Portugal Colonial - Broken Valieva to White's farewell: Five Beijing Games moments

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Broken Valieva to White's farewell: Five Beijing Games moments
Broken Valieva to White's farewell: Five Beijing Games moments

Broken Valieva to White's farewell: Five Beijing Games moments

There were plenty of tears, some cheers from Covid-restricted crowds and the sight of an ice hockey match between players wearing medical masks.

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AFP Sport picks out five memorable moments from the Beijing Olympics:

- Valieva's disturbing collapse -

In what will go down as one of the most excruciating performances in Winter Olympic history, the 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva dissolved on the ice to finish fourth in the women's singles competition.

The pre-event favourite had been cleared to compete despite failing a drugs test, but with the global spotlight on her, it all became too much.

The talented teenager fell several times -- to gasps and shrieks from the audience -- and sobbed into her hands at the end.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said he had been "very disturbed" to see it.

- White's emotional farewell -

Shaun White said there was "no agony, just happiness" after the snowboard legend narrowly missed out on a medal in his last competitive appearance.

The three-time Olympic champion from the United States finished fourth in the men's halfpipe, falling on his third and final run with a farewell medal up for grabs.

The 35-year-old looked subdued as he slid into the finish area and had tears in his eyes, before smiling and waving to the applauding crowd.

"Snowboarding, thank you," he said, tears welling in his eyes again.

"It's been the love of my life."

- Shiffrin's Games to forget -

Alpine ski star Mikaela Shiffrin had been one of the biggest names in Beijing, but she had an Olympics to forget and failed to win a medal of any description.

After sliding out of the slalom, she plonked herself on the snow at the side of the course, her helmeted head bowed down and resting on her crossed arms.

One of the big favourites to win the event, her shock early exit came just two days after her bid for gold in the giant slalom ended in much the same dejected fashion.

The American said afterwards that she felt "awful", but her already bad Games only got worse after that.

- 'A cool story' -

Russian and Canadian women ice hockey players wore medical masks for their match after the Russians' daily Covid results failed to arrive in time, in a bizarre pandemic-inspired chapter to the Games.

The Russians took their masks off in the third period after their PCR test results came through and showed they were negative. The Canadians opted to keep them on for the whole game.

"This is probably a cool story in the long run. We can say we were at the Covid Olympics and we even wore a mask in a game," said Canada's Natalie Spooner.

- Policeman wins two gold -

Austria's Johannes Strolz bounced back from being dropped from his team -- even working as a traffic policeman for a time -- to emulate his father in winning alpine combined gold.

Sitting fourth after the opening downhill, the 29-year-old produced the fastest slalom to top the podium, just as his father Hubert did at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

Strolz left Beijing with two golds and a silver, capping a remarkable comeback, having been dumped by the demanding Austrian team because of poor form.

It resulted in him funding his own way on the World Cup circuit and working for a time as a traffic policeman.