Friday Afternoon Olympic Update

More Medals For USA

Friday, February 19, 2010 - 6:38pm

By JAIME ARON
AP Sports Writer
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Bode Miller always likes a
good party. So it's a good thing he came to the Vancouver Olympics.
Instead of retiring, the 32-year-old Miller decided to compete
in one more Winter Games and on Friday he collected his second
medal in as many events, this time getting a silver in the super-G
and adding to a stash of prizes that's really worth celebrating.
Andrew Weibrecht, who'd never finished higher than 10th in a
World Cup race, snagged bronze in the super-G, giving the United
States six Alpine medals, already its best at any Winter Olympics.
With the total medal haul up to 20, the U.S. delegation is
closing in on its total from Turin (25) - and there are 54 events
and nine days left.
Americans have won six gold, six silver and eight bronze. You
can add just two of those colors and it would still be several more
than any other country.
Germany has the second-most overall medals with 11. Norway has
the second-most golds with five.
Norway's total was boosted by victories in the first two events
decided Friday. Aksel Lund Svindal won the super-G and Marit
Bjoergen won the women's 15-kilometer pursuit. Bjoergen also became
the first winner of multiple gold medals in Vancouver and the first
with three medals.
The other medals to be decided Friday were in men's and women's
skeleton.
Alas, all is not well for the U.S. delegation. There's a crisis
in curling.
After an 0-4 start that's made the Americans the only winless
club in the field, the men's team changed its skip. John Shuster, a
bronze winner in 2006, was benched for the match Friday against
France.
Shuster understands. After the latest loss, he said, "I've let
my teammates and USA Curling down."
San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, the team's honorary
captain, showed up Friday and joked, "Oh, yeah, I'll go in. I'll
be ready, man."
At least the women finally broke the ice, so to speak.
Skip Debbie McCormick bumped out a Russian stone with her last
rock, giving the U.S. a 6-4 victory - its first after an 0-3 start
that had put her stewardship in jeopardy, too.
---
SUPER-G
When Miller took bronze in the downhill, he was all smiles at
the end of the race. He looked more worn out this time.
After finishing, he let out a big breath of air and quickly
shook his head. Then he leaned forward, resting his helmet on
forearms still locked atop his poles. Once his lungs stopped
burning, he took out his mouthpiece and gave a little fist pump.
"I feel really tired," Miller said. "I was really working
hard to get the skis coming around like that. No big mistakes, a
couple of little bobbles and the line got loose."
There's more for Miller to toast in the Whistler nightlife: With
his fourth career medal, Miller regained the title of most
decorated American Alpine skier, a day after Julia Mancuso tied him
for that honor. (The title could keep changing hands with the men's
super combined and slalom still to come; Mancuso has two events
left and Lindsey Vonn has three.) Also, this is the first time two
Americans got medals in the same Alpine event since brothers Phil
and Steve Mahre went 1-2 in slalom at the 1984 Sarajevo Games.
Weibrecht found himself in first place after his run, something
that had never happened before. He kept waiting to get bumped way
down, but that never happened.
"I've been knocking on the door all year and to come out here
and do it just feels unbelievable," Weibrecht said.
Svindal made it four golds for Norwegians in the seven times
since this race joined the Olympic program at the 1988 Calgary
Games.
The race was marred by more horrific wipeouts. The most serious
involved 40-year-old Patrik Jaerbyn flying through the air, landing
on his back and bouncing hard on the icy surface before sliding to
a stop, his face bloodied.
---
MEN'S HOCKEY
The defending gold medalists from Sweden avenged a monumental
upset against outmanned Belarus - and avoided another one.
The Swedes led 3-0, then were up by only one goal with 5:10
remaining. A goal with 10.4 seconds left padded the final margin.
Belarus has only two NHL players, Sweden 19.
---
BOBSLED
Two Swiss competitors have withdrawn from events following scary
crashes, including a strong medal contender.
Swiss driver Daniel Schmid, who was not a medal favorite, pulled
out of the two-man and four-man bob for "safety reasons" after
two practice crashes. On Friday, his sled overturned during
training and his brakeman was taken from the track in an ambulance,
then flown to Vancouver for observation. A team doctor said there
were no serious injuries.
Earlier, Swiss-1 driver Beat Hefti, a World Cup champion,
withdrew from two-man because of a concussion in a crash Wednesday.
He hasn't decided whether to race in the four-man, which starts
next Friday.
---
SKI JUMPING
Normal hill winner Simon Ammann of Switzerland can keep using
the modified bindings that anchor his boots to his skis.
He can keep his gold medal, too.
The International Ski Federation dismissed complaints by the
Austrians that Ammann was breaking the rules, and gave him
permission to stick with the equipment for Saturday's large hill
event.
Wearing his now-controversial equipment, Ammann flew past his
main rivals in the qualifying session Friday. He jumped even
farther in the trial round, then playfully turned his skis around
when holding them up to the camera to hide the bindings.
"I am in such awesome shape, it makes me a bit nervous," he
said.
---
SHAUN WHITE
Having already won a pair of halfpipe gold medals, Shaun White
would love the chance to double his collection at the 2014
Olympics.
White said he'd consider competing in halfpipe and slopestyle if
that event was added to the mix for the Sochi Games.
In slopestyle, riders do huge tricks while going down the
mountain and through "features" - rails, big jumps and bumps. At
ski resorts, slopestyle is widely thought of as an easier way for
amateur snowboarders to do cool tricks than on a halfpipe.
White likes the idea of being in the spotlight a little longer.
Odds are NBC would like to have him around more, too.
"It's a strange thing going to the Olympics, where so many
people have four, five events and we just have the one big night,"
he said.
---
FIGURE SKATING
On his first day as an Olympic champion, Evan Lysacek said he's
not even thinking about retirement.
Defending his world championship next month in Turin? Well,
that's still to be determined.
The 24-year-old American also said he was a "little
disappointed" his long program was criticized by silver medalist
and reigning champion Evgeni Plushenko. He added that Plushenko
congratulated him with "a strong handshake."
---
CROSS-COUNTRY
Bjoergen pulled away midway through the freestyle portion of the
race and was never threatened the rest of the way.
Anna Haag of Sweden won a three-way sprint for the silver, with
favorite Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland getting bronze in a photo
finish.
---
TIGER TALK
Yes, even at the Olympics, folks took a break to watch Tiger
Woods talk Friday.
Snowboarder Shaun White says people will soon realize Woods made
mistakes but isn't such a bad guy. Figure skater Evan Lysacek
thinks Woods' remarks offer a teaching moment on how to handle
one's self. Skier Julia Mancuso questioned his sincerity on
Twitter: "come on Tiger! give us some reality here."
---
SECURITY
The task force overseeing security for the Winter Olympics has
done a good job protecting athletes and their families. They're
also keeping a close eye on each other.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said 11 officers have been
sent home for breaking rules, including two officers whose cases
are being investigated by Vancouver police.
The security task force includes more than 4,000 members of the
Canadian military and more than 6,000 police officers from across
Canada.
---
DRUG TESTING
All quiet on the doping front.
As of Thursday night, 1,363 doping tests had been conducted -
about two-third before competition, one-third after they competed -
and there'd been only one violation. A female Russian hockey player
was reprimanded but escaped a ban after testing positive for a
stimulant before the games.
"Clearly," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said, "it's good news if
athletes aren't doping."

 

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