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Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Olympics roundup: United States takes break from medals parade

February 19, 2002

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— And on the 10th day, they rested at least from climbing the medal stand.

The U.S. Winter Olympic team, following an unprecedented stretch of at least one medal for nine straight days at its first home games in 22 years, didn't win a gold, silver or bronze Monday appropriately enough, a national holiday.

Adam Deadmarsh (28) and Chris Chelios celebrate a third-period
goal. Their U.S. hockey team hammered Belarus, 8-1, on Monday in
Kearns, Utah.

Adam Deadmarsh (28) and Chris Chelios celebrate a third-period goal. Their U.S. hockey team hammered Belarus, 8-1, on Monday in Kearns, Utah.

The American hockey team showed it may help add to the record U.S. haul of medals 18 and counting with an 8-1 victory over Belarus. The win, coupled with a loss by Russians, assured the Americans of winning their group and meeting winless Germany in Wednesday's quarterfinal.

Led by John LeClair's two goals, the U.S. team finished its round-robin pool play with a mark of 2-0-1. LeClair has scored five goals in three games for the Americans, who failed to win a medal in 1998. Belarus is the only team still playing without any NHL forwards.

The U.S. team scored five third-period goals, two each by Scott Young and Bill Guerin, as Belarus dropped to 0-3.

"We feel we can beat any team in this town," U.S. forward Jeremy Roenick said. "We dominated defensively in the first three games. We have a lot more to do in the next three games."

Russia, despite its powerful lineup of NHL stars, was upended 3-1 by Finland. The Finns, led by a goal from captain Teemu Selanne, wound up second in the U.S. group with a 2-1 mark, while the Russians (1-1-1) were third.

In the other group, Canada behind a pair of Mario Lemieux goals tied the Czechs 3-3. Dominik Hasek stopped 33 shots for the Czechs, who like the Canadians finished their first three games 1-1-1. And Sweden, the only team to win all three of its opening games, pounded Germany, 7-1.

The other quarterfinal matchups: Finland-Canada, the Czech Republic-Russia and Sweden-Belarus.

The Germans, on a slow day where only four medals were awarded, took golds in the biathlon relay and the team ski jumping.

Germany remained atop the medals table as the Olympics started its final week with 24 (8 gold, 10 silver, 6 bronze). Next was the United States with 18 (4-7-7), followed by Norway with 14 (8-6-0).



Figure skating: And now, the solution to the figure skating judging controversy: more judges!

The existing judging system in figure skating would be scrapped under a revolutionary proposal made Monday by the president of the International Skating Union.

The plan calls for 14 judges, rather than the current nine, with seven of the scores thrown out. Judges would not know which scores count, reducing the possibility of the judging improprieties that have rocked the Salt Lake City Games.

Currently, skaters begin with a base mark of 6.0, getting deductions for mistakes and missed elements. They can also lose points simply for the aesthetics of their programs.

The new plan would assign point values to each technical element including jumps, spins, footwork, spirals. A double axel could be worth two points; a more difficult triple, three points.

The reform package needs the approval of the entire ISU, which has a June meeting in Kyoto, Japan. It was unclear how quickly the proposal could be implemented.

On Monday evening, under the old scoring system, Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat of France won the gold medal in ice dancing. Irina Lobacheva and Ilia Averbukh of Russia won the silver and Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio of Italy won the bronze.



Drug testing: An athlete from Belarus bolted the Olympics rather than submit to a retest after an initial drug test found steroid levels more than 300 times the legal limit.

The unidentified athlete checked out of the Olympic Village before his scheduled Monday retest. "It was a very strange departure," IOC director general Francois Carrard said.

Technically, because of an error in the handling of his sample, the athlete was not considered a drug test failure. But the Belarus NOC, for allowing him to leave, was suspended for the rest of the year from receiving grants and other support worth about $120,000.

No other athletes have failed drug tests during the games.



Ski jumping: After sailing 405 feet, German ski jumper Martin Schmitt turned and stared at the scoreboard. He waited 10 seconds ... 20 seconds ... 30 seconds ... and discovered he had won the gold medal.

Schmitt was the last to leap for the Germans in team ski jumping, and his jump propelled them to the gold medal by one-tenth of a point.

Finland, by the narrowest of margins in the event's 14-year Olympic history, settled for a silver, while Slovenia won the bronze for its first medal of these games.

What was Schmitt thinking during the wait?

"Please, please, please, please let me win," Schmitt recalled.

The young American team wound up in 11th place.



Freestyle skiing: Australia's Alisa Camplin won the gold in the women's aerials, an event in which none of the American medal hopefuls qualified for the finals.

Veronica Brenner of Canada won the silver, and Deidra Dionne of Canada won the bronze.

The first-time Olympian won Australia's second gold in Salt Lake City, following the unlikely victory by teammate Steven Bradbury in the short-track speedskating. She had never won a World Cup event and has had nine concussions since taking up the sport four years ago.

"This is the craziest thing that has ever happened to me," she said.



Women's biathlon: New location, same result.

The German team in the 30-kilometer biathlon relay repeated its gold medal performance of four years ago, using impeccable shooting over the final half of the race to claim its prize.

Norway won the silver, finishing 30.6 seconds back, while Russia won the bronze.

The Germans, with two of its four-member Nagano team back in Salt Lake City, was heavily favored. The United States finished last out of 15 teams.



Curling: The U.S. women clinched a spot in the semifinals with an 11-2 win over Norway, running their record in round-robin play to 6-3. Joining the Americans in the semis were Switzerland and Canada; the Swiss defeated Canada 6-5 on Monday.

In the men's bracket, the U.S. team was eliminated with a 7-6 loss to Britain, its record dropping to 3-6. Making the semifinals were Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Sweden. Canada defeated Denmark 8-3, Switzerland knocked off Germany 10-4 and Norway beat Sweden 9-8.

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