Beijing Olympics Day 15: China wins gold in pairs figure skating; Slovakia takes bronze in ice hockey; Ivanie Blondin wins silver in women’s mass start

Note: This file is no longer being updated. A new file with Day 16 events will be set up Saturday evening.

The latest Olympics news from Beijing and around the world on Day 15. Web links to longer stories if available:

10:30 a.m. Slovakia defeated Sweden in men’s hockey for the bronze medal. The final score was 4-0.

10 a.m. Laura Nolte and Mariama Jamanka added to Germany’s record haul of Olympic sliding medals, while Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. extended her medal record with a bronze.

Nolte drove to the two-woman bobsled gold and Jamanka won the silver, pushing Germany to eight gold medals in nine sliding events in Beijing. That’s more than any nation has ever won in sliding at any Olympics.

Meyers Taylor, in possibly her last race, grabbed the bronze for the fifth medal of her Olympic career. That’s more than any Black athlete in Winter Olympic history. It’s also the most by any women’s bobsledder and two more than any other Olympic bobsledder, male or female, has won for the U.S.

Canada’s Christine de Bruin and brakewoman Kristen Bujnowski, who entered the final heats in fourth place, dropped one spot to fifth.

Fellow Canadians Cynthia Appiah and Dawn Richardson Wilson finished eighth despite flipping their sled on the final corner of their third run and crossing the finish on their side.

Sliding for the U.S., Kaillie Humphries and Kaysha Love finished in sixth.

Read more from The Canadian Press.

9:35 a.m. Sui Wenjing and Han Cong captured the Olympic gold medal that eluded them by a razor-thin margin four years ago, edging Russian rivals Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov by less than a point on Saturday to win the pairs figure skating competition at the Beijing Games.

Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro finished in 10th, while Eric Radford and Vanessa James were 12th.

Sui and Han, the two-time world champions, were last to take the ice and had to follow spectacular programs by Tarasova and Morozov and fellow Russian skaters Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov. And they did so with aplomb, scoring a world-record 239.88 points to take the top step of the podium by 63 hundredths of a point.

8:30 a.m. Canadians Cynthia Appiah and Dawn Richardson Wilson crashed on their third run in the two-woman bobsleigh, ending their chance at a podium finish.

4:18: a.m.: Attorneys for the U.S. figure skaters whose Olympic silver medals from the team event are being withheld because of the Kamila Valieva positive doping test have notified the IOC that they have filed an appeal to have them awarded before the end of the Games.

In a letter sent to IOC president Thomas Bach on Saturday, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, attorneys said they would ask the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a ruling before Sunday’s closing ceremony.

Valieva led the Russians to a victory in last week’s event, and the U.S. finished second. Soon after, a positive doping test for the 15-year-old skater was disclosed. CAS allowed her to continue skating, but the International Olympic Committee said it would not award medals in any events in which she finished among the top three.

The Russians won the event by a large margin. Japan was third and Canada finished fourth.

4:12 a.m. (Update): Ivanie Blondin won the silver medal in women’s mass start for her second medal of the Games and Canada’s 25th overall.

Blondin, a 31-year-old Ottawa native who also won a gold in the women’s team pursuit alongside Isabelle Weidemann and Valérie Maltais, duelled with Irene Schouten on the last of 16 laps with the Dutchwoman winning by a toe. Maltais finished sixth.

On the men’s side, Jordan Belchos and Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu advanced to the final of the mass start but finished well back in 13th and 15th, respectively.

3:16 a.m.: Olivier Léveillé finished 27th and Rémi Drolet was 35th in the men’s 30-kilometre freestyle cross-country ski race that was rescheduled and shortened because of strong wind and frigid temperatures.

11:25 p.m. (Update): The last alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics was postponed Saturday because of too-strong wind, and a decision was not immediately given about when — or even whether — the mixed team parallel event would be rescheduled.

11:23 p.m. (Update): Canada is in third place with a time of 58.38 after the first two heats of four-man bobsled. The team, led by Justin Kripps, includes Ryan Sommer, Cam Stones and Benjamin Coakwell.

The men will compete in the third heat at 8:30 p.m. ET tomorrow night. Two German teams, led by Francesco Friedrich and Johannes Lochner, are sitting in first and second place.

10:30 p.m.: Canadian figure skaters Michael Marinaro and Kirsten Moore-Towers had a calamitous crash landing in the pairs event Friday night.

Canada has slipped, fallen and, yes, landed on its face during two weeks of competition. The same country that led the figure skating medal table four years ago in Pyeongchang could be shut out in Beijing — with the caveat that Canada could be awarded a bronze in team skate if ROC athlete Kamila Valieva is disqualified.

9:47 p.m.(Update): Canada’s Noah Bowman just missed the podium in men’s freeski halfpipe, coming in fourth with a score of 84.75. Teammates Brendan Mackay was ninth with a score of 65.50, and Simon D’Artois of Whistler, B.C.,was 10th with 63.75.

New Zealand’s Nico Porteous won gold after scoring 93 on his first run. Americans David Wise and Alex Ferreira took silver and bronze, with scores of 90.75 and 86.75, respectively.

9:20 p.m.: Here’s one thing the pandemic has made easier for the young stars of the Beijing Olympics: juggling the demands of elite athletic competition with college life. Remote schooling, now a fact of life for students everywhere, also comes in handy when you’re a world away from campus for weeks at a time.

9:15 p.m.: The last alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics is being pushed back an hour to 11 a.m. local time (10 p.m. ET) on Saturday. Canada will race against Slovenia in the 1/8 round.

Gusts of about 40 km/h are kicking up snow near the bottom of the “Ice River” course at the National Alpine Skiing Center. The temperature is minus 18 Celsius and feels like minus 22.

6 p.m.: Here’s a look at some of Team Canada’s upcoming events:

Simon d’Artois, Noah Bowman, and Brendan Mackay are competing in the men’s freeski halfpipe finals at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The following teams are competing for Canada in the first heat of the 4-man bobsleigh event starting at 8:30 p.m. ET. Starting 5th: Justin Kripps, Ryan Sommer, Cam Stones and Benjamin Coakwell. Starting 15th: Christopher Spring, Cody Sorensen, Samuel Giguere and Mike Evelyn. 16th: Taylor Austin, Daniel Sunderland, Chris Patrician, and Jay Dearborn.

Rémi Drolet and Olivier Léveillé will be competing in the men’s 50 km mass start at 1 a.m.

Long-track speedskaters Ivanie Blondin and Valérie Maltais will compete in the mass start at 2 a.m. Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu and Jordan Belchos race for the men.

In pairs figure skating, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro along with Vanessa James and Eric Radford, compete in free-skate at 6 a.m..

In the third heat of two-woman bobsled, bronze medallist Christine de Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski are competing in fourth place at 7 a.m. Cynthia Appiah and Dawn Richardson Wilson are in eighth. Melissa Lotholz and Sara Villani are 16th.

Canada will race in the 1/8 alpine ski finals against Slovenia. The start time has been pushed back to 11 a.m. local time (10 p.m. ET) due to high winds.

3 p.m.: The Russians are back in the gold medal game at the Olympics, just like they were expected to be.

This run hasn’t been as dominant compared to four years ago, but they are still one victory away from winning back-to-back men’s hockey tournaments at Winter Games without NHL players. The Russians are looking to finish things off against Finland on Sunday in Beijing.

12:21 p.m.: Should Canada win an Olympic bronze in team figure skating at the Beijing Games, it won’t be awarded on a podium. There will be no flowers or Maple Leaf being raised.

Eight Canadian skaters — Michael Marinaro, Roman Sadovsky, Madeline Schizas, Piper Gilles, Paul Poirier, Vanessa James and Eric Radford — were on the team that placed fourth back on Feb. 7. They could be upgraded to a bronze medal if Russian teen phenom Kamila Valieva is disqualified for a positive drug test before the Olympics.

11:25 p.m.: The Pyeongchang Games served as a wake-up call. The Beijing Olympics made it clear. Canada is not the curling force it once was.

At the Beijing Games, all three Canadian entries had middling performances. Morris and Rachel Homan missed the playoffs in mixed doubles and Jennifer Jones didn’t make the cut in the women’s team event. Brad Gushue lost the men’s semifinal before salvaging a bronze with a win over the United States.

11:20 a.m.: Dave Feschuk: In 2018, the Canadian women had to finally admit they were No. 2 in hockey. Here’s how they got back to Olympic gold

10 a.m.: Figure skaters Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China shattered their own world record for a short program at the Beijing Games on Friday night with a score of 84.41 points, giving them the narrowest of leads over Russian rivals Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov heading into the free skate to decide the Olympic champion.

10 a.m.: Figure skater Timothy LeDuc became the first non-binary American athlete to compete at the Winter Games, joining up with Ashley Cain-Gribble for a strong short program to open their pairs competition Friday night.

Their score of 74.13 points was a season best and put them squarely in the top 10 entering Saturday’s free skate.

10 a.m.: The last alpine skiing race of the Beijing Olympics has been rescheduled for an hour earlier than planned because of strong wind in the forecast. The mixed team parallel event is now set to start at 10 a.m. on Saturday Beijing time, instead of 11 a.m.

The first-round matchups are United States vs. Slovakia, Switzerland vs. China, Italy vs. Russia, Norway vs. Poland, France vs. Czech Republic, Germany vs. Sweden, and Slovenia vs. Canada.

9:25 a.m.: IOC President Thomas Bach joined the global bandwagon of support for Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva on Friday, criticizing her entourage and questioning whether 15-year-old athletes should be put under such pressure at the Olympics.

Want the Star’s take? Here’s the latest from Bruce Arthur: IOC president Thomas Bach’s tough talk on Kamila Valieva controversy was galling

9 a.m.: Canadian figure skater Eric Radford, now 37 and with hair more salt than pepper, was back on Olympic ice on Friday, finishing 12th in the pairs short program with partner Vanessa James, 34, at the Beijing Games.

Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China are the leaders heading into Saturday’s free program with score of 84.41. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are second (84.25), while Russian teammates Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov are third (82.76).

8:30 a.m.: Laurent Dubreuil’s wife asked him: Do you want to see us? The CBC sets up video connections to the families of Olympic athletes here that you see right after your event, from across the world. Dubreuil had done it once already, after the 500-metre long-track race in which he was the favourite. He finished fourth by three-hundredths of a second. He said seeing his family was the hardest part. So he told his wife no.

“After the 500, I talked to them just so they would know I’m not that pissed off, that angry, you know?” said Dubreuil, smiling, after winning silver in the men’s 1,000-metre sprint.

Bruce Arthur: Speedskater Laurent Dubreuil goes the distance for silver after narrow miss earlier in Beijing

Previously: Speedskater Laurent Dubreuil wins silver in 1,000 metres; Brad Gushue defeats American John Shuster 8-5 to win curling bronze; Cassie Sharpe and Rachael Karker took the silver and bronze in ski halfpipe.

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