Wednesday's Highlights at the Sochi Olympics
Wednesday's Highlights at the Sochi Olympics
The Associated Press
Feb. 19, 2014
WEDNESDAY'S HIGHLIGHTS AT THE SOCHI OLYMPICS:
SAY IT AIN'T SO-CHI!
Finland crushed Russia's hopes of a hockey gold medal at its home Olympics by beating the hosts 3-1 and putting an enormous damper on the final days of the Sochi Games. The loss extends the 22-year Olympic title drought for the nation where many consider hockey to be the national sport. Finland will now play Sweden in one semifinal, while the United States will face Canada in the other.
YUNA KIM TOPS IN SHORT PROGRAM
Defending champion Yuna Kim of South Korea showed she has just enough to remain the favorite to claim another Olympic figure skating title, winning the short program. After finishing first in both programs in the team event to help the hosts take the gold, 15-year-old Julia Lipnitskaia fell on a triple flip and then broke down in tears. She was in fifth place.
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen became the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, winning his 13th medal — a gold in the team biathlon event. The 40-year-old Bjoerndalen helped Norway win the first Olympic mixed relay as he broke the total medals record he previously shared with retired cross-country skiing great Bjoern Daehlie at the Winter Games, and also matched his countryman's record mark of eight golds.
NORWAY DOMINATES, FINLAND SURPRISES
Marit Bjoergen gave Norway a dominant victory in the women's cross-country team sprint, her fifth career Olympic gold and second in Sochi. For the men, Sami Jauhojaervi gave Finland its first Winter Olympic gold since 2002 — and first in cross-country since 1998 — by taking advantage of a fall that slowed his two closest rivals.
CANADA'S WOMEN EDGE U.S. IN BOBSLED
Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse of Canada won their second straight women's bobsled gold, edging Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams of the United States by 0.10 seconds. The Americans had the lead after two runs, but skids cost them time and, ultimately, the gold. Williams already has gold and silver medals from three Summer Olympic appearances as a sprinter. The U.S. also took bronze, with Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans.
ALPINE GOLD AGAIN FOR LIGETY
Ted Ligety got the U.S. Alpine team's first gold medal at the Sochi Games by winning the two-leg giant slalom with a combined time of 2 minutes, 45.29 seconds. He became the first American man to win two Alpine skiing golds. France's Steve Missilier got the silver, 0.48 seconds behind Ligety. Alexis Pinturault got the bronze, another 0.16 back.
TO RUSSIA, WITH LOVE — AND GOLD — FOR AMERICAN-BORN WILD
Vic Wild, an American native who now competes for Russia, captured the Olympic gold medal in parallel giant slalom about 15 minutes after his wife, Russia's Alena Zavarzina, won the bronze. Wild, who married Zavarzina in July 2011, moved past Nevin Galmarini in the second run of the finals, while Zan Kosir of Slovenia took the bronze. In the women's race, Patrizia Kummer gave Switzerland its sixth gold medal in Sochi when Japan's Tomoka Takeuchi lost an edge halfway through the second run of the women's final.
CZECH-ING THE DUTCH
Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic defended her Olympic title in the women's 5,000 meters, chasing down Ireen Wust to deny the Dutch a seventh speedskating gold. Wust's silver and Carien Kleibeuker's bronze gave the Dutch a total of 21 medals in long track speedskating.
PUSSY RIOT GETS ATTACKED
The anti-Putin punk group Pussy Riot tried to perform under an Olympic sign in downtown Sochi but were attacked by a group of Cossack militia members. One of the attackers appeared to use pepper spray on them while another horsewhipped several group members. Police arrived and questioned witnesses but no one was arrested.
AN OLYMPIAN'S TEARS FOR HIS COUNTRY
Ukrainian pole vault great Sergei Bubka wept as he appealed to both sides in his homeland's political crisis to halt the violence. Bubka, who heads Ukraine's national Olympic committee, said none of his athletes had asked to return to Ukraine or were under political pressure to leave the games. "They would like to bring glory to the nation and they would like to raise the flag of the nation," he said.
The United States now has the most medals in Sochi with 23, seven of them gold. Russia and the Netherlands each have 22 overall, including six golds. Norway has the most golds, with nine, and 20 medals overall.
Six gold medals will be awarded Thursday, including women's figure skating. And the United States and Canada will meet in the women's hockey gold medal game for the fourth time in five Olympics.