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

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United States celebrates winning the women's gold medal hockey game against Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics. (AP)
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Hungary's Sandor Liu Shaolin celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 5,000m relay short track speed skating. (AFP)
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The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it had opened an anti-doping case against Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky. (AFP)
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Bronze medalist Nico Porteous of New Zealand on the podium. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Winter Olympics round-up: US hockey success at last, Russia begins clean-up

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.


Felipe Massa ready for Formula E challenge around the streets of Riyadh

Updated 25 September 2018
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Felipe Massa ready for Formula E challenge around the streets of Riyadh

  • Not only will the December date mark the Kingdom’s entry into Formula E, but it will also mark Massa’s debut
  • Massa called the Formula E vehicles “the car of the next generation”

Noor Nugali Riyadh: Felipe Massa cannot wait to get behind the wheel of a Formula E car and jumpstart his new career when the spectacle of speed storms into Riyadh for the season opener on Dec. 15.
The Saudi Arabia capital was named as the newest stopping point for the sport in May, with it being the first race of a 13-race season, which sees the electric-powered cars tackle street circuits across the globe.
Not only will the December date mark the Kingdom’s entry into Formula E, but it will also mark Massa’s debut, having left the Formula One paddock for the growing sport. And the 37-year-old told Arab News he is excited about the prospect of tackling the streets of Ad Diriyah, the oldest part of the capital, in one of the electrically powered speed machines.
“I am ready for the race. It’s a fantastic feeling driving around the city, the town, it’s historical. It will be a big event,” Massa said at press conference to announce Saudi Arabian Airlines’ new long-term partnership as official airline partner of the all-electric series.
“I’m really happy to be a part of this new challenge for my career. In a new place and country, it’s motivating.”
Having won 11 Grands Prix during an illustrious career in F1, during which time he raced for Ferrari, some might think Massa would not be daunted by the move to Formula E. The Brazilian, however, is taking nothing for granted.
“It’s a big challenge for me to change categories, to Formula E,” he said, having got a chance to put some early practice in as he took a Gen2 car around the streets of the capital.
“Learning everything is a challenge. It’s different cars, different tracks and a different way of driving. I need to learn and grow to understand but I like new challenges.”
Massa called the Formula E vehicles “the car of the next generation” and it is hoped that the Ad Diriyah race helps the changing face of Saudi Arabia by inspiring more women to get behind the wheel in the Kingdom — something not lost on Massa.
“I heard that women are driving (in Saudi Arabia) now and that’s fantastic — hopefully in the future there will female racers,” he said.
“We are racing in a country (whose main export is oil), and we are racing with electric cars. I think it shows that this country wants to change its mentality and its thinking of the future. It’s really positive and I’m so happy to be a part of this.”
Thanks to the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, the Middle East has long been associated with motorsport, and it is well known that the region is awash with petrolheads. The Riyadh Formula E race, however, will be international motorsport’s first move into Saudi Arabia.
But rather than look to bring F1 to the country his Abdul Aziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice-chair of the General Sports Authority, revealed that Formula E was the only format they wanted to see in the capital.
“This is a truly game-changing moment for Saudi Arabia and one that we can share with the world,” he said. “It is very fitting that the such a futuristic and sustainable sport as Formula E is pointing to the future direction of our country.
“Saudi Arabia is home to literally millions of passionate young fans of motorsport, many of whom simply cannot believe that Felipe Massa took the Gen2 car around the streets of the capital today and that they now have a ‘home race’ on the Formula E calendar. So already the excitement is building, especially since we’re adding live music concerts to the weekend line-up.”
The track Massa and Co. will be tackling this December was revealed at the press conference. At 1.76 miles long, the first road circuit in the Middle East features 21 corners, a number of which are long flowing ones taken at high speed. It is hoped that the race will get both Saudi Arabia’s entry to the sport and the season itself off to a spectacular start, and in doing so inspire a new generation of speed demons.
Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Faisal Al-Saud, president of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, said: “Something we haven’t announced yet, is that there will be a support race for Formula E.
“It’s the Jaguar I-Pace trophy, it will race around the world with the Formula E circuit.
“Saudi Arabia will participate in that championship as a national team with two Saudi Arabian drivers and we will announce the names soon.”