The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat.
The U.S. Olympic team experienced both on Wednesday. Some key wins and qualifying runs set them up for potential medal glory in the final days of the Games. But there were also some agonizing, heartbreaking outcomes.
Canada defeated the United States 3-2 in the fierce rivals’ latest showdown to win the gold medal in women’s hockey.
Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice and assisted on Sarah Nurse’s goal to add another chapter to her legacy as “Captain Clutch” for Canada. Goalie Ann-Renee Desbiens made 38 saves and was at her best when under siege.
Canada won Olympic gold for the fifth time in seven chances since women’s hockey was introduced at the 1998 Nagano Games. The defending champion U.S. settled for silver for a fourth time.
The Americans got a goal from star winger Hilary Knight and another with 13.5 seconds left from Amanda Kessel. But they could not get past Desbiens again to force overtime.
US men's curling advances to semifinals in gold medal defense
American John Shuster and the defending Olympic curling champions won a last-chance match to qualify for the playoffs at the Beijing Olympics. They beat Denmark 7-5 to keep their hopes of a repeat gold medal alive.
The Americans will play Britain in the semifinals Thursday. Reigning silver medalist Sweden will meet Canada, which finished fourth a year ago.
The U.S. women’s curling team is out of the Olympics. Tabitha Peterson’s foursome lost 10-7 to Japan on Wednesday in its round-robin finale. That dropped the Americans to 4-5 at the Winter Games.
Mikaela Shiffrin fails to finish again
Mikaela Shiffrin skied out in the Alpine combined on Thursday and once again was unable to finish a race at the Beijing Olympics. She will leave the 2022 Games without an individual medal after participating in all five women’s events.
Not only did she go 0 for 5, but the 26-year-old American did not even manage to complete three of those races.
Shiffrin was fifth-fastest in the downhill portion of the two-run combined on Thursday morning but went out without making it to the bottom in the slalom leg in the afternoon.
Afterward, Shiffrin said she'd done some of her best skiing during training and in the downhill on Monday. But, for whatever reason, things didn't work out.
"There was so much positive that's happened in the last couple weeks despite how much it really stinks," Shiffrin said. "You just have to take it."
She took home a silver in the combined four years ago.
Shiffrin has said she plans to enter the team event Saturday. That concludes the Alpine schedule in Beijing.
Gu posts top score in halfpipe qualifying
Eileen Gu recorded the top score not once but twice in a competitive ski halfpipe qualifier as she chases her third medal at the Beijing Games.
The standout American-born freestyle skier who represents China already has a gold from big air and a silver from slopestyle. She’s bidding to become the first action-sports athlete to capture three medals at the same Winter Games.
Gu played it safe in the first of her two runs and still scored a 93.75. Hardly content, she went even bigger on her final run and scored a 95.50 on what was a crisp morning at the Genting Snow Park. Rachael Karker of Canada was in second position and Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru in third.
Seven Team USA members qualify for freeski halfpipe final
While Gu may have been the headliner, the U.S. showed its dominance as a country in the qualifying rounds for freestyle skiing halfpipe. The Americans are poised for a potential double-sweep of the podium.
Brita Sigourney, Hanna Faulhaber and Carly Margulies qualified eight, ninth and 10th. The women's final is Thursday.
Aaron Blunck had the highest score in qualifying on the men's side with 92.00. Birk Irving, David Wise and Alex Ferreira also qualified in the top seven out of 12. The final is Friday.
Oh, no: US shut out of short track medals for first time in 24 years
A program that has struggled to recapture the buzz and success it had when Apolo Anton Ohno was the star attraction failed to win a medal for the first time since 1998.
The blanking was complete when Kristen Santos, the team's best hope for a medal, suffered more bad fortune Wednesday and wound up only making the “B” final in the women's 1,500 meters, the final event of short track.
US team skaters offered torches instead of medals
The Associated Press has learned IOC president Thomas Bach offered U.S. figure skaters Olympic torches as holdover gifts while they await a resolution of the Russian doping case that is preventing them from receiving their silver medals.
Two people familiar with the events told AP late Wednesday that Bach, in a private meeting with the skaters in Beijing, reiterated the IOC stance that no medals ceremonies would be held for events involving Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva. The people did not want their names used because the meeting was confidential.
Officials from the International Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to an email query from AP.
China's Qi wins men's aerials gold
China’s Qi Guangpu finally flipped his way onto an Olympic podium in men’s aerials, winning a gold medal after near misses in Sochi and Pyeongchang.
Qi cleanly landed a quint-twisting triple back flip in the medal round Wednesday night, when five of his six competitors tried the same trick and only he did it clean. Qi earned 129 points, easily beating defending champion Oleksandr Abramenko of Ukraine at 116.5.