China equals best record in Olympic golds, French pair crowned in ice dance
  ·  2022-02-15  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency


Xu Mengtao of China celebrates after winning the gold medal in the freestyle skiing women's aerials final of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei Province on February 14 (XINHUA) 

China has tied its best record number of Olympic gold medals after veteran Xu Mengtao won its fifth gold at Beijing 2022 in the women's aerials freestyle skiing, while French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron emerged winners in figure skating ice dance on February 14. 

With five gold, three silver and two bronze medals after Day 10 action, China sits seventh on the medal standings. Ten medals are just one short of China's best performance in medal haul, set at Turin 2006 and Vancouver 2010.

Competing in her fourth Olympics, Xu registered a match-best 108.61 points among six skiers in the final 2 for the host's fifth gold medal at the Games.


Xu Mengtao of China competes in the freestyle skiing women's aerials final of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei Province on February 14 (XINHUA) 

This is the first Olympic gold from the women's aerials for China. After Han Xiaopeng was crowned in the men's aerials at Turin 2006, China has been waiting for 16 years to win its second Olympic gold from the discipline.

"I'm just super excited," said an elated Xu. "This is the first gold medal by China in women's aerials and it's just super cool."

The 31-year-old was followed by Hanna Huskova from Belarus in 107.95 points. Megan Nick from the United States was third in 93.76 points. Another Chinese skier Kong Fanyu ranked sixth.

With the gold, four-time world champions Papadakis and Cizeron made up for the regret four years ago in PyeongChang.

The 2018 Olympic silver medalists demonstrated their dominance over the discipline with another new highest score, 136.15 points in the free dance, bringing their overall score to 226.98 for the championship.

Papadakis and Cizeron set their personal best and world-record score with 90.83 points in rhythm dance February 12. 

"We have been waiting for this," said Papadakis. "We built upon the last Olympics. For years this was the only medal that we wanted, and the past four years were just about that moment."


Gabriella Papadakis (L) and Guillaume Cizeron of France perform their free dance of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 14 (XINHUA) 

Current world champions Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov from the Russian Olympic Committee settled for the silver with a 131.66-point free dance and 220.51 points overall.

American pair Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue took the bronze with a season-best free dance of 130.89 and 218.02 overall.

Wang Shiyue and Liu Xinyu ranked 12th to set a new best result for Chinese ice dancers at a Winter Olympics. China's previous best result in ice dancing had stood for 30 years when Han Bing and Yang Hui finished 18th at Albertville 1992.

Kaillie Humphries of the United States won the inaugural women's monobob gold, breaking Germany's stranglehold on the sliding sports. Prior to her gold, German racers had triumphed in all of the previous six events in Yanqing, four in luge and two in the skeleton.

Humphries clocked a winning time of four minutes and 19.27 seconds over four runs to take the gold, followed by another American slider Elana Meyers Taylor, and Christine de Bruin from Canada.

Austria beat Slovenia to take the ski jumping men's team gold with 942.7 points. Slovenia took the silver with 934.4 points, and the bronze went to PyeongChang silver medalist Germany with 922.9 points.


Gold medalists of Austria celebrate after ski jumping men's team at the National Ski Jumping Centre in Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei Province on February 14 (XINHUA) 

Having claimed a historic gold in the women's freeski big air, China's Gu Ailing qualified for slopestyle finals on February 15 with a score of 79.38 points, placing third among 12 qualifiers. 

After two runs which easily secured her a final spot, Gu took a Chinese pie out and started to enjoy it at the waiting area. "It's delicious! Highly recommended!" she said.


Gu Ailing enjoys a Chinese pie during women's freeski slopestyle qualification of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei Province on February 14 (XINHUA)  

Another Chinese prodigy, Su Yiming, also qualified for the snowboard men's big air finals on February 15 with a score of 155.25 points.

With 92.50 and 62.75 points from his first and second runs, Su placed fifth among 12 qualifiers. The finals on February 15 will be the last competition for the 17-year-old's first Olympic journey. 


Su Yiming of China competes in the men's snowboard big air qualification of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at Big Air Shougang in Beijing on February 14 (XINHUA) 

Norway leads the medal tally with nine gold, five silver and seven bronze, followed by Germany and the United States.

Nine gold medals are up for grabs on February 15.

The Ad Hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has declined to impose a provisional suspension on figure skater Kamila Valieva, a member of the title-winning Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team.

Valieva had been provisionally banned on February 8 when a sample taken in December last year returned a positive result for the banned substance trimetazidine.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) said that there will be neither flower nor medal ceremony if Valieva finishes in the top three in the women's single skating which starts on February 15.

There will also be no medal ceremony for the team event at Beijing 2022, where the 15-year-old skater helped the ROC win the gold last week.

Medal ceremonies will be organized once the case of Valieva has been concluded, said the IOC.

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