The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon. Olivia Grange says the Government is rewarding $55 million to athletes, coaches, and officials who participated in the recent Summer and Winter Olympic Games and the Paralympics.

“Jamaica is joining other countries which reward those who represent them at the Olympics with honorariums,” Minister Grange said while speaking at the official launch of the 2022 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium on Monday.

“Appreciation Grants will be for those representing Jamaica at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Paralympics, and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The level of awards was determined based on individual placement, from gold medal winner to non-finalist, coaches, and other supporting staff. Ninety-three persons will be rewarded, valued at approximately $55M,” she added.

She then broke down how the money would be divided.

“The honorariums are $1.65 million for each gold medal won; $1.35 million for each silver medal won and $800,000.00 for each bronze medal won. The honorarium is $850,000 for the relay gold. Finalists are receiving $600,000.00; relay finalists, $500,000; and non-finalists, $350,000. Coaches and massage therapists are getting $350,000 while team managers and doctors are getting $200,000,” Grange explained.

 

Russia is planning to appeal against the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) decision to ban the country's athletes from the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, according to Oleg Matytsin, the country's Minister of Sport.

The IPC confirmed the decision to bar both Russian and Belarusian Paralympians from the games on Thursday, reversing an earlier announcement that they would be able to participate as neutrals.

Russia's ban was announced just a day before the Beijing Games are scheduled to begin, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had called for such a measure in the face of international pressure and boycott threats from athletes.

Matytsin, speaking to the state-owned news agency TASS, confirmed that Russia is now working on an emergency appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"We are currently working to establish our legal position to file lawsuits on the protection of our athletes' rights, against the discrimination of athletes based on their ethnicity and the use of sports as a tool of a political pressure," he said.

"Today's decision of the International Paralympic Committee to bar our team is a blatant violation of athletes' rights and a manipulation of the Olympic Charter and human lives' values in pursuit of political goals.

"It is extremely inadmissible to put in action any type of sanctions with regard to [Russia's] Paralympians, who have already arrived for the tournament.

"We are drafting a lawsuit to be considered before the Opening Ceremony and the actual start [of the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games]."

The IPC's decision came one week after Russia invaded Ukraine and means that a 71-strong team of Russian Paralympians will be forced to sit out the Games, barring the success of an appeal.

Ukraine, meanwhile, will have 29 representatives in Beijing, while Russian athletes or teams have also been hit with bans by bodies such as the World Athletics Council, FIFA and UEFA, as the international sporting community attempts to apply pressure to the nation.

Athletes from Russia and Belarus have been banned from the 2022 Winter Olympics following a U-turn by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The IPC announced on Wednesday that the two nations were set to compete in Beijing, albeit under the Paralympic flag and without being included in the medal table.

That was despite the International Olympic Committee (IOC) calling for athletes from Russia and Belarus to be prevented from taking part in all international sporting competitions.

However, just a day before the Games are due to begin, the IPC has reversed its decision amid fierce backlash and threats of boycotts.

It means 83 athletes will now no longer be able to compete in the nine-day event, including a 71-strong team from Russia.

IPC president Andrew Parsons said in a statement on Thursday: "At the IPC we are very firm believers that sport and politics should not mix. However, by no fault of its own the war has now come to these Games and behind the scenes many governments are having an influence on our cherished event.

"The IPC is a membership-based organisation, and we are receptive to the views of our member organisations. When our members elected the board in December 2021 it was to maintain and uphold the principles, values, and rules of the Paralympic Movement.  

"As board members that is a responsibility and duty we take extremely seriously. In taking our decision yesterday we were looking at the long-term health and survival of the Paralympic Movement.  

"We are fiercely proud of the principles and values that have made the Movement what it is today. However, what is clear is that the rapidly escalating situation has now put us in a unique and impossible position so close to the start of the Games."

The new announcement comes a week on from Russia invading Ukraine, with neighbouring Belarus effectively used as a staging post for part of the advance.

A joint statement from Ukrainian athletes and the Global Athlete group condemned the IPC's original ruling on Wednesday, accusing the governing body of issuing "another blow" to every Ukrainian athlete and citizen.

Parsons explained that the situation in the athletes' village had become "untenable", leading to the surprise U-turn on the eve of the event.

"Yesterday we said we would continue to listen, and that is what we are doing," he said. "In the last 12 hours an overwhelming number of members have been in touch with us and been very open, for which I am grateful.  

"They have told us that if we do not reconsider our decision, it is now likely to have grave consequences for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. Multiple NPCs, some of which have been contacted by their governments, teams and athletes, are threatening not to compete.

"Ensuring the safety and security of athletes is of paramount importance to us and the situation in the athlete villages is escalating and has now become untenable. 

"In order to preserve the integrity of these Games and the safety of all participants, we have decided to refuse the athlete entries from RPC and NPC Belarus. 

"To the Para athletes from the impacted countries, we are very sorry that you are affected by the decisions your governments took last week in breaching the Olympic Truce. You are victims of your governments' actions. 

"Athlete welfare is and always will be a key concern for us. As a result of today's decision 83 Para athletes are directly impacted by this decision. However, if RPC and NPC Belarus remain here in Beijing then nations will likely withdraw. We will likely not have a viable Games. If this were to happen, the impact would be far wider reaching.

"I hope and pray that we can get back to a situation when the talk and focus is fully on the power of sport to transform the lives of persons with disabilities, and the best of humanity."

The World Athletics Council announced on Tuesday that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.

A number of other sporting federations, including FIFA and UEFA, have also banned teams and athletes from Belarus and Russia.

Russian and Belarusian athletes will be allowed to compete at the 2022 Winter Paralympics as neutrals, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has confirmed.

The IPC made the announcement on Wednesday, two days before the nine-day event is scheduled to officially begin in Beijing.

While competitors from Russia and Belarus have been cleared to take part in the global showpiece, they must compete under the Paralympic flag and will not be included in the medal table.

IPC president Andrew Parsons said in a statement: "The IPC and wider Paralympic Movement is greatly concerned by the gross violation of the Olympic Truce by the Russian and Belarusian governments in the days prior to the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. 

"The IPC Governing Board is united in its condemnation of these actions and was in agreement that they cannot go unnoticed or unaddressed.

"In deciding what actions the IPC should take, it was fundamental that we worked within the framework of our new constitution to remain politically neutral and within the IPC Handbook, the rules and regulations that govern the Paralympic Movement. 

"Such neutrality is firmly anchored in the genuine belief that sport holds the transformative power to overcome our shortcomings and summon from within us the best of our humanity, especially in the darkest of moments.

"What we have decided upon is the harshest possible punishment we can hand down within our constitution and the current IPC rules."

The announcement comes six days on from Russian president Vladimir Putin ordering an invasion of Ukraine, with neighbouring Belarus effectively used as a staging post for Russian military.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week called for athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus to be prevented from taking part in all international sporting competitions.

In a statement issued on Monday, the IOC's executive board accused the governments of Russia and Belarus of a "breach of the Olympic Truce" following the attack on Ukraine.

Referencing that statement, Parsons declared further sanctions may follow, with the IPC confirming members will be invited to decide whether to suspend or terminate the membership of the two nations.

"Post-Beijing 2022, we will also take measures with our 206 member organisations to determine whether any breaches of the Olympic Truce for future Paralympic Games could lead to the possible suspension or termination of an NPC [National Paralympic Committee]," he said.

"It is deeply disappointing that such action is required. However, the IPC Governing Board believes it to be necessary in order to hold governments to account for actions that impact directly on the Paralympic Movement, the Paralympic Games and Paralympic athletes. 

"This is especially so given the origins of the Paralympic Movement, arising out of the horrific events of the Second World War.

"Now that this decision has been made, I expect all participating NPCs to treat the neutral athletes as they would any other athletes at these Games, no matter how difficult this may be. 

"Unlike their respective governments, these Paralympic athletes and officials are not the aggressors, they are here to compete in a sport event like everybody else.

"The eyes of the world will be watching the Paralympic Winter Games in the coming days.  It is vital we show to world leaders through our sport that we can unite as human beings and that our true power is found when promoting peace, understanding and inclusion. 

"This is at the core of what the Paralympic Movement does and what it stands for. We should not lose sight of this now, no matter what the circumstances."

The World Athletics Council announced on Tuesday that athletes from Russia and Belarus will be excluded from all World Athletics Series events for the foreseeable future.

A number of other sporting federations, including FIFA and UEFA, have also banned teams and athletes from the eastern European countries.

The National Paralympic Committee of Ukraine has confirmed that a 29-strong team will represent their country at the upcoming Winter Paralympics in Beijing, despite Russia's invasion of their homeland.

Russia launched an assault on Ukraine late last week, leading to a strong backlash from the international sporting community.

After the International Olympic Committee (IOC) condemned Russia's breach of the Olympic Truce, which remains in place until after the end of the Winter Paralympics, Ukrainian athletes penned an open letter to the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to call for the suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes ahead of the Winter Games, telling the governing bodies; "your legacy will be defined by your actions."

While the IPC is due to make a decision on Russian and Belarusian participation on Wednesday, Ukrainian Paralympians have moved to confirm that they are departing for the games from undisclosed locations, to compete in biathlon and cross-country skiing events.

"Part of the team is in one place, part is in another," a spokesperson told Public Sports.

"I hope that today we will unite and get to the airport and go to Beijing together. The team is not in Ukraine.

"We will not tell where we are. When we come to Beijing, we will tell. I hope that tomorrow, March 2, we will be in Beijing.

"The team is going [in] full as we planned."

Later that afternoon, a tweet from the official account of the Paralympic Games displayed the Ukrainian athletes prior to their departure for China. 

Ukrainian athletes have signed an open letter addressed to the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees calling for the immediate suspension of Russian and Belarusian athletes ahead of the Winter Paralympics.

After weeks of rising political tensions, Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine on Thursday, with the conflict escalating further over the weekend.

Russia's actions have been widely condemned, and several leading athletes have demanded their entry into the 2022 Beijing Games be blocked.

A letter published by Global Athlete read: "We write to you today on behalf of Ukrainian Athletes to call on you in your leadership capacity of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to immediately suspend the Russian and Belarusian National Olympic and Paralympic Committees.

"Any suspension must also include the banning of all athletes from international sport, including the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games.

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine, supported by Belarus, is a clear breach of the Olympic and Paralympic Charters – a breach that must be met with strong sanctions.

"If the IOC and IPC refuse to take swift action, you are clearly emboldening [this] violation of international law and your own Charters.

"Your lack of action will send a message to every athlete and the world that you have chosen Russia and Belarus over athlete interests. Your legacy will be defined by your actions."

The IOC this week condemned Russia's breach of the Olympic Truce, which remains in place until a week after the end of the Paralympic Games.

The Paralympics will take place between March 4 and March 13.

Anna Gasser believes the Kamila Valieva doping allegations should be attributed to "higher authorities", while she said she feels sorry for the teenage figure skater.

Valieva endured a controversial Winter Olympics after being allowed to compete despite a positive test for the banned substance trimetazidine coming to light.

The 15-year-old managed gold in the team event prior to the controversy and was favourite in the singles competition, but an error-strewn performance saw her finish fourth.

Valieva was visibly upset after missing out with her solo routine in Beijing, having come under scrutiny for much of the week on and off the ice.

Big Air gold medallist Gasser expressed her support for Valieva, who was able to continue her participation due to her age, while questioning those in power if the doping allegations are proved to be true.

"It hasn't affected me, but you still kind of suffer with her," Gasser told Stats Perform when asked about the situation.

"Doping in our sports is not that big of an issue because there's not really a lot to dope. But I was thinking, this girl is 15 years old. 

"She was one of the favourites and had pressure already and then there's doping accusations. From a humane perspective, I felt sorry for her. 

"Then she finished fourth as a big favourite. I think that both ice skating and figure skating are a tough sport. I think she has touched many people because you could see how hard the situation was for her. 

"Her coach's reactions were also kind of cold towards her. At 15 years old, I don't think you can actively do doping at that age. This must have been done by higher authorities if these allegations become reality."

Gasser is not the first to comment on the reaction from Valieva's coach Eteri Tutberidze, who reportedly asked her "why did you stop fighting?" in reference to an initial mistake on the teenager's opening triple axel, with International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach also suggesting Tutberidze's reaction was "chilling".

Valieva remains the subject of an anti-doping investigation and her entourage – including doctors, coaches and other adults surrounding her – are also being investigated.

Aside from the controversy surrounding Valieva, Gasser insisted that the competition to retain her Olympic crown was much tougher than four years ago.

"Well, I knew it would be very hard to defend this gold medal because the sport keeps on getting younger, there's a lot of pressure from the young ones," she added. 

"On the other hand, the young ones have pushed me to my limit and inspired me. I have developed because of them. And that was very beautiful because I think you can empower each other that way. 

"And I have to say that sports-wise, defending the gold medal this year was a bit harder and more challenging than the gold medal from four years ago. Back then, I had quite a gap over my competitors. This time, it was quite balanced."

Thomas Bach reiterated his wish for peace as the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially closed the Beijing Games.

In his welcoming speech earlier in February, Bach stated: "There will be no discrimination for any reason whatsoever. In our fragile world, where division, conflict and mistrust are on the rise, we show the world: yes, it is possible to be fierce rivals, while at the same time living peacefully and respectfully together.

"This is the mission of the Olympic Games: bringing us together in peaceful competition. Always building bridges, never erecting walls. Uniting humankind in all our diversity."

And with tensions between Russia and the west rising over the possibility of a Ukraine invasion, Bach believes the Beijing Games have been the perfect example of "solidarity and peace", as he called on world leaders to be inspired by the athletes.

"Each and every one of you strived to achieve your personal best. We were deeply touched how you were wishing and cheering for your competitors to achieve their best as well.

"You not only respected each other: you embraced each other, even if your countries are divided by conflict.

"You overcame these divisions, demonstrating that in this Olympic community we are all equal – regardless of what we look like, where we come from, or what we believe.

"This unifying power of the Olympic Games is stronger than the forces that want to divide us: you give peace a chance," he said.

Bach also emphasised the importance of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has been ongoing for two years, and Bach stressed the crucial need for poorer nations to have equal access to the vaccines.

"If we want to finally overcome this pandemic, we must be faster," he said.

"We must aim higher, we must be stronger, we must stand together. Vaccination means caring for each other.

"In this Olympic spirit of solidarity, we call on the international community: give equal access to vaccines for everybody around the world."

While Norway and Germany rounded off a golden Winter Olympics in style, Sunday's final day of competition marked the end of a disappointing Games for a traditional power.

Therese Johaug capped off a brilliant individual campaign, and her Olympic career, in Beijing as she claimed a third gold of the Games in cross-country skiing, prevailing in the women's 30km mass start on Sunday.

Already guaranteed top spot in the medal table, that win took Norway's total of golds to 16, four in front of Germany. It is the second successive games in which Norway has finished top of the pile.

A Games that has seen Germany dominate the sliding events was fittingly capped with a German victory in the four-man bobsleigh.

Francesco Friedrich piloted Germany to a 12th and final gold while Johannes Lochner finished second behind his team-mate.

Canada took bronze, with 14 of the country's 26 medals at these Games being of that variety.

A total of four golds is Canada's lowest since the 1994 Games in Lillehammer (three) and, ending the final day in 11th, the 2022 Olympics marked the first in which the North American nation has finished outside the top 10 in the medal table since its home games in Calgary in 1988, when it did not win a single gold.

Great Britain did not win a medal of any colour at that Games, but a late rush in curling ensured the Brits avoided that fate in Beijing. 

A 10-3 victory over Japan in the final on Sunday meant the women won gold a day after the men's team had to settle for silver. Team GB finished 19th in the table.

Medal table:

1. Norway (G16 S8 B13, Total: 37)
2. Germany (G12 S10 B5, Total: 27)
3. China (G9 S4 B2, Total: 15)
4. United States (G8 S10 B7, Total: 25)
5. Sweden (G8 S5 B5, Total: 18)
6. Netherlands (G8 S5 B4, Total: 17)
7. Austria (G7 S7 B4, Total: 18)
8. Switzerland (G7 S2 B5, Total: 14)
9. Russian Olympic Committee (G6 S12 B14, Total: 32)
10. France (G5 S7 B2, Total: 14)

Finland took their first gold medal in men's ice hockey as they claimed a 2-1 win over the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in Sunday's final.

It was the 109th and final gold medal handed out at the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Finland finished 16th in the medal standings, with eight in total.

Here are the key numbers around their historic victory.

1 - This was the first gold medal for Finland in any team sport at either the summer or winter Games. They debuted in men's ice hockey in 1952.

2 - It brought up Finland's second gold at the Beijing Games, after cross-country skier Iivo Niskanen won the men's 15km classic.

4 - This is the fourth medal for Finland under the tutelage of Jukka Jalonen. They won gold in the world championships in 2011 and 2019 and Olympic bronze in 2010.

7 - Sakari Manninen and Teemu Hartikainen had seven points each in the Olympics, leading the overall scoring of the men's tournament along with Juraj Slafkovsky of Slovakia and Canada's Adam Tambellini.

37 - Captain Valtteri Filppula, at 37 years and 337 days old, is the oldest gold medallist for Finland at the Winter Games since cross-country skier Veikko Hakulinen in 1960.

16 - This was the first time in 16 years that neither Canada or the United States had progressed to the men's semi-finals. 

Norway's Therese Johaug capped off a brilliant individual campaign, and her Olympic career, in Beijing as she claimed a third gold of the Games in cross-country skiing.

Johaug, who missed the 2018 Games due to a doping ban, won the very first gold medal in Beijing and rounded off the cross-country skiing events with a victory in the women's 30km mass start on Sunday.

It took Norway's gold medal total to 16, four in front of second-best Germany.

Johaug had already suggested she would be retiring before the next Olympics, in 2026 in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo, and the 33-year-old is set to go out on top.

"It is a dream come true that I can stand here for Norway with three gold medals in the same Olympics," she said. "I was so, so happy 14 days ago when I got my first one, and I cannot believe I have more. It's fantastic to end my Olympic career with these three gold medals."

Jessie Diggins took silver, becoming the first American woman to win a distance medal in cross-country skiing, despite having struggled with food poisoning this week.

Diggins said: "That might have been the best race of my entire life, I'm not going to lie. It was also maybe the hardest race of my whole life." 

Kerttu Niskanen took bronze to secure her second medal of the Games. 

Great Britain break their duck

Great Britain finally claimed their first gold of the Games, as Eve Muirhead led her women's curling team to a 10-3 thrashing of Japan.

It followed on from the men's team taking silver on Saturday. The gold was Team GB's first in curling in 20 years.

"It's a dream come true," Muirhead, told BBC Sport. "That was my third semi-final, and the two I lost were hard but I bounced back and here we are. We are Olympic champions. It's such a special moment."

Finland end 70-year wait

Finland won their first Olympic gold in men's ice hockey, as they defeated the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 2-1.

It took Finland 70 years to win gold. They had previously clinched bronze in 1994, 1998, 2010 and 2014, and silver in 1988 and 2006.

The victory earned a presidential seal of approval, too.

"I heard our president is going to call me and I would like to talk to him," said coach Jukka Jalonen. 

Dominant Germany claim three more medals

It has been a brilliant Games for Germany, who have taken seven bobsleigh medals, adding to six golds and three silvers won in skeleton and luge. They have dominated on the tracks.

Francesco Friedrich steered Germany to a 12th and final gold, in the four-man event on Saturday, while Johannes Lochner finished second behind his team-mate.

Pilot Friedrich has now equalled compatriots Kevin Kuske and Andre Lange as the bobsleigh athletes with the most titles, with four gold medals each.

"We hope it goes on," he said. "Our goal is to make four more years. We want to make the Olympics with all our friends, our sponsors in Cortina. It's near Germany, so maybe we can make one or two buses for all our families and friends and sponsors to finish our careers together."

Germany also had a silver to celebrate in alpine skiing. They finished behind Austria and ahead of Norway in the mixed team parallel big final.

Great Britain has claimed its first gold medal of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on the final day after Eve Muirhead led them past Japan 10-3 in Sunday's women's curling final.

The golden finish takes Great Britain's medal tally to two following the men's curling team winning silver on Saturday.

Muirhead was competing at her fourth Winter Olympics, having claimed bronze in 2014, earning her maiden gold medal with a starring role alongside Vicky Wright, Jen Dodds, and Hailey Duff.

The 31-year-old, who had returned after hip surgery, scored four in the seventh to all but secure the victory for the British.

"It's a dream come true," Muirhead, told BBC Sport. "That was my third semi-final, and the two I lost were hard but I bounced back and here we are. We are Olympic champions. It's such a special moment."

The team's gold medal was Great Britain's first in curling in 20 years, while it marked the 23rd team to win gold at the 2022 Winter Olympics, edging the previous joint best mark of 22 from Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018.

The triumph also means Great Britain have claimed a gold medal at the past four Winter Olympics for the first time following Amy Williams (2010) and Lizzy Yarnold (2014, 2018) who both won gold in skeleton.

Sunday sees the final day of action at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, and the last five medal events.

Great Britain's women will attempt to go one better than their male counterparts in the curling, the four-man bobsleigh concludes, while Norway will seek to add to their impressive medal haul in the final cross-country skiing event.

The rescheduled mixed-team parallel slalom should finally get under way, and the men's ice hockey final promises to be an intriguing one.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at Sunday's events, before the evening's closing ceremony.

Alpine skiing

The mixed team parallel slalom is due to take place after being rescheduled from Saturday due to windy conditions.

The event is part of the Olympic programme for just the second time, with Switzerland defending their title and Norway the reigning world champions.

It sees skiers race one another, two at a time, on side-by-side and identical slalom courses, with the first to reach the finish line scoring for their team. Each team contains two men and two women, who race against rivals of the same gender, with 16 teams entered and the competition operating in a knockout mode, with quarter-final places on offer to the first-round winners.

Switzerland won the first iteration in Pyeongchang, while Austria took silver and Norway claimed bronze.

Bobsleigh

The final bobsleigh event sees the four-man sleds compete, with the first two heats having taken place on Saturday.

The leaderboard at the halfway stage looks as many expected it would, with the team led by German pilot Francesco Friedrich leading the way, just ahead of the team of compatriot Johannes Lochner.

Canada's foursome led by Justin Kripps sat third, but the threat of a Germany sweep - as happened in the two-man event - remained, with Christoph Hafer's team in fourth.

German sleds have won five of the last seven four-man events at the Winter Games dating back to 1994 in Lillehammer.

Cross-country skiing

The cross-country skiing events have been largely dominated by Norway and Russian Olympic Committee, with the two teams accounting for eight of 11 gold medals so far (four each).

The final event on Sunday will be the women's 30km mass start, with Norway's Therese Johaug one of the favourites after taking gold in the 10km classic and skiathlon.

Finland's Krista Parmakoski (silver) is the only medallist from 2018 to compete here, and she will be looking to add to the bronze she won in the 10km classic.

Curling

Though Great Britain won their first medal of Beijing 2022 on Saturday, their men's curling team will have been disappointed to only take silver after losing to Sweden in the gold medal match.

Eve Muirhead leads her team into the women's final on Sunday against Japan, and will be confident of doing so having beaten them 10-4 in the round-robin stages.

Ice hockey

The men's final sees reigning Olympic champions Russian Olympic Committee take on two-time silver medallists Finland.

This will be Finland's first gold medal match since Turin 2006, which was the last Olympic final not to feature either the United States or Canada. Both the US and Canada were heavily impacted by the NHL refusing to release players for Beijing 2022, but this final still promises to be a strong one.

Belgium have long lived in the Winter Olympics shadows of their geographical neighbours, but Bart Swings ensured there was plenty to celebrate on Saturday.

France, Germany and Netherlands have historically, and recently, enjoyed plenty of podium success at the Games, but it has been in seriously short supply in the case of the Belgians.

In fact, until this weekend they had not held a Winter Olympics gold medal since Micheline Lannoy and Pierre Baugniet won the figure skating mixed pairs at the 1948 Games in St Moritz.

Swings took glory in speed skating's men's mass start event, an improvement on his silver medal from Pyeongchang four years ago as the 31-year-old backed up his top-ranked World Cup form of the past three seasons.

South Koreans Chung Jae Won and Lee Seung Hoon took silver and bronze, while last place went to Dutch great Sven Kramer, a nine-time Olympic medallist, who won four golds in his storied career and was making his final appearance at the Games.

Swings said after winning the 100th gold medal of Beijing 2022: "That silver medal in Pyeongchang was already incredible because I think it was about 20 years ago since we had won a medal.

"Now a gold medal following up on that silver is historical. It's unbelievable. I'm looking forward to getting home with my family and friends. I haven't seen them in a long time because of COVID-19. It's going to be amazing to see them and show them the gold medal."

Here, Stats Perform picks out some other standout numbers from Saturday's action in Beijing.

3 - Irene Schouten became just the second woman to win three gold medals in speed skating in a single Winter Olympics, as she won the women's mass start, adding that to her 3,000m and 5,000m victories. It meant she matched the three-gold feat of fellow Dutchwoman Yvonne van Gennip from the 1988 Calgary Games. Germany's Claudia Pechstein finished ninth in Saturday's race at the age of 49, signing off a 30-year Olympic career that saw her win five gold medals and nine medals in all.

4-3-2-1 - Niklas Edin is the poster boy for patience, finally getting his hands on gold with the Sweden men's curling team. The skip featured as the Swedes finished fourth in 2010, third in 2014, second in 2018, and the 5-4 win over Great Britain means Edin has finally led the team to first place. It makes him the first Olympian to go on a run of 4-3-2-1 finishes in the same event, and means Sweden are men's curling team champions for the first time.

7 - Russian Olympic Committee's Alexander Bolshunov struck gold in the cross-country mass start, which was shortened from 50km to 30km due to extreme weather conditions. It gave him a fifth medal and third gold of Beijing 2022, after previous triumphs in the skiathlon and men's relay. That also made him the seventh cross-country skier to win five medals in any single edition of the Olympics, and the first man. Bolshunov now has nine medals in his Olympic career, finishing on the podium every time he has competed.

20 - New Zealand's Nico Porteous is just 20 years and 88 days old, and this is his second Winter Olympics. He landed a bronze four years ago and became the youngest gold medallist in men's freeski halfpipe with a spectacular performance on Saturday, nailing his routine to deliver a third medal for his country at these Games. It is the first time New Zealand have won three medals in a Winter Olympics, with snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott having landed the first two.

Norway did not add to their golden haul on Saturday at the Winter Olympics, but they cannot now be caught at the top of the medal table.

Nearest rivals Germany, four behind Norway's all-time record haul of 15 golds, are involved in only three of the five medal events on Sunday's final day of the Beijing Games.

Germany's 11th gold of the games arrived when Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi completed victory in the two-woman bobsleigh, ahead of compatriots Mariama Jamanka and Alexandra Burghardt.

It was almost a 1-2-3 for Germany, only for Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Sylvia Hoffman to take bronze, with Kim Kalicki and Lisa Buckwitz having to settle for fourth place.

China sit third overall after Sui Wenjing and Han Cong delivered gold in the mixed pairs figure skating, fending off the Russian pair of Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov to earn the hosts a ninth triumph of the Games.

Norway's only medal of the day came in the men's cross-country mass start, which was shortened from 50km to 30km due to extreme weather, as Simen Hegstad Krueger took bronze.

Sweden won an eighth gold, a new Winter Olympics best for the nation, as their men's curling team, led by skip Niklas Edin, earned a 5-4 win over Great Britain in the final.

The silver put Team GB on the medal table for the first time, in a tie for 24th place, with either gold or silver to follow on Sunday in the women's curling.

Medal table:

1. Norway (G15 S8 B12, Total: 35)
2. Germany (G11 S8 B5, Total: 24)
3. China (G9 S4 B2, Total: 15)
4. United States (G8 S9 B7, Total: 24)
5. Sweden (G8 S5 B5, Total: 18)
6. Netherlands (G8 S5 B4, Total: 17)
7. Switzerland (G7 S2 B5, Total: 14)
8. Russian Olympic Committee (G6 S11 B14, Total: 31)
9. Austria (G6 S7 B4, Total: 17)
10. France (G5 S7 B2, Total: 14)

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