Hanyu dazzles, Shiffrin flops on day of Olympic drama

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu competes in the men's single skating short program of the figure skating event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 16, 2018. Pic/AFP

Japan's defending champion Yuzuru Hanyu produced a stunning short programme to surge into the lead in men's figure skating as Mikaela Shiffrin's bid to retain her slalom title started with her vomiting and ended in heartbreak at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Friday.

A day after she staged an astonishing comeback to win the giant slalom, American ski star Shiffrin finished fourth in her strongest discipline after being sick at the start gate in her first run and initially complaining of virus-like symptoms. After the slalom was won by Sweden's Frida Hansdotter, the 22-year-old Shiffrin said that she was pulling out of Saturday's super-G. The Olympics in South Korea has been victim of a health scare with more than 200 people falling victim to a debilitating norovirus, including two Swiss athletes.

Initially Shiffrin said the vomiting "almost felt like a virus kind of puking", but later she said that she was well and had been scratching around for an excuse for her below-par performance. "I don't feel sick right now, I don't think I have a virus. I was thinking that after the first run, but I think it was me making an excuse," said Shiffrin, one of the biggest names at the Games. On a day of drama, when South Korea won a lunar new year's gold in the skeleton, Norway's dominance in alpine skiing's men's super-G came to an abrupt end.

Norway have won every Olympic title in men's super-G since the 2002 Games. But this time the prize went to Austria's Matthias Mayer, the downhill winner in Sochi four years ago, with Norway's best finisher, the defending champion Kjetil Jansrud, taking a disappointing bronze medal. Switzerland's Beat Feuz took silver.

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