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Olympic Roundup: Russia, Canada enjoy big final day in Sochi

  |   Feb. 23, 2014 at 11:08 AM
SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The 22nd Winter Olympics ended in Sochi, Russia, with the home team finishing on top and Canada winning its third hockey gold medal in the last four Games.

More athletes competed for more medals than ever before in a Winter Olympics, which brought a typical share of successes and disappointments to a wide ranging group of competitors.

A fresh-faced, 17-year-old figure skater from Russia, for instance, won the first ladies figure skating gold medal for her country. And 43-year-old Teemu Selanne, a grizzled veteran of six Olympics, took home a bronze medal after scoring twice for Finland in the third-place hockey game against the United States.

It all ended with three medal events Sunday and Russian athletes won two of them.

Alexander Legkov led a sweep of the medals in the always brutal 50-kilometer cross-country race, in which the top four finishers were separated by a second, and Alexander Zubkov drove the Russians to a victory in the four-man bobsled for the first time in the history of the Games.

During the final two days of the Olympics, the Russians piled up four gold medals and seven medals overall. That gave them 13 golds and 33 total medals, both records for the Russians and the most anybody else could produce in the first Winter Olympics ever held in this country.

The other gold medal awarded on the closing day went to the Canadians, who with Carey Price in goal recorded a 3-0 victory over Sweden.

Jonathan Toews, 2010 Olympic hero Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz scored the goals, but the story of the Games for Canada was Price and the defenders who played in front of him.

Price played in two of the three group games and was in the net for all three of the contests in the knockout round. He stopped 103-of-106 shots during those five appearances and recorded shutouts in the last two. His shutout streak had reached 164 minutes, 19 seconds by the time the final horn sounded in the gold medal game.

Canada has won the Olympic hockey tournament eight times, but the three recent victories have come after a 50-year gold medal drought in the sport.

Although the Russians could celebrate leading the medal chart at their home Olympics, they had a huge assist in their medal gathering from two athletes who until recent years were citizens of other nations. Victor Anh, who had won four short-track skating medals for South Korea in 2008, won four more for Russia at the Sochi Games. Three of them were gold.

And American-born Vic Wild, who married a Russian three years ago and became a citizen of her country, added two gold medals for the home side in snowboarding.

Despite the medal haul at these Games, Russia came up short of the all-time records for both golds and overall medals. Both of those marks -- 14 golds for Canada and 37 medals overall for the United States -- were set four years ago in Vancouver.

The United States came up well short of its Vancouver total, finishing with 28 in Sochi, but still finished second to the Russians. Norway's 11 gold medals were second best in that category.

Twenty-six countries finished with at least one medal at the 2014 Olympics, tying the record in that department. The only country to win a medal this year that did not four years ago was Ukraine. The only nation that failed to win one in Sochi after doing so in Vancouver was Estonia.

Despite massive concerns about terrorism prior to the Games, the competitions were disrupted only by the brief intrusion of fog.

There were five failed drug tests reported, not an unusually high number for any Olympics, and none of them involved medal winners.

And even though there was the occasional official protest filed concerning how a competition finished, none of them were upheld.

The last one, involving the suits worn by the three Frenchmen who swept the medals in the ski cross race, was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Sunday.

Multiple countries had complained that the French suits provided an "aerodynamic effect" after members of the support staff had changed the shaping of the lower pants legs.

The International Ski Federation, which governs the various Olympic skiing competitions, told the arbitration court that the protest had not been filed soon enough after the race for it to be considered, so it was thrown out.

Although the biggest Russian gold medal success came from the transplanted South Korean and American, there was also major breakthroughs in figure skating and bobsled.

Russia won three golds in figure skating, one of them from 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova. Despite Russia's long history of quality figure skaters, she was the first from her country to win the ladies gold medal.

And not only did Zubkov won the first four-man bobsled gold ever for Russia, he was only the fifth driver to win both the two-man and four-man competitions in the same Olympics.

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