GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Samuel Girard yelled and signaled No. 1 with both index fingers as he crossed the finish line first. Just behind him, John-Henry Krueger spread his arms in a can-you-believe-it gesture.
The Canadian and the American claimed gold and silver in the men’s 1,000-meter short track Saturday, upsetting the powerful South Koreans.
Girard and Krueger raced to celebrate with their coaches on the sideline. Krueger sank to his knees on the ice, head in hands, still stunned at winning the first U.S. speedskating medal of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
“There were so many thoughts rushing through my head,” Krueger said.
World champion Seo Yira of the host nation earned bronze.
Seo and teammate Lim Hyo-jun, who earlier won the 1,500, were taken out in the turn approaching the last lap by Liu Shaolin Sandor of Hungary. Seo got up and kept going, but he was too far behind to catch the leaders. Girard and Krueger sprinted to the finish, with the Canadian keeping his lead.
“There is just too much traffic and stuff that can go down if you stay in the back, so we both stayed up in the front and it paid off for both of us,” Krueger said.
Both Girard and Krueger were fortunate to reach the A final after both got advanced to the semifinals.
Girard moved on at the expense of countryman Charles Hamelin, who was penalized for impeding.
“Just before the race he said to me, ‘Let’s go, you can do this.’ He gave me a tap on the back,” Girard said. “We train together, all the team was behind me on this medal.”
Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands was penalized for the same reason. He finished second in his quarterfinal and Krueger was fourth, but the American moved on when the referees reviewed video.
“I bumped into the American and that is it,” Knegt said. “He came to the inside, had his hands in the air. He made the referees look at the video replay.”
In the first short-track event of the games, Krueger was penalized in the semifinals of the 1,500. Kneght won silver.
“Earlier in the 1,500 there was a call I disagreed with, and short track is about taking the good calls and the bad calls,” Krueger said. “In the 1,500 I took the bad call and in the 1,000 I took the good call.”
Four years ago, Krueger was forced to withdraw from the U.S. Olympic trials when he came down with swine flu.
In the women’s 1,500 final, Choi Min-jeong won the host nation’s second short-track gold in front of President Moon Jae-in.
“It was the biggest dream of mine for four years. I can’t put it into words. I am so proud of it,” Choi said. “Physically I am so burned out, but inside I am so happy, so proud of my whole country.”
Li Jinyu of China took silver and Kim Boutin of Canada earned bronze to go with her same colored medal in the 500.
The night was filled with crashes and penalties in front of a full house at Gangneung Ice Arena, with Korean fans cheering and waving flags in support.
One of the wipeouts took down medal contender Marianne St-Gelais of Canada in the 1,500 semifinals. She tripped and fell, barely avoiding a referee as she slid across the ice and into the path of the other skaters before coming to a stop near the end padding of the rink.
In the women’s semifinals, world champion Elise Christie of Britain crashed hard into the protective padding on the last turn and was carried off on a stretcher. Mike Hays, chef de mission for Britain, said Christie was on her way to the hospital for tests. She was moving and fully conscious, covering her face with her hands as she left the ice.
Christie was chasing South Korean leader Choi together with Li when Christie and the Chinese skater tangled. Li also went sliding into the padding, but got up.
Christie was later penalized and would not have advanced to the A final.
Americans Maame Biney, Lana Gehring and Jessica Kooreman were eliminated in the heats of the 1,500.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants the European Union to make progress on a common asylum system, warning that member states who expect financial support from the bloc need to show solidarity when it comes to migrants too.
Merkel said in a video address Saturday before next week’s informal meeting of EU leaders that the issue is one of her priorities and she hopes it can be advanced by June.
Germany has taken in over 1 million people seeking shelter from war and persecution in recent years, putting a heavy strain on the country’s budget and boosting an anti-migrant party.
While some other European countries, such as Sweden, Greece and Italy, have also borne a heavy load, several EU members in the east refuse to take in large numbers of migrants.
JEONGSEON, South Korea (AP) — This made no sense to Ester Ledecka. Just simply couldn’t be. Could. Not. Be.
Which is why the part-time ski racer, part-time snowboarder from the Czech Republic stood so still, absolutely motionless and expressionless, for several moments after crossing the finish line in the Olympic super-G and seeing the numbers on a video board that appeared to show she was fast enough to be the gold medalist. Not merely any gold medalist, but one of the most unconventional and out-of-nowhere gold medalists in Alpine history.
This, the 22-year-old Ledecka would explain later, was what went through her mind at that moment: “Is this a kind of mistake?”
Then came this: “OK, they’re going to change the time. I’m going to wait for a little bit, and you’re going to switch and (add) some more seconds.”
That never happened. This was no mistake. This was real. Her posted time of 1 minute, 21.11 seconds was, indeed, accurate. It was, indeed, 0.01 seconds — yes, one one-hundredth of a second — better than Austria’s Anna Veith, the defending Olympic champion and, as the leader until the moment when the relatively unknown and low-ranked Ledecka took her turn as the 26th woman down the slope, the presumed repeat Olympic champion.
Instead, it was Ledecka who collected the prized medal. This is someone who has participated in only 19 World Cup skiing races in her entire career — Mikaela Shiffrin, in contrast, has been in 23 this season alone — and only once finished as high as seventh. Someone who is a far more accomplished snowboarder, owning a world championship in the parallel giant slalom, an event she plans to enter at the Pyeongchang Games next week, an unprecedented achievement.
“She’s not a medal favorite. She just wanted to come here and be the first person ever to ski and snowboard race,” said Justin Reiter, who competed for the U.S. at the Sochi Olympics in snowboarding and now is Ledecka’s coach for that sport. “She stayed in her heart and she stayed in her own head and she skied like she can ski and it was beautiful to watch.”
Everything about this was remarkable. Or maybe that doesn’t even come close to capturing it. So pick another word. Extraordinary. Astonishing. Unbelievable. It was all of those things, and more, to Ledecka herself. To the rest of the field, which included superstar Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. and other past medalists such as Lara Gut of Switzerland and Federica Brignone of Italy. To everyone.
“Definitely shocking,” said Vonn, who tied for sixth.
“Just wow,” said Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin, a 2017 silver medalist at the world championships who was ninth Saturday.
That pretty much described the day at the Jeongseon Alpine Center, which began with a one-hour delay because of blustery winds that calmed but still played a factor during the race, serving as tailwinds for some skiers but acting as a headwind to others.
When things finally began under a clear-as-can-be blue sky, Vonn went first. The bronze medalist in super-G and gold medalist in downhill at the 2010 Vancouver Games but sidelined for the 2014 Olympics was fast in stretches. However, she lost a chunk of time both before the midpoint and again on the last key part of the course, a jump-turn combination that she flubbed and was sure cost her a medal.
“That’s why it’s so difficult to win at the Olympics,” Vonn said. “Because literally anything can happen.”
Sure seemed to this time.
First Gut, the 2016 overall World Cup champ and a downhill bronze medalist at Sochi, temporarily moved into first place. Then Weirather, the super-G silver medalist at last year’s world championships, moved in front by 0.01 seconds. Then it was Veith who took over first place, by 0.10 seconds. And that’s how things stood for the next 10 skiers. It is generally considered unlikely — although not impossible, of course — for anyone outside of the first 20 starters to emerge as the winner.
Veith was sure she’d clinched a gold. Weirather figured the silver was hers. Gut couldn’t wait to get that bronze around her neck.
“They were a little bit in shock,” Ledecka said. “They were staring at me a little bit.”
Now comes a decision for Ledecka. The Alpine downhill is Wednesday and requires serious training runs down the mountain beforehand. Qualifying for her snowboard event is Thursday.
So which should she focus on?
“I’m sure that my ski coach will be a little bit pushy on downhill,” Ledecka said. “But my snowboard coach wants me on snowboard.”
Her work in the two sports can help her performance in each.
The speed from skiing translates to snowboarding. And the balance required in snowboarding is a boost for ski racing. Reiter pointed out, for example, that on the same final jump that gave Vonn trouble Saturday, Ledecka’s weight shifted too far backward, but she managed to recover.
“It was kind of scary there for a moment. She was able to save it,” he said. “And that’s because of her heart and because of her ability with a snowboard.”
Ledecka proved to be pretty adept at her other sport, too.
Unlikely as it might have seemed, she forever will be able to call herself an Olympic Alpine champion.
“The fact that she’s able to beat all of us and be a snowboarder is pretty darn impressive,” Vonn said. “At the Olympics, a lot of weird stuff happens.”
AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar contributed to this report.
Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org/
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on Mitt Romney’s run for a Utah Senate seat (all times local):
Republican Mitt Romney is shaking hands and taking selfies with excited college students as he starts collecting voter signatures for his Utah Senate campaign.
The 2012 presidential candidate was swarmed by excited students Friday afternoon at Utah Valley University in the city of Orem.
Hours after making his campaign announcement early Friday morning, Romney filed paperwork with Utah’s elections office allowing him to start collecting the signatures of 28,000 registered Republicans to earn a spot on a June primary ballot.
Freshman student Cienna Dorny signed Romney’s petition and snapped a picture on her iPhone of her posing with the candidate.
Dorny, a registered Republican, says Romney “has his head on straight” and she’s excited to see what he can do for Utah.
Republican Mitt Romney is trying for a political comeback as he launches a Senate campaign in Utah.
The former presidential nominee made his campaign official Friday in an online video after a delaying his launch following a deadly shooting at a Florida high school.
Romney is considered a heavy favorite for the Senate seat held by Orrin Hatch. The longtime Republican senator is retiring.
Romney has been a persistent critic of President Donald Trump, but those close to Romney say he’ll focus his campaign instead on Utah.
They say Romney will suggest Washington has much to learn from the state the former Massachusetts governor now calls home. Romney is well-known in Utah for having managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. His 2012 presidential bid was lost to incumbent Barack Obama.
LONDON (AP) — It’s time for London to enjoy its stint as the center of the fashion universe.
London Fashion Week kicked off Friday with catwalk shows by Bora Aksu and Mulberry, and headliners over the next few days include Burberry, Christopher Kane, Roksanda and other favorites.
Designer Vivienne Westwood, 76, shifted away from her usual role to be a model — this time in an anti-fracking protest.
MULBERRY MOVES ‘BEYOND HERITAGE’ BUT STILL BUILDS ON BRITISHNESS
Mulberry and its creative director Johnny Coca titled the spring and summer collection “Beyond Heritage” to emphasize that it’s a modern house capable of innovation and surprise — even though the impressive show was built on English archetypes, including garden parties, Ladies’ Day at Ascot and other traditions of the summer season.
It was a fun, breezy show, even despite being staged in Spencer House, a grand 18th-century mansion in the posh St. James district. The collection made stunning use of imaginative statement hats, even if a few were literally over the top and obscured the models’ eyes. Many were simply spectacular, angular and birdlike, and added a touch of whimsy, and more than a few inches of stature, to the outfits.
Many of the ensembles were more revealing than would be worn at a typical garden party — with sheer bodices or very low cut fronts — but there were a few more classical dresses that would fit in well at Buckingham Palace. Some were reminiscent of the 1920s flapper era, and bold African-style prints were sometimes mixed in.
“I thought it was amazing,” said actress Emma Roberts, who watched from a front row seat. “I like the feminine and the bedazzle.”
BORA AKSU SHOWS FEMININE, FROTHY CREATIONS
For London-based Turkish designer Bora Aksu, a longtime Fashion Week favorite, it was time to emphasize romance in his autumn/winter collection.
Asku’s show featured a collection of long, frilly dresses that were elaborately constructed and included a mixture of semi-sheer panels.
Favored colors were white with black detailing and shades of dark blue, lavender and pink.
Some of the outfits offered new interpretations of the traditional British prep school look. The jackets were androgynous, the skirts or leggings long and feminine. The looks were often asymmetrical, highlighted by a long, jeweled earring dangling from one ear.
The designer said the collection Friday was inspired by the story of a young Georgian-era woman who challenged stereotypes by becoming a prominent surgeon at a time when most doctors were male.
LAVISH COLOR AS FYODOR GOLAN TEAMS WITH MTV
Designer Fyodor Golan’s catwalk show celebrated flight, with some outfits loosely modeled on hot air balloons and billowing parachutes.
He made raucous use of bold, contrasting colors — including bright red and orange, cobalt blue and ivory. His signature rainbow stripes were plentiful, giving the collection a youthful flair.
There were surprises: some athletic wear seemed purely functional, if elaborately constructed, but concealed delicately made silk layers. There were sexy white hoodie outfits — better for showing off on the street than in the gym — and slouchy knit tops.
A few models wore decorative, oversized backpacks, again more for show than for actual travel. Golan made extensive use of dramatic white makeup, often applied on the forehead or over one eye, and decorated some outfits with sparkles.
The collaboration with MTV also marked how long it’s been since the video channel first took off in the Michael Jackson era. Golan said MTV has been the “voice of youth culture for decades” and that embracing this legacy brought back “memories of our teenage years.”
Many of the casual outfits bore the familiar MTV logo or Golan’s own FG imprint.
CURVY WOMEN PROTEST IN LONDON
Everyone knows most fashion models at catwalk shows are ultra-thin and very tall. That doesn’t sit well with a group of self-proclaimed “curvy” women, who protested Friday outside London Fashion Week headquarters on the Strand in central London.
The group included Hayley Hasselhoff, daughter of the well-known “Baywatch” star David Hasselhoff.
“LFW — Where are the curves?” read one sign carried by a protester.
NEW ROLE FOR VIVIENNE WESTWOOD: MODEL, NOT DESIGNER
Designer Vivienne Westwood is not showing in London this season but she has already made waves by appearing as a model in an anti-fracking protest.
The 76-year-old designer wore a campaign dress and a placard denouncing fracking at an event Thursday. She has spoken out repeatedly on environmental issues and warned of the dangers of climate change.
FASHION: A BIG MONEY GAME FOR BRITAIN
Caroline Rush, chief of the British Fashion Council, said in her opening speech that the fashion industry now contributes roughly 30 billion pounds ($42 billion) to Britain’s economy each year, making it a business of substantial importance.
Fashion officials released figures indicating that Chinese visitors have surpassed Americans as the prime buyers in the London luxury fashion field.
This story corrects the dollar conversion of the British Fashion Council’s data to $42 billion.
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Applebee’s has closed a Kansas City-area restaurant where two black women said they were falsely accused of not paying for meals in an earlier visit.
The Kansas City Star reports that it’s unclear whether if the closure was directly related to the racial profiling incident because the Independence Center Mall where it’s located is scheduled for a foreclosure sale Friday.
Applebee’s announced earlier this week that it fired three employees and temporarily closed the restaurant after the two women posted a video showing an employee, a police officer and a mall security guard confronting them for “dining and dashing” during a previous visit, which the women denied.
Applebee’s spokeswoman Melissa Hart said Thursday the restaurant would be permanently closed.
Independence police also said they investigated the officer’s conduct during the incident but wouldn’t comment on the review’s findings.
Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com