OLYMPIC GAMES: NBC apologizes for analyst comment about Japan

Published 10:40 pm Sunday, February 11, 2018

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):

12:15 a.m.

NBC has apologized for an on-air remark by an Olympics analyst that cited Japan as an example that has been important to South Korea’s transformation.

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The remark was made by analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo during NBC’s coverage of Friday night’s opening ceremony of the Winter Games in South Korea. An online petition demanded an apology, and NBC did so on its NBCSN cable network Saturday and formally to the Pyeongchang Olympic organizers.

Japan occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945. Petitioners said anyone familiar with Japanese treatment of Koreans during that time would be deeply hurt by Ramo’s remark. They also criticized the accuracy of giving Japan credit for South Korea’s resurgence.

NBC said Olympic officials had accepted the apology.


11:30 p.m.

The Canadian women have kicked off their “Drive for Five” in dominating fashion.

Rebecca Johnston scored two goals and an assist as Canada shut out the Russians 5-0 Sunday night in the country’s quest to keep its golden grip on women’s hockey in the Olympics.

Canada has won four straight gold medals, the last at Sochi after trailing 0-2 in the women’s final. The country that takes credit for creating hockey came to the Kwangdon Hockey Centre looking for Canada’s fifth consecutive gold in the only color that’s accepted back home.

Only Russian goalie Nadezhda Morozova kept her teammates in a scoreless game by stopping 15 shots in the first. She was chased with 9:16 left after giving up her fifth goal.

Melodie Daoust had two goals, and Haley Irwin added one of her own.


10:45 p.m.

David Gleirscher may have struggled to make Austria’s Olympic team, but he’s now a men’s luge gold medalist.

Chris Mazdzer has given USA Luge its first men’s singles medal, and the reign of Germany’s Felix Loch as Olympic champion came to a sudden and shocking end.

Gleirscher finished his four runs in 3 minutes, 10.702 seconds for the gold, Austria’s first in men’s luge in 50 years. Mazdzer finished second and Germany’s Johannes Ludwig took third.

Loch struggled in the final run and slipped all the way to fifth, ending his bid to become the second slider to win the event three consecutive times.

Gleirscher had never even medaled in a World Cup singles race before.


10:40 p.m.

Perrine Laffont put France in the medals column at the Winter Olympics, skiing through the bumps and snow to take the women’s moguls title.

The 19-year-old gave her country its first women’s gold medal in the 26-year history of the event.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe of Canada finished second to add silver to the gold she took four years ago in Sochi. Yulia Galysheva of Kazakhstan won bronze to give her country its eighth Winter medal since it started competing separately after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

The Americans had a rough night in the snow. None made the six-woman final, and top-ranked Jaelin Kauf finished seventh.

Laffont won by landing both her jumps without a bobble. Her score of 79.72 was more than two points better than Dufour-Lapointe’s.


10 p.m.

World Cup leader Maren Lundby had a minor crash during training for the women’s ski jumping normal hill final at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The Norwegian jumper nailed the longest jump of 111 meters on her second attempt Sunday but lost her balance on landing and skidded to the wall at the side of the landing area.

Lundby got up and walked away with the best score of the round. She has dominated the World Cup circuit, winning six of 10 events this season, and is the gold medal favorite at Pyeongchang.

Germany’s Carina Vogt had a strong outing with a second-place finish and a third-place finish.

Sara Takanashi of Japan won the first round with a leap of 103.5 meters and was fourth in the second round.

The women’s normal hill final is Monday.


9:35 p.m.

The 10-kilometer biathlon event at the Pyeongchang Games was supposed to be a two-man race between France’s Martin Fourcade and Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe.

What happened Sunday night sent shockwaves through the biathlon world.

Fourcade, the No. 1-ranked biathlete in the world, missed three of five shots from the prone position, forcing him to do three penalty laps, and finished eighth overall.

Thingnes Boe, the world’s No. 2, missed three from the prone position and one from the standing position with his .22 caliber rifle to finish a distant 31st.

Germany’s Arnd Peiffer, ranked No. 5 in the world, connected on all 10 of his targets to win gold. Michal Krcmar of the Czech Republic won silver and Italy’s Dominik Windisch took bronze.

American medal hopeful Lowell Bailey finished 33rd.


7 p.m.

The United States women’s hockey team has rallied to beat Finland 3-1 to remain perfect when opening an Olympic tournament.

Finland stunned the Americans with 5.8 seconds left in the first. Hovi Venla scored on a wrister from the slot giving the Finns a 1-0 lead.

Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up for the Americans. She dug the puck out of the corner and skated in front of the net where goalie Noora Raty stopped Lamoureux-Morando’s backhander. Then the forward scored off the rebound past the Finn goalie’s right skate at 8:58 in the second.

The Americans took a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 11:29. Hilary Knight passed to Kendall Coyne, who put a one-timer top shelf from the edge of the right circle.

Dani Cameranesi sealed it with an empty netter with 13 seconds left.


6:50 p.m.

German athletes have dominated training for the individual normal hill event, which is part of the Nordic combined, at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Johannes Rydzek posted the longest jump of 105.5 meters in Sunday’s first practice at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Center, while compatriot Fabian Riessle was tops with 109 meters in the second session.

The normal hill final will be Wednesday.

Defending Olympic champion Eric Frenzel, also of Germany, was third in the first jump and 16th in the second.

Nordic combined features ski jumping followed by a 10-kilometer cross-country race. The athlete who wins the ski jumping phase begins first, followed by the remaining athletes in their order of finish.

Because of high winds on Sunday, the athletes had only two practice jumps instead of the scheduled three.


6:40 p.m.

The Russian men’s hockey team playing under the Olympic flag has arrived looking like gold medal favorite after crushing host South Korea 8-1 in an exhibition game.

Defenseman Nikita Nesterov calls the team a “red machine” that just needs to play Russian hockey to win.

Nesterov notes that their team includes a lot of players who were in the NHL.

With former NHL stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk expected to play major roles, the Russians practice at Gangneung Hockey Centre for the first time Monday.

They open Wednesday against Slovakia.

The Russians can’t compete under their homeland’s flag because the country was banned from the games after revelations of a massive doping operation. The International Olympic Committee cleared 168 competitors to take part under the moniker “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”


6:15 p.m.

Sven Kramer of the Netherlands has won his third consecutive 5,000-meter Olympic gold medal in Pyeongchang, becoming the first man to take three in a row.

He won with a devastating kick late in the race, coming back from behind to beat Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada and setting an Olympic record.

Bloemen took silver by .0002 of a second in a head-to-head with Norwegian Sverre Lunde Pedersen.

Kramer is looking for two more gold medals, starting with the 10,000 coming up next Thursday and capping it with the team pursuit, where the Dutch are overwhelming favorites.

Kramer used his typical late kick to make the difference, taking the lead two-thirds of the way through the race and letting his massive stride do the rest to finish in 6 minutes 09.76 seconds, holding an edge of 1.85 seconds over the two other medalists.


6 p.m.

The U.S. speedskating team is 0-for-2 at the big oval.

Emery Lehman skated the 5,000 meters in 6 minutes, 31.17 seconds on Sunday, more than 13 seconds off his personal best. His time was also over 3 seconds slower than at last month’s Olympic trials in Milwaukee. He finished 21st out of 22 skaters.

His teammate, Carlijn Schoutens, had a similar result in the women’s 3,000 on Saturday. She finished 22nd with a time of 4:15.60, which was over 10 seconds slower than her personal best.

The Americans are hoping to bounce back from their performance four years ago in Sochi, when they were shut out in every event.


5:30 p.m.

Japanese forward Rui Ukita has been suspended one game by the International Ice Hockey Federation for kicking at an opposing player late in Japan’s 2-1 loss to Sweden to open preliminary play in women’s hockey.

The IIHF announced the suspension Sunday. Ukita will miss Monday’s game against Switzerland in preliminary play.

Ukita scored the lone goal for Japan. But the disciplinary panel studied videos and ruled Ukita made a kicking move toward Annie Svedin’s lower body after a battle for the puck in front of the Swedish bench. Svedin pushed Ukita to the ice. While Svedin was over Ukita, the Japanese forward kicked.

The IIHF says the panel determined the kicking motion was not momentum from the play but a clear movement toward an opponent. That violates a federation rule.


5:20 p.m.

American skier Gus Kenworthy is embracing an unofficial role at the Pyeongchang Winter Games — as flagbearer for the LGBT community. He hopes to help reach a point where being a gay athlete is no longer an issue.

The 2014 slopestyle silver medalist is a still-rare example of an openly gay athlete, and he’s encouraging others to be open about themselves too.

His “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it” post from the games’ opening ceremony, with a photo of him kissing U.S. skater Adam Rippon, also openly gay, got lots of attention. So did an Instagram post that took a dig at U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Kenworthy says the visibility of openly gay athletes in Pyeongchang “shows a shift and a change and hopefully it means that in the future it won’t be a big thing. It won’t be a headline, it won’t be ‘the gay Olympian,’ the ‘gay skier,’ the gay anything. It will just be ‘a skier.'”


4:40 p.m.

Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger crashed on the first lap of the men’s 30-kilometer cross-country race but stormed back to take home the gold medal.

When the mass start began and with skiers bottled up in lines, Krueger slipped and his right ski came out from under him, causing him to fall.

The two skiers directly behind him were Andrey Larkov and Denis Spitsov, Russian athletes competing under the Olympic flag, and they toppled over him.

By the time the three untangled themselves, they were at the rear of the field.

But Krueger methodically worked his way back through the pack and took the lead with 5 kilometers remaining.

Norway swept the podium with Marting Johnsrud Sundby taking silver and Hans Christer Holund earning bronze.

Spitsov nearly medaled, finishing in fourth place.


4:30 p.m.

Patrick Chan, Gabrielle Daleman and ice dance dynamos Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will try to deliver figure skating team gold for Canada when the event concludes Monday.

The Canadians have 45 points, six ahead of the Russians, heading into the men’s, women’s and ice dance free programs. The U.S. is third with 35 points, one ahead of Italy.

Teams were required to submit their final lineups after Sunday’s competition.

Alina Zagitova will handle the free skate for the Russians, while Mikhail Kolyada tries to rebound from his dismal short program. Dmitri Soloviev and Ekaterina Bobrova will do the ice dance.

The U.S. team is making two substitutions with Mirai Nagasu taking the baton from Bradie Tennell and Adam Rippon replacing Nathan Chen. Alex and Maia Shibutani will be back for the dance.


4:25 p.m.

Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger, who fell and crashed on the first lap of the men’s 30-kilometer cross-country race, has stormed back to take the lead with five kilometers left.

As the mass start began and with skiers bottled up in lines, Krueger appeared to slip in mid-stride and his right ski came out from under him, causing him to fall to the ground. The two skiers directly behind him — Russians Andrey Larkov and Denis Spitsov — couldn’t stop and toppled over him.

The skiers became entangled and lost more than 10 seconds to the field.

Spitsov has battled back to move into seventh place.


4:05 p.m.

Maddie Rooney will be in net for the United States against Finland in the Americans’ Olympic opener in women’s hockey.

This is the first Olympics for the 20-year-old goalie from Andover, Minnesota. U.S. coach Robb Stauber picked Rooney over Alex Rigsby and Nicole Hensley for their opener after Rooney went 4-0-2 with 1.81 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage.

Rooney won three of the first four games between the Americans and Canada last fall. Her last international game was Dec. 17 in Edmonton, Alberta, in a 2-1 overtime loss to Canada to wrap up an exhibition slate between the sport’s North American powers.

The United States is looking for its first gold medal in 20 years. The Americans won gold when women’s hockey debuted in the Olympics in 1998 in Nagano and have been shut out in the past four games.

They’ve never lost to Finland in six games at the Olympics, and they beat Finland 3-1 in the preliminary round in 2014 in Sochi.


3:55 p.m.

The men’s 30-kilometer cross-country skiathlon turned into a NASCAR race on the first lap.

As the mass start began and with skiers bottled up in lines, Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger appeared to slip midstride, and his right ski came out from under him, causing him to fall to the ground.

The two skiers directly behind him were Andrey Larkov and Denis Spitsov, Russian athletes competing under the Olympic flag, and they toppled over him.

The three men spent several seconds desperately trying to untangle their bodies and their skis from one another.

By the time they got going, they had lost several seconds to the lead pack.

All three were considered top skiers. Hegstad was ranked seventh in the World Cup standings, with Larkov 11th and Spitsov 16th.


3:30 p.m.

Mikaela Shiffrin and the rest of the women’s giant slalom racers get a rare chance to open the Alpine schedule at the Olympics. The men’s downhill has been postponed because of high winds. That means the women will compete before the men in ski racing at a Winter Games for the first time since 1984.

As her mother, Eileen, who also serves as a coach, watched from the bottom of the Yongpyong hill, Shiffrin joined other racers in taking a couple of casual trips down a gateless giant slalom piste during a free ski the day before Monday’s race.

The last time the women competed before the men was at the Sarajevo Games, when a blizzard led to a rearranged schedule.

The 22-year-old Shiffrin could be a transcendent figure over the next two weeks. She was the slalom gold medalist at the 2014 Sochi Games, where she also finished fifth in the giant slalom. She is considered a top medal contender in both this time around.