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Winter Olympics round-up: US hockey success at last, Russia begins clean-up

United States celebrates winning the women's gold medal hockey game against Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP)
Hungary's Sandor Liu Shaolin celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 5,000m relay short track speed skating. (AFP)
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it had opened an anti-doping case against Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky. (AFP)
Bronze medalist Nico Porteous of New Zealand on the podium. (REUTERS)
ICE HOCKEY: For the first time in 20 years, the US women’s hockey team can call themselves Olympic champions after beating Canada 3-2 in a shootout final. All the pressure was on Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson who scored the deciding shootout goal against the four-time defending champions after five shots for each team ended deadlocked at 2-2. “This medal speaks loudly in our hearts and souls,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. The Americans snapped their arch-rivals’ 24-match Olympic-winning streak, a painful loss for the Canadians that had the silver medalists in tears, a medal so painful to Jocelyne Larocque that she removed it as soon as it was placed around her neck. “It just hurt,” Larocque said. “We worked so hard. We wanted gold. We didn’t get it. Guess it’s motivation.”

SPEED SKATING: Hungary claimed their first Winter Olympics gold medal on Thursday when their men’s short-track speed skaters won the 5,000-meter relay. The Hungarians, who also won their first Winter Games medal of any color since 1980, held off China in second with Canada taking bronze. Short-track superpowers South Korea were knocked out of contention halfway through the race after a fall left them three-quarters of a lap adrift and it was a miserable night for the hosts, who also crashed out of the women’s 1,000-meter final and the men’s 500-meter final. Hungary did it in style, setting a new Olympic record of 6min 34.510sec. Hungary have participated in every Winter Games since 1924, with their tally now reading one gold, two silver and four bronze.

DRUGS IN SPORT: Russia’s Olympic Committee (ROC) has paid $15 million to help develop international anti-doping efforts as part of the conditions set for the country’s possible return to the Games. Russians are competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics as neutral athletes after the national team was barred over allegations of state-sponsored doping, which Moscow denies. The ROC said it had to fulfil a number of conditions in order to be reinstated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). “One of these, is the payment of $15 million for the development of international doping systems, and coordination in this area between the IOC, World Anti-Doping Agency and international sports federations,” the ROC said in a statement. “As of today, this sum has been paid in full by the ROC.”

FREESTYLE SKIING: After going 26 years without a Winter Olympics medal, rugby-mad New Zealand toasted a pair of fresh-faced schoolchildren as they captured bronze in snowboard and freestyle skiing. Zoi Sadowski-Synnott and Nico Porteous, both 16, reached the podium to emulate countrywoman Annelize Coberger, who skied her way to silver in the slalom in 1992 — well before they were born. At 16 years and 353 days, Sadowski-Synnott became New Zealand’s youngest Olympic medalist after finishing third behind Austria’s Anna Gasser and American Jamie Anderson in the inaugural snowboard Big Air competition. That record stood for just 30 minutes as Porteous claimed bronze in the men’s freestyle ski halfpipe at 16 years and 91 days. “That was the best run I’ve ever done in my life,” Porteous said.