ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
31°
Sunny
H 59° L 32°
  • cloudy-day
    31°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 59° L 32°
  • clear-day
    54°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 59° L 32°
  • clear-night
    48°
    Evening
    Clear. H 59° L 32°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Sports

    Wind, snow, ice or shine, the Winter Games had its share of golden moments that will forever be etched in Olympic lore. The American men's so-called Miracurl on Ice. Alina Zagitova. Ester Ledecka. Chloe Kim. The U.S. women's hockey team. There were also several not-so-spectacular performances in South Korea — and will be equally as memorable. Russian doping. Jocelyne Larocque. Shani Davis. The U.S. men's Alpine team. Here's a look at the oohs and ughs of the Pyeongchang Games: ___ OOHS: — U.S. MEN'S CURLING TEAM: The squad won the first gold in team history by topping Sweden 10-7, giving the Americans only their second curling medal — with the first coming in a bronze-medal game at the 2006 Turin Games. — ESTER LEDECKA: The star from the Czech Republic won a stunning gold in super-G in Alpine skiing and then added a snowboarding gold to become the first women to win gold in two sports in the same Winter Games . — ALINA ZAGITOVA: The 15-year-old skater became the first Russian gold medalist of the games , outpointing her countrywoman, friend and training partner, two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva. — CHLOE KIM: The 17-year-old from Torrance, California, was one of the Olympics' early darlings by dominating the women's halfpipe snowboarding final and soaring to a gold medal. — U.S WOMEN'S HOCKEY TEAM: They snapped a 20-year drought by beating four-time defending champion Canada for the gold. Women's hockey also benefited in general with a thrilling six-round shootout for gold — the first in the women's gold-medal game. — NORWAY: The country set a Winter Games record with 39 medals, helped by the five won by cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen — the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time with 15 medals, and fellow cross-country skier Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo, who is just 21 but won three gold medals in four events in his first Olympics. — MARCEL HIRSCHER: The Austrian came to South Korea having done just about everything there is to do in ski racing — including a record six consecutive overall World Cup titles — except win an Olympic gold medal. He went out and won two golds: in the Alpine combined and the giant slalom. — TESSA VIRTUE AND SCOTT MOIR: They became the most-decorated figure skaters in games history, taking gold in ice dance for the second time and helping Canada win the team event. They have five medals, including gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, silver at Sochi in ice dance and the team competition. — ELANA MEYERS TAYLOR: The American bobsledder's career was nearly derailed by a concussion, but she won silver in South Korea — despite a bad Achilles'. — MARTIN FOURCADE: The biathlete won three gold medals and, by lifting his career tally to five, became the most decorated Olympic champion in French history. — GUS KENWORTHY: The American freestyle skier failed to win a medal — he didn't even land a run in the slopestyle final. But Kenworthy had a watershed Olympic moment for the LGBTQ community when he shared a televised kiss with his boyfriend, Matt Wilkas, at the bottom of the hill. — MIKAELA SHIFFRIN: No, the American skier didn't win five medals. She didn't even enter five events after windy weather played havoc with the Alpine schedule. But she did win a gold in the giant slalom and a silver in the combined. — KOREA'S 'GARLIC GIRLS': The South Korean women's curling team , whose moniker reflects the locally farmed garlic grown in their hometown, were among the breakout stars of the games during their surprising run to a silver medal. ___ UGGHS: — RUSSIAN DOPING: The International Olympic Committee repeatedly said that Russian athletes had been 'rigorously tested,' implying they were unlikely to fail drug tests. But two of the four athletes who tested positive in Pyeongchang were Russian, including curler Alexander Krushelnitsky , who had to return his bronze medal. — JOCELYNE LAROCQUE: The Canadian hockey player summed up the frustration by her team at going home with something other than gold for the first time since the women's event debuted in 1998 by taking off her silver medal almost as soon as it was placed around her neck. She apologized a day later, but that's just how hockey is judged in the country that created the sport. — U.S. MEN'S ALPINE TEAM: Not only didn't they win a medal, they only had one top-10 finish — Ted Ligety's fifth in the combined. — RUSSIAN PAIRS/ICE DANCE DUOS: They had won at least one medal in every Olympics since dance was added to the Olympic docket in 1976. But they were shut out in Gangneung. — NATHAN CHEN: The two-time U.S. figure skating champion was among the pre-Olympic favorites, but ruined his chances for making the podium with a dismal short program. He rallied by hitting an unprecedented six quadruple jumps to win the free skate, but wound up fifth overall. — ICE HOCKEY: Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, was disappointed with the crowds at some playoff games, but also acknowledged that South Korea is not a hockey country and 'the pricing was also relatively high for people.' — SWEDEN MEN'S CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Always a force in these events, they failed to medal in cross-country. — SHANI DAVIS: The American speedskater finished seventh in the 1,000 meters and 19th in the 1,500 after declining to attend the opening ceremony after losing a coin toss to decide the U.S. flag bearer in a process he said was handled 'dishonorably.' — AMERICAN BIATHLETES: They have still never won a medal in the Olympics, and last year's world champion Lowell Bailey wasn't even close to the leaderboard. — CANADIAN CAR 'BORROWERS': Skicross competitor Dave Duncan apologized for 'poor judgment' for his role in taking a car after a night out at a bar and using it for a ride home to the Olympic athletes village. The group, which included his wife Maja and his coach William Raine, was stopped by police shortly after midnight Saturday near the village. — U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM: The Americans leave the games with 23 medals, their lowest haul in 20 years. ___ AP Sports Writers Graham Dunbar, Howard Fendrich, Jimmy Golen, Beth Harris, Eddie Pells, Steve Reed, Tim Reynolds, Teresa Walker, Stephen Whyno and Barry Wilner contributed. ___ More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
  • Ester Ledecka's brother, Jonas, designs comic books and dabbles in fashion on the side, putting together racing outfits for his little sister that transform the 22-year-old from the Czech Republic into something akin to a superhero. And his next project is practically writing itself: a based-on-a-true story about a snowboarder ... wait, a skier ... wait, a snowboarder AND a skier ... who made Olympic history with an Indian feather in her hair, a smile on her face and an unbridled fearlessness that took the dividing line between two disparate camps that long have been at odds and erased it completely. Ledecka arrived in South Korea a month ago as close to a star as a snowboarder who races instead of soars can get — which is to say, not much of one at all. She'll leave with two gold medals: the one in parallel giant slalom she's craved for years and the one that appeared out of nowhere at Jeongseon Alpine Centre on Feb. 17, when she stood motionless at the finish line of the super-G Alpine race waiting for what she thought was her actual time — not the one she saw flash across the videoboard that showed hers was best in the 44-woman field, ahead of Lindsey Vonn and all the rest — while trying to ignore the cameraman next to her telling her she'd won. Only he wasn't kidding. The victory transformed Ledecka in 81 seconds from a curiosity into something far more compelling. Only she doesn't consider herself the new paradigm of the Olympic ideal after pulling off the unlikeliest of gold medal doubles and becoming just the third athlete ever to win individual golds in different sports in the same Winter Games. And don't even get her started on whether she's now a role model for multisport athletes everywhere. 'I hope not,' she said. 'I'm too crazy.' Not exactly. Though gold wasn't always part of Ledecka's plan, wearing custom-made racing suits designed to make her look like a superhero in two very different disciplines in Pyeongchang was, a decision that put serious pressure on Ledecka's coaches to figure out a way to not sacrifice brilliance in one area for mere competitiveness in another. It wasn't easy on either side. Justin Reiter, who came on as Ledecka's snowboarding coach just before the World Cup season started, worried that every day she had skis on her feet instead of a board gave an advantage to the women gunning for her in the PGS. He confronted her about it on a chairlift at a resort in Colorado, asking Ledecka point-blank about her goals. If it was to win the PGS, where she was a two-time world champion, that's where she needed to put her focus. In retrospect, Reiter realized he wasn't pushing her agenda but rather his. The next day, on another emotional chairlift ride, he backtracked. 'For her past (snowboard) coaches, even for me, we were like, 'Ah, the skiing, the skiing,' because we know the potential she has in snowboarding,' said Reiter, a former PGS rider himself. 'But for me, it was very liberating to just say: 'It's your career. I'm just here to help.'' In the interim, Reiter — and the rest of the world — has learned it's unwise to put limits on Ledecka. 'We needed to stop being afraid of what could happen,' Reiter said. 'She's one of a kind.' Besides, Reiter ended up getting his way anyway. Consider this: Ledecka's busy World Cup snowboarding schedule meant she was on skis just seven days in January before the biggest race of her life. Seven days. And she won anyway. She celebrated by eating at KFC , hung out for a week, then dominated the PGS while shifting from what she calls 'Skier Ester' to 'Snowboarder Ester.' The reality is, she's both, and perhaps even more than that. While Ledecka is doing her best to downplay two weeks that changed the arc of her athletic career — she politely laughed during a 'This Is Your Life'-type presentation by the Czech Republic team on Sunday that highlighted, among other things, her love for chocolate and her guitar mastery of a pair of songs by The Beatles — Reiter would rather she embrace it. 'You see people say 'it's like two totally different sports,'' Reiter said. 'They like to throw that 'like' in there. 'They're like two totally different sports.' They ARE two different sports. Period.' Asked for a metaphor and Reiter seizes on one that helps explain the unexplainable. Ledecka's 2018 Olympics are the equivalent of winning a tennis tournament and a golf tournament in a span of a week. In Alpine, you're racing the clock, like the way a golfer navigates the course. In PGS, you're taking on an opponent 30 feet away. Both use a ball, but the similarities end there. 'It's two different mentalities,' Reiter said. One Ledecka bridges with remarkable ease, though old habits die hard. Asked if she now considers herself in the same class of skiers as Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, Ledecka shrugged, then used a term that betrayed her roots. 'I hope to be as good a rider as they are,' she said. It was an opening skiing coach Tomas Bank jumped on instantly. 'We don't say 'riding,' we say 'skiing,'' he said with a laugh. Ledecka has plenty of time to get the terminology down. Besides, it doesn't matter. If it's on snow and requires you to go fast with precision, the free spirit who buys a new Indian feather during annual visits to Colorado for training is probably good at it. Just not great. Not yet. 'We still have a lot of work in front of us,' she said. 'It's still not perfect. I want to win all the gold medals.' ___ More AP Olympics: https://wintergames.ap.org
  • It began with politics. It ends with ... politics. In between, humanity's most extraordinary feats of winter athletic prowess unfolded, revealing the expected triumphs but also stars most unlikely — from favorites like Mikaela Shiffrin, Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn to sudden surprise legends like Czech skier-snowboarder Ester Ledecka and the medal-grabbing 'Garlic Girls,' South Korea's hometown curling favorites. Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the 122-year-old modern Olympic storybook on Sunday night with countless tales to tell — tales of North Korea and Russia, of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve, of everything from an uncomfortable viral outbreak to an athlete's boozy joyride. And above it all: unforgettable experiences for meticulously trained athletes from around the world, all gathered on a mountainous plateau on the eastern Korean Peninsula to test for themselves — and demonstrate to the world — just how excellent they could be. 'We have been through a lot so that we could blaze a trail,' said Kim Eun-jung, skip of the South Korean women's curling team, which captured global renown as the 'Garlic Girls' — all from a garlic-producing Korean hometown. They made a good run for gold before finishing with runner-up silver. As the sun set on the games' final day, people began trickling into Olympic Stadium to encounter a far different atmosphere that showed one of the games' memorable arcs: the weather. Temperatures, so bitterly frigid at the outset that some spectators had to take cover from opening-ceremony winds, were nearly 20 degrees warmer (11 degrees Celsius) as the evening began. Other trailblazers: Chloe Kim, American snowboarder extraordinaire. The U.S. women's hockey team and men's curlers, both of which claimed gold. And the Russian hockey team, with its nail-biting, overtime victory against Germany. That these games would be circumscribed by politics was a given from the outset because of regional rivalries. North Korea, South Korea, Japan and China are neighbors with deep, sometimes twisted histories that get along uneasily with each other in this particular geographic cul-de-sac. But there was something more this time around. Hanging over the entire games was the saga — or opportunity, if you prefer — of a delicate diplomatic dance between the Koreas, North and South, riven by war and discord and an armed border for the better part of a century. The games started with a last-minute flurry of agreements to bring North Koreans to South Korea to compete under one combined Koreas banner. Perish the thought, some said, but Moon Jae-in's government stayed the course. By the opening ceremony, a march of North and South into the Olympic Stadium was watched by the world — and by dozens of North Korean cheerleaders applauding in calibrated synchronicity. Also watching was an equally extraordinary, if motley, crew. Deployed in a VIP box together were Moon, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's envoy sister, Kim Yo Jong. The latter two, at loggerheads over North Korea's nuclear program, didn't speak, and the world watched the awkwardness. What followed was a strong dose of athletic diplomacy: two weeks of global exposure for the Korean team, particularly the women's hockey squad, which trained for weeks with North and South side by side getting along, taking selfies and learning about each other. On Sunday night, the closing ceremony will bookend those politics with U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, in attendance as well as Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee and a man suspected of masterminding a lethal 2010 military attack on the South. Outside the stadium, North Korea was not welcomed as much. More than 200 anti-Pyongyang protesters, waving South Korean and U.S. flags, banging drums and holding signs like 'Killer Kim Yong Chol go to hell,' rallied in streets near the park. They denounced the South Korean government's decision to allow the visit. There were no major clashes. There's no reason to believe that the uneasy VIP-box scene inside the stadium will repeat itself. There's also no reason to believe it will not. But the outcome could provide a coda to an extraordinary two weeks of Olympic political optics — and offer hints of the Trump administration's approach in coming weeks as it tries to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and deals with the North-South thaw. That wasn't all when it came to these odd games. Let's not forget Russia — or, we should say, 'Olympic Athletes from Russia,' the shame-laced moniker they inherited after a doping brouhaha from the 2014 Sochi Games doomed them to a non-flag-carrying Pyeongchang Games. Two more Russian athletes tested positive in Pyeongchang in the past two weeks. So on Sunday morning, the IOC refused to reinstate the team in time for the closing but left the door open for near-term redemption from what one exasperated committee member called 'this entire Russia drama.' What's next for the games? Tokyo in Summer 2020, then Beijing — Summer host in 2008 — staging an encore, this time for a Winter Games. With the completion of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, that Olympic trinity marks one-third of a noteworthy Olympic run by Asia. For those keeping score at home: That means four of eight Olympic Games between 2008 and 2022 will have taken place on the Asian continent. Not bad for a region that hosted only four games in the 112 years of modern Olympic history before that — Tokyo in 1964, Sapporo in 1972, Seoul in 1988 and Nagano in 1998. Japan and China will, it's likely, be highly motivated to outdo South Korea (and each other). Meantime, the Olympians departing Monday leave behind a Korean Peninsula full of possibility for peace, or at least less hostility. The steps taken by North and South toward each other this month are formidable but fluid. People are cautiously optimistic: the governor of Gangwon, the border province where Pyeongchang is located, suggested Sunday that the 2021 Asian Games could be co-hosted by both Koreas. It might not happen. But it could. That could be said about pretty much anything at an Olympic Games, inside the rings and out. Corporate and political and regimented though it may be, that's what makes it still the best game in town for an athletic thrill every other year — and yes, sometimes a political one, too. ___ Ted Anthony has been the director of Asia-Pacific news for The Associated Press since 2014. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @anthonyted. AP writer Kim Tong-hyung contributed to this report.
  • The forecast for the next Winter Olympics: cold with a 100 percent chance of fake snow. In other words, a lot like the Olympics which wrap up Sunday in South Korea. Though freezing temperatures and windy conditions punctuated the action in Pyeongchang, between 90 and 98 percent of the snow at the ski and snowboard venues was man-made at these games. Climate data compiled since 1979 about winters in Beijing, where the games will take place four years from now, indicate the snow will be entirely man-made there. Intertrust Technologies analyzed weather in Beijing and found there wasn't a single winter that produced 'sufficient snow' — more than 13 feet — to set down the Alpine and snowboarding runs that will be used at the Olympics. On the other hand, the overall mean temperature of 12 degrees (minus-11 Celsius) in January and 20 degrees (minus-6 Celsius) in February makes it likely there will be ideal snowmaking conditions for the games. This has been an ongoing theme for the Olympics, and winter sports in general, as the effects of climate change directly impact the games and the athletes who play them. 'The Olympics are just another piece of the whole reflection of what's going on with winter,' said Seth Wescott, the two-time Olympic snowboardcross champion, who works with an athletes' group, Protect Our Winters . 'These are not places that are known for snow. All the years I went over and raced in South Korea, we were dealing with exactly what the athletes have been dealing with this (month).' Intertrust drew similar conclusions about the cities that could host Olympics in 2026 and beyond. Of the potential 2026 candidates, Calgary and Sapporo, Japan had the most consistent strings of temperatures of 26 degrees (minus-3 Celsius) or less, which is considered ideal to maintain man-made snow. Calgary was also the leader as the city with the most real snow and best conditions to maintain it. Only 13 of the last 39 Januarys in Utah, which appears to be a contender for the 2030 Games, have had optimal conditions for natural snow. A bigger question is whether that matters all that much. Course builders and the athletes themselves prefer man-made snow because it can be created at consistencies they need for halfpipes, slopestyle runs and Alpine courses they build in a given area. The Pyeongchang Organizing Committee spent $6 million to place snow cannons across the venues. In awarding the 2022 Games to Beijing, the IOC acknowledged that organizers would be hard-pressed to find natural snow and that there would be no opportunity to haul snow from higher elevations, the way they did in Vancouver for the 2010 Games. Beijing won the bid over Almaty, Kazakhstan, which used the slogan 'Keeping It Real' — in a nod to its snowy climate. In Pyeongchang, cold weather was welcome after two straight Winter Games, in Sochi and Vancouver, that didn't feel much like winter. Still, strong winds wreaked havoc with the Alpine schedule and also played a role in some shuffling at the Phoenix Snow Park, where the action sports took place. Chris Klug, the 2002 snowboarding bronze medalist, said over the years, he has noticed things other than warm winter temperatures that have indicated climate change. 'I've seen 'global weirding' like that in my lifetime,' Klug said. It plays into the fact that nine cities that hosted previous Winter Olympics would be considered 'higher risk' or 'not reliable' to host the games come the middle of this century. 'It's marginal snow conditions, all man-made, bizarre fluctuations and wind,' Wescott said. 'It's part of what we're facing on an ever-warming globe.' ___ More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
  • The Olympic anthem was merely background noise, the doping scandal the farthest thing from their minds. As the white flag with the five Olympic rings rose toward the rafters Sunday following the gold medal game in men's hockey, the champion Russians in their nondescript red-and-white uniforms joined their fans cloaked in red, white and blue and belted out the 'State Anthem of the Russian Federation,' drowning out the recorded song that was required as part of International Olympic Committee sanctions. This Olympic title meant so much more to the Russians, no matter that the tournament was missing NHL players and the 'Olympic Athletes from Russia' were all here only after months of scandal. Joyous players tossed coach Oleg Znarok in the air at center ice as fans let out the same 'ROSS-I-YA' chants that filled the arena in Sochi four years ago, where home ice meant nothing as the Russians lost in the quarterfinals. There was no such disappointment this time as the Russians triumphed in the tournament they were favored to win, capturing gold with a 4-3 overtime victory over Germany after Kirill Kaprizov's power-play goal capped a classic final and gave the nation a jubilant moment following weeks of disappointment. 'We understood the whole thing from the start so we were calm about it,' coach Oleg Znarok said. 'Russia is in our hearts.' The win came only a few hours after the IOC decided against allowing the Russians to march under their flag in the closing ceremony Sunday night after a curler and a bobsledder had positive drug tests during the games. It didn't seem to matter to the Russian players that they couldn't wear the Russian Coat of Arms on their chests or that they won their first hockey gold medal since 1992 under the same circumstances as 26 years ago: playing under a neutral flag with the NHL opting to stay home after participating in the past five Olympics. 'The medal is the same with or without the NHL,' said defenseman Slava Voynov, who scored the opening goal with 0.5 seconds left in the first period. 'Maybe the tournament was a little different, but the emotions and happiness are the same.' Russian President Vladimir Putin made a telephone call to Znarok after the victory, which gave the country its second gold and 17th overall medal of the Olympics. Even with Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Bobrovsky back in North America, this gold medal was particularly sweet because of the backdrop of sanctions and the Russians' almost three-decade drought. After International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel put the first Russian hockey medals of any color since 2002 around the necks of each player, Russian Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretiak — a three-time Olympic gold medalist and Soviet Hall of Fame goaltender — gave out handshakes and hugs. Winning this gold medal at his fifth Olympics meant more to 39-year-old captain Pavel Datsyuk than the two times he lifted the Stanley Cup. 'When you play for your country and I win this medal, this special time it's more important,' Datsyuk said. 'I have accomplished my dream. Now I have no dream.' The dream Russia couldn't reach with NHL stars finally happened with Kaprizov scoring the winner on the power play 9:40 into overtime as Patrick Reimer sat in the penalty box for a high-sticking infraction. A silver medal gave Germany its best finish at the Olympics after capturing bronze in 1932 and 1976. 'We all thought we would be sitting at home watching that final on the couch at home, but here we are,' Germany coach Marco Sturm said. 'The boys are going to bring silver home, and they should be very proud.' Beating Germany, which stunned eventual bronze-medalist Canada to reach the final , gave the Russians their first gold medal in hockey since 1992 in Albertville when they competed as the Community of Independent States. This one was expected all along. Stocked with former NHL players — Datsyuk, Voynov, Ilya Kovalchuk, Mikhail Grigorenko and Nikita Nesterov — the Russians were by far the most talented team in the tournament. U.S. coach Tony Granato said they may be as good as 20 of the 31 NHL teams. Oddsmakers made the Russians the favorite, and they showed it after an opening loss to Slovakia, getting better as the tournament went on, which was a complete reversal from Sochi. 'It means a lot,' said Kovalchuk, who was voted tournament MVP. 'This was my dream from when I was 5 years old when I started to play.' The skill primarily from the Kontinental Hockey League was on full display with the gold medal at stake — and the Russians needed it against disciplined, opportunistic Germany, which had all of its players from leagues in its homeland. Voynov, at the Olympics because he was banned from the NHL in 2015 for a domestic abuse conviction, scored what could've been a back-breaking goal with 0.5 seconds left in the first period, but Germany got a good bounce on a fluky tying goal by Felix Schultz midway through the second. That set the stage for a wild third period. Russia's Nikita Gusev scored when his shot bounced in off the helmet of Danny aus den Birken, but Dominik Kahun answered 10 seconds later. And when Jonas Muller slid the puck past Russian goaltender Vasily Koshechkin with 3:16 left and then Russia took a high-sticking penalty, it appeared like a major upset was on tap. Instead, with Koshechkin pulled for the extra attacker to make it 5-on-5, Gusev scored again to help send the game to overtime. A penalty on Reimer gave Russia a power play and Kaprizov scored one of the biggest goals in Russian hockey history. The Russians and Germany gave viewers something to remember to wrap up a tournament that was otherwise forgettable because of the lack of NHL stars and tepid interest in a nontraditional hockey country. As dejected German players stood waiting for their silver medals, Russian players skated a lap around the ice to wave at and thank the fans who came to support them at an Olympics where they seemed like outcasts. 'With the support of our fans and loved ones, a big thank you,' Datsyuk said. 'It is not an easy time for us and it means a lot to us.' ___ AP Sports Writers Teresa M. Walker and James Ellingworth contributed. ___ Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno ___ More AP Olympics: https://wintergames.ap.org
  • Tokyo used its famous 1964 Olympics to show off a miraculous recovery from defeat in World War II. Japan was back after just 19 years with high-speed trains, geeky gadgets, and dazzling efficiency. Tokyo's back again with the 2020 Summer Olympics, this time with something different to prove. This time the Japanese capital wants to remind the rest of the world that China and South Korea haven't left behind the first economic powerhouse in East Asia. They will use the games to showcase a clean, safe, and innovative city; an urban maze of nightlife, shopping, and dizzying subway lines that give texture to 'Cool Japan' and the country's place as a cultural touchstone. 'It's going to be a good opportunity to showcase Japanese culture, our technology, our products, our good level of service to give impetus to the Japanese economy,' Maki Kobayashi-Terada of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The Associated Press. 'It's exactly soft power ... to create economic impact,' Kobayashi-Terada added, a fancy term that means translating an engaging culture into political and economic power. Tokyo has billed itself as a 'safe pair of hands' for the Olympics, which is everything that Rio de Janeiro wasn't. The 2016 Games left behind scandals, millions in unpaid bills, and useless 'white elephant' venues. Tokyo also marks a watershed for the battered International Olympic Committee. After corruption dogged the games in Rio, and a doping scandal grew out of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Tokyo should be the first of three return-to-normal Summer Games in first-world metropolises. The IOC has already picked Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028. And Japan also has hosted two successful Winter Olympics in Nagano and Sapporo. 'I don't think the International Olympic Committee is going to go to a developing city any longer,' Olympic historian David Wallechinsky told The Associated Press. 'They don't want that anymore. They want cities that are ready.' The Pyeongchang Olympics were Wallechinsky's 18th, and he has researched every Olympics extensively including Tokyo. Those Olympics kicked off when Yoshinori Sakai — born in Hiroshima the day the city was hit by the 1945 atomic bomb — lit the Olympic cauldron. But exactly what's in it for Japan? Kobayashi-Terada said the Olympics will improve accessibility for the elderly and for people with disabilities, modernize infrastructure and drive tourism. She said Japan had 29 million foreign visitors last year, and hopes to have 40 million in 2020. Tourism is booming, particularly from Asia. The Olympics will also try to convince the world about the safety of Fukushima, where a nuclear reactor was damaged after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The prefecture north of Tokyo is a venue for baseball and softball. 'There are only some limited villages which are restricted for entry,' Kobayashi-Terada said. 'But there are so many other places which are already under recovery. We'd like to show that and thank the world.' But there also hints of scandal. A French-led investigation has been looking into $2 million paid by the Tokyo Olympic bid team — or representatives — to sports officials who have been linked to vote-buying in IOC bid elections. A Japanese investigation concluded the payments were not illegal. 'Our committee is different from the bidding committee,' Kobayashi-Terada said. 'We believe that we got Tokyo 2020 because our bid was the best one.' And there are domestic doubters. Japan is already a high-tax country that does not need the Olympics to spur building new bridges, trains and highways. Taxpayers have been critical of too much spending on questionable projects. 'Tokyo lacks a clear purpose for hosting the games other than city development, and that's why many people are still puzzled today,' said Yuji Ishizaka, an expert on the Olympics at Japan's Nara Women's University. Ishizaka said people are bothered by delays and scandals involving the redevelopment plans for Tokyo's world-famous Tsukiji fish market and the city's bay area, where several events will be held. And Ishizaka fears the Olympics 'may be used to declare the end to disaster reconstruction' in the Fukushima area, suggesting things are back to normal. 'The 2020 Games should be a big festival, but we can't expect much growth and many people, even residents of Tokyo, will hardly notice the changes that Tokyo has gone through,' Ishizaka said. The IOC and local organizers say they're cutting costs. John Coates, the IOC member overseeing Tokyo's plans, said recently that Tokyo had cut $1.4 billion from the price tag. Some venues have been moved to other areas, and existing venues will be used instead of building new ones. Coates lauded Tokyo's transparency and mentioned Rio. 'In Rio we didn't know who was paying what — if at all,' he said. Tokyo organizers say the games will cost about 1.35 trillion yen ($12.5 billion). However, last month Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the city would spend an added 810 billion yen ($7.5 billion) on 'projects directly and indirectly related to the games.' The IOC and organizers argue those expenditures fall 'outside the overall games budget.' This is a debate that rages at every games: Exactly what are, and what aren't, Olympic expenses? Koike said the new costs included building barrier-free facilities for Paralympic athletes, training programs for volunteers, and advertising and tourism plans. That puts the total cost at about $20 billion, 70 percent of which is public money. This figure includes the privately run local organizing committee's budget of 600 billion yen ($5.5 billion). About $2.91 billion of that is coming from national marketing program that has landed 47 sponsors. 'And there will be more to come,' Coates said. ___ AP correspondent Mari Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo. More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
  • The Golden State Warriors played stifling defense for a full game. They went on a jaw-dropping scoring frenzy midway through the third quarter. Yes, the dominant defending champions are back and ready to build some consistency. Kevin Durant scored 28 points while avenging an embarrassing home loss to his former Oklahoma City team earlier this month and another on the road in November, leading the Warriors past the Thunder 112-80 on Saturday night. 'We're champions. We're 46-14 and we've got one of the best road records in the league,' Durant said. 'We've been doing this the last two years. We've got to be us.' Stephen Curry added 21 points with five 3-pointers, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals as Golden State produced the kind of defensive performance coach Steve Kerr has been seeking. Russell Westbrook had 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Oklahoma City, which failed to reach 100 points for the first time in the last five games. The Thunder had scored at least 100 in 14 of their last 16, but this matched their season-low total. Durant's pretty layup off a perfect pass by Curry with 3:06 left in the third put the Warriors up 75-66. That was part of a 37-11 Golden State run that included 30 points over the final 8:48 of the third — when Zaza Pachulia subbed in to relieve JaVale McGee. The Warriors held Paul George to five points. George's 3-pointer at the 7:52 mark of the third with Durant's hand in his face was his first basket after going 0 for 9 to begin the game. He finished 1 for 14 after going off for 38 points in the last meeting when Oklahoma City left Oracle Arena with a 125-105 rout on Feb. 6. 'He's played at such a high level offensively for such a long time, a night like tonight's going to happen,' coach Billy Donovan said. Golden State also lost at OKC by 17 on Nov. 22. Draymond Green added 10 points, eight assists and five rebounds. He picked up his 15th technical of the season with 1:04 left in the first half, moving him within one of an automatic suspension. That came after Durant and Carmelo Anthony pushed, shoved, yelled from close range and had to be separated, receiving double technicals. It was a testy rematch after the Warriors received five technical fouls in the previous meeting. Kerr isn't concerned about Green. 'I'm an emotional guy. I play with high emotion,' Green said. 'I love this game of basketball. I play it with passion. I'll continue to play with passion.' Durant announced his decision to join the Warriors and leave OKC on July 4, 2016, making him an instant villain in his former city. He scored 33 in the Feb. 6 meeting but got plenty of help this time. Earlier this month against the Thunder, Curry and Klay Thompson were a combined 11 of 27 from the floor and 4 for 15 on 3-pointers as the Warriors lost for the third time in four games. Thompson had 11 points Saturday, shooting just 1 for 11 from deep. TIP-INS Thunder: OKC shot 9 of 34 on 3s. ... The last time the Thunder won three of the four games against the Warriors in a single season was during 2012-13. The teams play again April 3 at OKC. Warriors: McGee made his second straight start at center in place of Pachulia and had an alley-oop dunk on Golden State's first possession off a pass by Thompson. ... Thompson passed Neil Johnston (10,023) for ninth place on the franchise's career scoring list. ... With one block, Green passed Chris Mullin (488) for eighth place on the Warriors' blocked shots list. ... Former Warriors F David Lee attended the game as a retired player and fan, receiving a rousing ovation when announced during the first quarter sitting courtside by owner Joe Lacob. ARIZONA SCANDAL Kerr expressed his 'disappointment' in the scandal and coach Sean Miller's situation at Arizona, where he played. 'It's my school,' Kerr said, 'I love my school. I don't really know what else to say.' DURANT'S HONOR Durant received the January NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his giving off the court to help kids, families and other charitable causes for education and communities. He donated $3 million last month to the University of Texas where he played and matched Colin Kaepernick's $10,000 in the quarterback's '10 for 10' campaign, Durant's contributions helping a local organization doing community-based justice work. 'I've got to continue to leave my mark off the basketball court as well,' Durant said. 'Look forward to doing that.' UP NEXT Thunder: Host Orlando on Monday. Warriors: Visit Knicks on Monday looking for an eighth straight win in the series. ___ More AP NBA: apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
  • A North Korean delegation led by a controversial former general arrived in South Korea to attend Sunday's closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and hold meetings with top South Korean officials. Ivanka Trump, the U.S. president's daughter and adviser, will also attend the ceremony. The North's delegation is headed by Kim Yong Chol, whom Seoul has accused of being behind two attacks on the South that killed 50 people in 2010. Kim was head of the North's military intelligence when the attacks took place and is currently a vice chairman of the ruling party's central committee tasked with inter-Korea relations. With decades of experience, he is one of the most powerful people in the North's ruling regime. Seoul decided to temporarily take him off of a blacklist to allow the visit. South Korea is hoping to ease tensions by allowing the North to participate in the games and send senior delegations. Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, attended the opening ceremony in an historic first — no member of the ruling Kim family had ever traveled to the South before. She invited President Moon Jae-in to a summit with her brother in Pyongyang. The delegation to the closing ceremony was expected to follow up on that invitation while in South Korea. The delegation's arrival was met by protesters calling for Kim's arrest for his alleged role in the 2010 attacks — the sinking of the warship Cheonan that killed 46 South Korean sailors and an artillery strike on a South Korean island that killed four people. Outside Olympic Stadium, just before the ceremony, more than 200 anti-Pyongyang protesters waved South Korean and U.S. flags, banged drums and held signs saying 'Killer Kim Yong Chol go to hell.' They denounced the South Korean government's decision to allow the visit. 'How can a murderer who killed 46 sailors on the Cheonan warship can be invited, protected and defended? This is the state of what the Republic of Korea has become,' one protester shouted into a mic, referring to South Korea's formal name The protesters also hung a sign that read: 'We are against Pyongyang Olympics: fallen into the propaganda of the terrorist Kim Jong Un's brutal regime.' There were no major clashes. Details of the delegation's itinerary were not immediately available. It was also not clear where the delegation would sit during the ceremony — a significant issue given the events of two weeks ago at the opening. There, Kim Yo Jong sat in the same VIP box with Moon and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, creating some awkward moments. Though Pence stood to cheer the entrance of the U.S. team, he remained seated when the athletes from North and South Korea marched together behind a 'unification' flag, leaving Moon to instinctively turn around and shake Kim's sister's hand. Pence's office claimed afterward that the North had pulled out of a planned meeting at the last minute. South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the eight-member group now in the South includes the deputy director of the North America desk at the North's Foreign Ministry, while the U.S. delegation also has members who are well-versed in North Korea issues — sparking speculation that some kind of meeting might again be in the works. But officials have suggested they have no such plans. The North's state-run news agency ran a story Sunday quoting a 'spokesman for the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee' as saying that Pence insulted Kim's sister with his hard-line rhetoric after returning to the U.S. and 'we will never have face-to-face talks with them even after 100 years or 200 years.' ___ Eric Talmadge, Pyongyang bureau chief for The Associated Press, is on assignment at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @erictalmadge.
  • Shut out in Sochi, the German bobsled program swept every other nation away in Pyeongchang. Francesco Friedrich drove to the four-man bobsledding gold medal Sunday, capping an absolutely dominant showing by the Germans on the sliding track at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Friedrich and his team of Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis left no doubt, finishing their four runs in 3 minutes, 15.85 seconds to win by more than a half-second. The Korean sled driven by Won Yunjong and the German sled driven by Nico Walther shared the silver, the second sliding medal tie in these games after they finished in 3:16.38. The Germans came to Pyeongchang set to prove that what happened in Sochi was merely an aberration, and delivered. The Sochi Games were the first in 50 years where Germany didn't win a single medal in bobsledding, and what they did in Pyeongchang more than made up for that series of disappointments from 2014. 'It was so frustrating in Sochi,' Friedrich said. 'Winning a medal was our big target and making sure we didn't make the same mistakes. We did it.' Codie Bascue and his team of Evan Weinstock, Steve Langton and Sam McGuffie led the U.S. with a ninth-place finish. Friedrich has a 21-race winless drought in four-man World Cup starts, but when the stakes are highest he seems to find a way. He has five gold medals from two- and four-man races at the world championships, drove to the world four-man title last season, and added this Olympic gold to the one in two-man that he shared with Canada's Justin Kripps. 'Once you get ahead, it's easier to stay ahead,' said U.S. pilot Justin Olsen, who finished 20th. 'Look at what Friedrich did. He got the lead in the first heat and he kept on going. This is not like the speedskating mass start where you get a lap ahead and get chased down. You get a lap ahead here, you stay a lap ahead.' Friedrich becomes the fifth German pilot to sweep two-man and four-man golds in the same Olympics, joining Andreas Ostler in 1952, Meinhard Nehmer in 1976, Wolfgang Hoppe in 1984 and Andre Lange in 2006. And push athlete Kevin Kuske, who was in his last race, won his sixth medal in five Olympic appearances. He's now the fourth bobsledder with six Olympic medals, after helping Walther win silver. 'He has four Olympic gold medals and he decided after the disappointment of Sochi that he would do four more years,' Walther said. 'We wanted to win a medal for him.' Olympic medals are the norm for the Germans. That's not the case for the Koreans — who went wild when Won delivered his nation its first bobsled medal. 'I couldn't believe it,' Won said. 'It was only in my imagination. I was so happy with the results. We did a lot of preparations and tests over the season, and the preparation was very thorough. That led to good results in the end.' Won and Walther celebrated with each other afterward as well. 'Normally I don't like to share anything but the Koreans were too good,' Walther said. 'They did four great runs and it's nice to share. They are so strong. It's really OK to share this time.' In Pyeongchang, not only did Germany win gold in all three bobsled events — matching its feat from Turin 2006 — but also became the first country to win six sliding gold medals at a single Olympics. The rest of the bobsled, skeleton and luge world won four golds in Pyeongchang combined; Canada, Austria, South Korea and Britain all got one. The overall medal standings in sliding were just as big of a runaway. Germany won 11 medals at the Alpensia Sliding Center; Canada won the second-most, with four. 'I am so proud of the whole German team,' Friedrich said. ___ More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
  • The U.S. president's daughter and adviser said Sunday that her visit to the Olympics was 'so incredibly inspiring' and expressed gratitude at the chance to watch competition and — in a subtle nod to Korean Peninsula politics — 'be here with our allies in South Korea.' Ivanka Trump plans to attend the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pyongchang Games on Sunday night after two days of visiting venues and meeting American and other athletes. Her presence there could bring her in contact with a visiting delegation from North Korea, the country in a monthslong war of words with U.S. President Donald Trump's administration. 'I'm so excited to be here. It's just so incredibly inspiring,' Trump said. 'It's been an amazing couple of days, and such an honor and privilege to be here with our allies in South Korea and celebrate all that we've accomplished as a culture, a society economically and, of course, in sport.' Trump spent part of Sunday morning watching the U.S. team compete in the bobsled competition and meeting with athletes, including Team USA bobsled silver medalist Lauren Gibbs — who offered Trump a taste of Olympic glory by letting the first daughter try on her hardware. 'I feel like this almost is like trying on someone's wedding band,' Trump said. 'Am I allowed?' Gibbs placed the medal around Trump's neck. She raised the medal with one hand and draped her other around Gibbs' while posing for a photo, saying, 'That is so cool!' Trump also met with the family of bobsledder Nathan Weber, who competed Sunday, and chatted briefly and took pictures with U.S. lugers Taylor Morris and Matt Mortensen, telling them their sport was 'wild.' She gave the three athletes presidential challenge coins and thanked Morris and Mortensen, both sergeants in the U.S. Army, for their service. Among Trump's other weekend sports sojourns: watching speedskating and Big Air competitions, and seeing the Americans take gold in curling on Saturday night. She pronounced her experiences 'incredibly exciting.' Trump has said she's here to support U.S. Olympic athletes, but politics is an unavoidable ingredient for an adviser and daughter of a president. In Seoul on Friday night with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump said she would use her visit to push for joint efforts by the U.S. and South Korea to apply maximum pressure on North Korea, Moon's spokesman said. And, of course, there is the closing ceremony and its potential attendees. For now, there are no signs that Trump would have contact with or meet Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, who is to attend the ceremony. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence attended the games' opening ceremony two weeks ago and sat in the same VIP box as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister and the country's nominal head of state. They did not interact; the countries have no diplomatic relations. However, Pence's office said later that a potential meeting between the two sides was scratched at the last minute by the North Koreans after Pence condemned human rights violations and new economic sanctions were announced. ___ Errin Haines Whack is a national writer for The Associated Press. Follow her on Twitter at @emarvelous.