The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, February 19, 2018, Page Page 9, Image 9

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    February 19, 2018
Yun’s the one: South Korea gets men’s skeleton Olympic gold
By Tim Reynolds
The Associated Press
YEONGCHANG, South Korea —
Somehow, Yun Sungbin felt no
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
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
“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
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,
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
“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
Happy New Year, indeed. On a national
holiday in South Korea — the start of the
Lunar New Year — Yun became a national
“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
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.
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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