and to hopefully spread the sport to people that might not have heard of it before."

Having already sealed her success heading into her third and final lap, Gu was able to entertain the crowd on her last run.

"I've never taken a victory lap before. I'm always saying, 'I want to push harder, I want to show that I can do more'," she added.

"And today, it kind of just felt like this coming-together moment because it's my last event at the Olympics.

"I put so much work into this, and to just feel like it was all worth it – all those little moments, the time I put in, in the gym after shooting a fashion editorial for eight to 10 hours, when I ran a half marathon every week over the summer, when I pushed myself to be the first person in practice and the last person to leave.

"Just all those little moments I feel like added up and it was just this great realisation that it was all worth it and that it was all real.

"I was very emotional at the top and I chose to do a victory lap because I felt like for the first time I really deserved it, and I really earned it."

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