2022 Winter Olympics – Mikaela Shiffrin out of the giant slalom, US wins historic figure skating medal and more live updates from Beijing

The competition on Monday in Beijing has been both heartbreaking and thrilling. Superstar Mikaela Shiffrin skied out in her di lei first race, giant slalom, in a disappointing start to her Olympics.

In figure skating, the US had its highest finish in the team event in history, with a silver.

Still to come: The gold medal will be decided in men’s snowboard slopestyle, as Americans Red Gerard, Sean Fitzsimons and Chris Corning are headed to the final with 17-year-old Su Yiming, a surprising finalist from the host country. We’ve got updates on the action here:

The US team wins figure skating silver

Team USA won its first-ever silver medal in the figure skating team event after two stellar performances on the final day. The Russian Olympic Committee soared to gold while Japan took bronze.

After a rocky start in the pairs free skate by Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, ice dancers Evan Bates and Madison Chock performed a season’s best free dance to come in first – and secure the much-needed ten points. They earned a standing ovation from their teammates, who cheered wildly after the score was announced.

Then, Karen Chen took the ice in the women’s free skate after an imperfect performance in the short program yesterday. She looked in the mood to conquer from her first jump, a double axel, triple toe combination. Afterwards, the cameras panned to her family and friends di lei back in California, including a young cousin wearing Chen’s first competition dress.

Earlier in the competition, 2021 world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov from Russia had been stunning until their final lift, when Galliamov lost his balance, fell and dropped Mishina onto the ice. They recovered – and still finished first – though it was another reminder of that old skating truth: Ice is slippery.

The US won team bronze in both 2018 and 2014. At 32, Bates, a four-time Olympian, becomes the oldest US Olympic medalist in figure skating. – Elaine Teng

Kamila Valieva makes Olympic history

If there’s one sentence you’re likely going to hear over and over again at these Olympics, it’s “Kamila Valieva makes history.” The 15-year-old skating sensation from Russia became the first woman to land a quad at the Olympics in the women’s free skate portion of the team competition. (She didn’t attempt one in the short program, where women are not allowed to do quads. Long story.)

And if that’s not enough, she landed two!

To put this in context, US skater Mirai Nagasu became only the third woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics in 2018. That’s three-and-a-half rotations. Four years later, Valieva and her two teammates, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, are all doing four rotations. The triple axel is the highest-scoring jump any US skater is attempting at these Games.

Valieva showed the faintest sign that she is still mortal when she fell on her third quad, a quad toe. But expect to see many more Russian women flying through the air and landing soft as feathers in Beijing – and for Valieva to go home with a second gold medal. – Elaine Teng

Shiffrin out of giant slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin had a disappointing start to her 2022 Olympic Games with a DNF in her first run of the women’s giant slalom on Monday. Shiffrin, 26, was the defending gold medalist on the event and was looking to become the first repeat champion in the discipline since 1998.

Shiffrin hadn’t recorded a DNF in giant slalom since January of 2018.

The expectations remain high for Shiffrin, a three-time Olympic medalist, in Beijing. She is hoping to compete in all four remaining individual alpine skiing events. She is next expected to compete in the slalom on Wednesday.

In an interview with NBC after the race, Shiffrin said she was disappointed by her performance but was optimistic about the coming races.

“I mean, it’s hard not to dwell, especially for me, I’m always dwelling on these kind of heartbreaking days,” Shiffrin said. “But I just cannot afford to spend, or waste, energy on something that’s now in the past … I’m going to reset, focus on what I can control for the slalom. There’s still a long two weeks to go and I ‘m still looking forward to it. ” – D’Arcy Maine

A leg up …

After an equipment malfunction, Estonian skier Kelly Sildaru somehow managed to land a jump on one ski:

She was penalized for the landing, and did not make it to the finals of the women’s freestyle skiing.

Ski big air makes its first appearance

The much-hyped Olympic big air jump made its debut Monday morning in Beijing. The first permanent big air structure in the world, the ramp was constructed of concrete atop a former steel mill just outside of Beijing’s city center and is covered with artificial snow. It provided the first stage for the men and women of freeskiing at these Games. Snowboard big air made its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang four years ago, but Monday marked the first time skiers competed in the event at the Olympics.

American-born Chinese skier Eileen Gu, perhaps the most hyped rookie athlete at these Games, qualified into Tuesday’s final in fifth place. The 18-year-old has dominated women’s freeskiing since winning three medals at X Games in 2021, the first woman to do so in her first appearance di lei.

In qualifying in Beijing, Gu landed a big double cork 1080 in her first run but had equipment issues in her second and sat outside of the top-12 when she took her third and final run. Before doing so, Gu paused and motioned to the starter that she wanted to wait for the wind to calm. After a few moments, she dropped in and landed a technical 900 with a Buick grab. “See you in finals,” Gu said into the television camera after her score di lei appeared on the board.

Darian Stevens is the sole American skier to make Tuesday’s final. Megan Oldham of Canada qualified first. – Alyssa Roenigk

A long road to Beijing

After missing the team figure skating event due to COVID-19 protocols, Canada’s Keegan Messing has finally arrived in Beijing, one day before the men’s event. Messing, an Olympic medal hopeful, had to clear three COVID tests during his isolation period in Vancouver – after testing positive for COVID – before he was allowed to travel to Montreal, which is one of the four international hubs Olympic athletes traveled through to get to Beijing. He cleared the fourth and final test in Montreal on Feb. 5. Due to his absence of him, defending champion Team Canada fielded Roman Sadovsky, who had never competed at a world championship or an Olympics. He finished 8th in the short program with a score of 71.06.

In other travel news, Japan’s two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu arrived in China late Sunday Beijing time, just in time for the men’s event. – Aish Kumar

The true luge experience

You remember when you were a kid, you threw on the winter coat, scarves and beanie and pulled the sled behind? The goal was to find a little run, get down a little hill on your sled without crashing into anything or anyone.

It’s said, the luge is like sledding … except at 80 mph. Maximize your screen, turn up the volume and enjoy:

Red vs. Sean

Defending Olympic gold medalist Red Gerard and US teammate Sean Fitzsimons face off tonight in men’s snowboard slopestyle finals. Will Red repeat or will the Olympic rookie score a knockout? The question was posed on Instagram:

Tongan Olympian Pita Taufatofua won’t be in Beijing

Viral Tongan Olympian Pita Taufatofua, who is both a Summer and Winter Olympian (competing in taekwondo and cross-country skiing), is missing the 2022 Beijing Olympics to help his country recover after a volcanic eruption resulted in a destructive tsunami on January 15, 2022 .

Taufatofua, who first went viral at the 2016 Summer Olympics when he walked in the opening ceremonies as an oiled and bare-chested flag bearer, hadn’t qualified yet for the Beijing Olympics when the tsunami occurred, and he immediately stopped training to focus on relief measures. His GoFundMe di lui has raised over half a million US dollars, and he helped transport breakfast foods from Fiji to Tonga after the volcano left ashes on crops across the country. He has set his sights on the Paris Summer Olympics 2024, he told the Today Show, but as of now, his top priority di lui is helping his country recover. – Aish Kumar