Sunday's Olympic Highlights

Feb. 9, 2014 at 3:05 PM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Highlights from Sunday's action at the Winter Olympics:

-- Russia earned its first medals at the first Winter Olympics it has ever hosted. Olga Graf, unheralded on the women's World Cup speed skating circuit, won a bronze over 3,000 meters, silvers were won by Olga Vilukhina in the biathlon sprint and Albert Demchenko in the luge and the Russians breezed to a gold in the first figure skating team ever held at the Games.

-- Those four medals for Russia were more than any other country could manage out of the 24 that were handed out on Sunday. Sunday's medals were distributed among 17 different countries and the eight gold medals went to eight different nations.

-- The only American gold medal won Sunday came in snowboarding slopestyle, where Jamie Anderson completed a sweep for the United States in an event making its Olympic debut. Sage Kotsenburg won the men's competition on Saturday. Anderson saved her best for when she needed it, producing a second run that earned a score of 95.25.

-- Bode Miller of the United States had been a decided favorite in the downhill, but after getting off to an excellent start he clipped a gate and lost momentum on his way to an eighth-place finish. The winner was Matthias Mayer of Austria, whose father won an Olympic alpine medal 26 years ago.

-- The trend of former champions doing well as these Olympics continued in a big way. Irene Wust of the Netherlands, 2008 champion in 3,000-meter speed skating, finished first in front of 2010 gold medalist Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic. Vancouver biathlon sprint winner Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia won her second straight gold, as did German Felix Loch in luge singles. Marcus Hellner of Sweden, winner of the cross-country skiathlon four years ago, finished second to Dario Cologna of Switzerland.

-- One defending Olympic champion did not fare so well. Simon Ammann of Switzerland was trying for his third title in four Olympics in normal hill ski jumping, but he wound up 17th. The winner turned out to be Poland's Kamil Stoch, who in two previous Olympics had finished no better than 14th in an individual event.

-- The Russian women's hockey team went into the third period of his opening game trailing Germany 1-0. A loss would have dealt a large blow to Russia's hopes for a medal, but a four-goal third period brought about a 4-1 win. Sweden fought off Japan 1-0 in the other Group B game.

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