- Updates from the first day in Pyeongchang
- Full schedule | Latest medal table
- And feel free to tweet Ben or get in touch on email
The judges are, once again, huddled around the TV screens as another photo finish takes centre stage in the short-track 1,500m men’s semi-finals. It has been something of a VAR epidemic in Pyeongchang. Canada’s Charles Hamelin – eventually – advances.
More drama in the short track, with the judges are taking a long, hard look at a three-way crash between Gilmartin, Malagich and Jaszapati. They end up in a heap while Gilmartin looks to have injured her hip. Choi Min-jeong eases to victory, and she sails through to the quarter-finals. Gilmartin is disqualified as a result of that inquest. Am not too sure whether the Briton was actually the instigator but sticks and stones and all that.
Meanwhile, Choi has also broken the Olympic record set by Christie about 15 minutes ago after registering a 42.870secs time.
Phew! An almost horrific clash between Canada’s Jamie MacDonald and France’s Tifany Marchand out on the track. MacDonald loses her footing, and as she slides towards the barriers and hoardings, she misses the advancing Marchand by a whisker. Both are fortunate to come away totally unscathed, although MacDonald picks up a penalty. Great Britain’s Charlotte Gilmartin is out on the ice now …
Elise Christie wins her heat, and she’s safely through to Tuesday’s quarter-finals. She laid the gauntlet down with a rasping start, and Christie is all smiles out there on the ice. Her time? A lightning 42.89secs, an Olympic record. Cue the cheerleading …
The Gangneung Ice Arena is the venue for the short-track speed skating heats. Mike Pence and Moon Jae-in are among those in the crowd there. Elise Christie will be hoping to make her mark in the 500m heats, with the quarter-finals taking place on Tuesday. Kathryn Thompson is on the deck early on in her heat, after a clash with Hungary’s Keszler. They restart but Thompson doesn’t make it through, at the expense of Italy’s Fontana and Keszler. But it’s the North Korean cheerleaders who are making the biggest impression …
Keep up to speed with all the goings on at Pyeongchang over the next couple of weeks:
The short-track speed skating is a big hit with the locals and beyond:
And here the 150 or so North Korean cheerleaders wave unified flags and cheer on a South Korean skater pic.twitter.com/wzIE61kZgW
Felix Loch, the two-time Olympic champion, makes a great start in Pyeongchang. On his first run, the 28-year-old races into the lead ahead of countryman Johannes Ludwig, setting a 47.674secs. He is searching for his and Germany’s third men’s luge gold from as many Games. “It would be cool,” Loch said in the buildup to kick-off in South Korea this week.
In the opening heat of the 1,500m short-track speed skating, Farrell Treacy crashes into the barrier and promptly falls out of contention. Victory goes to Hungary’s Liu Shaolin Sandor, the boyfriend of Elise Christie. Gerard and Elistratov also through. But now, time for the men’s luge …
This makes sensible reading on day one of all days:
To the Gangneung Curling Centre then, where Canada are doing battle with Switzerland. The former leads 6-2, with end 6 in play.
Sweden win 2-1 against Japan, but there is a sense of relief around them, as they mob goaltender Sara Grahn for ultimately keeping them in it. Sweden will have to play a lot better than that if they have their eyes on a podium finish in Pyeongchang …
Less than a minute to play in this third period at Kwadong. Elsewhere, Elise Christie, Charlotte Gilmartin, Kathryn Thompson and the aforementioned Farrell Treacy are in action shortly in the speed skating. “Ready to spend the next two weeks glued to my TV,” emails Mollie Perella. “Buzzing for the speed skating soon.”
Things are slowly hotting up on day one at a baltic Pyeongchang. Re-live last night’s stunning opening ceremony:
In a few hours time, a unified Korea team will take on Switzerland, who finished third in Russia in 2014. Meanwhile, at Kwadong, Kubo goes close again for Japan, with Sara Grahn momentarily caught cold.
Since Sweden have taken the lead, they have become a little spiky. They have picked up their second two-minute penalty in virtually as many minutes. A thumping shoulder barge brings a shake of the head from the Sweden coach, Leif Boork.
Johanna Fallman surrenders a silly penalty, after going in too aggressive on Kubo. She had worked so hard to get back out there, after limping towards the locker rooms after the first period in heaps of pain. Japan will seek to take advantage, with approaching 10 minutes left in this one.
And Sweden re-take the lead … as Sara Hjalmarsson ripples the net! A great team move by Sweden, kickstarted by Grahm, gives them the lead and a little bit of breathing space. Sweden are in the groove now but can Japan pull level once more?
Japan and Sweden are back out on the ice in the opening hockey game of this tournament. It’s been a cracking start too. They’re currently level-pegging, but who will take victory in this third period?
A reminder that Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla took home the first of 102 gold medals in Pyeonchang earlier on this morning. “I was so happy to cross the line but there was also also relief,” she said, after winning cross-country skiing gold. “But most of all pure joy.”
Less than an hour until British champion Farrell Treacy will take to the ice in the first heat of the short-track speed skating. The 22-year-old trains full-time in Nottingham, and his younger brothers, Ethan and Niall, are avid skaters too these days. Lovely stuff.
Sara Grahn, the Sweden goaltender, has been kept very busy, and at least the interval between the second and third periods will bring a little respite. Kubo almost rounded off another slick Japan move. It’s 1-1 at the end of this second period, in the women’s preliminary round match.
Japan score! … It’s 1-1 at Kwandong. Sweden make a total mess of it, and Nikita nips in to slot home. A lovely straight-off-the-training-ground style routine celebration too.
Japan are still plugging away against Sweden at Kwandong but they just cannot find a way through. There is certainly no shortage in intensity out on the ice, Japan’s Ono looks absolutely shattered. Sweden’s women were beaten to a bronze medal by Switzerland four years ago. There is five minutes left in this second of three halves.
A reminder that in snowboarding, three of Great Britain’s hopes failed to qualify for Sunday’s slopestyle final this morning. Billy Morgan, Jamie Nicholls and Rowan Coultas, who was making his Games bow, needed to finish in the top six in their respective heats but all three came up short.
Nicholls admitted he wanted to deliver for cousin Katie Ormerod, who was ruled out of her Olympic debut after two training injuries. “I wanted to do this for Katie. She text me after my first run to say ‘good work, keep it up.’”
One gold down, 101 to go in Pyeongchang. When’s the next gold today?
Japan and Sweden are back out on the ice at the Kwandong Hockey Centre for the second period of this match-up. Japan have made a lightning start, and Sweden are forced to make another block-shot. Sweden still lead 1-0. Kubo pulled the trigger on her forehand but it’s a smart stop.
The average temperature in Pyeonchang during February is -11. Crikey. Not that Pita Taufatofua was fussed at the opening ceremony on Friday:
Andrew Musgrave, the 27-year-old British cross-country skiier from Poole, speaks. “I was still a junior, not that experienced in Vancouver,” he says. “At Sochi I did underperform a little but I’ve got a lot more experience now going into these games.” He seems pretty good company.
“I was fourth at the world championships last year and I feel this year is actually realistic for me to be fighting for a medal in the 15km and the 30km.” Let’s see … that gets under way from 6.15am tomorrow morning.
Now for a spot of ice hockey: lovely. Sweden lead Japan 1-0 in the women’s opener, courtesy of a strike from Fanny Rask. They’re heading back into the locker rooms, after a good, competitive first period. The second will be upon us shortly.
The first gold medal of the games has been dished out. Charlotte Kalla of Sweden takes the top prize in the ladies’ cross-country skiing 7.5km + 7.5km skiathlon. She is, unsurprisingly, all smiles. Marit Bjoergen takes second to become the most decorated female Winter Olympian of all time. Elsewhere, Great Britain’s Annika Taylor finished 60th.
That’s all from me, folks, Ben Fisher will take you through the next few hours. The earlier hours of today have been as much about diplomacy as sport, with more progress made on talks between South and North Korea. Later, South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, will attend the combined Korea women’s ice hockey match together on Saturday night. The two men will cheer the team made up of players from both countries, the first ever unified team.
There was much discussion below about whether the early start times in Pyeongchang were harming some athletes’ chances for the sake of prime time television viewing on the US east coast.
British trio tumble out of snowboard slopestyle competition. From Press Association:
Great Britain’s snowboarders suffered further bad luck on day one of the Winter Olympics as Jamie Nicholls and Billy Morgan failed to qualify for the slopestyle final.
Nicholls, Britain’s first competitor of the 23rd Games, finished eighth in heat one and Morgan 10th in heat two after a fall apiece, while Rowan Coultas placed 18th in heat two after falling on both his runs at his first Olympics.
Things are not going so brilliantly for team Australia right now.
Things are hotting up (probably not the right term in the Winter Olympics, but never mind) in the women’s skiathlon.
Marit Bjoergen leads the women’s Skiathlon final nearing the halfway mark. #CrossCountrySkiing
Reader Andrew Benton has emailed from Beijing, asking if any medals will be awarded today or tomorrow. Yes. There are finals in skiing and skating to come later and much more tomorrow. See below for the full details of what is coming up.
Related: Winter Olympics 2018 – full schedule
Snowboard results, from Associated Press.
Men’s slopestyle qualification heat 1 – two runs
Benjamin Haas reports that South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, will attend the combined Korea women’s ice hockey match together on Saturday night. The two men will cheer the team made up of players from both countries, the first ever unified team.
Associated Press has the latest on the Korean cross-border diplomacy situation.
South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a summit meeting in the North.
Moon’s spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said on Saturday Kim’s sister verbally delivered his offer in a lunch meeting with Moon at Seoul’s presidential palace.
Sean Ingle has a cracking report on how last night’s opening ceremony may have been cyber-attacked.
Further to the story below about early starts due to TV schedules possibly affecting some athletes’ performance, Reuters reports:
The governing body said many factors had been taken into consideration in setting the times, with the final decision made by the IOC executive board based on proposals from the local organising committee and consultations with the international sport federations.
“The core consideration is ensuring that athletes can compete at their very best,” the IOC media relations team said in a statement.
Britain’s Jamie Nicholls performed admirably in the slopestyle, but didn’t make the final.
Canada is doing well in the slopestyle.
10FEB Snowboard Men’s Slopestyle Qualification Heat2
2/10 스노보드 남자 슬로프스타일 예선 2조
1. PARROT Max / CAN
2. McMORRIS Mark / CAN
3. GERARD Redmond / USA
4. SANDBECH Staale / NOR
5. NICHOLSON Tyler / CAN
6. SMITS Seppe / BEL#PyeongChang2018 pic.twitter.com/j8B42xN1wS
Seeing as I’m originally from Ireland, I had a look to see who is on the Irish team in Pyeongchang. There are five athletes there, four men and one woman. Much like the Irish football team has long included players born in other countries with Irish parents or grandparents, so does Ireland’s Winter Olympics team.
Snowboarder Seamus O’Connor was born in California, but qualifies through his Irish grandparents.
High speed thrills and bumps in Pyeongchang.
Airborne at 114 km/hr?
The Associated Press has an interesting piece on some start times in Pyeongchang being tailored to US TV audiences.
Early start times for figure skating at the Pyeongchang Olympics are good for US audiences who get to watch in primetime, but not always so great for the athletes.
Competition begins at 10am each day, and that means 5am wake-up calls. That’s because of the 14-hour time difference with the US east coast.
Benjamin has also written about how the US vice-president, Mike Pence snubbed North Korean officials by skipping an Olympics dinner.
As you will have gathered – probably a long time ago – sport and politics are rarely far removed from each other. More so right now in Korea than anywhere else.
Our man Benjamin Haas has written about how Kim Jong-un’s sister Yo-jong met South Korean president Moon Jae-in in Seoul as the thaw between the states continues, with the highest level contact between the two sides in more than a decade.
In case you missed the opening ceremony, don’t worry, we’ve got it covered.
A couple of old buds are getting into the spirit of things in Korea.
Reuters reports that seeing North and South Koreans marching together under a unified flag gave International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach goosebumps.
“It was a very emotional moment to get finally there after many years of hard work and many negotiations still taking place here,” the German said the morning after the opening ceremony at Pyeongchang.
Never let it be said that Winter Olympians lack a sense of humour.
Good, afternoon, morning or evening, depending on where you are in the world, and thanks for choosing the Guardian as your blogging guide for the Winter Olympics in Korea.
My name is Pádraig Collins, and I’ll be here for the next three hours or so. My earliest, and only, direct experience of Winter Olympics-type sport was watching my aunt Harriet skiing at Kilternan in Dublin. An artificial slope, by the way, as it really doesn’t snow all that often in Dublin. She still skis now (in her mid-70s) and works with disabled skiers.
Pádraig will be here shortly. In the meantime, have a look at Sean Ingle’s report on the opening ceremony.
Link : Winter Olympics 2018 day one: speed skating, luge and more – live!