February 19, 2018 OLYMPICS THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 9 Yun’s the one: South Korea gets men’s skeleton Olympic gold By Tim Reynolds The Associated Press P YEONGCHANG, South Korea — Somehow, Yun Sungbin felt no pressure. He’s a 23-year-old who was expected to win gold and nothing else at the PyeongChang Olympics, in his home country, with thousands of his countrymen showing up early to chant his name and await a coronation. A daunting task? Not for skeleton’s new king. Yun won for fun at these Olympics, dominant by every single measure. His four-run time of 3 minutes, 20.55 seconds was a staggering 1.63 seconds ahead of silver medallist Nikita Tregubov of Russia — the largest victory margin in Olympic skeleton history, and the largest margin in any Olympic sliding event since 1972. “There was no reason to feel any pressure,” Yun said. “I mean, it’s my home track. So I can really feel at home here. And I think that I always believed it would come out greatly if I do the same things I’ve always done.” Someone, someday, might win a skeleton race at the Olympics by a bigger margin. But the totality of what Yun did can’t be topped, only matched. He had the fastest start in all four runs. There are four spots on the course where split times were taken; he had the fastest one in all four of those, every time. So of course, he had the fastest finish in every heat as well. Yun’s lead kept growing and growing: 0.31 seconds after one heat, 0.74 seconds after two, 1.02 seconds after three. He set the start record then lowered his own track record in the final heat, going all-out even on his final slide and becoming the first South Korean to win a gold medal in any sliding event. Put simply, none of the other 29 men ever had a chance. “He smashed it,” said Britain’s Dom Parsons, who won the bronze. Did he ever. Most skeleton races are decided by tenths or hundredths of a second. The average winning margin in a men’s World Cup skeleton race this season was 0.37 seconds. Matt Antoine of the U.S. is a World Cup race winner; he finished these Olympics in 11th place, 3.84 seconds behind Yun. “I’m looking at this right now as the whole of my career, the last 15-plus years,” Antoine said. “This is just one race. The result is what it is. To be here, with my family here, everyone supporting me, that’s all I could have asked for.” Hanyu defends Olympic gold medal in men’s figure skating By Barry Wilner The Associated Press Shh, mom! No yelling when sister watches fellow Olympian Continued from page 7 G ANGNEUNG, South Korea — Yuzuru Hanyu was introduced as the Olympic gold medallist, skated over to the podium, and jumped high onto it. With a perfect landing, naturally. He also leaped into the figure skating history books, becoming the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. “Just happy. I can’t say anymore, just happy,” Hanyu said through his ever-present smile. “I just did my best today. I don’t know if this is the best of my skating life, but I can say from my heart that I skated my best today.” He held off countryman Shoma Uno and Spain’s Javier Fernandez in the free skate. Coach Brian Orser met Hanyu as he left the ice after his strong but slightly flawed performance. Then Orser, a two-time Olympic silver medallist who also coaches Fernandez, rushed back behind the side- boards to help encourage the Spaniard. Fernandez couldn’t match Hanyu. Hanyu later congratulated Fernandez and told him he wished both of them could have won. “I told him, ‘Yes, Yuzu, but only one can be champion. Only one can have the gold medal,’” Fernandez said. Uno moved from third to second, loading a high-scoring quad and three triples into the final minute of his routine. “I knew which level of performance I performed,” he said through a translator. “I did what I intended to do.” American Nathan Chen surged from a fiasco of a short program, when he was 17th, by winning the free skate to wind up fifth. He did it with an historic routine featuring six quads. As always, Hanyu skated to raucous support from the crowd , with thousands of Japanese flags filling the stands. He was terrific, though not perfect, particularly messing up a combination jump. As always, he left the ice to a swarm of cascading Winnie The Pooh teddy bears flooding the ice. “YUN! SUNG! BIN!” Yun Sungbin of South Ko- rea starts a run during the men’s skeleton competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Yun’s four-run time of 3 minutes, 20.55 sec- onds was a staggering 1.63 seconds ahead of the sil- ver medallist and the largest victory margin in Olympic skeleton history. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) John Daly, the other American in the field, was 16th in his third Olympics. Yun stepped onto the award podium shortly after finishing, arms skyward as his fans roared. They showed up early on a bright morning in the Taebaek Mountains, fully expecting to see the sort of dominance he himself envisioned when taking thousands of training runs on the track that was built for these Olympics, the track he knows better than anyone else in sliding. “Yun! Sung! Bin!” they chanted, over and over. “Yun! Sung! Bin!” Yun delivered. “Getting the gold medal in any Olympics is a very great result,” Yun said. “But getting the gold here in my home country is a very great honor, much bigger than that.” Happy New Year, indeed. On a national holiday in South Korea — the start of the Lunar New Year — Yun became a national hero. “Yun Sungbin is a very strong athlete,” Tregubov said. “I believe he has no minuses. Excellent start. He stays calm. Excellent technique. He is better than me.” There was no shame in saying that. Yun was better than everyone. OLYMPIC CHAMP REPEATS. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan leaps onto the podium in celebration of his gold medal win in the men’s free figure skating final in Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gang- neung, South Korea. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) He led all three U.S. skaters into the top Uno might have won the gold if not for his magnificent countryman. His energy 10 as his 127.64 points for technical throughout, particularly in the back end of virtuosity put him in another his routine to “Turandot,” permeated the stratosphere, and his 215.08 points for the arena, and he pumped his arms wildly free skate were a personal high. when he finished. Chen’s 17-year-old teammate Vincent Fernandez, skating to “Man of La Zhou put down five quads — as if to say, Mancha,” was a worthy medallist, “Hey buddy, I can do this, too” — in finishing just 1.66 points behind Uno. another spectacular jumping show. Zhou “It means a lot for my country,” also soared in the standings, winding up Fernandez said. “We’ve never had a figure sixth. skating Olympic medal. We have such few “It’s been such a wild ride over my short Winter Olympic medals in any sports, so I 17 years,” Zhou said. “I’ve been through so hope it means a lot to everyone back much, it would take me hours to say it all. home.” But to skate like that, to have a successful The 18-year-old Chen had succumbed to performance means so much to me.” the pressure and massive expectations in Adam Rippon doesn’t do quads, but his the short program a day earlier. On the presentation and dramatic flair earn him final day, he nailed virtually every points. The 28-year-old dropped from element. He even did the sixth quad, a seventh to 10th, but these were successful loop, getting full credit for the four games for him, and his arm pumps to rotations though he put his hands down on bolster the audience’s cheers when he was the ice on it. done lent a comical touch. “I think after having such a disastrous “They usually say that like, after the short program and being so, so low in the Olympic Games, somebody’s life changes ranking — lower than I usually ever am — forever,” Rippon said. “A lot of times it’s it allowed me to completely forget the the gold medallist, but I have a feeling that results and focus on enjoying myself out on my life has changed forever.” the ice,” Chen said, “and getting rid of AP Sports writers Dave Skretta and expectations helped a lot.” Jake Seiner contributed to this report. hand pass. With the busy schedules and each sister in separate groups, Hannah had to text her father for the password to watch Marissa’s Olympic debut in a 0-8 loss to Switzerland. A cancelled practice allowed Hannah to join her family to watch her sister in person in a 1-4 loss to Japan. Hannah snapped a photo of the opening puck drop, then had her phone ready to shoot video every time the Koreans came into the offensive zone. Unfortunately, she had to leave before Marissa got the assist at 9:31 of the second period on the first Korean goal in Olympic history. “It’s amazing to be able to watch her live (and) compete in the Olympics obviously and to just kind of witness history with this team,” Hannah said. Marissa and the Koreans lost their final match, 0-2, to Switzerland. Hannah and the Americans are chasing their own history, trying to bring home the country’s first gold in women’s hockey since 1998. “That would be really nice wouldn’t it?” their mother said. Worth yelling about, too. 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