Winter Olympics: Atkin & Woods win X Games medals, Hirscher shines again, Shiffrin blip

James Woods
James Woods will go into the Winter Olympics with an X Games bronze

With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang beginning next week, BBC Sport brings you a weekly round-up of the big stories in the build-up.

X Games medals for GB freestyle skiers

FREESTYLE SKIING: British duo James Woods and Izzy Atkin warmed up for Pyeongchang in perfect style by winning X Games medals at the prestigious event in Aspen.

Atkin took silver in the slopestyle event while Woods - fifth at the Sochi Games in 2014 - won bronze in the non-Olympic event of big air and finished fourth in slopestyle.

Atkin and Woods will form part of Britain's biggest ever ski and snowboard team for Pyeongchang with 25 athletes selected and Team GB's largest Olympic squad ever with 59 athletes overall.

OAR squad announced

The International Olympic Committee has cleared 169 Russian athletes to compete as the neutral Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) team at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Notable absentees include short track star Victor An, biathlete Anton Shipulin and cross-country skier Sergei Ustyugov.

Another athlete who will be missing is speed skater Olga Graf, who was deemed eligible but has rejected her invitation to Pyeongchang.

She said she would have competed until learning some team-mates were not chosen in an "unthinkable and unprecedented event".

Setback for Shiffrin

ALPINE SKIING: Mikaela Shiffrin's pre-Pyeongchang dip in form continued as the American suffered a rare slalom setback in Switzerland.

Shiffrin, who became women's slalom's youngest Olympic champion in Sochi, had won the last five traditional slalom World Cup races prior to the contest in Lenzerheide.

However the 22-year-old failed to finish in her final race in Switzerland before heading to South Korea, as Slovakia's Petra Vlhova took victory.

Shriffin has won 10 World Cup races during a dominant 2017-18 season but has failed to win any of her last five races prior to the Games.

History-maker Hirscher strikes again

ALPINE SKIING: Marcel Hirscher's record-breaking 2017-18 campaign continued with two more World Cup victories to make him the second most decorated men's alpine skier of all time.

Slalom victory at the iconic Schladming event coupled with a giant slalom win in Garmisch-Partenkirchen took his overall tally to 55 to move him clear of fellow Austrian Hermann Maier.

Hirscher, 28, won three World Championship golds in 2017 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest skiers of all time but has failed to top the podium in his previous two Olympic appearances.

Elsewhere, Switzerland's reigning world champion Beat Feuz claimed his third World Cup downhill win of the season in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

China's Jin Boyang wins the Four Continents
Jin Boyang is hoping to become the first Chinese man to win an Olympic singles figure skating medal

Jin's pre-Olympic tonic

FIGURE SKATING: China's Jin Boyang returned from a foot injury in style to win the men's title at the Four Continents Championships in Chinese Taipei.

The 20-year-old landed some huge quadruple jumps to overhaul Japanese rival Shoma Uno, who had led after the short programme.

Japan swept the podium in the women's event, with Winter Olympics-bound Kaori Sakamoto and Satoko Miyahara claiming gold and bronze respectively.

White withdraws as Kim triumphs in Aspen

SNOWBOARDING: The USA's two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion Shaun White withdrew from the X Games through illness while teen sensation Chloe Kim further underlined her potential by winning the women's title.

White, struggling with 'flu, opted not to compete in a competition that was eventually won by Japan's Ayumu Hirano with a historic run that was awarded 99 out of 100.

Fellow US rider Kim, 17, who has South Korean parents, underlined her favourite status for Pyeongchang with a similarly incredible run in the women's halfpipe which featured back-to-back 1080 jumps.

Hot Stoch gives Poland taste for victory

SKI JUMPING: Poland claimed their first World Cup team win of the season, with star man Kamil Stoch clinching victory ahead of Germany with the final jump on Saturday, much to the delight of the home crowd in Zakopane.

However, double Olympic gold medallist Stoch suffered disappointment a day later in the individual event, failing to progress past the opening stage.

That allowed German Richard Freitag to overtake Stoch in the overall standings. Victory on Sunday went to Slovenia's Anze Semenic, who overcame difficult conditions on the large hill to claim his maiden World Cup win.

Germans wrap up World Cup clean sweep

LUGE: Germany clinched the World Cup title in all four of the Olympic disciplines at the regular season finale in Sigulda, which also doubled as the European Championships.

Natalie Geisenberger had already wrapped up the women's title while fellow Olympic champion Felix Loch regained the men's title with a second-place finish in Latvia.

Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won in Sigulda to retain their doubles title, with Germany also triumphing in the team relay despite finishing second behind Russia in the final race.

NORDIC COMBINED: Japan's Akito Watabe took victory in the Seefeld Triple in Austria to suggest he is well placed to upgrade his Sochi 2014 normal hill silver into Pyeongchang gold.

The 2018 Winter Olympics take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from 9-25 February. You will be able to follow live BBC Sport coverage of the Winter Games on TV, radio and online.

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