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Clint Capela Adds Fuel To Feud With Warriors Says Rockets Better

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HOUSTON — Superstar guard James Harden called the Houston Rockets’ 116-108 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night important “for our swag,” which was soaring after the Rockets claimed the regular-season series over the defending NBA champions.

“We’re confident, because we know if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to beat them,” Rockets center Clint Capela told ESPN. “We’ve got to keep playing. We know that they’re going to come back if we have the lead, and we’ve just got to keep that mindset. Sometimes I feel like, in the past, we were all dragging down after mistakes. But today, we were ready. I think that if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do on defense — all the switches, the weak side — and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them.

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“We are better than them.”

Houston won two of three meetings with Golden State this season. The Rockets rallied from a 17-point deficit for a road win in the season opener despite Chris Paul playing on a bruised knee that sidelined him for the next month. Golden State won in Houston on Jan. 4 in a game in which Warriors star Kevin Durant and MVP front-runner Harden sat out because of injuries. The Rockets withstood a Warriors rally from a 17-point deficit, with the lead changing six times in the fourth quarter, to claim a tiebreaker that Houston hopes to make relevant.

“Mentally, now we have a chance to go after the No. 1 seed,” Rockets sixth man Eric Gordon said. “Because if it’s a tie at the end of the year, we have that edge. That’s why we all thought it was very important to win. Now that we’re healthy, I think that we’re going to get back to a big winning streak and get back to doing what we need to do, like we did earlier in the year.”

The Rockets (32-12) are 3.5 games behind the Warriors (37-10) for first place in the Western Conference standings and the league’s best overall record.

“That’s what we’re rooting for,” said Harden, who had 22 points and eight assists in his second game back from a strained hamstring. “It’s not going to be easy. Every single game, we’re going to have to take it for ourselves and not relax. It’s not about who we’re playing. It’s about us and each and every game getting better.”

The Golden State Warriors viewed Saturday’s game much differently, with several players dismissing its importance and saying the Rockets are not a concern.

“No,” Kevin Durant responded when asked if it mattered. “The season starts over when you’re in the playoffs anyway, so it doesn’t matter. You’re going to have to get through these teams to get to where you want to go. You have to play at home and on the road, so it really doesn’t matter. We just want to be playing good basketball when it comes down to that point.”

Warriors forward Draymond Green also played down the narrative that the Rockets had won a significant game.

“It’s game forty what? Seven, eight?,” Draymond Green asked during the media scrum. “Who we play on Tuesday? We just got to get ready for [New York]. Home court will take care of itself down the road.”

Gordon said the Rockets want to see the Warriors again in the playoffs, essentially an acknowledgement that a team must go through Golden State to get out of the West. But Gordon believes the Rockets would have a legitimate shot of ending the Warriors’ reign.

“We really do have that chance,” Gordon said. “Offensively, we’re just as good as them, no question. Defensively, they’re a championship team. They’re consistent, whether they win or lose. Us, we still have peaks and valleys. We just can’t have those. That’s why we’ve got to play well the next game, because we just have to sustain the same effort.”

The Warriors had dominated the Rockets the previous three seasons, winning 10 of 11 regular-season games between the teams and twice dismissing the Rockets in five-game playoff series. Houston general manager Daryl Morey has made no secret about his obsession with making up ground on Golden State, whose only postseason series loss in the last three seasons was to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. Morey is on record that he had the Warriors in mind during an offseason renovation that included a blockbuster trade for Paul and signing rugged role players Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker, all who played prominent roles in Saturday night’s win.

The Rockets are 17-0 when the trio of Harden, Paul and Capela plays together, and Houston will finally have its full rotation available for Monday’s game against the Miami Heat with wings Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green returning from two-game suspensions.

“We’re definitely the best in the league with everybody healthy,” Capela told ESPN after scoring 18 and recording a career-high four steals. “We’ve definitely got a chance to get that one seed back. The thing is, of course, we’re excited because it’s the Warriors, but Monday is an important game, too. If we lose and the [Warriors] win their game, what was the point? The next game, every single time, is going to be the key to go get the number one first seed.”

Added Harden, who hit a dagger stepback 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining: “We’re confident. We’re just a confident group, especially with everybody healthy. We get Trevor and Gerald back, and then we’ve got a strong rotation where we’re very versatile. Obviously, [the Warriors are] a championship-caliber team for the past four years or whatnot. That’s what we’re trying to build our way up to.”

Paul, who pushed for a trade to Houston with hopes of finally getting past the second round of the playoffs in his 13th NBA season, emphasized the importance of the Rockets taking a short-term view after such an emotional victory. He dismissed a question about a potential playoff series against the Warriors.

“That’s a long time from now,” Paul said after his 33-point, 11-rebound, seven-assist, three-steal performance. “I’m trying to worry about Miami on Monday.”

D’Antoni also warned of the Rockets getting ahead of themselves, but he also said Houston had proven that this is “not the same old team.”

“You watch us play and we’ve got a lot of stuff out there, but they’re still the champions,” D’Antoni said. “I was telling [the Rockets] during a timeout, ‘You’ve got to knock ’em out. It’s like a heavyweight fight. You don’t win on TKOs. You’ve got to knock ’em out.’ Tonight, we did, but that’s tonight. They’re missing [Andre] Iguodala, and they’ll be a different team when playoff time comes, but we have to be a different. At least we know that it’s within our locker room, a lot of this stuff that we can do.

“We’ve proven that we have something there. Now it’s up to us to do something.”

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Jessica Harrington’s Our Duke One Of The Headline Acts As The Entries For The Boylesports Irish Grand National Were Revealed

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OUR DUKE could bid to defend his Boylesports Irish Grand National crown on April 2 after the entries were revealed.

Jessica Harrington’s chaser was a brilliant winner of the race last year and while he has the Cheltenham Gold Cup as his immediate target, connections are also looking ahead to Fairyhouse.

SPORTSFILE Robbie Power celebrates aboard Our Duke last year

 

“He has come out of Saturday’s race at Gowran Park in great shape and while the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the immediate target, the BoyleSports Irish Grand National is very much on the radar,” said Harrington.

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The Latest Us Women Win Bronze In Long-track Speedskating

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The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):

10:05 p.m.

The U.S. has finally won a long-track speedskating medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The team of Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe and Mia Manganello earned bronze in the women’s team pursuit Wednesday.

They crossed the line in 2 minutes, 59.17 seconds in the B final.

Canada finished in 2 minutes, 59.70 seconds.

It’s the first long-track speedskating medal for the U.S. since the 2010 Vancouver Games. The Americans were shut out four years ago in Sochi.

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10 p.m.

A Russian curler who failed a drug test at the Pyeongchang Olympics will have his case heard Thursday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s anti-doping division says it will hear the case of mixed doubles bronze medalist Alexander Krushelnitsky at 2 p.m. local time.

Krushelnitsky’s case has taken on extra importance since the International Olympic Committee is due to decide on whether to formally reinstate Russia for Sunday’s closing ceremony following a suspension for a doping scheme at Sochi.

That decision would allow athletes to march under the Russian, rather than the Olympic, flag.

Russian curling officials have suggested that Krushelnitsky could have been dosed with the banned substance meldonium without his knowledge. They suggested the culprit could be Russia’s political enemies or a jealous athlete who didn’t make the Olympic team.

———

9:40 p.m.

Canada’s speedskaters have soundly defeated the U.S. in the D final of men’s team pursuit at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The U.S. team of Jonathan Garcia, Brian Hansen and Emery Lehman finished 8.61 seconds behind the Canadians on Wednesday. The Americans were timed in 3 minutes, 50.77 seconds.

Canada crossed the line in 3:42.16, led by Ted-Jan Bloemen, who earned silver in the 5,000 meters and gold in the 10,000 meters. He skated with Benjamin Donnelly and Denny Morrison.

Norway will face South Korea in the A final of the men’s team pursuit later Wednesday. Canada finished seventh, and the U.S. finished eighth.

———

8:45 p.m.

Norway has defeated defending champion the Netherlands with an Olympic record speedskating race and will face South Korea in the final of the men’s team pursuit.

Outsider New Zealand, which pushed the South Koreans until the final half-lap, will face the Netherlands for the bronze medal.

The Dutch changed their team for the semifinals after a disappointing performance by Koen Verweij and picked 1,500-meter silver medalist Patrick Roest to go instead.

The Norwegians won over eight laps by 1.38 seconds and finished in an Olympic record time of 3 minutes, 37.08 seconds.

Dutch rider Jan Blokhuijsen seemed to be hampered by a faulty clapskate. Coach Geert Kuiper says a spring broke at the start of the race, making skating more difficult.

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8:30 p.m.

The spokesman for the International Olympic Committee is hinting that its longest-serving member should think about stepping down for criticizing fellow members and calling some of them “old farts.”

Canadian Dick Pound has harshly criticized the IOC for not banning Russian athletes from the Pyeongchang Olympics despite a massive doping scandal.

Pound referred to some fellow members as “old farts” in a British newspaper interview. Pound suggested athletes could stay away from the Olympics if the IOC didn’t get tougher on doping.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams says, “In the end, if you don’t like the coffee that’s served at a coffee shop, if you don’t like the decor, if you don’t like the prices, then you maybe go to another coffee shop.”

Pound couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

———

8:15 p.m.

Defending champion the Netherlands will face Japan in the final of the women’s speedskating team pursuit, with both teams cruising in the semifinals.

It will be a North American battle for bronze, with the United States facing Canada.

The Dutch, led by Ireen Wust, took an early lead over the United States and never had to push, since the U.S. team, with Brittany Bowe sitting out the semifinal, was clearly seeking to conserve energy for the bronze-medal race.

And after six laps, the Dutch could already see the slow U.S. riders in the same lane as they cruised to at least a silver medal.

Japan was pushed a bit harder by Canada but steadily built up a comfortable lead, taking any excitement out of the second semifinal, too.

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8:05 p.m.

Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Martin Johnsrud have captured gold in the men’s team sprint, giving Norway a 13th medal in cross-country at the Pyeongchang Games to tie an Olympic record.

A team of Russians took silver Wednesday, and France edged out Sweden for bronze.

It was the third gold medal for Klaebo, tying him with French biathlete Martin Fourcade for the most at the Pyeongchang Games.

The 21-year Klaebo became the fourth male athlete to win three gold medals at the Winter Games before turning 22. He joins American speedskater Eric Heiden, Austrian Alpine skier Toni Sailer and KoreaN short-track speedskater Ano Victor.

———

7:55 p.m.

Ester Ledecka’s quest for the second half of the rarest of Olympic doubles will start two days later than expected.

Olympic officials juggled scheduling at the action park because of heavy winds that are expected on Friday.

Ledecka, the Czech skier and snowboarder who won the super-G in Alpine in a shocker, is also entered in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom, where she is top-ranked. Qualifying runs were originally set for Thursday but have now been moved to Saturday and will be run the same day as the final rounds.

Women’s skicross qualifying was moved up a day to Thursday. The elimination rounds for that event were moved from Friday afternoon to the morning, before the winds are expected to hit.

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7:25 p.m.

The United States has won its first Olympic gold medal in women’s cross-country skiing, and Norwegian skier Marit Bjoergen has become the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time by taking bronze at the Pyeongchang Games.

The Americans posted the fastest time in the semifinals to start on the front row in the finals Wednesday. Jessica Diggins passed the Swedes and the Norwegians on the final lap to make history in a major upset.

Sweden took silver.

Bjoergen and teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla won the bronze medal.

Bjoergen now has won 14 career medals at the Winter Olympic Games, passing Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjourndalen for the most ever. The 37-year-old previously took gold in the women’s 4×5-kilometer relay, silver in the 15-kilometer skiathlon and bronze in the 10-kilometer freestyle at Pyeongchang.

———

7:15 p.m.

K-pop band EXO will play at the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Organizers on Wednesday announced the performance by the South Korean-Chinese group, which has a vast following among teenagers.

Among them is Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva, who is in second place in the women’s figure skating competition heading into the free skate Friday.

Medvedeva, 18, said she listened to Exo before her stunning short program in the team figure skating event last week. Russia won silver and she set a new record, though she surpassed it in Wednesday’s individual competition before teammate Alina Zagitova surpassed her.

She said after the team competition that she has autographs and letters from the members of EXO and they provided inspiration.

Organizers also said K-pop artist CL will perform at the ceremony, which is Sunday.

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7 p.m.

Noora Raty has stopped 20 shots to lead Finland to a 3-2 victory over the Russians in the women’s hockey bronze medal game at the Olympics.

Petra Nieminen, Susanna Tapani and Linda Valimaki scored for Finland, which can claim to be the best of the rest in a sport dominated by North Americans.

Following up their bronze medals in 1998 and 2010, the Finns beat Russia 5-1 in pool play but had a tougher go in the medal round. The teams were even in shots — 22-22 — but the Russians never led after falling behind 2-0 off the opening faceoff of the second period.

Canada and the U.S. will play for the gold medal on Thursday.

———

6:45 p.m.

The Russian men’s hockey team has swept aside Norway 6-1 to set up a semifinal against the Czech Republic.

Russia charged to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period, outshooting Norway 19-2, and remained in control throughout the game as chants of “Red Machine” and “Russia” echoed around the half-empty Gangneung Hockey Center.

Nikita Gusev finished with a goal and two assists, while Slava Voynov had a goal and an assist.

After the disappointment of losing in the quarterfinals at home in Sochi four years ago, the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” — as they’re called due to International Olympic Committee sanctions over doping — are now guaranteed to play for a medal.

No Russian hockey team has won a medal since 2002.

———

6:05 p.m.

U.S. cross-country skiers Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall had the fastest time in the women’s sprint relay semifinals and have advanced to the finals at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The American women have never won a medal in cross-country skiing. The only American to ever win a cross-county medal was Bill Koch in 1976.

The finals begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday local time, which is 5 a.m. Wednesday Eastern time.

The Americans beat out a solid team from Sweden to win their heat.

Ten teams will compete in the finals.

Norway’s Marit Bjoernen is looking to make history of her own by becoming the most decorated Winter Olympic medalist of all time. She has 13 career medals overall, tied with Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjourndalen, and is looking to break that tie.

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5 p.m.

If there was a positive that the Americans took away from the two-man bobsled competition at the Pyeongchang Olympics, it’s that they now know what not to do.

But knowing what to do is still a work in progress. The U.S. men returned to the ice Wednesday for the first day of official training for the four-man competition. They’re desperate to figure out a course that has largely befuddled them to this point.

Four-man is the final sliding event in Pyeongchang, with two runs on Saturday and two more before the cauldron gets extinguished on Sunday.

U.S. pilot Codie Bascue says they had two really solid runs that will give them confidence for the rest of the week.

Any confidence boost would be helpful. The U.S. placed 14th, 21st and 25th in the two-man competition.

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3:05 p.m.

Brady Leman has earned gold for Canada in men’s skicross, beating Switzerland’s Marc Bischofberger in a wild final at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Leman took the lead early during Wednesday’s last round and then held off Bischofberger in a two-man duel after Canada’s Kevin Drury and Russian athlete Sergey Ridzik collided early on.

Ridzik picked himself up and raced down for bronze.

The elimination rounds included a handful of frightening crashes that forced several men to leave the course wrapped up in a medical sled.

The worst came when 2011 world champion Chris Del Bosco lost control in mid-air late in the run. The right side of the Canadian’s body slammed hard into the snow and he lay motionless for several minutes before emergency personnel carefully placed him on the sled.

———

2:50 p.m.

Pavel Francouz stopped all five shooters and Petr Kouka scored the shootout winner as the Czech Republic eliminated the United States men’s hockey team with a 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Jan Kovar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation Wednesday for the Czech Republic, which was fresher after winning its group and getting a bye into the quarterfinals. The U.S. looked fatigued after facing Slovakia in the qualification round and was outshot 29-20.

Ryan Donato and Jim Slater scored for the U.S, which again was led by its youngest players, including speedster Troy Terry. U.S. goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shootout. The Czech Republic’s Pavel Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.

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2:30 p.m.

Alina Zagitova’s record-setting short program has given the 15-year-old Russian the lead over friend, training partner and two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva heading into Friday’s free skate.

Zagitova scored 82.92 points, breaking the mark of 81.61 that Medvedeva had set about 15 minutes earlier. Both scores topped the short program record Medvedeva set earlier in the Pyeongchang Games.

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada was third with 78.87 points.

The American trio of Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell struggled with early mistakes in each of their programs. Nagasu was ninth with Chen and Tennell right behind her.

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2:15 p.m.

The injuries are starting to pile up in men’s skicross at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Three skiers left the course on medical sleds during the first round of eliminations following scary wrecks Wednesday.

Canadian Chris Del Bosco’s right side slammed violently into the ground at Phoenix Snow Park after he lost control in the air over one of the final jumps in the race that sends skiers side-by-side down the mountain.

France’s Terence Tchiknavorian landed awkwardly after a jump and appeared to injure his right leg. Austria’s Christoph Wahrstoetter became tangled up in the fence after colliding with Sweden’s Erik Mobaerg.

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1:45 p.m.

Surprise Olympic champion Red Gerard has logged some 18,000 miles on a post-victory tour that took him from Pyeongchang to Los Angeles to New York, and now, back to South Korea.

Ten days after his victory on the slopestyle course, the American has returned to the snow, where he qualified for the final of the big air contest — the newest, highest-flying snowboarding event at the games.

His agent, Ryan Runke, can barely keep up with all the phone calls. Sponsorship and media opportunities are flooding in, and the mission isn’t so much about grabbing everything he can, but finding the right fit.

———

1:15 p.m.

Canada’s world champion women’s curling team is out of the running for an Olympic medal after suffering a shocking loss to Great Britain at the Pyeongchang Games.

Canada’s 6-5 loss to Britain on Wednesday in the women’s round robin eliminates them from medal contention.

The Canadians came into the Pyeongchang Games as the favorite to win gold, and their lackluster performance has stunned the curling world.

Canada’s captain, Rachel Homan, says she is disappointed in the loss but said the British team simply played better.

———

12:15 p.m.

Sofia Goggia of Italy has won the women’s Olympic downhill, with good friend Lindsey Vonn taking the bronze.

Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway was the surprise silver medalist after turning in a sizzling run as the 19th racer on the course. Mowinckel also earned silver in the giant slalom at these Games.

Goggia finished in a time of 1 minute, 39.22 seconds to hold off Mowinckel by 0.09 seconds. Vonn finished 0.47 seconds behind Goggia.

At 33, Vonn becomes the oldest female medalist in Alpine skiing at the Winter Games. The record was held by Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, who was just shy of her 33rd birthday when she won the downhill and the super-G at the 2006 Turin Olympics. This is likely Vonn’s last Olympic downhill race.

———

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

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The Latest Curler Who Failed Drug Test Has Hearing Thursday

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The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):

10 p.m.

A Russian curler who failed a drug test at the Pyeongchang Olympics will have his case heard Thursday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s anti-doping division says it will hear the case of mixed doubles bronze medalist Alexander Krushelnitsky at 2 p.m. local time.

Krushelnitsky’s case has taken on extra importance since the International Olympic Committee is due to decide on whether to formally reinstate Russia for Sunday’s closing ceremony following a suspension for a doping scheme at Sochi.

That decision would allow athletes to march under the Russian, rather than the Olympic, flag.

Russian curling officials have suggested that Krushelnitsky could have been dosed with the banned substance meldonium without his knowledge. They suggested the culprit could be Russia’s political enemies or a jealous athlete who didn’t make the Olympic team.

———

9:40 p.m.

Canada’s speedskaters have soundly defeated the U.S. in the D final of men’s team pursuit at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The U.S. team of Jonathan Garcia, Brian Hansen and Emery Lehman finished 8.61 seconds behind the Canadians on Wednesday. The Americans were timed in 3 minutes, 50.77 seconds.

Canada crossed the line in 3:42.16, led by Ted-Jan Bloemen, who earned silver in the 5,000 meters and gold in the 10,000 meters. He skated with Benjamin Donnelly and Denny Morrison.

Norway will face South Korea in the A final of the men’s team pursuit later Wednesday. Canada finished seventh, and the U.S. finished eighth.

———

8:45 p.m.

Norway has defeated defending champion the Netherlands with an Olympic record speedskating race and will face South Korea in the final of the men’s team pursuit.

Outsider New Zealand, which pushed the South Koreans until the final half-lap, will face the Netherlands for the bronze medal.

The Dutch changed their team for the semifinals after a disappointing performance by Koen Verweij and picked 1,500-meter silver medalist Patrick Roest to go instead.

The Norwegians won over eight laps by 1.38 seconds and finished in an Olympic record time of 3 minutes, 37.08 seconds.

Dutch rider Jan Blokhuijsen seemed to be hampered by a faulty clapskate. Coach Geert Kuiper says a spring broke at the start of the race, making skating more difficult.

———

8:30 p.m.

The spokesman for the International Olympic Committee is hinting that its longest-serving member should think about stepping down for criticizing fellow members and calling some of them “old farts.”

Canadian Dick Pound has harshly criticized the IOC for not banning Russian athletes from the Pyeongchang Olympics despite a massive doping scandal.

Pound referred to some fellow members as “old farts” in a British newspaper interview. Pound suggested athletes could stay away from the Olympics if the IOC didn’t get tougher on doping.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams says, “In the end, if you don’t like the coffee that’s served at a coffee shop, if you don’t like the decor, if you don’t like the prices, then you maybe go to another coffee shop.”

Pound couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

———

8:15 p.m.

Defending champion the Netherlands will face Japan in the final of the women’s speedskating team pursuit, with both teams cruising in the semifinals.

It will be a North American battle for bronze, with the United States facing Canada.

The Dutch, led by Ireen Wust, took an early lead over the United States and never had to push, since the U.S. team, with Brittany Bowe sitting out the semifinal, was clearly seeking to conserve energy for the bronze-medal race.

And after six laps, the Dutch could already see the slow U.S. riders in the same lane as they cruised to at least a silver medal.

Japan was pushed a bit harder by Canada but steadily built up a comfortable lead, taking any excitement out of the second semifinal, too.

———

8:05 p.m.

Norway’s Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo and Martin Johnsrud have captured gold in the men’s team sprint, giving Norway a 13th medal in cross-country at the Pyeongchang Games to tie an Olympic record.

A team of Russians took silver Wednesday, and France edged out Sweden for bronze.

It was the third gold medal for Klaebo, tying him with French biathlete Martin Fourcade for the most at the Pyeongchang Games.

The 21-year Klaebo became the fourth male athlete to win three gold medals at the Winter Games before turning 22. He joins American speedskater Eric Heiden, Austrian Alpine skier Toni Sailer and KoreaN short-track speedskater Ano Victor.

———

7:55 p.m.

Ester Ledecka’s quest for the second half of the rarest of Olympic doubles will start two days later than expected.

Olympic officials juggled scheduling at the action park because of heavy winds that are expected on Friday.

Ledecka, the Czech skier and snowboarder who won the super-G in Alpine in a shocker, is also entered in snowboarding’s parallel giant slalom, where she is top-ranked. Qualifying runs were originally set for Thursday but have now been moved to Saturday and will be run the same day as the final rounds.

Women’s skicross qualifying was moved up a day to Thursday. The elimination rounds for that event were moved from Friday afternoon to the morning, before the winds are expected to hit.

———

7:25 p.m.

The United States has won its first Olympic gold medal in women’s cross-country skiing, and Norwegian skier Marit Bjoergen has become the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time by taking bronze at the Pyeongchang Games.

The Americans posted the fastest time in the semifinals to start on the front row in the finals Wednesday. Jessica Diggins passed the Swedes and the Norwegians on the final lap to make history in a major upset.

Sweden took silver.

Bjoergen and teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla won the bronze medal.

Bjoergen now has won 14 career medals at the Winter Olympic Games, passing Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjourndalen for the most ever. The 37-year-old previously took gold in the women’s 4×5-kilometer relay, silver in the 15-kilometer skiathlon and bronze in the 10-kilometer freestyle at Pyeongchang.

———

7:15 p.m.

K-pop band EXO will play at the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Organizers on Wednesday announced the performance by the South Korean-Chinese group, which has a vast following among teenagers.

Among them is Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva, who is in second place in the women’s figure skating competition heading into the free skate Friday.

Medvedeva, 18, said she listened to Exo before her stunning short program in the team figure skating event last week. Russia won silver and she set a new record, though she surpassed it in Wednesday’s individual competition before teammate Alina Zagitova surpassed her.

She said after the team competition that she has autographs and letters from the members of EXO and they provided inspiration.

Organizers also said K-pop artist CL will perform at the ceremony, which is Sunday.

———

7 p.m.

Noora Raty has stopped 20 shots to lead Finland to a 3-2 victory over the Russians in the women’s hockey bronze medal game at the Olympics.

Petra Nieminen, Susanna Tapani and Linda Valimaki scored for Finland, which can claim to be the best of the rest in a sport dominated by North Americans.

Following up their bronze medals in 1998 and 2010, the Finns beat Russia 5-1 in pool play but had a tougher go in the medal round. The teams were even in shots — 22-22 — but the Russians never led after falling behind 2-0 off the opening faceoff of the second period.

Canada and the U.S. will play for the gold medal on Thursday.

———

6:45 p.m.

The Russian men’s hockey team has swept aside Norway 6-1 to set up a semifinal against the Czech Republic.

Russia charged to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period, outshooting Norway 19-2, and remained in control throughout the game as chants of “Red Machine” and “Russia” echoed around the half-empty Gangneung Hockey Center.

Nikita Gusev finished with a goal and two assists, while Slava Voynov had a goal and an assist.

After the disappointment of losing in the quarterfinals at home in Sochi four years ago, the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” — as they’re called due to International Olympic Committee sanctions over doping — are now guaranteed to play for a medal.

No Russian hockey team has won a medal since 2002.

———

6:05 p.m.

U.S. cross-country skiers Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall had the fastest time in the women’s sprint relay semifinals and have advanced to the finals at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The American women have never won a medal in cross-country skiing. The only American to ever win a cross-county medal was Bill Koch in 1976.

The finals begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday local time, which is 5 a.m. Wednesday Eastern time.

The Americans beat out a solid team from Sweden to win their heat.

Ten teams will compete in the finals.

Norway’s Marit Bjoernen is looking to make history of her own by becoming the most decorated Winter Olympic medalist of all time. She has 13 career medals overall, tied with Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjourndalen, and is looking to break that tie.

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5 p.m.

If there was a positive that the Americans took away from the two-man bobsled competition at the Pyeongchang Olympics, it’s that they now know what not to do.

But knowing what to do is still a work in progress. The U.S. men returned to the ice Wednesday for the first day of official training for the four-man competition. They’re desperate to figure out a course that has largely befuddled them to this point.

Four-man is the final sliding event in Pyeongchang, with two runs on Saturday and two more before the cauldron gets extinguished on Sunday.

U.S. pilot Codie Bascue says they had two really solid runs that will give them confidence for the rest of the week.

Any confidence boost would be helpful. The U.S. placed 14th, 21st and 25th in the two-man competition.

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3:05 p.m.

Brady Leman has earned gold for Canada in men’s skicross, beating Switzerland’s Marc Bischofberger in a wild final at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Leman took the lead early during Wednesday’s last round and then held off Bischofberger in a two-man duel after Canada’s Kevin Drury and Russian athlete Sergey Ridzik collided early on.

Ridzik picked himself up and raced down for bronze.

The elimination rounds included a handful of frightening crashes that forced several men to leave the course wrapped up in a medical sled.

The worst came when 2011 world champion Chris Del Bosco lost control in mid-air late in the run. The right side of the Canadian’s body slammed hard into the snow and he lay motionless for several minutes before emergency personnel carefully placed him on the sled.

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2:50 p.m.

Pavel Francouz stopped all five shooters and Petr Kouka scored the shootout winner as the Czech Republic eliminated the United States men’s hockey team with a 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Jan Kovar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation Wednesday for the Czech Republic, which was fresher after winning its group and getting a bye into the quarterfinals. The U.S. looked fatigued after facing Slovakia in the qualification round and was outshot 29-20.

Ryan Donato and Jim Slater scored for the U.S, which again was led by its youngest players, including speedster Troy Terry. U.S. goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shootout. The Czech Republic’s Pavel Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.

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2:30 p.m.

Alina Zagitova’s record-setting short program has given the 15-year-old Russian the lead over friend, training partner and two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva heading into Friday’s free skate.

Zagitova scored 82.92 points, breaking the mark of 81.61 that Medvedeva had set about 15 minutes earlier. Both scores topped the short program record Medvedeva set earlier in the Pyeongchang Games.

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada was third with 78.87 points.

The American trio of Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell struggled with early mistakes in each of their programs. Nagasu was ninth with Chen and Tennell right behind her.

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2:15 p.m.

The injuries are starting to pile up in men’s skicross at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Three skiers left the course on medical sleds during the first round of eliminations following scary wrecks Wednesday.

Canadian Chris Del Bosco’s right side slammed violently into the ground at Phoenix Snow Park after he lost control in the air over one of the final jumps in the race that sends skiers side-by-side down the mountain.

France’s Terence Tchiknavorian landed awkwardly after a jump and appeared to injure his right leg. Austria’s Christoph Wahrstoetter became tangled up in the fence after colliding with Sweden’s Erik Mobaerg.

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1:45 p.m.

Surprise Olympic champion Red Gerard has logged some 18,000 miles on a post-victory tour that took him from Pyeongchang to Los Angeles to New York, and now, back to South Korea.

Ten days after his victory on the slopestyle course, the American has returned to the snow, where he qualified for the final of the big air contest — the newest, highest-flying snowboarding event at the games.

His agent, Ryan Runke, can barely keep up with all the phone calls. Sponsorship and media opportunities are flooding in, and the mission isn’t so much about grabbing everything he can, but finding the right fit.

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1:15 p.m.

Canada’s world champion women’s curling team is out of the running for an Olympic medal after suffering a shocking loss to Great Britain at the Pyeongchang Games.

Canada’s 6-5 loss to Britain on Wednesday in the women’s round robin eliminates them from medal contention.

The Canadians came into the Pyeongchang Games as the favorite to win gold, and their lackluster performance has stunned the curling world.

Canada’s captain, Rachel Homan, says she is disappointed in the loss but said the British team simply played better.

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12:15 p.m.

Sofia Goggia of Italy has won the women’s Olympic downhill, with good friend Lindsey Vonn taking the bronze.

Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway was the surprise silver medalist after turning in a sizzling run as the 19th racer on the course. Mowinckel also earned silver in the giant slalom at these Games.

Goggia finished in a time of 1 minute, 39.22 seconds to hold off Mowinckel by 0.09 seconds. Vonn finished 0.47 seconds behind Goggia.

At 33, Vonn becomes the oldest female medalist in Alpine skiing at the Winter Games. The record was held by Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, who was just shy of her 33rd birthday when she won the downhill and the super-G at the 2006 Turin Olympics. This is likely Vonn’s last Olympic downhill race.

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11:45 a.m.

There have been some dramatic crashes in the women’s downhill at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Michelle Gisin of Switzerland crossed the finish line and then crossed her skis, sending her falling to the snow. She slid a ways before getting up and waving to the crowd.

Earlier in the race, Stephanie Venier of Austria crashed on the course. She went down on a hip and tumbled down the hill before coming to a stop. She got back up.

Later, two Italian racers crashed — Nadia Fanchini, who fell backward after a jump, and then Federica Brignone, who wound up sliding into the fencing on the side of the course.

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11 a.m.

Russian women’s curling coach Sergei Belano says he is convinced a Russian curler charged with doping was slipped meldonium without his knowledge.

Belano says he doesn’t believe Alexander Krushelnitsky would have taken the drug because it would be foolish to do so. Belano said he is certain someone must have drugged Krushelnitsky. Belano did not explicitly say who he suspects would have done such a thing, but he said that multiple housekeepers come in and out of the athletes’ rooms each day.

Krushelnitsky won bronze with his wife in mixed doubles, but he now is likely to be stripped of the medal.

Russian curling officials have said Krushelnitsky could have been set up by a rival Russian athlete or a political enemy of the country.

Meldonium is designed for people with heart problems and some believe it can help athletes increase stamina. It was banned in sports in 2016.

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More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

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