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Beijing Rewind, Feb. 13: US picks up four Olympic medals in history-making day

Erin Jackson's historic win also ended a long drought for U.S. speedskating. And a new U.S. citizen won gold in a new Olympic event.

BEIJING, China — The U.S. had one of its best medal days of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Sunday with a lot history made not only for the Americans but for some of the sports themselves. Four more medals are added to the 2022 U.S. trophy case, and it was oh so close to five.

Also, there was a major ruling that will affect the women's figure skating competition, which starts Tuesday.

The U.S. ended Sunday with 15 total medals at the Beijing Games with seven days to go. Seven of those are gold and three are in brand new Olympics events -- mixed team aerials, mixed team snowboardcross and women's monobob.

Erin Jackson wins 500 meters gold; first Black woman to win speedskating medal

Erin Jackson became the first Black woman to win a speedskating medal at the Winter Olympics. And a gold one, at that.

Jackson won the 500 meters with a time of 37.04 seconds Sunday, giving the Americans their first speedskating medal of the Beijing Games.

The 29-year-old Jackson, a former inline skater who switched to the ice shortly before the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, joined fellow American Shani Davis as the only Black athletes to win long-track speedskating medals at the Olympics.

Jackson also gave the U.S. its first individual speedskating medal since 2010 and the first 500-meter win for U.S. women since Bonnie Blair in 1994.

The silver went to Japan’s Miho Takagi, while Angelina Golikova of the Russian Olympic Committee took the bronze.

Americans take gold, silver in women's monobob

Kaillie Humphries crossed the finish line, jumped from her sled and hoisted an American flag that someone had just handed her into the frosty air.

“U-S-A! U-S-A!” she chanted.

Four years ago, nobody would have seen that coming. The former Canadian bobsled heroine is an Olympic gold medalist for the third time — and for the first time, as a U.S. citizen.

Humphries is monobob’s first Olympic champion, finishing off a surprisingly easy win at the Beijing Games on Monday. She completed four runs in 4 minutes, 19.27 seconds to lead a gold-silver finish for the U.S. women’s program, with teammate Elana Meyers Taylor placing second.

Meyers Taylor is now a four-time medalist, giving her the most in USA Bobsled history — breaking a tie with three others, the great Steven Holcomb among them — and tying her for sixth most in U.S. Winter Olympic history.

Both women are set to be drivers for Team USA in the two-woman bobsled event this week.

Ice dancing bronze for Madison Hubbell, Zachary Donohue

After skating to a bronze medal at the Beijing Games, American ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue bent down and kissed the the ice where the Olympic rings were painted.

“It was just a moment, I think, for both of us to say goodbye to Olympic ice," Hubbell said, “and thank this journey that’s created, you know, the people that we are today.”

The longtime American standard-bearers in ice dancing embraced Monday after their free dance to Anne Sila’s “Drowning” to wrap up their competition. It marked their last Olympic skate, and the sweetest end to a decade-long career together that produced two world championship silver medals and the title at the Grand Prix Final.

Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates skated a personal best with their avant-garde intergalactic space love story set to electronic music by Daft Punk, but were ultimately unable to overcome the deficit from their disappointing rhythm dance performance and finished fourth.

Both couples also earned a silver medal in the team figure skating event.

Russian teen figure skater cleared to compete after positive doping test

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva will be allowed to compete for a second gold medal at the Winter Olympics despite failing a pre-Games drug test.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled Monday that the 15-year-old Valieva, the favorite for the women’s individual gold, does not need to be provisionally suspended ahead of a full hearing into her positive test for the heart drug trimetazidine. The positive test was Dec. 25.

The Russian team can still aim for the first women’s figure skating podium sweep in Olympic history. The event starts with the short program Tuesday and concludes Thursday with the free skate. Valieva is the favorite to win gold.

The ruling only addresses whether Valieva can keep skating before her case is resolved. It doesn’t decide the fate of the gold medal she won in team figure skating with the Russian Olympic Committee. 

Credit: AP
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, trains at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Anderson, Marino out of snowboard big air

Jamie Anderson and Julia Marino had their bubbles burst before qualifying began for women's snowboard big air.

Behind the scenes, these pandemic Olympics haven't been what they hoped.

“Just like a little bit tapped out,” Anderson said. “I’m excited to go home.”

Anderson wiped out on her first two jumps in qualifying Monday and failed to crack the finals field, while Marino dropped out of the contest after a distressing fall during practice over the weekend. Long shot U.S. teammate Hailey Langland will be the only American in the finals after grabbing the 12th and final spot.

American-born Gu makes slopestyle final

Eileen Gu has made it through to slopestyle finals in freestyle skiing. She overcame a number of bobbles in her first qualifying run to nail down a solid second trip down the mountain and secure her spot in the top 12.

The 18-year-old American-born freestyler is competing for her mother’s home country of China at the Beijing Games. She won the gold medal in big air last week, and will also compete in the halfpipe contest later this week.

Other notes

The Canadian women's hockey team easily dispatched Switzerland in its semifinal game. Canada will face the winner of Monday's U.S.-Finland matchup.

On the men's side, the U.S. will be the top seed in the hockey tournament.

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