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Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Plushenko grabs figure-skating lead; Russian wins 500 speedskating

February 15, 2006

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— Evgeni Plushenko's personal best of 90.66 points gave the Russian a big lead over American Johnny Weir after the Olympic men's short program.

From the moment he stepped on the ice until the conclusion of his routine to Puccini's "Tosca," Plushenko never flashed even a hint of a smile. This was all business - and business was good for the 2002 Olympic silver medalist.

He nailed every element, from a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combination to a solid triple axel to complex footwork into a triple lutz. Only when his final combination spin ended did he lighten up, going from intense concentration to a series of fist pumps. He seemed more relieved than excited.

Weir earned a personal-best 80.00 score.

Speedskating

Svetlana Zhurova, a 34-year-old Russian who took a break from speedskating to have a baby and regained her top form only recently, won the gold medal in the 500 meters. She skated a combined time of 1 minute, 16.57 seconds to give Russia its second speedskating medal of these games.

Luge

Cesana, Italy - Sylke Otto became the second women's luger to win consecutive golds, leading Germany to its sixth medal sweep in 12 Olympics. Courtney Zablocki of Highlands Ranch, Colo., was fourth to match her best international finish, but it wasn't enough to crack the top three against the powerful Germans.

Cross-country skiing

Pragelato, Italy - Bjoern Lind and Thobias Fredriksson of Sweden won the men's Olympic cross-country team sprint, and Lina Andersson and Anna Dahlberg of Sweden won gold in the women's team sprint, edging Beckie Scott and Sara Renner of Canada.

Biathlon

Cesana, Italy - Two-time defending Olympic champion Ole Einar Bjoerndalen faltered once again, allowing Sven Fischer to give the Germans their second straight gold medal in the men's biathlon.

Women's hockey

Angela Ruggiero scored the go-ahead goal on an end-to-end rush in the third period as the Americans rallied from a rare two-goal deficit to beat Finland, 7-3.

Men's curling

Pinerolo, Italy - The U.S. men picked up a 10-4 victory over New Zealand in eight ends, wrapping things up two frames early a day after a last-rock loss to Finland.

Women's curling

The U.S. women remained winless after a 6-5 extra-end loss to Japan. The Americans (0-3), who conceded their earlier match against Canada after eight ends, are last in the 10-team field.

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