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Monday October 14th, 2019 9:43PM

The Latest: Wise defends title, US gets 3rd halfpipe gold

By The Associated Press
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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

American freestyle skier David Wise has successfully defended his gold medal, breaking through on his final run to give the United States its third gold in the Phoenix Snow Park halfpipe.

Wise wiped out on his first two runs before sneaking past countryman Alex Ferreira on his third with a score of 97.20. Wise landed double corks in all four directions — front left, front right, switch (backward) left and switch right — a goal he set for himself entering these games.

It's the seventh gold for the U.S. in Pyeongchang, five of which have come at Phoenix Snow Park. Chloe Kim and Shaun White won snowboard halfpipe gold last week, and Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson won at snowboard slopestyle.

Ferreira took silver with 96.40 points, and 16-year-old Nico Porteous from New Zealand got bronze. Porteous got the Kiwis' second medal of the day after snowboarder Zoi Sadowski Synnott won bronze in Big Air earlier Thursday to end a 26-year Winter Games drought for New Zealand.

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12:35 p.m.

Lindsey Vonn has the lead after the downhill leg of the Olympic Alpine combined, with American teammate Mikaela Shiffrin right in the thick of things.

Vonn finished in a time of 1 minute, 39.37 seconds. Shiffrin is 1.98 seconds behind.

The race switches Thursday afternoon local time to Shiffrin's specialty — the slalom. Both times are combined to determine the winner.

Vonn had the lead after the downhill leg at the 2010 Vancouver Games but didn't finish the slalom.

Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway had the second-fastest time in the downhill and is 0.74 seconds behind Vonn.

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12:15 p.m.

Mikaela Shiffrin has set up a showdown with American teammate Lindsey Vonn after a solid run in the downhill portion of the Olympic combined.

The downhill is Vonn's specialty, and she blazed through the course with the top time of 1 minute, 39.37 seconds through 17 racers Thursday morning. Shiffrin trails by 1.98 seconds.

Shiffrin's specialty, the slalom, is being held Thursday afternoon. Both times are combined to determine the winner.

Shiffrin is trying to win her third career Olympic gold medal.

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Noon

Lindsey Vonn had the fastest time through 13 racers in the downhill portion of the Olympic women's Alpine combined.

The American led Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway by 0.74 seconds.

The slalom leg will be held later in the afternoon. That discipline is not Vonn's specialty. Both times are combined to determine the winner.

Mikaela Shiffrin is one of the favorites and will be the 19th racer to take the course.

Before the race, Vonn posted on her Twitter account that she damaged the bottom of her ski the day before during her bronze-medal run in the downhill and had to bring out another pair. She said of the new set: "Hopefully they'll survive and stay fast the whole way down. ???? #thatisskiracing."

They did.

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11:10 a.m.

Henrik Kristoffersen has taken advantage of rival Marcel Hirscher skiing out to lead the first run of the Olympic men's slalom.

Kristoffersen, starting immediately before Hirscher, set a fast target of 47.72 seconds. The Norwegian is 0.21 ahead of Andre Myhrer of Sweden.

Kristoffersen and Myhrer won the bronze medals in slalom at the past two Winter Games.

Third-placed Victor Muffat-Jeandet of France has 0.62 to make up on Kristoffersen in the second run in the afternoon. Muffat-Jeandet got bronze in the Alpine combined won by Hirscher.

Hirscher was the favorite to become the first male Alpine skier in 50 years to win three golds at the same Olympics. He won the giant slalom when Kristoffersen took silver.

Most of the lower-ranked racers in a 108-man lineup had yet to start. It included two North Koreans and only three racers from the American team, which did not take its full quota of four places.

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11:05 a.m.

Alina Zagitova knows how to flaunt it.

During the final women's practice heading into Friday's free skate, the first-place figure skater from Russia performed so many jumps, nearly all of them triples, it seemed she'd bore a hole in the ice.

At one point, the 15-year-old from Moscow did a combination of triple lutz-triple loop-triple loop-triple loop-triple loop. Yes, five jumps in sequence. No stopping in between.

Then she skated away, only to nail a series of loops and salchows and flips and lutzes all around the rink.

That was all in addition to a run-through of her free skate, although she actually omitted some elements — hardly unusual for Russian skaters.

Basically, Zagitova did more jumps in one minute of the session than most skaters perform in an entire practice.

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11 a.m.

Anna Gasser edged two-time gold medalist Jamie Anderson to win gold in the Olympic debut of women's Big Air snowboarding.

Gasser, the reigning world champion, stomped the last of her three jumps, a double cork 1080 that saw the Austrian flip twice while spinning three times. Her score of 96 was the highest of the day and gave her a total of 185.00.

Anderson, who last week captured her second Olympic gold in women's slopestyle, led going into the final round but sat down while trying to land her last jump. Gasser took full advantage. The 26-year-old raised her arms in triumph and embraced Anderson after the score flashed.

Zoi Sadowski Synnott earned bronze to give New Zealand its first Winter Olympic medal in 26 years.

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10:40 a.m.

The Americans are back for another chance at the Olympic gold medal that has eluded them since women's hockey debuted in 1998 at Nagano.

They will play archrival Canada, four years after the Canadians rallied from two goals down to shock the Americans in the gold-medal game in Sochi.

Also Thursday, three gold medals will be decided in the final session of short-track speedskating.

Medals will be award in the men's 500 meters, the women's 1,000 and the men's 5,000 relay. South Korea has won three of the five gold medals decided so far in this sport.

And the women's snowboarding Big Air final will be held, pushed forward a day because of predicted bad weather Friday. The U.S. has four athletes competing in this event including slopestyle gold medalist Jamie Anderson and 17-year-old Hailey Langland, who has won this event at the X Games.

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10:15 a.m.

Marcel Hirscher's quest for a third gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics is over.

The 28-year-old Austrian star was the big favorite in slalom, his specialty, but he skied out early in the opening run on Thursday.

Hirscher looked ill at ease on a course where the gates were set by an Austrian team coach.

He started immediately after his biggest rival, Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway, set a fast target of 47.72 seconds.

Hirscher already won the giant slalom and Alpine combined titles.

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8:25 a.m.

Russian state TV reports that curler Alexander Krushelnitsky will give back his Olympic bronze medal after failing a drug test at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Krushelnitsky tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, which is believed to help blood circulation, after winning bronze in mixed doubles along with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova.

Russian Curling Federation spokesperson Valentina Parinova tells state TV channel Russia 1 that "we have signed a statement that indeed he did have (meldonium in the sample) and as a result we will give the medal back."

The secretary general for the Court of Arbitration for Sport says a hearing in Krushelnitsky's case is still scheduled for 2 p.m. despite the Russian statements.

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

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