Snowboarder Su hands China record 6th gold at single Olympics as Norway leads medal count
BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Teenage snowboard sensation Su Yiming claimed China’s sixth gold and 12th medal at Beijing 2022, both record high for a single Winter Games, when he put on two 1800 showpieces to win the men’s big air here on Tuesday.
Norway expanded its lead on the medal tally after bagging three gold medals in biathlon, Nordic combined and speed skating. The Scandinavian nation has 12 golds now, followed by Germany (9) and the United States (7).
Su, who will turn 18 on Friday, had a perfect birthday gift for himself at Big Air Shougang.
The World Cup leader executed a frontside 1800 tail grab to receive 89.50 points in the first run, second to Chris Corning of the United States, who reaped 92.00 points for a backside quad cork 1800 melon.
Su, who took silver from slopestyle on Feb. 8, then threw in a perfect backside triple cork 1800 Indy to collect 93.00 points in the second run and overtook Corning for the lead. His overall score of 182.50 points was good enough to secure a victory in front of his parents watching from the stands.
"I secured the gold medal already after two runs," said Su, who burst into tears before going down the slope in the final run.
"It was such a special moment for me. I thought about challenging myself again but I just couldn’t help crying. I just wanted to enjoy the moment."
Mons Roisland of Norway took the silver, while Max Parrot of Canada, gold medalist in the slopestyle, finished third.
Anna Gasser of Austria defended her women’s snowboard big air title with a stunning 1260 performance in the final run.
Zoi Sadowski Synnott of New Zealand and Kokomo Murase of Japan took the silver and bronze, respectively, while China’s Rong Ge placed fifth, the best ever finish for a Chinese athlete in the event.
The home crowd was also ignited by Gu Ailing’s comeback performance in women’s slopestyle that earned her a silver following her big air gold.
Gu, who ranked only eighth after the first two runs, threw a series of brilliant tricks in her third run to finish second after Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland with 86.23 points.
The PyeongChang silver medalist Gremaud collapsed in the first section of her first run but rebounded in her next attempt to collect a winning 86.56 points.
The bronze medal went to Estonian talent Kelly Sildaru, who notched down 82.06 points on her first run.
"So, so special. It really came down to the last run again. I don’t know why I keep doing it to myself. But I am happy that I was able to push through and turn that pressure into fuel and it feels so, so good," said the 18-year-old Gu.
Gu has set her sights on a second gold medal in the halfpipe competition, which starts on Thursday.
"My goal coming into this Olympics was to win one gold, and have one more podium in a different event so I’ve already met that goal and I’m going into my strongest event. Feeling really good right now and super excited to see what the next couple of days bring," she said.
Norway was the biggest winner on Tuesday with three gold medals.
The biathlon powerhouse shook off a sluggish start in men’s 4x7.5km relay to win their fifth gold in the sport in one hour, 19 minutes and 50.2 seconds thanks to a perfect shooting record of anchor leg Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen.
France had to settle for second place, 27.4 seconds adrift of Norway, and early leader Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), with two penalty loops in the anchor leg, took the bronze 45.3 seconds behind the winner.
The silver medal was Quentin Fillon Maillet’s fifth medal overall at Beijing 2022, which made him the first-ever biathlete to win five medals in a single Winter Games.
Norwegian athletes Joergen Graabak and Jens Luraas Oftebro finished one-two in the Nordic combined individual Gundersen large hill/10km event.
Graabak, who also won a silver in the individual Gundersen normal hill/10km event, stormed to the 10km finish line in 27:13.3 for the gold while his teammate Oftebro came second in 27:13.7. Japan’s Akito Watabe claimed the bronze in 27:13.9.
Norway defended its title in speed skating men’s team pursuit after edging the ROC in final A in 3:38.08, while the United States beat powerhouse the Netherlands in final B for a bronze medal.
In women’s team pursuit, Ivanie Blondin, Valerie Maltais and Isabelle Weidemann secured the first Olympic gold in the event for Canada after Nana Takagi of defending champion Japan slipped and crashed into the padding in the final run.
The Netherlands defeated the ROC to win the bronze medal. China finished fifth after beating Norway in Final C.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis defended their title in the two-man bobsleigh to lead a German podium sweep.
Friedrich and Margis clocked a winning time of three minutes and 56.89 seconds over four heats, followed by Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer 0.49 seconds slower, and Christoph Hafer and Matthias Sommer in 3:58.58.
Corinne Suter won Switzerland’s fourth gold in Alpine skiing in women’s downhill in one minute and 31.87 seconds, 0.16 seconds ahead of defending champion Sofia Goggia of Italy. Fellow Italian Nadia Delago took bronze, 0.57 seconds behind Suter.
In figure skating, Kamila Valieva of the ROC, who was just cleared to compete on Monday, came first after the short program with 82.16 points, 1.96 points ahead of compatriot Anna Shcherbakova.
Eight gold medals are up for grabs on Wednesday in Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, freestyle skiing and short track speed skating.