Norway holds advantage in medals table as records tumble in Pyeongchang

Norway holds advantage in medals table as records tumble in Pyeongchang
By Robert Hackwill
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World and personal records are set for the Netherlands, France and Italy in the latest Winter olympic competitions, but South Korea's women speed skaters send the crowd into seventh heaven,


Fourcade cements legend

France's Martin Fourcade gave another brilliant display of skiing and shooting to erase a big German lead and claim the Olympic gold for his team in the Olympic biathlon mixed relay on Tuesday.

France's greatest Olympian destroyed Germany's Arnd Peiffer over the final leg to win by 20.9 seconds and collect his third gold medal of the Games and fifth overall.

Norway took the silver and Italy bronze in a thrilling sprint finish in which the Germans missed out on the podium after dominating much of the race.

The final result was delayed as officials reviewed video footage amid concerns that Italy's Dominick Windisch had acted illegally during the sprint finish, but the result stood.

South Korean women fastest on skates

South Korea powered to gold in a chaotic Olympic women’s short track speed skating 3,000 meters relay on Tuesday, defending the title they won in Sochi. There were anxious moments at the conclusion of a typically wild and woolly relay as officials reviewed a race filled with crashes and near wipeouts before disqualifying Canada and China to elevate Italy to the silver medal.

The Netherlands, who did not make the final, were the most surprised as they collected the bronze after setting a world record of four minutes, 3.471 seconds to win the B final.

For Italy’s Arianna Fontana, winner of the 500m last Tuesday, the silver was her seventh Olympic medal, a record for women’s short track.

All that mattered for the South Korean crowd, however, was that their team’s name remained at the top of the leaderboard and a huge roar erupted when the official results appeared.

“Everything just flashed back when Minjeong finished her race and I cried because I felt so happy and thankful to my team mates,” South Korea’s Kim Alang told reporters.

In a tactical and frenetic race the South Koreans spent most of the early laps at the back of pack but muscled their way into the lead with two laps left and clinched a rousing win to maintain their domination of the event.

Canada won the first relay gold at the 1992 Albertville Olympics but South Korea has taken ownership since, topping the podium in six of the next seven Games with only China interrupting that run with victory in 2010.

Germany finds clean-sweep combination

Johannes Rydzek overcame a time handicap of more than half a minute to storm through and win Germany’s second Nordic Combined gold medal of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Tuesday as team mates Fabian Riessle and Eric Frenzel took silver and bronze. Skiing together throughout the four laps of the floodlit cross-country course, the three Germans gradually reeled in their rivals on a clear, cold night, cancelling out the deficit they incurred by placing fifth, sixth and fourth in the ski jump part of the competition.It was Germany’s 11th gold medal of the Games, taking them level with Norway at the top of the table.

“In the last few meters I gave everything I had, with all my heart and strength,” Rydzek told reporters. “It was an amazing day for us and for our sport in Germany. I think we’re all quite elated.”

Coach Hermann Weinbach said he had shed a tear at watching his team rebound so dramatically from recent poor results, and promised “full-on attack” in the Nordic Combined team event on Thursday, where Norway is likely to be the toughest opponent.

Riessle told reporters: “Hermann told us to help each other during the race. We kept switching positions and then we did a 1-2-3, which is just extraordinary.”


Korea's unified female ice hockey team bows out with smiles

On Tuesday against Sweden, Team Korea scored their second goal of the women's ice hockey tournament at the Winter Olympic Games.

Randi Heesoo Griffin made history scoring the first-ever goal for Team Korea against Japan in a 4-1 defeat, and against Sweden it was Han Soo-jin, who levelled the match at 1-1 in the first period.

Sweden took the lead in the second period, and went on to score three more goals in the final frame.

Overall, Team Korea lost all five of their games at Pyeongchang 2018. They conceded 28 goals in all.


The team was formed about two weeks before the Winter Games began during an eleventh-hour push by the Koreas to improve ties after a year of heightened nuclear tensions that triggered fears of a war on the Korean Peninsula.

The team's make-up was part of key agreements the Koreas struck to cooperate in the Olympics, which eventually provided a lull in the nuclear stand-off.

Despite initial worries about their teamwork, North and South Korean players were seen getting along with each other, and they showed gradual improvements as the tournament went on.

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