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Wednesday's Olympic Highlights

Feb. 19, 2014 at 3:41 PM   |   Comments

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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Highlights from Wednesday's action at the Winter Olympics:

-- Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway has now won more Winter Olympics medals than anyone else. He collected his 13th on Wednesday in the biathlon mixed team race, which was making its debut in the Olympics. Poor shooting had cost Bjorndalen perhaps as many as three medals in these Games, but he was perfect in his five shots Wednesday and Norway won the race by 32 seconds over a team from the Czech Republic. Bjorndalen had been tied for the all-time medals list with Norway cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie. Both have won eight golds, although Daehlie has one more gold (6) in individual events than does Bjorndalen.

-- Gloom spread over the host nation as the realization began to sink in that the Russian hockey team was going to be eliminated from the medal chase. Russia fell to Finland 3-1 in the quarterfinals. Finland will now meet Sweden in the semifinals and the United States will take on Canada, which was pressed far more than it wanted before finally pulling out a 2-1 victory over Latvia. The Americans, who defeated the Czech Republic 5-2, will be seeking revenge for the gold medal defeat they suffered at the hands of the Canadians four years ago. The women's teams from the United States and Canada will play for gold on Thursday.

-- The Dutch record-setting medal haul at the speed skating oval reached 21 with a second and third-place finish in the women's 5,000-meter race. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won the race, giving the Netherlands six gold medals in speed skating and everybody else four. The Netherlands has broken the record for most Winter Olympics medals won by one country in one sport, which had been 14. That is how many medals Austria won in alpine skiing eight years ago.

-- Ted Ligety had made his frustrations clear after failing to medal in his previous appearances at these Olympics. His first run in the giant slalom, however, gave him almost a full second lead over his nearest challenger and he held on to win the event over a pair of Frenchmen. It was the second gold of Ligety's Olympic career, the first one having come in the alpine combined eight years ago.

-- Canada's Kaillie Humphries made up a deficit of 0.11 second and finished 0.1 second in front while winning the two-woman bobsled event for the second straight Olympics with Heather Moyse. Americans finished second and third. With the silver and bronze in bobsled and the win in the giant slalom, the United States has 23 medals overall. That is one more than the Netherlands and Russia.

-- For the second and third time at these Olympics two members of the same family won medals on the same day. Vick Wild, born in the United States, became a Russian citizen when he married Alena Zavarzina three years ago. Wild won the gold medal Wednesday in the men's snowboarding parallel giant slalom and Zavarzina took bronze in the women's event. The brother-sister duo of Iivo and Kerttu Niskanen of Finland also won medals in the cross-country team sprint -- Iivo a gold in the men's race and Kerttu a silver in the women's event. Twins Michel and Ronald Mulder of the Netherlands won gold and bronze in the 500-meter speed skating race on Feb. 11.

-- The gold medal for Finland in the men's cross-country team sprint was the first for that country at the Sochi Games. Finland was the 20th nation to collect a gold medal, setting a record for the Winter Olympics. There were 19 countries with at least one gold in Vancouver.

Topics: Ted Ligety
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