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Beijing Rewind, Feb. 15: More US medals, a hockey stunner and a podium sweep

The U.S. picked up more hardware on Tuesday at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but saw a chance at another gold medal slip away in stunning fashion.

BEIJING, China — American freestyle skiers took silver and gold in slopestyle, but German bobsledders celebrated a historic sweep. Three U.S. skaters are headed for the women's free skate, but they struggled to break into medal contention. Meanwhile, lawyers made new claims in the latest Russian doping scandal

US figure skaters struggle at women's Olympic short program

Three U.S. women advanced to the free skate but struggled to break into medal contention in an event that has been overshadowed by the latest Russian doping scandal. The dominant Russians had three of the top four spots, and Alysa Liu was the only American breaking into the top 10, in eighth.

In eighth place, Alysa Liu was the highest-placing American skater in the women's Olympic short program. She's among three U.S. women who advanced to the free skate but struggled to break into medal contention. 

That includes Mariah Bell and Karen Chen, both of whom fell. Chen’s tumble left her sobbing after she exited the rink, but she vowed to put it behind her for the next event.

"I know I’m capable of much better than that," Chen said. 

READ MORE: US figure skaters struggle at women's Olympic short program

The program was largely overshadowed by the latest Russian doping scandal. All eyes were on Russian Kamila Valieva, who walked away with the top performance. Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto was third, while Russian skaters also took second and fourth.

The latest on that: Valieva listed two legal substances used to improve heart function on an anti-doping control form she filled out before her drug case at the Olympics erupted, according to documents submitted in her case 

The World Anti-Doping Agency and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency say the revelation undercuts the argument that a banned substance, trimetazidine, might have entered the skater’s system accidentally.

Russian lawyers suggested that Valieva failed a doping test before the Olympics because of contamination from medication her grandfather was taking.

Credit: AP
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee,competes in the women's short program during the figure skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

READ MORE: Russian figure skater blames failed drug test on grandfather's medicine

Silver and gold for US slopestyle skiers

American freestyler skier Alex Hall stole the show in the men's Olympic slopestyle competition, performing a trick where he stopped his rotation midair and turned in the other direction before softly landing. 

Hall's teammate Nick Goepper turned in a creative run on his second pass to earn silver. Jesper Tjader of Sweden took home bronze.

Fun fact: Americans have captured six of nine Olympic medals since this event made its debut in 2014. Goepper has three of them.

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Joey Mantia snags 1st speedskating medal in 3 Olympics

Joey Mantia is finally taking home his first medal in his third Olympics.

The 36-year-old American, along with Casey Dawson and Emery Lehman, earned the bronze in team pursuit on Tuesday. It was the second speedskating medal for the United States in Beijing. Erin Jackson won gold in the 500 meters.

“I feel like the weight has been lifted in a sense,” Mantia said. “Now I can just kind of breathe.”

At 36 years, 8 days, Mantia is the oldest medalist in team pursuit, breaking the mark of Rintje Ritsma of the Netherlands who was 35 years, 308 days in 2006.

US men's hockey stunned in quarterfinal shootout

The United States is out of the men’s hockey tournament at the Olympics in stunning fashion after blowing a late lead.

Marek Hrivik scored with 43.7 seconds left in regulation, Peter Cehlarik had the winner and Slovakia beat the U.S. 3-2 in a shootout Wednesday to knock the top-seeded Americans out in the quarterfinals. The U.S. led for almost half the game before the tying goal when Slovakia pulled its goaltender for an extra attacker to play 6-on-5.

The U.S. had gotten accustomed to playing tight games in the tournament, beating Canada by two goals and Germany by one. But blown coverage in front allowed Hrivik to knock a loose puck past goalie Strauss Mann, who was impressive until that point.

Coming up empty on four power plays, including three in the third period, came back to bite the Americans. Matty Beniers hit the post on one of the best scoring chances the U.S. had in the third, but the team could not crack Patrik Rybar, who was playing a second consecutive day in net for Slovakia.

Bobsled podium swept for first time in Olympic history

Germany just made a whole lot of bobsled history at the Beijing Olympics. It became the first nation to sweep the medals in an Olympic bobsled race, grabbing gold, silver and bronze in the two-man event.

Germany now has seven gold medals in sliding at the Beijing Games, more golds than any nation has ever grabbed from the bobsled, skeleton and luge events at any Olympics.

Olympic rookie Frank DelDuca and brakeman Hakeem Abdul-Saboor were the top U.S. sled, finishing 13th.  

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