Day 13 of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

By Aditi Sangal, Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Ben Morse, Matias Grez, Jack Bantock and Patrick Sung, CNN

Updated 9:18 PM ET, Thu February 17, 2022
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2:56 a.m. ET, February 17, 2022

ICYMI: Ukrainian and Russian athletes hug after winning medals

From CNN's Ben Morse

Russian freestyle skier Ilia Burov hugs Ukraine's Oleksandr Abramenko as they celebrate medaling in the aerials final on Wednesday.
Russian freestyle skier Ilia Burov hugs Ukraine's Oleksandr Abramenko as they celebrate medaling in the aerials final on Wednesday. (Gregory Bull/AP)

Athletes from Ukraine and Russia embraced with a hug after winning medals in the men’s aerial skiing on Wednesday.

Oleksandr Abramenko of Ukraine won silver, his nation's first medal at Beijing 2022, finishing behind China's Qi Guangpu.

Abramenko, gold medalist in the event at Pyeongchang 2018, was embraced by Ilia Burov — who is competing under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) banner — after the Russian skier won bronze.

At the medal ceremony, Abramenko and Qi both held their nations' flags aloft while Burov pointed to the ROC logo on his sleeve. The ROC team is a loophole that allows Russian athletes to compete in the Olympics while their country is banned from the Games because of its doping scandal.

The athletes' hug comes against the backdrop of rising tensions between the two countries.

Russian forces massed along Ukraine's borders have increased by approximately 7,000 troops in recent days, the United States alleged Wednesday, despite claims from Moscow it was pulling back.

Before the Winter Games, Ukraine's sports minister said its athletes should stay away from their Russian rivals in Beijing, and that Ukrainian athletes have been briefed on how to behave in case of "provocations."

2:42 a.m. ET, February 17, 2022

Mikaela Shiffrin: "I don't know if anybody has failed that hard with so many opportunities"

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin reacts after falling in the slalom portion of the combined event on Thursday.
American skier Mikaela Shiffrin reacts after falling in the slalom portion of the combined event on Thursday. (Luca Bruno/AP)

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin crashed out of the alpine combined today — the third time she has failed to finish an event at this Olympics.

When asked what went wrong afterward, she struggled to answer. "I think that I actually had a really good start and got into my tempo, my rhythm, quite well," she said. At every previous competition, once she got in the flow, "it always worked ... I never had an issue not finishing and especially not that early," she said.

She could have been moving too fast, or not fast enough, or "a whole number of things," she added — but had felt relaxed and confident, not under pressure, making the crash a "bit of a mind-boggling event."

"60% of my DNF (did not finish) rate for my entire career has happened at this Olympic Games," said the three-time Olympic medalist.

Shiffrin had failed to finish in her favorite disciplines earlier in the Games, the giant slalom and the slalom — which she had won gold for at previous Winter Olympics.

2:06 a.m. ET, February 17, 2022

Switzerland's Michelle Gisin and Wendy Holdener top podium in alpine combined event

Switzerland's Michelle Gisin embraces teammate Wendy Holdener after finishing the women's combined slalom on Thursday.
Switzerland's Michelle Gisin embraces teammate Wendy Holdener after finishing the women's combined slalom on Thursday. (Luca Bruno/AP)

Swiss skier Michelle Gisin has won gold in the alpine combined event following a strong comeback in the second half of the competition.

The event starts with a downhill race, in which which Gisin placed 12th out of the 24 competitors.

But she dominated the following slalom run, finishing a stunning 1.05 seconds ahead of her teammate and silver medalist Wendy Holdener.

Italy's Federica Brignone won bronze, while Czech star Ester Ledecká placed fourth— dashing her hopes of a second gold medal to add to her snowboarding giant slalom title.

2:01 a.m. ET, February 17, 2022

IOC says none of its Beijing 2022 products were made in Xinjiang

A protester holds up a sign while marching across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on Feb. 3. Activists protested alleged human rights abuses in China and called for a boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
A protester holds up a sign while marching across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on Feb. 3. Activists protested alleged human rights abuses in China and called for a boycott of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday reiterated its earlier claim that none of its products or uniforms for the Beijing 2022 Games were made in China's western Xinjiang region.

“The IOC’s report on its due diligence highlights the detailed work done in regard to our responsible program for the goods we commission in the context of the Games. None of our products [and] none of the production took place in Xinjiang, nor do any of the inputs or raw materials come from that region,” IOC spokesperson Mark Adams said at a news conference in Beijing. 

In January, the United States Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) wrote to the IOC asking for assurances that suppliers of Olympic uniforms were not using cotton from Xinjiang, due to reports of forced labor among Uyghur and other ethnic minority groups there. 

Beijing has long denied claims of rights abuses and genocide in Xinjiang, claiming its policies are part of a program of mass deradicalization and poverty alleviation.

Responding to a question from CNN concerning the possible use of forced labor in Olympic clothing, Adams said he was not aware of any products containing Xinjiang cotton.

Following the exchange, spokeswoman for the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, Yan Jiarong, described reports of forced labor in Xinjiang as “a lie made up by forces with ulterior motives.”

“I feel obliged to make a very quick comment, I feel the so-called forced labor in Xinjiang is a lie made up by forces with ulterior motives and the relevant organizations have provided large amounts of facts to dispute that, and we are against the politicizing of sports,” Yan said. 

1:47 a.m. ET, February 17, 2022

For the first time, Beijing 2022 reports no new Olympics-related Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Gawon Bae

A worker in protective gear disinfects door handles at a hotel inside the Olympic bubble on Wednesday.
A worker in protective gear disinfects door handles at a hotel inside the Olympic bubble on Wednesday. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

The Beijing Olympic Committee identified no new Covid-19 cases among Games-related personnel on Wednesday, it said in a statement Thursday.

It is the first time no new infections have been detected since the beginning of the Winter Olympics and follows a steady decline in cases for the past two weeks. 

Olympic cases: Since the "closed loop" system officially began on Jan. 23, a total of 435 Olympics-related cases have been identified, including 183 infections among athletes and team officials. 

1:49 a.m. ET, February 17, 2022

Canada survived a late US onslaught to win the women's hockey gold

American Lee Stecklein, right, battles Canada's Brianne Jenner for the puck during the gold medal women's hockey game on Thursday.
American Lee Stecklein, right, battles Canada's Brianne Jenner for the puck during the gold medal women's hockey game on Thursday. (Petr David Josek/AP)

Canada held on to secure victory in the women's ice hockey final on Thursday as they saw a 3-0 lead evaporate under late pressure from their old rivals, Team USA.

Sarah Nurse got the Canadians off the mark in the first period right after one of their efforts was ruled out for offside.

Canada's captain Marie-Philip Poulin then racked up two more goals to put her team into a 3-0 lead as the game threatened to become a thrashing for the US.

But it didn't work out that way.

Late in the second period, Hilary Knight pulled one back for Team USA and it was game on.

Into the third period, a tangible sense of desperation rose in the final minutes, with American players throwing everything they had in a frantic attempt to make up the gap, bodies piling on top of each other in front of the Canadian goal.

Team USA scored a second through Amanda Kessel, making it 3-2 with just 12 seconds on the clock.

The US outshot Canada 40-21 but ultimately it wasn't enough, as the Canadians erupted into ecstatic cheers at the final buzzer and leapt into a group hug. Some US players left the rink visibly in tears.

Four years ago at the Pyeongchang Games, the US beat Canada in a penalty shootout in the final to win Olympic gold.

Between them, the two teams have won every Olympic gold medal in this sport.

Cheerleaders dance with Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen in the stands on Thursday.
Cheerleaders dance with Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen in the stands on Thursday. (Dan Hodge/CNN)

Cheerleaders and Bing Dwen Dwen: The mood in the stands was upbeat and excited throughout the match, with hip hop tracks by artists including Dr. Dre blasted through speakers during breaks between periods.

There was a solid crowd cheering on both teams, with fans waving American and Canadian flags, and some even beating drums after goals.

There were also official cheerleaders present, wearing neutral blue hockey sweaters and helping drum up enthusiasm. At one point, the Olympic panda mascot Bing Dwen Dwen — the unexpected breakout star of the Games — joined the cheerleaders in dancing.

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, watched the match as well, and was spotted taking photos with the bronze-winning Finland team.

1:23 a.m. ET, February 17, 2022

Canada beats old rival USA 3-2 to win gold in women's ice hockey final

The United States and Canada went head to head again in the women's ice hockey gold medal match on Thursday.
The United States and Canada went head to head again in the women's ice hockey gold medal match on Thursday. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Canada is the new women's Olympic ice hockey champion after securing a 3-2 victory in Beijing on Thursday over their old rivals, the USA.

The win is sweet revenge for the Canadian team, which lost to the US in the gold medal game in Pyeongchang four years ago.

1:20 a.m. ET, February 17, 2022

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin crashes out of alpine combined slalom

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin falls during her run in the slalom portion of the combined event on Thursday.
American skier Mikaela Shiffrin falls during her run in the slalom portion of the combined event on Thursday. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

It's another disappointment for Team USA's Mikaela Shiffrin, who crashed out of the alpine combined slalom after a strong start.

The event combines a downhill portion followed by the slalom. Shiffrin placed fifth in the downhill, a solid position with a chance at the podium — but slid off course during the slalom, taking her out of the running.

She had a difficult start to the Games, crashing out of her first two events.

Czech skier Ester Ledecká is currently in the lead.

1:02 a.m. ET, February 17, 2022

Here's how women's figure skating is now scored (and why stamina often leads to more points)

From CNN's Holly Yan

Gone are the days when Olympic figure skating was scored solely at the judges' discretion, with subjective points awarded on a 6.0 scale.

2002 Olympic figure skating scandal — with allegations of score-fixing — upended the sport and led to a complete overhaul of the scoring system — one that awards more points for stamina and strenuous athletic feats.

Now, another Olympic skating controversy has gripped die-hard and casual fans alike.

Gold-medal favorite Kamila Valieva, 15, gave a test sample that later tested positive for the banned substance trimetazidine on December 25, the day she won the Russian national championship.

Valieva was allowed to compete for more gold in the Olympic women's individual figure skating event. Her routine for the free skate — the final portion of the women's competition — features quadruple jumps that are untouchable by most of her competitors.

Here's how the sport has evolved in recent years to reward increased athleticism and stamina:

More difficult jumps = more points: In 2004, the International Skating Union ditched the subjective "6.0" scoring system for the more rubric-based International Judging System that gives certain base points for jumps depending on their degree of difficulty and how many times the skater rotates in the air.

After each jump, skaters can gain or lose points from the base value depending on the grade of execution — how well or poorly they executed the jump.

All those numbers are part of the technical score. There's also the presentation score, which rewards artistry and skating skills between jumps.

But in recent years, skaters have been able to win competitions largely due to points racked up from jumping — with quadruple jumps playing a larger role in men's and women's skating.

Why better stamina can win skaters more points: In women's figure skating, athletes perform two routines: the short program, which is about 2 minutes and 40 seconds long, and the free skate, which is about 4 minutes long.

With the current scoring system, jumps performed in the second half of the free skate can get a 10% bonus because it's more difficult to perform them on tired legs.

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