Winter Olympics round-up: Lindsay Vonn ‘thankful’ for bronze medal, Marit Bjoergen makes history

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Lindsay Vonn said her bronze medal in the women’s downhill felt like gold. (AFP)
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Sarah Murray is said to be proud to have coached the combined North and South Korean women’s ice hockey squad. (AFP)
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Norway’s Marit Bjoergen became the most successful athlete in Winter Olympic history after a bronze in cross-country skiing. (AFP)
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Germany advanced to face Canada in the semifinals in a shock result over Sweden. (AFP)
Updated 21 February 2018
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Winter Olympics round-up: Lindsay Vonn ‘thankful’ for bronze medal, Marit Bjoergen makes history

DOWNHILL SKIING: Lindsay Vonn said her bronze medal in the women’s downhill felt like gold as the American ace signed off from the event with a podium finish. Italy’s Sofia Goggia took the gold, with Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel taking the silver. But much of the attention was on Vonn as she said it was her last Olympic downhill race. “It’s been a fun ride,” Vonn said. “It’s sad. It’s my last downhill. I wish I could keep going. I’m not beaten — I won the bronze medal but I feel like I’ve won the gold medal,” added Vonn, 33, who also won a bronze medal in the super-G at the 2010 Winter Games and now becomes the third American Alpine skier to win three Olympic medals. “I’m so thankful to be here and to be on an Olympic podium with the next generation of my sport.”

ICE HOCKEY: Sarah Murray is proud to have coached the combined North and South Korean women’s ice hockey squad in Pyeongchang but is unsure whether the unified team will ever take the ice again. Murray had to reshape her squad just weeks before the Games after the two Koreas agreed to field a combined team, taking 12 players from the North and incorporating them into the South’s 23-player roster. “This situation that we were in was out of our control and we did a great job in the situation,” Murray said of the team that lost all five of its matches but won the hearts of many. “So it is hard to comment on the combined team, because in this situation it worked, but it was out of our control, so I can’t really comment on the future at this time.”

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Norway’s Marit Bjoergen became the most successful athlete in Winter Olympic history as she took bronze behind a stunning win for the US in cross-country skiing’s women’s team sprint free. Bjoergen’s bronze with Maiken Caspersen Falla put her on 14 Olympic medals, outstripping fellow Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who has 13 in biathlon. “It’s hard to understand, actually,” Bjoergen said. “I think I’ll need to have time to myself and look behind me and look how I’ve been able to do this. It’s still hard to understand it when I’m standing here.” Bjoergen, 37, is also the second most successful woman at either the summer or winter Games, trailing only Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina with 18 medals. Kikkan Randall and Jessica Diggins edged Sweden by 0.19sec to win the first Olympic cross-country title for the US.

ICE HOCKEY: Patrick Reimer scored in overtime and Danny aus den Birken made 31 saves to put Germany into the Olympic semifinals with a stunning 4-3 upset of top-seeded Sweden in the quarterfinals on Wednesday night. Germany advanced to face Canada in the semifinals and have a chance to win their first Olympic medal since 1976 in Innsbruck — when it was West Germany. By pulling off the biggest surprise of the tournament, Germany improved to 2-14 all-time against Sweden at the Olympics and world championships. Aus den Birken was a star, facing 34 shots and keeping Germany in the game when the shots were lopsided in Sweden's favor. Christian Ehrhoff, Marcel Noebels and Dominik Kahun scored in regulation for Germany, who went up 2-0 and 3-1 before Sweden fought back.
Projected No. 1 NHL draft pick Rasmus Dahlin assisted on Anton Lander's goal and gave the puck away on the play that led to Kahun's score. Patrik Hersley and Mikael Wikstrand scored and Viktor Fasth allowed four goals on 25 shots for Sweden.


Spain considers playing Super Cup in Saudi Arabia

Updated 4 min 14 sec ago
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Spain considers playing Super Cup in Saudi Arabia

  • Proposal will be made at the federation’s general assembly next week

MADRID: The Spanish soccer federation is looking into the possibility of playing the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia beginning next year.

Federation President Luis Rubiales said Wednesday playing in the Middle East is one of the options being considered for the tournament, as well as a “final four” format with the top finishers in the Spanish league and the Copa del Rey.

The competition has been played in a one-game final between the champions at the beginning of the season. The idea is to play the new Super Cup in January.

The proposal will be made during the federation’s general assembly next week.

Rubiales did not confirm reports the deal will be worth €30 million ($33 million) a year for six seasons, saying “it will be difficult” to reach that value.

The federation president, one of the main critics of the Spanish league’s idea to play a regular-season match in the US, said the decision would take into consideration the players’ health, noting that playing in Saudi Arabia would not affect them as much as if the game was played in the US or Asia, where travel time and time differences were greater. Last year’s final, won by Barcelona against Sevilla, was played in Tangier, Morocco.

This year’s Italian Super Cup was played in Saudi Arabia as part of a multi-year deal worth more than €20 million ($22 million).  The Spanish players’ association, which complained about the Spanish league’s attempt to play in the US, did not oppose the idea of playing in Saudi Arabia.

“We weren’t against playing in the United States, what we wanted at the time was to be consulted about the idea and to give our opinion,” association president David Aganzo said Wednesday at an event organized by Europa Press. “If the proposal for the Super Cup is good for the players, we won’t have a problem with it.”

The Spanish league had to scrap the game in Florida after Barcelona, which would have faced Girona, backed down because of the lack of consensus among the parties involved. The league said it will try playing abroad again next season.

There is also a plan by the federation to reduce the number of games in the Copa del Rey to help clear up the calendar and keep teams from playing too many matches. The competition would include single elimination matches in some rounds, instead of a two-leg series. The proposal is also expected to be presented in next week’s general assembly.

“The clubs and the players want less official matches in the calendar,” Rubiales said.