The Latest: US pairs skater emotional over Florida shooting

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, attacks the gate during the first run of the Women's Giant Slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018., Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) The Latest on the Pyeongchang Olympics (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

U.S. pairs skater Alexa Scimeca-Knierim has broken down in tears after her free skate performance with husband Chris Knierim, saying shootings at a Florida high school had her ”emotionally drained.”

Scimeca-Knierim didn’t blame the news from Florida for a poor routine by the only American pair at the Olympics. But she says she was stressed out when she saw the news on television at the arena.

”We are so privileged and lucky to be doing what we are doing,” she said, ”and it’s so sad that 17 people died in the United States. I told Chris today he’d need to be so much stronger than me.

”I am disappointed with the way we performed today, but so many people at home are hurting because their children have died.”

She stopped to gather herself as her husband patted her on the head.

”I was not focused on it while we were skating, but now that we are done, after we’ve skated, there’s an emotional hurt. I am overwhelmed.”

11 a.m.

Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim became the first Americans to land a quad twist in an Olympic competition when they hit the four-revolution element in the pairs free skate.

The rest of their program didn’t go nearly as well.

Knierim fell on both of their triple jumps, a salchow and the toeloop that was supposed to lead into a double toeloop. The married couple was also out of synch on their combination spin and a bit shaky on their throw triple flip.

They’ll wind up far out of medal contention, but they’ve already had a successful Olympics. They were an integral part of the U.S. winning the team bronze.

10:55 a.m.

Mikaela Shiffrin is in prime position heading into the final run of the Olympic giant slalom, trailing Manuela Moelgg of Italy by 0.20 seconds.

The American standout attacked the tight course on a fast first run to give herself a chance at a gold medal as she kicks off her Pyeongchang Games. Only a handful of lower-ranked skiers remain on the course.

The top 30 finishers from the first run go in reverse order for the final run, with their times combined to determine the winner. Shiffrin will go second-to-last Thursday afternoon South Korea time.

The 22-year-old finished fifth in the giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games. She’s the defending Olympic slalom champion.

10:45 a.m.

There have been two crashes so far in the first run of the Olympic women’s giant slalom.

Lara Gut of Switzerland slid down the hill before running into a bank of photographers off to the side. She appeared to be all right as she got back up.

A few racers later, Tina Robnik of Slovenia wiped out, too. She slid a long way down the hill on her side before finally stopping when she ran into a gate.

10:30 a.m.

The pairs free skate is underway at Gangneung Ice Arena, where the Chinese team of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong have less than a point lead over rivals Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov.

The total from Wednesday’s short program and free skate determines the medals.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, fresh off helping Canada win team gold, are currently third but well behind the two leaders. They have six other couples within three points of them, which should mean a tense, tight squeeze just to land on the podium.

The North Korean pair of Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik also are back for the free skate, along with their nation’s cheerleaders. They were 11th of 22 teams in the short program.

10:20 a.m.

American standout Mikaela Shiffrin has turned in a fast first run of the giant slalom to kick off her Pyeongchang Olympics.

She finished 0.20 seconds behind current leader Manuela Moelgg of Italy.

Shiffrin got wide on a few turns, but other than that was solid through the tight course. She’s in good position for the final run later in the afternoon South Korea time.

The 22-year-old finished fifth in the giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games. She’s the defending Olympic slalom champion.

10 a.m.

The women’s Alpine racing program at the Pyeongchang Olympics has finally begun with Manuela Moelgg of Italy starting the first run of the giant slalom.

Hampered by high wind and weather, the women’s races have been postponed twice at the Yongpyong Alpine Center.

On a clear day with much less wind, Moelgg got things going. American standout Mikaela Shiffrin will be the No. 7 racer out of the starting gate. She’s among the favorites in the giant slalom.

The second run is Thursday afternoon South Korea time.

9:35 a.m.

Assuming the weather cooperates, there are nine medals up for grabs at the Olympics, including the women’s giant slalom, where Mikaela Shiffrin is set to make her Pyeongchang debut.

Only one of four scheduled Alpine races has been run so far because of strong winds at both hills being used for the Winter Games. Both the women’s giant slalom and the men’s downhill are to be held Thursday.

It’s also the finale of the pairs figure-skating competition, where Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China have a slim lead over Russian skaters Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov heading into the free skate. Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are in third, but several teams are still within reach of the podium.

For more AP Olympic coverage: https://www.wintergames.ap.org

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