An American skater has blown the world away with an “outrageous” moment at the Winter Olympics, leaving people in tears.
The Winter Olympics are well in truly in motion as we enter the fourth day of competition in China.
Day four of the Beijing Games is highlighted by six Australians competing in the cross-country skiing qualification, which gets underway at 7.50pm AEDT.
But first, Australian figure skater Brendan Kerry will take part in the men’s figure skating in the early afternoon.
‘Holy cow’: American star produces iconic moment
American Nathan Chen has shocked the world to set a new world record in the men’s short figure skating short program.
The star known as the “Quad King” — because he was the first skater to hit five different “quad jumps” — is on the verge of exorcising his demons from the 2018 Olympics where he fell apart as the red hot favourite to win the gold medal.
He is now the red hot favourite to break through for his first Olympic gold medal when the men’s single skating event wraps up on Thursday with the free skating program.
He has a huge lead over the rest of the competition after he smashed a world record with a final score of 113.97.
A member of the international broadcast team said: “He hasn’t broken the world record. He has Pulverised it”.
Chen’s long-time rival and dual Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu committed several errors in his performance and could only manage a score of 95.15.
The world was in awe of the American.
California-based journalist Sarah Gray posted on Twitter: “Nathan Chen just made me cry”.
USA Today writer Christine Brennan wrote: “An absolutely majestic skate from Nathan Chen at the most important moment of his life”.
LA Times reporter Elliott Almond posted: “Holy cow. @nathanwchenjust got 113.97 to move into first place in the short program at @Beijing2022 in men’s skating. His season best was 111”.
Brendan Kerry’s incredible figure skating performance
He was a flagbearer and now Brendan Kerry will progress to the Free Skating section of the figure skating, as 24 of the 30 skaters will make it.
The Aussie figure skating star put in a stunning performance, scoring a massive 84.79 which qualified him for the next section.
Gu pulls off the unthinkable
The women’s Freeski Big Air final got off to a stunning start with Eileen Gu showing just why she is the face of these Beijing Games.
Having defected from the US to China for the Games, Gu had a mixed day in qualifying but ultimately made the final.
And she pulled it out exactly when she needed it, landing her last trick — a double cork 1620 — for gold.
Frenchwoman Tess Ledeux did everything she could to steal Gu’s thunder but it was only just short.
Gu was favourite for the Big Air, slopestyle and halfpipe in Beijing, but it’s Ledeux who won the X-Games titles in both Big Air and Slopestyle just a matter of weeks ago.
The Frenchwoman was left in tears after the event, as both Gu and bronze medallist Grimaud comforting the silver medallist.
The Athletic’s associate editor Lukas Weese explained that it may have been as a result of losing her father in January.
“Eileen Gu and Mathilde Gremaud consoling Tess Ledeux, who lost her Dad this past January.
Just moments after the competition ended,” he wrote.
“Such class, compassion and camaraderie amongst these athletes. You love to see it.”
But Gu left jaws dropped in her first run, scoring a massive 93.75 with a double cork 1440, which involves four rotations and two flips.
Not to be outdone though, X-Games champion Ledeux one upped her with a double cork 1620 for 94.50 on the scorecards.
The second round began with some messy jumps as the athletes tried to ramp it up.
Switzerland’s Mathilde Gremaud scored a 93.25 to keep the pressure on but it went better than that, pushing her ahead of Gu on the second run as the American-born Chinese star scored 88.50 with a double cork 1080.
However, the final scores come down to their two best jumps, meaning that it’ll all come down to the final jump.
After two runs, Ledeuz led, having scored 93 in her second run, and putting her in the box seat for the gold medal at 187.50 heading into the final jump.
The final jump saw the order rearranged and it went to the final three — Ledaux, Gremaud and Gu — assured of standing on the podium.
So with nothing to lose, Gu pulled out a double cork 1620, which scored her 94.50 and put her in the gold medal position.
Aussie star Miff Rennie said “I didn’t know she had that. I don’t have words.”
Gu said later: “This is the happiest moment of my life.”
Was Olympic champ wrongly awarded gold?
Three years ago, Max Parrot was in hospital fighting cancer — on Monday, he won men’s snowboard slopestyle gold at the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The Canadian, who said chemotherapy left him “at zero percent” when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2018, defeated 17-year-old Chinese home favourite Su Yiming to win gold with a score of 90.96.
“Exactly three years ago I was lying in a hospital and I had no energy, no muscles, no cardio,” said the 27-year-old Parrot.
“It was the hardest moment of my life and to be standing here three years later at the Olympics again, doing my passion, laying down the best run I’ve ever done and winning gold — it’s insane.”
Parrot ran wild when the competition began on Monday in the Chinese capital, overtaking defending champion Red Gerard for the lead with his second run.
The Canadian had stiff competition from teenage tyro Su, who thrilled the small but enthusiastic crowd with his high-flying antics.
But in the end it was Parrot standing on top of the podium, joined by silver-medallist Su on 88.70 points and another Canadian, Mark McMorris, in third on 88.53.
“I used to take life for granted and I don’t any more,” said Parrot, who will attempt to complete a golden double in the Big Air competition.
“Every time I strap my feet on my snowboard, I appreciate it so much more than before.”
But eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Parrot was potentially overscored after judges missed a crucial error during his run.
Replays showed him failing to grab his board during one of the tricks, instead clutching around his lower leg, meaning the maneuver was incomplete.
“He missed the grab there, he had to grab onto his leg,” Channel 7 commentator Mitch Tomlinson remarked.
“They didn’t see it — a 90.96, with a leg grab thrown in.
“That’s not good for snowboarding.
“I’m thinking the judges didn’t see it. 90.96 is a big score. It’s huge.
“It’s frowned upon, grabbing your leg.”
Day four schedule (Aussies in action)
From 12.15pm — Figure Skating, men’s single skating short program (Brendan Kerry)
From 7pm — Cross-Country Skiing, women’s sprint free qualification (Jess Yeaton & and Casey Wright)
From 7.50pm — Cross-Country Skiing, men’s sprint free qualification (Hugo Hinckfuss, Lars Young Vik, Phillip Bellingham & Seve de Campo)
* All times AEDT
Aussie disqualified after high-speed crash
Australian speed-skater Brendan Corey crashed out of the men’s 1000m short track speed skating quarterfinals.
At Beijing’s Capital Indoor Stadium on Monday evening, Corey collided with Dutch skater Itzhak de Laat and eventual gold medallist Ren Ziwei while going into the final corner on the last lap, with all three flying into the barrier.
The 25-year-old Australian, who was attempting to push past de Laat, was running third when the high-speed crash took place, with only the top two racers automatically qualifying for the semi-finals.
Turkey’s Furkan Akar ultimately claimed victory to progress through to the semi-finals in scenes reminiscent of Steven Bardbury’s unforgettable gold medal triumph at Salt Lake City 20 years earlier.
“He (Akar) just stayed out the back, he knew he wasn’t as strong as the other skaters,” Bradbury said in commentary for Channel 7.
“Unfortunately that was a really late move (by Corey) … he was trying to go through a gap that wasn’t really there.”
Corey was penalised for “lane change causing contact”, while Hungary’s John-Henry Krueger, who won silver at 2018 Games in PyeongChang, was also disqualified for an early-race penalty.
“If he’d (Corey) just sat in third and crossed the line, he would’ve been advanced to the next round,” Bradbury explained.
Despite the dramatic quarterfinal exit, Corey said he had “no regrets”.
“I’ve never been given anything for free in my life. I’ve always had to earn everything I’ve accomplished and achieved,” he posted to Instagram after the race.
“This race was no exception. I was not going to rely on a referee to ‘hopefully’ advance me to the next round after some early contact; I wanted to earn my spot.
“I saw an opening and made a split-second decision to go for it. Sadly, I was unable to hold the corner, but that’s short track and I do not regret my decision
“I can still walk away proud with a top 15 finish and the fastest Australian ever in the 1000m.”
Canada-born Corey, who set an Australian record of 1:23.908 in the heats on Olympic debut, was ranked 11th in the world heading into the Beijing Games. He reached the A final at the ISU World Cup event in Dordrech in November.
Corey will return for the 500m event on Friday.
Horrified Olympians disqualified over outfits
Slovenia won the inaugural Olympic ski jumping mixed team competition at the Beijing Games but the event was dominated by an unprecedented spate of disqualifications.
Five jumpers were disqualified for wearing loose-fitting suits — deemed to give athletes an advantage as they fly though the air.
The disqualified jumpers were women from the German, Japanese, Norwegian and Austrian teams.
Four-time world mixed team champions Germany were eliminated in the first round after Katharina Althaus was disqualified. Althaus tearfully accused the International Ski Federation (FIS) of “destroying women’s ski jumping”.
“We were so happy to have a second event (for women) here at the Olympics,” said Althaus, quoted by the German sports agency SID.
“The FIS destroyed everything with this operation. I think they have destroyed women’s ski jumping. I don’t know what they’re trying to do.”
“I have been checked so many times in 11 years of ski jumping, and I have never been disqualified once, I know my suit was compliant,” added Althaus, who burst into tears on learning of her disqualification.
‘OMG’: Rocky ride as US star defects to China
American-born Chinese freestyle skier Eileen Gu, one of the faces of the Beijing Winter Olympics, fluffed her second run but withstood the pressure of that early bungle to reach the final of the freeski Big Air on Monday.
The 18-year-old, who has captivated China since switching allegiance from the United States in 2019, saw one of her skis fall off as she came down in a tangle on her second run.
She briefly put her hands on her head, then scowled good-naturedly when her low score of 24.50 came through, followed by a shrug and a smile.
But it did not matter in the end, with 89.00 in her first run and 72.25 in her third and final effort enough to get her into Tuesday’s final in fifth place — and a chance of Games gold on her Olympic debut.
“Oh my god!” exclaimed a relieved Gu, after holding her nerve to nail her third run at the Big Air Shougang, where enormous industrial cooling towers provide a stunning backdrop. To cheers from the sparse crowd, she made a heart shape with her arms.
Megan Oldham of Canada topped the qualifying rankings.
— with AFP