BY DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — It was a day for all ages at the Winter Olympics.
A few hours after 17-year-old Chloe Kim dominated the women’s halfpipe snowboarding final on Tuesday, 28-year-old Marcel Hirscher, a six-time overall World Cup champion, won the men’s combined at the Pyeongchang Games.
Other events with medals scheduled to be awarded include the men’s and women’s cross-country sprints, curling mixed doubles, women’s luge singles, men’s 1,500-meter speedskating and women’s 500-meter short-track speedskating.
Four years after being too young to make the Olympic team in Sochi despite having the talent and scores to do so, Kim performed like a seasoned veteran in South Korea.
Kim, from Torrance, California, put up a score of 93.75 on the first of her three finals runs and then topped that with a near-perfect 98.75 on her last run — having already wrapped up her first Olympic gold.
“I knew that I did put down a really good first run,” Kim said, “but I was also like, ‘I can do better than that. I can one up myself.'”
Liu Jiayu finished second with 89.75 to become the first Chinese snowboarder to medal at the Olympics. Kim’s teammate, Arielle Gold, overcame a dislocated shoulder during training to earn a bronze.
In Jeongseon, Hirscher’s combined two-run time was 0.23 seconds faster than silver medalist Alexis Pinturault of France. The Austrian is a three-time Olympian who had previously won only a silver medal despite never finishing below fifth in any race.
“I’m super happy because now this stupid question has gone away, if I’m thinking that my career is perfect without a gold medal,” Hirscher said. “Now the question is zzzzzzit — deleted.”
Victor Muffat-Jeandet of France took bronze, 1.02 behind Hirscher.
Hirscher isn’t done, either. He’ll be the favorite in his top two events of slalom and giant slalom, which will be raced in nearby Yongpyong.
METTLE FOR MEDAL
Anastasia Bryzgalova tumbled onto the ice, but bounced back with teammate — and husband — Aleksandr Krushelnitckii to give the Russians their first Olympic medal in mixed doubles curling.
The 8-4 victory over Norway came after Bryzgalova was shuffling backward in the third end when she stumbled over a stone and had her legs fly out from under her and she crashed hard onto her backside. The spill drew gasps from the stunned crowd and left a stunned Bryzgalova embarrassed for a moment.
She got the last laugh, though.
“It was very simple,” she said through a translator, “I forgot about the stone that was behind me.”
Canada was scheduled to face off against Switzerland later Tuesday in the mixed doubles gold-medal match.
SPEEDSKATER IN HOT WATER
Japanese short-track speedskater Kei Saito tested positive for the banned diuretic Acetalozamide in the first doping case of the Pyeongchang Games.
Saito, a reserve on the 5,000-meter relay team, said in a statement that he was “extremely shocked” by the results and has “never used anabolic steroids.” He did not race in any event before the test result from a pre-competition sample was confirmed.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Saito “accepted on a voluntary basis to be provisionally suspended and to leave the Olympic Village.” Yasuo Saito, vice president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, said the JOC would work to help the 21-year-old skater clear his name after the Olympics.
Shaun White was best in halfpipe qualifying, scoring a 98.5 to edge Australian rival Scotty James for the prime spot in Wednesday’s three-run final.
The two-time gold medalist will be in a 12-man final that includes Sochi silver medalist Ayumu Hirano of Japan, who finished third, and American teammates Ben Ferguson, Jake Pates and Chase Josey.
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