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Beijing Preview, Feb. 10: Shaun White's last hurrah

Will Shaun White slide away with his fourth Olympic gold medal in snowboard halfpipe?

BEIJING, China — Snowboarding star Shaun White's finale is set for Thursday night in primetime, although his farewell almost happened Tuesday. He fell on his first attempt in qualifying but rebounded on his next run to avoid elimination.

There was some doubt as to whether Mikaela Shiffrin would compete in the super-G following her early exits in the giant slalom and slalom. But the U.S. ski team said Thursday that Shiffrin will enter as the competition as she tries to rebound after lasting about 15 seconds combined in her first two races.

Shaun White's final run

The 35-year-old White first won Olympic gold 16 years ago. He is not considered a favorite this time, and he said last weekend this would be the end of his career.

He's dealt with an ankle injury and COVID-19 this season, although it's certainly possible for an athlete his age to win gold in snowboarding. Lindsey Jacobellis and Benjamin Karl, both 36, have won for the U.S. and Austria in snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom.

The men's halfpipe final is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

Credit: AP
United States' Shaun White, left, waits for his score with Switzerland's Patrick Burgener during the men's halfpipe qualification round at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Zhangjiakou, China. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Mikaela Shiffrin will race in the super-G

The on-the-slopes portion of what Mikaela Shiffrin hopes will be a “reset” at the Beijing Olympics — moving on from early mistakes that eliminated her from two races — began under a cloudless sky with a pair of trips about a half-hour apart down the competition hill during an official training session Thursday for the upcoming super-G.

Wearing a maroon racing helmet, bright red reflective goggles and a white racing suit with “USA” on the front in blue capital letters, the two-time Olympic gold medalist eased across the finish line each time, upright instead of in a speed-preserving tuck. After the first, she paused briefly to chat with two other racers. After the second, she swiftly made her way past a gathering of about a dozen folks and was on her way.

All of that was clear to anyone present. Less certain right there and then: How Shiffrin is faring with her off-the-slopes attempt to get over those sudden and surprising exits in her best disciplines.

What become known via the U.S. ski team a few hours later, though, was that Shiffrin will, indeed, take part in the super-G as the women move from the technical to the speed events. That will be her third start of what still could end up being a six-race trip to China.

The event starts at 10 p.m. Eastern. 

US women's hockey in playoff action

The U.S. women's hockey team faces the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals, coming off its first loss of the tournament against Canada.

The American men open group play against China. 

Jessie Diggins is back for more

Therese Johaug of Norway won the first gold medal of the Beijing Games in the skiathlon. She has a chance for another in the 10-kilometer race, but Americans Jessie Diggins and Rosie Brennan hope to pull off an upset and land on the podium. 

Also trying for multiple golds this year is Dutch speedskater Irene Schouten, who won the 3,000 meters already and has the 5,000 coming up. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic in 2010 was the last woman to sweep the 3,000 and 5,000.

Travis Pittman contributed to this report.

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