Wednesday's Olympic Highlights

Feb. 12, 2014 at 3:24 PM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Highlights from Wednesday's action at the Winter Olympics:

-- A major letdown by American speed skater Shani Davis in the 1,000-meter race left no doubt that big-time Olympians from the United States are in a slump. Davis, seeking his third straight gold medal in the event, never got going and finished eighth. His struggles followed by 24 hours the inability of American Shaun White to win a third straight snowboarding halfpipe gold medal. White wound up fourth in his attempt.

-- Germany came away as the big winner of the day with two gold medals, one from Eric Frenzel in the nordic combined and another from the doubles luge team of Tobias Arlt and Tobias Wendl. That gave Germany six gold medals for the Olympics, more than anybody else. Norway managed only a bronze during the day, but still leads the overall medal total with 12.

-- The United States earned its third gold, all of them having come in snowboarding, from Kaitlyn Farrington in the halfpipe. She has the distinction of having defeated the three previous Olympic champions in her event, all of whom made the finals Wednesday. Defending champion Hannah Teter of the United States finished fourth, Turin winner Torah Bright of Australia was second and American Kelly Clark, who won in Salt Lake City, was third.

-- In addition to the Americans winning all their gold medals in snowboarding, the Netherlands has won all four of its golds in speed skating, Russia's two victories have come in figure skating and three of the six Germany wins have come in luge. Canada has also picked up three of its four triumphs in freestyle skiing, which was not contested Wednesday.

-- Two gold medals were handed out in one alpine skiing event for the first time in Olympic history. Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland were both timed in 1:47.57 in the downhill. Close finishes are the norm in alpine skiing and yet 135 such races went by at the Olympics over 78 years before there was a tie.

-- The 1,000-meter speed skating race that Shani Davis did not win was won by Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands Michel Mulder, winner of the 500-meter gold medal earlier in the Olympics, finished third. Those two medals gave the Netherlands 10 of the 15 handed out thus far in the speed skating oval.

-- There have been some upsets thus far at the Olympics, but pairs figure skating was not one of them. Current world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia stole the show. They also became the first double gold medal winners at the Sochi Games, having been a part of the Russian victory in the inaugural team figure skating event.

-- The Canadian women defeated their American rivals 2-1 in the final group game of the hockey tournament. It is likely those two teams will meet again for the gold medal next week.

-- Action began in the men's hockey tourney, laden with stars from the NHL. Sweden got under way with a 4-2 win over the Czech Republic and Switzerland scored with 8 seconds left in regulation to down Latvia 1-0. All 12 teams in the tournament will be play Thursday.

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