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Archive for Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ohno moves on in his quickest event

February 23, 2006

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— Apolo Anton Ohno had a short night at the short track. It was good enough to give him a shot at another medal.

Ohno safely advanced from his heat in the 500 meters Wednesday and will go to the final night of competition with two chances to add to the bronze he already has won at these Winter Olympics.

Even though he was heavily favored to move on, Ohno didn't take anything for granted in the shortest of short-track events. His relief was apparent when he crossed the line, his right fist in the air and a big smile just above his soul patch.

Forty-three seconds after the gun went off, he was done for the night. This was his only race.

"It's my last week of the games, and it's been a long time since I enjoyed a 500 meters like that," he said.

The 23-year-old standout, who has the only American short-track medal of these games, moved on to the quarterfinals of the 500 Saturday night. He's also part of the 5,000 relay team, which already qualified for the final.

Ohno was third off the starting line, but he dipped inside coming off a turn to get past two skaters with less than two laps to go. He crossed the line comfortably ahead of Italy's Roberto Serra.

While clearly the most accomplished of the four skaters in his heat, Ohno was wary of Serra, who had the home crowd rooting him on, and Japan's Takafumi Nishitani, the 500 gold medalist at Nagano eight years ago.

"Every country has a good 500-meter skater, so everybody has a good start," Ohno said. "It's all about explosiveness."

Unlike the longer events, which often start out slow while the skaters set up their strategy and conserve energy, the 500 is basically an all-out sprint, where the slightest slip can knock a skater out.

Speedskating

Women's 1,500 meters

Turin, Italy - Cindy Klassen added a gold medal to the bronze and two silvers she already has earned at the Olympics, winning the women's 1,500-meter speedskating with a dominant performance ahead of teammate Kristina Groves.

Ireen Wust of the Netherlands, gold medalist in the 3,000 meters, took bronze, knocking favorite Anni Friesinger out of the medals.

Alpine skiing

Women's slalom

Sestriere, Italy - Anja Paerson finally won her Olympic gold medal and beat her longtime rival in the process with a pair of dominant runs through floodlit fog in the women's slalom.

Janica Kostelic of Croatia, whose six medals in two Olympics are the most by any women's Alpine skier, failed to win a medal for the first time in her last seven events. She was fourth.

Cross-country skiing

Women's sprint

Pragelato, Italy - Chandra Crawford upstaged two of her better-known countrywomen and pulled off an upset in the women's 1.1km sprint Wednesday, skating across the finish for Canada's first cross-country gold medal of the Turin Games.

Men's sprint

Pragelato, Italy - Bjoern Lind of Sweden easily skied to an Olympic gold medal in the men's 1.3km cross-country sprint race, taking advantage of rival Tor Arne Hetland's fall in the semifinals. Lind finished in 2 minutes, 26.5 seconds to beat silver medalist Roddy Darragon of France, who was six-tenths of a second behind.

Curling

Men's semifinals

Canada 11, United States 5

Finland 4, Great Britain 3

Pinerolo, Italy - Pete Fenson couldn't lead the United States to the gold-medal game, losing to Canada in the curling semifinals.

Now the U.S. skip could leave Italy with a bronze - or nothing more than some new pizza recipes. Canada clinched at least a silver medal and forced the Americans to play in the consolation game for third place. That would be the first Olympic curling medal - men's or women's - for the United States.

Women's semifinals

Switzerland 7, Canada 5

Sweden 5, Norway 4

Pinerolo, Italy - Anette Norberg's takeout on the final shot of the game lifted Sweden over Norway in the semifinals of the curling tournament. The Swedes advanced to the gold-medal match against Switzerland.

Freestyle skiing

Women's aerials

Sauze d'Oulx, Italy - Evelyne Leu of Switzerland beat her Chinese rival to win the gold medal in Olympic aerials, adding the missing piece to a stellar career. Leu's last appearance at the Olympics was marked by a world-record performance in qualifying but a bust in finals.

Snowboard

Men's parallel giant slalom

Bardonecchia, Italy - The first family of snowboarding's parallel giant slalom wrapped up a second consecutive Olympic gold medal before the final duel had even begun. It was only a matter of which Schoch would take the title this time, and defending champion Philipp Schoch pulled it out, defeating older brother Simon.

Short track speedskating

Women's 3,000-meter relay

Turin, Italy - South Korea mined gold at the short track.

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