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Beijing Rewind, Feb. 19: Meyers Taylor makes history, Diggins completes collection

A bobsledding legend extended her historic run and the U.S. missed two medals by a fraction of a second on the final competition day at the Beijing Olympics.

BEIJING, China — The last full day of competition at the Beijing Olympics is over, but not before Elana Meyers Taylor made more history. Meanwhile, arbitrators rejected a last-ditch effort by the American figure skating team to take their silver medals home now, and a U.S. speedskater lost out on bronze by .001 seconds

Elana Meyers Taylor extends history-making run

Laura Nolte and Mariama Jamanka added to Germany’s record haul of Olympic medals.

Elana Meyers Taylor extended her medal record, too.

The German sliding domination of the Beijing Games continued with Nolte driving to gold and Jamanka winning the silver in the women’s bobsled competition — and Meyers Taylor, in possibly her last race, grabbed the bronze with Sylvia Hoffman for the fifth medal of her Olympic career.

That's more than any Black athlete in Winter Olympic history, the most by any women's bobsledder at the Olympics and two more than any other Olympic bobsledder, male or female, has won for the United States.

Germany completed its sliding sports dominance with gold and silver in the four-man bobsled Saturday. That gave the Germans seven bobsled medals at the Beijing Olympics, including a sweep of the two-man podium.

Germany also took all the luge and skeleton gold medals and added silver in doubles and women's singles luge and a silver in men's skeleton. Of Germany's 27 total medals in Beijing, 16 came at the Yanqing Sliding Center.

The only one they didn't get a gold medal in? Women's monobob. That went to American Kaillie Humphries.

Jessie Diggins completes her medal collection

It's been a productive few weeks for American Jessie Diggins. First she won bronze in the individual sprint. Then she won the silver medal in the 30-kilometer mass start cross-country race, the final women's event of this year's Games. 

Diggins said afterward that she had suffered food poisoning just 30 hours prior to the race.

"I don't know how I made it to the finish but it was amazing," Diggins said, noting that several U.S. athletes in other sports who had finished their events were cheering her on.

"It felt like everyone was out there and, when it got really hard, everyone was just breathing with me. That was so hard, but so special because I felt we had so much love and help out there," she said.

Four years ago, Diggins and teammate Kikkan Randall were the first Americans to win a medal in women's Olympic cross-country. They took gold in the team sprint. Between that medal and the two from Beijing, Diggins now has one of each type.

US skiers miss a medal in tiebreaker

Mikaela Shiffrin and the American mixed ski team missed out on a medal by 0.42 seconds, losing to Norway in the bronze matchup in the final Alpine ski event.

The top-ranked Austrians won gold and Germany took silver in the Winter Games' second iteration of the mixed team parallel event.

Credit: AP
Thea Louise Stjernesund of Norway, left, and Mikaela Shiffrin of United States race during the bronze medal race of the mixed team parallel skiing event at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

American figure skating pairs finish 6th, 8th

The pairs figure skating competition came down to 63 hundredths of a point, with China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong winning gold and two Russian pairs getting silver and bronze. 

Sui and Han, the two-time world champions, scored a world-record 239.88 points to take the top step of the podium -- a step they lost out on by 43 hundredths of a point at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier finished in 6th. They made only one mistake, on their triple salchows, and a season-best 138.45 for their short program briefly sent them into the lead.

The American duo of Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc finished in eighth.  

Long medal wait likely for US figure skaters

Arbitrators rejected a last-ditch request by American figure skaters to have their silver medals awarded before the end of the Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it dismissed the appeal by the nine skaters, who finished second in the team event that was marred by a doping positive by Russia's 15-year-old Kamila Valieva.

In an earlier decision, CAS had allowed Valieva to compete in the women's event after her doping positive went public. The International Olympic Committee responded by saying that no medals would be awarded in any event where she finished in the top three.

Losing the case means the U.S. skaters will receive their medals months or even years from now, after Valieva's case winds its way through hearings and appeals. She led the Russians to a convincing victory in the team event. If that result is overturned, the U.S. would get gold medals.

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Two US speedskaters finish 4th, one felt 'cheated'

U.S. speedskaters Joey Mantia and Mia Manganello Kilburg both finished in fourth in their respective mass start events, with Mantia losing out on the bronze medal in a photo finish.

The tip of an ice skate made all the difference for Mantia, a three-time world champion. Initially, he posted the same official time as bronze winner Lee Seung Hoon.

The photo finish replay showed the tip of the South Korean’s skate crossed the line just ahead of Mantia’s blade. The difference? 0.001 seconds.

Mantia claimed that Lee grabbed him as they raced to the line, but no infraction was called.

“I feel like I was cheated," Mantia said. “I felt like his hand was on my arm pulling me back.”

The Netherlands again topped the speedskating medal table, finishing with six golds and 12 medals overall. The United States finished with three medals, their best showing since 2010.

READ MORE: 'I feel like I was cheated': US speedskater who missed bronze says competitor grabbed him