The Latest: US’ Diggins: Nerves might have gotten best of me
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):
American cross-country skier Jessie Diggins says nerves may have gotten the best of her before the women’s 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) skiathlon, causing her to throw up shortly before the race.
Diggins was third in the World Cup rankings coming in but finished fifth on Saturday at the Pyeongchang Games.
The 26-year-old says, ”I need to work on a few things to manage stress.”
She says she also struggled with cramping in her triceps during the race and will reconsider her hydration plan moving forward. Overall, though, she says she did the best she could and got the most out of her body.
Diggins says it wasn’t her best race, but she still feels like she’s in a ”good place” to become the first American cross-country skier to win a medal since Bill Koch in 1976.
Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla won the first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Games and Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen took silver in the women’s 15-kilometer skiathlon to become the most decorated female Winter Olympian ever.
Bjoergen captured her 11th career medal Saturday, breaking a three-way tie with Russian Raisa Smetanina and Italian Stefania Belmondo.
Kalla won the race by more than seven seconds, breaking away from the pack in the final 2 kilometers to avenge her loss to Bjoergen in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Jessica Diggins finished fifth, failing to become the first American woman to earn a medal in cross-country skiing.
Krista Parmakoski of Finland finished third.
Race organizers say they expect ”challenging” conditions to stage the Olympic men’s downhill on Sunday.
Team leaders have been told the weather forecast is ”partly cloudy but the wind will be strong.” Race-time temperatures will be below freezing on the Jeongseon hill.
Gusts and tailwinds affected a shortened practice run on Friday but eased for the final training session Saturday.
Race director says Markus Waldner ”it was good enough to have a race today. Tomorrow we will see.”
Waldner says a decision whether to delay the 11 a.m. start, or postpone the race, is expected at 10 a.m.
Russian International Olympic Committee member Yelena Isinbayeva says Russian athletes at the Pyeongchang Games will be more successful because of anger that others were excluded.
Isinbayeva, the pole vault world record holder, says on Instagram that ”everything will definitely work out for us.”
She says, ”After all, when they’re angry and enraged, Russians are unbeatable.”
Isinbayeva adds she finds it ”terrible” that many Russian athletes failed to pass an IOC vetting process examining whether they were linked to doping schemes.
She says she is ”very disappointed for all the clean athletes who weren’t let in, who didn’t even get an explanation of why they were excluded.”
Isinbayeva didn’t attend this week’s IOC session in Pyeongchang because she is heavily pregnant.
U.S. hockey coach Robb Stauber knows whom he plans to start in net when the American women kick off their quest for Olympic gold, but he just hasn’t told his trio of goaltenders yet.
Not that waiting to hear who gets the honor of playing Sunday against Finland is bothering Maddie Rooney, Alex Rigsby or Nicole Hensley. They’re all preparing as if Stauber will be tapping them first as the Americans start their quest to end the country’s 20-year drought without Olympic gold.
The Pyeongchang Games are the first Olympics for all three goalies, so prior experience at the world’s biggest tournament for women’s hockey won’t be a deciding factor.
Stauber says he’s also leaving himself some room to change his mind as well in a short tournament.
Yuna Kim’s an Olympic gold medalist and a two-time world champion figure skater, but she still gets nervous, including at Friday’s opening ceremony.
The South Korean performed on a tiny ice rink propped high in the air with 35,000 fans looking on at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Kim skated for about 30 seconds and then took the torch from two North and South Korean ice hockey players who climbed 120 steps to deliver it.
Kim says, ”When I was on the ice rink, I couldn’t really see the spectators in the stadium. I was only thinking I could fall, so I shouldn’t make any mistakes.”
The two hockey players had no chance to practice. She was concerned, but it went according to script, with Kim delivering the flame to the cauldron.
Early start times for figure skating at the Pyeongchang Olympics are good for U.S. audiences who get to watch in primetime, but not always so great for the athletes.
Competition begins at 10 a.m. each day, and that means 5 a.m. wake-up calls. That’s because of the 14-hour time difference with the U.S. East Coast.
The early starts may have contributed to some tumbles by big names in the opening day of the team competition. Patrick Chan of Canada and Nathan Chen of the U.S. both fell during their short programs. Russian skater Mikhail Kolyada was next, falling twice during his short program as part of the team competition.
Waking up at 5 gives the skaters just an hour to get dressed and board the bus to the arena for 7 a.m. practice.
Then, they have to sit around a couple of hours until their moment in the spotlight. There isn’t enough time to head back to their rooms, so most pass the time trying to rest and relax, often listening to music and going through their programs in their minds.
Racing with a torn ACL, former Olympic champion Carlo Janka has lost his bid to be selected by Switzerland in the men’s downhill.
Janka’s coaches set a top five target in the final practice run to make the four-man Swiss team for Sunday’s race. He placed 18th, 1.19 seconds off the pace.
”I had to be on the very top today. I missed that,” Janka tells The Associated Press.
The 2010 Olympic gold medalist in giant slalom has not started a race all season after damaging his right knee in October.
Janka opted for physical therapy over surgery in hope of competing at Jeongseon, where he got the last of his 11 career World Cup wins – a super-G that tested the Olympic course in February 2016.
Still, he will start in Alpine combined scheduled Tuesday, and maybe super-G on Thursday.
Janka says his knee is ”good enough to go on 100 percent” in the dry snow and good visibility at Jeongseon.
Norway’s powerful duo Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud pushed hard while world champion Beat Feuz took things easy in a final training run for Sunday’s Olympic downhill.
Still, it was Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr who raced fastest down the sun-splashed 2.9-kilometer (1 5/6-mile) course on Saturday.
Kriechmayr was 0.12 seconds faster than Jansrud, who is shaping up as the prerace favorite on the Jeongseon course, where he won the test race in 2016.
Svindal was third-fastest, 0.35 seconds behind the lead, as Feuz of Switzerland eased off in the lower sections to coast into the finish.
Feuz is the in-form racer after two wins and a second place in three World Cup downhills in January.
Saturday’s practice was run over the full course with little sign of strong winds forecast through the weekend.
Pyeongchang Olympic organizers are investigating a possible attack on their internet and Wi-Fi systems about 45 minutes before the opening ceremony.
Organizing committee spokeswoman Nancy Park says the defense ministry and a cybersecurity team are investigating the outage. She says the outage didn’t affect Friday’s opening ceremony or any competitions.
She says systems were almost back to normal about 15 hours after the problems were discovered.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports servers were shut down to prevent damage to technical systems, causing problems with the Pyeongchang Olympic website.
Park declined to call it a cyberattack and says they don’t want to speculate since they’re still trying to identify where it came from.
Mikaela Shiffrin can’t help but laugh when a reporter asks what her reaction is to being compared to Michael Phelps, the U.S. swimmer who is the most decorated Olympian in history.
”You’re crazy,” the American ski racer replied. ”OK, he has, what, 23 medals?”
Actually, Phelps’ haul is 23 golds – and 28 medals in all.
Shiffrin’s only medal so far is a gold in slalom at age 18 in 2014 at Sochi. She comes to the Pyeongchang Games with a chance to become the first skier to win that race twice in a row at the Olympics.
She will also be among the favorites in Monday’s giant slalom, could contend for a medal in the combined on Feb. 23, and might also enter the downhill and super-G.
For now, though, she’ll only commit to entering the slalom and giant slalom.
”I would like to compete in everything,” she said. ”I’m not sure if I’m actually going to have the energy to do that.”
The U.S. will send out siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani in the ice dance and Bradie Tennell in the women’s short program when the team competition resumes Sunday at Gangneung Ice Arena.
The Americans, who are second behind Canada after the pairs and men’s short programs, waited until the last possible moment to announce their lineup in a bit of gamesmanship with its rival nations.
The Shibutanis were chosen over U.S. champs Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and the team of Madison Chock and Evan Bates. Tennell got the nod over Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen.
The top five nations after their short programs advance to the free skate later Sunday.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is hosting lunch for senior North Korean officials including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister in the most significant diplomatic encounter between the rivals in years.
The meeting at the Blue House in Seoul on Saturday comes after Kim Yo Jong and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics where they took their place among dignitaries from around the world, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
It’s unclear whether the occasion could be used to set up bigger meetings between the Koreas to ease tensions. The Koreas could potentially talk about a South Korean special envoy meeting Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang or even a summit between Moon and Kim.
The organizing committee for the Pyeongchang Olympics says another 11 people have been diagnosed with norovirus.
That brings the total to 139 since Feb. 1. Seven of the new cases are at a youth training center where security personnel for the games have been staying.
Most of the norovirus cases were in people staying at the center, and about 1,200 were sequestered there, forcing the military to step in to help with security. Those who have tested negative for norovirus have been released from quarantine and returned to work.
Norovirus is a common, infectious bug that causes unpleasant symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting but doesn’t require medical treatment.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and Korea Center for Disease Control have distributed 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and taken other measures including stepped up inspection of restaurants and monitoring of water quality. There are signs all over the Olympics reminding people to clean their hands.
Speedskater Shani Davis didn’t attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics after losing a coin flip to carry the U.S. flag and lead American athletes into the stadium.
A U.S. Speedskating spokesman says Davis originally planned to skip the festivities because of his training schedule. He briefly reconsidered when he was nominated by his teammates to be the flag bearer.
Davis and luger Erin Hamlin tied 4-4 in voting by fellow athletes to carry the flag. Hamlin won the honor in a coin toss, a process the 35-year-old speedskater said was executed ”dishonorably” in a post on his Twitter account.
The two-time Olympic champion is set to compete in the 1,500 meters on Tuesday, followed by the 1,000 on Feb. 23.
The first medals of the Pyeongchang Olympics will be awarded Saturday, but most attention will be focused on a preliminary round hockey match featuring the combined Korean women’s hockey team.
The game against Switzerland is sold out and there are rumors that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister might attend. Fierce attention has been focused on the team since North Koreans were added to the roster just a few weeks ago.
The two Koreas have worked together to send a joint team to major international sports events only twice before. The U.S. and Finland women’s hockey teams also play Saturday.
Medals are due to be awarded in women’s biathlon and cross-country skiing, men’s ski jumping, women’s 3,000 meter speedskating and men’s 1500 meter short-track speedskating.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org