Winter Olympics round-up: Christie’s ‘curse’ and Russian doping scandal rumbles on

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Elize Christie said she was cursed after she was disqualified in her 1,000m short track heat. (REUTERS)
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South Korea powered to gold in the women’s short track speed skating 3,000 meters relay. (AP)
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Martin Fourcade earned a third gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Games and solidified his legacy as the most successful Olympic champion in French history. (AFP)
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Russian Olympic medalist Alexander Krushelnitsky, who won bronze in Pyeongchang with his wife in mixed doubles curling, is set to face a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing. (REUTERS)
Updated 20 February 2018

Winter Olympics round-up: Christie’s ‘curse’ and Russian doping scandal rumbles on

SPEED SKATING: Elize Christie said she was cursed after she was disqualified in her 1,000m short track heat. The 27-year-old — who was in pain because of an ankle injury — was disqualified in her women’s 1,000 meters heat and had to be carried off the track on. It was a sad end to another disappointing Games for the Scot — a triple world champion. Christie, who was disqualified in all three of her events at Sochi 2014, fell in the 500m final and suffered the same fate in Saturday’s 1500m semifinal. And she said: “I guess you could say (I am cursed). It’s a bit weird that it seems to happen at Olympics and nowhere else. I’m not someone who commonly gets penalties and stuff, so it just seems mental. It’s just six races of my life that have gone completely wrong.”
Meanwhile, South Korea powered to gold in the women’s short track speed skating 3,000 meters relay, defending the title they won in Sochi. It was a typically wild race for the gold with several crashes and near wipeouts before South Korea grabbed control with two laps left. They muscled their way to the front, triggering a mighty roar from the near-capacity crowd, before holding on for victory to maintain their domination of the event. Canada won the first relay gold at the 1992 Albertville Olympics but South Korea have taken ownership since, topping the podium in six of the next seven Games with only China interrupting that run with victory in 2010. Italy took the silver while China and Canada were disqualified in the final to hand the bronze medal to the Netherlands who set a world record to win the B Final.

BIATHLON: Martin Fourcade earned a third gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Games and solidified his legacy as the most successful Olympic champion in French history by anchoring his team to victory in the biathlon mixed relay. The 29-year-old became the first athlete to win three gold medals in Pyeongchang, lifting his career tally to five Olympic golds. That is the most of any French athlete in Summer or Winter Olympics. Fourcade erased a 38-second deficit on the last leg of the relay by hitting all 10 shots to secure the French team to the come-from-behind win. Fourcade had enough of a lead to wave the French flag as he crossed the finish line for his team in one hour, eight minutes and 34.3 seconds, more than 20 seconds ahead of second place Norway.

CURLING: Russian Olympic medalist Alexander Krushelnitsky could not have taken a banned drug deliberately, Russia’s sports minister said after anti-doping authorities confirmed a violation that has rocked the Pyeongchang Games. Krushelnitsky, who won bronze in Pyeongchang with his wife in mixed doubles curling, and is set to face a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing in the near future after he tested positive for a banned substance, meldonium. “It’s obvious that in this particular case, the athlete could not have intentionally used a prohibited substance, it just does not make any sense,” Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said. “Curling, in theory, in not the kind of sport in which dishonest athletes dope,” he added. The Russian Olympic delegation said on Tuesday it could not explain how meldonium, which can aid endurance, ended up in Krushelnitsky’s body and that it was launching an investigation.


Man Utd to offer refunds, season ticket delay to fans

A family exercise in Wythenshawe Park in Manchester, northwest England, on March 25, 2020, after Britain's government ordered a lockdown to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. (AFP)
Updated 28 March 2020

Man Utd to offer refunds, season ticket delay to fans

  • United would be one of the clubs worst affected should the 2019/20 season fail to be completed as they sit fifth in the Premier League, outside the Champions League places

LONDON: Manchester United will refund supporters if they have to play their remaining home games of the season behind closed doors or if they are scrapped due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)  pandemic.
The deadline for season ticket renewals for next season has also been suspended, with no indication as to when the current campaign can re-start.
English football has been suspended until April 30, but a meeting of Premier League clubs next week is expected to push that date further back.
United would be one of the clubs worst affected should the 2019/20 season fail to be completed as they sit fifth in the Premier League, outside the Champions League places, and are still involved in the latter stages of the Europa League and FA Cup.
However, Manchester City’s two-season ban from European competition could allow their city rivals to qualify for the Champions League if it is upheld for next season.
“The club fully supports the collective intent to complete the Premier League, FA Cup and the UEFA club competitions,” United said in a statement on Friday.
“However, if it were decided that games cannot be played, or needed to be played behind closed doors, Manchester United confirms it will offer season ticket holders either a pro-rata rebate against their season tickets for next year, or a pro-rata cash refund based on the number of games still to be played.
“The season ticket renewal deadline, initially 1 May, has been suspended.”
United have also committed to paying 3,000 casual staff for their remaining five home Premier League games even if they are canceled or played behind closed doors.
Earlier this month, the Red Devils paid traveling fans £350 ($429) toward travel and accommodation costs when their Europa League last-16, first-leg match against LASK in Austria was forced behind closed doors at short notice.
“By pushing the season ticket renewal deadline back and confirming our policy if games were to be canceled or played behind closed doors, we want to ease any concerns our loyal fans may have in the current circumstances,” said Richard Arnold, United’s Group managing director.
“They give Manchester United their support year after year, and at this time, we are committed to supporting them. Our message to them is clear — we are all in this together.”