Snowboarders hit back after ‘dangerous’ Winter Olympic final

Miyabi Onitsuka of Japan crashes during the women's slopestyle final at Phoenix Snow Park during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. (AP)
Updated 12 February 2018
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Snowboarders hit back after ‘dangerous’ Winter Olympic final

PYEONGCHANG: Angry snowboarders have hit out at the “really dangerous” women’s slopestyle final at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, saying it should have been canceled or postponed after vicious winds caused a string of crashes on Monday.
The vast majority of the athletes competing in the event, including eventual gold medallist American Jamie Anderson, took a fall at the frigid Phoenix Park, where high winds forced Sunday’s qualifiers to be scrapped and also delayed the final for more than an hour on Monday.
It was not the first event to be affected by the swirling winds in Pyeongchang, as the prestigious men’s downhill skiing had to be moved to Thursday after falling victim to the conditions.
None of the snowboarders suffered major injury as gusting winds wreaked havoc, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Ski Federation (FIS) are sure to face awkward questions as to why the final was not postponed.
Enni Rukajarvi mastered the conditions better than most and took bronze behind defending champion Anderson and Laurie Blouin of Canada, but the Finn said her achievement had been overshadowed.
“Most happy that no one got hurt really bad,” she said.
Asked whether it had been the right decision to hold the event, she replied: “It wasn’t. It was better in the practice, but then it got really bad, so they should have canceled it or moved it.”
The 27-year-old added: “The weather was bad and too dangerous and I got a lot of wind in my run, so that was bad, too. I had a fall and hurt my chin a little bit so it wasn’t too nice.”
On Sunday, the 17-year-old Tess Coady, the youngest member of the Australian team in South Korea, was forced out of the Games after wrecking her left knee in training. Coady blamed the weather and Austrian rival Anna Gasser said: “So many people got hurt because of the wind already.
“Even yesterday, the practice we did in the morning was dangerous,” added Gasser after finishing 15th in the slopestyle.
Gasser called it “a lottery” and said: “I don’t think it was a fair competition and I’m a little disappointed in the organization that they pulled through with it.
“From my point of view I think it was not a good show for women’s snowboarding.”
Elsewhere in Pyeongchang on day three, German biathlete Laura Dahlmeier became the first double gold medalist of the Olympics by capturing the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit.
She had previously won the 7.5-kilometer sprint at the weekend.
With a healthy lead, Dahlmeier grabbed a German flag from a fan in the crowd about 50 meters from the finish line and began waving it as she crossed.
Dahlmeier entered the games ranked fourth in the world but had never won a gold medal. She is quickly becoming the darling of the German team.
After hitting all 10 targets in the sprint, Dahlmeier was nearly perfect again in her second race, hitting 19 of 20 shots to cruise to a victory by more than 29 seconds over Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kuzmina, who edged France’s Anais Bescond for silver.


Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

Updated 25 April 2019
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Pep Guardiola urges title calm after Manchester City edge closer after beating sorry United

  • Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games
  • Title rivals Liverpool are just one point behind

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola said both Manchester City and Liverpool deserve to win the Premier League title after his side brushed aside Manchester United 2-0 on Wednesday to top the table again.
Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane struck for the visitors in 12 second-half minutes at Old Trafford to inflict a seventh defeat in nine games on United, who remain three points adrift of the top four.
Guardiola’s City have 89 points after 35 games, with Liverpool a point behind. Both sides have just three games remaining.
“I understand the pressure we have and obviously here at Old Trafford with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard running behind,” the City boss told Sky Sports. “I told them we needed to play to win, it doesn’t matter if we concede.
“Now we go to Burnley and we know how tough it will be. It’s important to be calm. We are still not champions with three gaurgesmes left — it’s incredible with the points we have and Liverpool have.
“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot and go in there against Burnley.”
“Both teams deserve the title,” he added. “But it can be just one. The team that is going to lose can’t have regrets because they have given everything. Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but we have to be calm.”