Archive for Sunday, February 17, 2002

Skater Ohno takes silver after costly fall

February 17, 2002


— A quick reminder from the Winter Games: The Olympics are still about the athletes.

American Apolo Anton Ohno refused to give up his shot at four Olympic medals, rising up after a spectacular crash to take the silver in the 1,000-meter short track speedskating.

American speedskater Joey Cheek races to a bronze in the 1,000

American speedskater Joey Cheek races to a bronze in the 1,000 meters.

Ahead going into the final turn, Ohno was taken out by another skater. He crashed into the boards on his back, then spun up and staggered across the finish line to win the medal.

The crash cost Ohno, 19, his shot at a possible four golds in the Winter Games and perhaps his chance at any more medals. Ohno suffered a laceration of his thigh and limped out to the medal ceremony. It was unclear if he would be able to skate in his next three events.

Steven Bradbury of Australia, who trailed badly for most of the race, came from nowhere to win the gold medal the only skater standing. Canada's Mathieu Turcotte got up in time to claim the bronze.

It was the first Winter Games gold medal ever for Australia. Yang Yang (A) of China won the women's 500 meters, giving her country its first winter gold as well.

Earlier, skier Kjetil Andre Aamodt, along with biathlon winner and Norwegian teammate Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, transcended the figure skating judging controversy Saturday and swept to medals that ensured their spots in Olympic history.

And American speedskater Joey Cheek snapped up a bronze in the 1,000 meters, extending the home team's medal-winning streak to eight straight days, in a race where Dutchman Gerard van Velde set a world record.

Staying atop the medals table midway through the Olympics was Germany with 18 (5 gold, 8 silver, 5 bronze), followed by the United States with 16 (3-7-6). Tied with 12 were Norway (7-5-0) and Austria (1-3-8).

Alpine skiing: For Aamodt, his second gold medal in four days this time in the Super G gave him seven career Olympic medals. It's two more than the previous highest total in Alpine skiing, home to big-name Olympians from Jean-Claude Killy to Alberto Tomba.

The 30-year-old Aamodt swept past the favored Austrians to win the super giant slalom his first win in a Super G race in nine years. The four-time Olympian now owns three gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

"Today," the veteran said of his second Salt Lake City Games gold, "was just a bonus."

The silver went to Stephan Eberharter of Austria, with his teammate Andreas Schifferer winning bronze. The U.S. medal hopeful, Daron Rahlves, was a disappointing eighth after a run marked by too-wide turns and several bobbles.

"This is the one I wanted to win, but I just made too many mistakes," Rahlves said.

Speedskating: Bronze medalist Cheek was the best of the Americans, who placed four finishers in the top seven. The 22-year-old Cheek, who aspires to be a host on his own MTV show, trailed a pair of skaters from the Netherlands.

Gerard van Velde set a new world record in taking the gold, while teammate Jan Bos win silver. Olympic 500 champion Casey FitzRandolph was ahead of the world-record pace at 600 meters, but flamed out and finished seventh.

The Americans, enjoying their best performance ever in the Winter Games, have won at least one medal in every day of competition so far.

The world record was the third in five Olympic events at the Utah Oval, a high-altitude rink that is considered the fastest in the world.

Figure skating: What's a day in Salt Lake City without news about the pairs figure skating flap?

Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, the Canadians who received gold medals Friday after problems with a French judge were exposed, will receive those medals tonight in a special ceremony.

The co-gold medalists, Russians Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, will also attend.

Biathlon: It wasn't perfect, but it was enough.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen missed two of his 20 shots in the 12.5K biathlon pursuit, yet captured his third gold medal of the week. Raphael Poiree of France won the silver and Ricco Gross of Germany took the bronze.

Poiree and his wife, Liv Grete Poiree of Norway, became the first married couple to win Olympic medals while competing for different countries. Liv Grete Poiree won the silver in the women's 15-kilometer individual biathlon event Monday.

For Bjoerndalen, his victory was his third Salt Lake City gold making him the first biathlete ever to win three gold medals. That he did it in just six days makes it difficult to believe even for him.

"I never thought that that I would get three gold medals," Bjoerndalen said. "For me, this is really amazing."

On Saturday, Bjoerndalen began the event 29 seconds ahead of Germany's Sven Fischer based on results from Wednesday's 10K sprint, and never surrendered the lead. And he may add more medals Bjoerndalen has one solo and two relay races ahead.

American Jay Hakkinen finished 13th, the highest finish ever for an American in any biathlon event.

Men's hockey: Finland, coming off an opening game loss to the United States, routed Belarus 8-1. The Americans were scheduled to play against Russia on Saturday night.

Women's hockey: Behind a hat trick from first-time Olympian Natalie Darwitz, the U.S. women stayed on track to defend their gold medal.

The Americans beat Finland 5-0 Saturday to clinch a top seed in the medal round, as Sara DeCosta stopped 21 shots for her third Olympic shutout. The United States' 34th consecutive victory set up a semifinal matchup with Sweden, which lost 11-0 to Canada on Saturday night.

The Canadians, silver medalist in Nagano, will face Finland.

Nordic combined: If they can ski as well as they ski jump, the U.S. Nordic combined could break its 0-for-the-Olympics losing streak.

On Saturday, the team was in third place after the 90-kilometer jumping portion of the event. The second half, a 20-kilometer cross-country relay, is today.

The United States has never won a medal in 23 Nordic combined events across 19 Olympics.

Bobsled: The American bobsledders' run of futility is nearly as long as the Nordic combined no medals in 46 years. Todd Hays and brakeman Garrett Hines finished fifth in the first two runs of the two-man bobsled in their effort to end the streak.

Switzerland was in the lead. The final two runs were scheduled for today.

Women's biathlon: Olga Pyleva won the 10-kilometer biathlon pursuit gold medal, the first Olympic gold of the 26-year-old Russian's career.

Kati Wilhelm of Germany won the silver and Irina Nikoultchina of Bulgaria won the bronze.

Five-time world champion Magdalena Forsberg of Sweden, still seeking her first Olympic gold after two bronzes this year, finished six after missing two of her final shots.

Freestyle skiing: Four American men were among the dozen qualifiers for the aerials final, led by the 2-3 finish of Eric Bergoust and Joe Pack. Alexei Grichin of Belarus was the leader. The finals are Tuesday.

No American women were among the 12 skiers who qualified for the Monday finals of the distaff aerials. Tracy Evans, who finished 14th, was the best of the U.S. bunch, with Brenda Petzold finishing 17th.

Curling: The American women (3-3) stayed in contention for a semifinal berth with a convincing 11-4 rout of the Russians. U.S. skip Kari Erickson made a game-breaking shot in the fifth to give the Americans an insurmountable 8-0 lead.

In other games, unbeaten Canada clinched a spot in the semifinals with a 9-4 victory over Japan; Britain beat Denmark 8-6; and Germany beat Sweden 7-5.

On the men's side, Denmark defeated the Americans 9-7, leaving the home team of danger of missing the medal round; Sweden beat Finland 11-4; Switzerland won over Britain 10-4; and Norway beat Germany 10-5.

Norway, 6-1, was tied with Canada for the best mark.

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