Olympics latest: Games end as Bach hails triumph over politics

The Winter Olympics drew to a close on Sunday, after plenty of action on and off the slopes.

New records were set, U.S.-born skier Eileen Gu took the Games by storm as she competed for host China, and there were a few shockers too, with hockey giants Canada and Team U.S.A. bounced from the tournament early.

But controversy swirled as Russian teen skating sensation Kamila Valieva battled doping allegations. Sport’s highest court still cleared her to compete in a widely criticized decision.

Geopolitical tensions also loomed over the event amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and a handful of allies launched a diplomatic boycott over China’s rights record, and the highly transmissible omicron coronavirus variant tested Beijing’s bid to put on a safe event.

For all our coverage, visit our Beijing Winter Olympics page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

Star skier Eileen Gu faces slippery slope after Beijing success

Xi’s Olympics diplomacy stumbles as leaders avoid Beijing Games

Indian skier from small Kashmir village reaches Beijing Olympics

— Inconsistent COVID tests bedevil athletes at Beijing Olympics

Entries include files from wire services and Nikkei Asia reporters.

Here are the latest developments:

Sunday, Feb. 20 (Tokyo time)

10:40 p.m. The illuminated snowflake surrounding the Olympic flame is lowered, and the torch is extinguished. A final flourish of fireworks caps the ceremony.

10:33 p.m. Thomas Bach declares the Beijing Games closed.

10:23 p.m. IOC chief Thomas Bach speaks, praising athletes’ outstanding performances and sportsmanship. “You not only respected each other, you supported each other,” he says. “You embraced each other even if your countries are divided by conflict. You overcame these divisions.”

He adds that he hopes political leaders around the world will be “inspired.”

10:20 p.m. Beijing organizing committee chief Cai Qi thanks all those who made the Games possible. He notes Beijing’s status as the first city to host both the summer and winter editions. He says he hopes the Beijing Games will be remembered well and asks all to “join together” for a brighter future.

10:14 p.m. A handover ceremony featuring digital displays and dancers marks the Winter Games’ transition from China to Italy for 2026.

10:01 p.m. The flag of Greece is raised alongside the Chinese and Olympic flags, acknowledging the Games’ birthplace. And now here comes the IOC’s Thomas Bach, flanked by the mayors of Beijing, Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, hosts of the next Winter Games.

9:35 p.m. The festivities pause for the medal ceremonies for cross-country skiing. Norway, the U.S. and Finland finished 1-2-3 in the women’s 30km Mass Start Free, while Russia took gold and silver in the men’s 50 km, followed by Norway.

9:25 p.m. Athletes from around the world congregate in the center of the stadium, dancing and waving flags. They’re asked to take their seats but they appear in no rush to do so, reveling in the moment.

9:00 p.m. The closing ceremony is underway with Chinese President Xi Jinping looking on from the stands. The Bird’s Nest stadium gleams in Beijing as the curtain shuts on Games that will be remembered as much for feats of sporting excellence as the politics that surrounded them.

Saturday, Feb. 19

1:57 a.m. Britain edges 2018 Olympic champions Sweden 12-11 in an extra end to advance to the women’s curling gold-medal contest against finalists Japan.

1:41 a.m. Defending champions Russia men’s skate into the men’s ice hockey final against Finland after a tense 2-1 shootout victory over Sweden.

12:47 a.m. Britain is stripped of its Olympic silver medal in the men’s 4x100m relay in Tokyo last August after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Chijindu Ujah’s anti-doping violation.

Friday, Feb. 18

11:55 p.m. Chinese figure skating pair Sui Wenjing and Han Cong lead the short program in the pairs event after breaking their own world record score.

4:49 p.m. Eileen Gu’s dominant win in the halfpipe added to host China’s best ever gold medal tally at a Winter Games. China now has eight golds and 14 medals in all. Defending champion Norway’s gold medal tally at Beijing is 15 — a record for any nation at a single Winter Olympics.

China’s freestyle superstar Eileen Gu has picked up two golds and one silver at her first Olympics.

  © Reuters

4:04 p.m. The World Anti-Doping Agency accuses the Court of Arbitration for Sport of ignoring global rules when it upheld a Russian agency’s decision to lift the provisional doping suspension of teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva at the Games.

3:42 p.m. Finland claims a 2-0 win over Slovakia to reach the men’s ice hockey final. They’ll face off against Russia or Sweden.

3:07 p.m. Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic says he has unfinished business at the Olympics and will be gunning for gold at Paris 2024. His quest for an Olympic gold in Tokyo ended in a semi-final defeat to Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

2:40 p.m. InternationalOlympic Committe president Thomas Bach says he was “very disturbed” watching Russian teen skater Kamila Valieva’s meltdown that resulted in her fourth place finish in women’s figure skating. He also hit out at her team, saying it was “chilling” to see her entourage criticize the 15-year-old for her performance.

12:01 p.m. Freestyle sensation Eileen Gu has done it. She grabbed her second gold of the Games in the women’s halfpipe final. That is three medals in all for the 18-year-old at her first Olympics. She also makes history as the first athlete to win three medals in three different freestyle skiing disciplines.

10:40 a.m. The women’s freeski halfpipe final is underway. Could be some history in the making here. Chinese freestyle superstar Eileen Gu is gunning for gold after taking gold and silver earlier in the Games. If she ends up on podium today, she’ll be the first athlete to win three medals in three different freestyle skiing disciplines.

10:35 a.m. We’re down to the final four in men’s ice hockey after favorites Team U.S.A and Canada were both eliminated in shock upsets. Slovakia faces off against Finland in today’s first semifinal, followed by the Russian taking on Sweden for a place in the final.

4:45 a.m. Some reactions to the women’s figure skating final.

Evgeni Plushenko, the four-time Olympic medalist men’s figure skater from Russia, calls gold-medal winner Anna Shcherbakova a “Russian Rocket” on Instagram. He tells fourth-place Kamila Valieva that “sometimes you have to fall” in order to take off in the future.

1:15 a.m. A visibly distraught Alexandra Trusova was overheard as saying “I hate skating” after her silver-medal-winning performance in Beijing.

The 17-year-old Russian appeared upset at the scoring of her routine, which put her second despite her multiple quadruple jumps.

“I will never skate again,” Reuters reports her as saying. In the end, Trusova stood on the medal platform with gold winner Anna Shcherbakova bronze medalist Kaori Sakamoto.

Thursday, Feb. 17

11:00 p.m. Embattled skater Kamila Valieva finishes fourth for the Russian Olympic Committee.

The 15-year-old Valieva, who is skating despite revelations she tested positive for a banned substance in December, has some uncharacteristic slip-ups in the women’s figure skating free skate.

Compatriot Anna Shcherbakova wins gold. Fellow Russian Alexandra Trusova finishes second for silver, while Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto takes home bronze in a tearful climax to the much-anticipated event.

Russian skater Anna Shcherbakova performs at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

  © Reuters

Russian figure skater Alexandra Trusova gives her silver-medal-willing performance at the  Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Feb. 17.

  © Kyodo

Kaori Sakamoto of Japan in action in the women’s free skate at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

  © Reuters

7:15 p.m. Switzerland’s ski cross head coach criticizes Beijing Olympics judges after athlete Fanny Smith lost out on a bronze medal when she was penalized for kicking a rival in the women’s final.

7:14 p.m. Japan’s Miho Takagi clinches her first gold of the Beijing Olympics, following up on the three other medals she has already won in the Winter Games so far, as she sailed to victory in the women’s 1,000 meters speed skating.

Japanese speed skater Miho Takagi celebrates after setting an Olympic record and winning gold.

  © Reuters

7:10 p.m. The women’s free skate has started. Russian teen star Kamila Valieva is up last as she goes for gold. But there won’t be any medals handed out tonight because the 15-year-old’s doping case has to be resolved first.

4:55 p.m. Canada beats the United States 3-2 to win the women’s ice hockey final, reclaiming the gold medal the Americans had taken from them four years ago in Pyeongchang.

4:38 p.m. Politics enters the Olympics again as an official for the Beijing Games declares “there is only one China” when the subject of Taiwan’s presence at the closing ceremony comes up. She also describes claims of rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region as “lies.”

4:31 p.m. Gold medal favorite Mikaela Shiffrin suffers yet another disappointment after failing to finish a race for the third time at the Games.

2:55 p.m. No new cases of COVID-19 reported inside the Olympics “closed loop” for the first time Thursday, a victory for organizers who have gone to extreme measures to prevent outbreaks.

1:37 p.m. Eileen Gu may be the world’s best freestyle skier with legions of adoring fans, but she says she still has to win over her doubting grandma who would prefer that she becomes a doctor or a lawyer.” She’s never watched me compete,” the 18-year-old said. “She’s going to be unfazed and unimpressed I think.”

1:36 p.m. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach offers U.S. figure skaters Olympic torches as holdover gifts while they await a resolution of the Russian doping case that is preventing them from receiving their silver medals, The Associated Press reports.

11:20 a.m. Skiing sensation Eileen Gu is sitting at the top of the pack in the women’s halfpipe qualifiers after two first-class runs. The U.S.-born Gu, competing for China, is aiming to land her third medal at Beijing 2022 after picking up a gold and silver.

11:00 a.m. The women’s figure skating finals kick off at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to tune in as Russian teen Kamila Valieva goes for gold with controversy swirling over her failed drug test. No medals will be handed out though until the case is resolved.

2:05 a.m. Another shock upset in men’s ice hockey. Sweden beats medal favorite Canada 2-0 to advance to the semifinals. Minnows Slovakia bounced Team U.S.A. from the tournament just hours earlier in another unexpected twist.

12:40 a.m. Japan defeats the U.S. 10-7 in women’s curling at the end of round-robin play. With the loss, the U.S. is out of contention for a medal. The Japanese team, which won bronze at Pyeongchang in 2018, advances.

Wednesday, Feb. 16

11:39 a.m. Another doping case hits The Games. Ukrainian cross-country skier Valentyna Kaminska is suspended after testing positive for an anabolic androgenic steroid and two stimulants, the International Testing Agency said.

10:49 p.m. Finland crushes Switzerland 4-0 to claim the women’s ice hockey bronze medal. Finland wins the bronze for the fourth time in seven Olympic tournaments.

10:35 p.m. Choi Min-jeong of South Korea wins the short track speedskating women’s 1,500-meter event. Italy’s Arianna Fontana takes the silver medal, and Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands claims bronze.

10:26 p.m. Charles Hamelin captures his fourth Olympic title as he leads Canada to the gold medal in the short track speedskating men’s 5,000-meter relay, holding off silver medalist South Korea. Italy takes the bronze.

4:08 p.m. Medal favorite Team USA is knocked out of the men’s ice hockey tournament after Slovakia pulls off a stunning shootout win to advance to the semifinals. That sets up a chance for the country to take its first-ever Olympic medal in the sport.

1:34 p.m. An International Olympic Committee spokesman says his “heart goes out” to figure skaters who won’t get to take part in a medals ceremony because of the Russian doping case. The case needs to be resolved first, and that won’t happen before Games end on Sunday.

1:29 p.m. A person who made and sold knockoffs of Olympic mascots Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon has been sentenced to a year in prison and fined 40,000 yuan ($6,300), reports say, as Chinese officials launch a crackdown on copyright infringement at the event.

1:00 p.m. India’s Winter Olympic dreams are over. The country’s only athlete, skier Arif Khan, failed to finish the slalom today. He got off to a good start but then veered off course in the final stretch.

 Arif Khan was the only athlete competing for India in the Winter Olympics. 

  © Kyodo

6:40 a.m. Combination of three heart drugs in teen Russian skater Valieva’s system “seem to be aimed at increasing endurance, reducing fatigue and promoting greater efficiency in using oxygen,” says United States Anti-Doping Agency Chief Executive Officer Travis Tygart.

6:39 a.m. Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, whose doping case has rocked the Beijing Olympics, had three drugs that could be used to treat heart conditions in the sample she provided at a pre-Games event, The New York Times reports. Two of the three drugs are not on banned list. Valieva, 15, has alleged a mix-up with her grandfather’s medication.

4:10 a.m. Nigerian monobob and skeleton competitor Simidele Adeagbo lodges a formal complaint with the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), alleging gender discrimination in the spots allocated to men and women at the Beijing Games.

2:10 a.m. China’snew digital currency, the e-CNY, is being used to make 2 million yuan ($315,000) or more of payments a day in its latest pilot at the Beijing Winter Olympics, says a top official from the Chinese central bank. Athletes, coaches and media from around the world can use the e-currency via smartphone apps, physical payment cards or wristbands.

Tuesday, Feb. 15

11:25 p.m. Russian teen Kamila Valieva, competing while facing a doping allegation, takes the lead in the women’s figure skating event by winning the short program with a score of 82.16 points.

Russian Anna Shcherbakova, the 2021 world champion, stands second at 80.20. Japanese champion Kaori Sakamoto follows closely in third, with 79.84 points.

10:59 p.m. Russia’s Kamila Valieva takes the lead with 82.16 points, about 8 points below her career-best score.

10:37 p.m. The final six figure skaters in the women’s short program take the ice for their warmup, including Russia’s Kamila Valieva. Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi leads with a score of 73.51 points, but the medal favorites remain to skate.

7:05 p.m. The women’s figure skating short program kicks off with all eyes on Russian teen sensation Kamila Valieva. She’ll take to the ice in a little bit. The 15-year-old, whose failed drug test rocked the skating world, was cleared to compete by sport’s highest court, a decision that drew sharp criticism.

6:44 p.m. Organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympics say they want to ensure the doping case of Russian teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva does not cast a shadow on their own Summer Games. “Paris 2024 is 100% committed to the fight against doping,” they said in a statement to Reuters news agency. “We must use this situation (the Valieva case) to make sure that it does not happen again.”

5:48 p.m. Canada wins gold in the women’s speed skating team pursuit after a mishap by defending champions Japan cost them the top prize.

5:42 p.m. Investors in Chinese manufacturer Yuanlong Yatu are a happy bunch these days. The company’s shares have shot up more than 50% this month on the back of surging demand for souvenirs bearing the image of Games mascot Bing Dwen Dwen, a portly panda that has captured the hearts of millions. Yuanlong Yatu is among just a handful of companies licensed to produce Bing Dwen Dwen stuffed toys.

3:13 p.m. Chinese snowboarder Su Yiming bags another medal for the host country by winning the men’s Big Air. China has 5 gold medals so far, putting it in 7th place. Norway leads the pack with 9 golds.

Chinese snowboarder Su Yiming going for a win at the men’s Big Air event.

  © Reuters

3:03 p.m. Russia’s Freestyle Federation says it will complain to the sport’s governing body about the low score handed to Anastasia Tatalina in the women’s freeski slopestyle final. The Russian athlete finished 4th, putting her out of medal contention.

2:15 p.m. Plot thickens in Russian Kamila Valieva’s drug case. Turns out the 15-year-old told sport’s highest court that a banned angina drug got into her system due to contamination from her grandfather’s heart medication.

2:08 p.m. Switzerland’s Corinne Suter wins gold medal in the women’s downhill, beating defending champion Sofia Goggia of Italy by 0.16 seconds.

1:45 p.m. There will be no medals ceremony if Russian teen Kamila Valieva finishes on the podium at the women’s figure skating singles event because her drug case hasn’t been resolved. “We want to allocate the medal to the right person,” Denis Oswald, head of the International Olympic Committee’s disciplinary commission, told reporters.

12:56 p.m. Taking a pork bun out of a plastic container, home favorite Eileen Gu apologizes to reporters for snacking while answering questions. “I just have no other time to eat,” the San Francisco-born skier said after picking up her second medal of the Games.

12:05 p.m. Just one new COVID-19 case detected Monday among athletes and others linked to the Games, organizing comittee says, as officials move to stamp out any virus outbreak. That was the lowest daily figure so far.

12:01 p.m. China’s Eileen Gu narrowly misses second gold at the Games as she grabs silver in the women’s freestyle skiing slopestyle. Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud chalks up a victory with gold-medal performance.

11:55 a.m. Kokomo Murase, competing in her first Olympics, grabs bronze for Japan in the Big Air snowboarding event. Austrian snowboarder Anna Gasser takes gold while New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott picks up a silver medal.

Bronze medallist Kokomo Murase grabs a spot on the podium at Big Air event.

  © Reuters

10:36 a.m. China’s intellectual property regulator says it is cracking down on illicit moves to use the trademarked image of massively popular Games mascot Bing Dwen Dwen. Stuffed toys and other souvenirs bearing the portly panda mascot’s image have been flying off the shelves. But only a small number of manufacturers are licensed to reproduce it.

10:21 a.m. Freezing temperatures are causing more problems for Olympic organizers. Tuesday’s biathlon 4 x 7.5 km relay was brought forward by two and a half hours to avoid the evening chill which could see temperatures drop to a frigid minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit).

10:08 a.m. The women’s figure skating short program kicks off this evening and all eyes will be on Russian teen Kamila Valieva after she was cleared to compete, despite failing a drug test at a pre-Games competition. Valieva is a favorite in the women’s singles, but she said being at the center of a doping case has taken a toll. “It’s as if I don’t have any emotions left. I am happy but at the same time I am emotionally tired,” she told Russian television.

10:01 a.m. Keep your eyes on the women’s slopestyle final today. Eileen Gu is going for another gold at the Games, where the San Francisco-born athlete is competing for host China. She’s been a fan favorite and raking in endorsements. But will she match that success with a second top medal today?

5:58 a.m. The wife of Chinese film director Zhang Yimou says her husband’s role overseeing the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics had pushed his health to the limit. Chen Ting took to China’s Twitter-like Weibo to describe the 71-year-old Oscar-nominee’s “self-harming” work rate. She said she was keen for the Feb. 20 conclusion of the Games.

3:27 a.m. Sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson questions why Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is allowed to continue competing at the Beijing Games amid a doping charge, months after a positive test for cannabis derailed her own Olympic dreams.

Monday, Feb. 14

10:49 p.m. China’s Xu Mengtao finally claims her elusive Olympic gold medal as she triumphs in a dramatic final of the freestyle skiing women’s aerials.

8:30 p.m. The IOC says that if Russia’s Kamila Valieva finishes in the top three in the women’s singles figure skating, “no flower ceremony and no medal ceremony will take place” during the Games. It adds that in the “interest of fairness” it would “not be appropriate” to hold the ceremony for the team event that Russia won, “as it would include an athlete who on the one hand has a positive A-sample, but whose violation of the anti-doping rules has not yet been established on the other hand.”

7:30 p.m. Japanese superstar figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu tells reporters that he is not sure if the Beijing Games will be his last Olympics, after his disappointing fourth-place finish.

“I thought the Olympics are special and this is the stage worth standing up for even if you are injured,” Hanyu says, referring to the ankle injury that has hampered him all season. “There is no other stage like this … I have a desire to skate here again.”

He also admits to feeling pressure to win a third consecutive gold medal. “Now I’m free from the pressure … but I want to continue taking pride in being a two-time Olympic gold medalist,” he says. “I want to live so that the me of tomorrow will be proud of me today.”

3:42 p.m. The Russian figure skating federation is unsurprisingly happy about the decision to let Valieva skate, calling it a “triumph of common sense and justice.”

3:41 p.m. U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee CEO Sarah Hirshland says the Valieva ruling sends a “disappointing message.” “This appears to be another chapter in the systematic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by Russia,” Hirshland adds.

3:20 p.m. It remains unclear if other members of the Russian team can receive their gold medals. The second-place Team USA and Japan in third are also waiting for news. The figure skating team event medals ceremony was postponed because of Valieva’s case.

3:19 p.m. The sports court did not address Valieva’s drug case — she was found to have a banned angina drug in her system. But it flagged “serious issues of untimely notification of the results.” No details are given on why her failed drug test was revealed more than a month after it was taken. “Such late notification was not her fault, in the middle of the Olympic Winter Games,” the ruling said of the teen.

3:18 p.m. The International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Skating Union had appealed a decision by Russia’s anti-doping agency to lift a provisional doping suspension of Valieva, which cleared the way for her to compete at the Olympics.

3:17 p.m. The result of the positive drug test was not revealed until Feb. 8 after Valieva had competed in the team event at the Winter Games, dazzling the world with the first quad jumps ever completed in the women’s Olympic competition. Her gold medal was on the line before Monday’s ruling in her favor.

3:15 p.m. Valieva’s case is exceptional and not letting her compete would do the teen “irreparable damage,” the court says. The three judges add it was not her fault that results from a pre-Games drug test were only disclosed during the Beijing Olympics. She is one of the youngest athletes to face a doping charge during the Olympics.

3:05 p.m. Russian skating sensation Kamila Valieva is cleared to compete despite failing a drug test linked to an event before the Games, multiple media outlets report, citing a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The 15-year-old is a favorite in the women’s singles event on Tuesday.

12:51 p.m. Two-time gold medalist Jamie Anderson’s Olympic dreams are dashed as the American snowboarder fails to qualify for the Big Air finals.

12:39 p.m. The IOC spokesman says he “sincerely hopes” the Games are not remembered for the Valieva doping case. The teen Russian skater’s positive test for a banned substance wasn’t linked to Beijing 2022, but it has “ramifications” that must be dealt with now, he adds.

10:48 a.m. Winter sports powerhouse Norway sits at the top of the table with 9 gold medals. The Germans are hot on its heels with 8 golds while the Dutch squad has 6 in its pocket.

9:16 a.m. Athletes could face more blizzards and frigid temperatures, but the deteriorating conditions won’t derail games, says Huang Shanjiang, director of Zhangjiakou Meteorological Station. “The Games are at most delayed or postponed, but not interrupted,” he is quoted as saying.

5:54 a.m. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) finishes its hearing on Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva. A final decision on the teenager, who tested positive for a banned drug, will be announced later Monday. The 15-year-old prodigy’s gold medal is on the line. The situation presents another embarrassment for Russia, which was already competing without its flag and anthem owing to previous doping violations.

12:20 a.m. Japan Olympic team captain Miho Takagi on Sunday claims her second speedskating silver medal of these Beijing Games, finishing just behind new champion Erin Jackson of the United States in the women’s 500 meters. Defending Olympic champion Nao Kodaira falls short in her bid to win a second straight 500 crown, finishing 17th

To catch up on earlier developments, see the previous version of latest updates.






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