Olympic Roundup: Canada dominates Olympic team sports

SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Canada asserted its dominance in Winter Olympics team sports Friday and did pretty well in the individual ones.

The second hockey showdown between Canada and the United States in as many days had the same result as the first one.


First the Canadians came back from a late 2-0 deficit to defeat the Americans in the women's final. And in a rematch of the men's gold medal contest of four years ago, Canada emerged with a 1-0 semifinal victory thanks to a deflected goal by Jamie Benn and a shutout effort by Carey Price.

That put the Canadians in the title contest on Sunday, where they will be trying to finish off a sweep of the four team events contested at the Sochi Olympics. The Swedish hockey club will try to prevent that from happening, the Swedes having reached the gold medal contest by defeating Finland 2-1.

Canada also won the men's curling gold medal on Friday after the women from that country had done the same thing on Thursday and Canadians added a gold and silver medal in the women's ski cross along with a bronze in the men's 500-meter short-track skating race.


With two days and 10 events left in the Winter Olympics, Canada found itself with nine gold medals (just one fewer than Norway) and 24 medals overall (three back of the United States).

With two more medals of any kind, the Canadians will have won as many in Russia as they did in the Games in Canada four years ago.

While Canada was having a big day all around the Olympics, an 18-year-old slalom skier from the United States and a short-track skater from Russia by way of South Korea did what they came to the Olympics to do.

American Mikaela Shiffrin was favored to win the slalom since she had been doing a lot of that over the last two years on the World Cup circuit. She is the first non-European to win four World Cup slalom races in the same year.

Shiffrin fulfilled those expectations, taking a big lead after the first run and then surviving a scare during the second to defeat Marlies Schild of Austria by .53 of a second. Shiffrin's left ski came well off the snow as she sped down the course in her second run, but she somehow maintained her balance on one ski until she got things back in order.


In the final night of short-track skating, Victor Ahn completed an Olympics that made him one of Russia's most recognized athletes.

Eight years ago in Turin he won a medal in all four short-track races while representing his native South Korea.

Now a citizen of Russia, Ahn did the same thing in Sochi. He won two golds on Friday, capturing the 500-meter race and then helping bring Russia a victory in the 5,000-meter relay. He also captured the 1,000-meter event during these Games and grabbed a bronze over 1,500 meters.

His four medals overall ties him with speed skater Irene Wust of the Netherlands for the most won in Sochi and his three gold medals equals the total put together by Darya Domracheva of Belarus in the biathlon.

Wust was in action again Friday when heats were held in the team pursuit speed skating races, where the Netherlands reached the finals in the men's contest and the semifinals in the women's event.

On Saturday, Dutch skaters try to complete their Olympic experience with eight victories in 12 races. They will almost certainly wind up with 23 medals overall in the sport, which would be nine more medals than any nation has ever won in any one Olympics sport.


While the Netherlands was winning all those medals in speed skating, the United States was winning none.

For the first time in 30 years, the country that produced such speed skating stars as Eric Heiden and Bonnie Blair could do no better than seventh place in any individual race.

Canada's individual medals Friday were the gold from Marielle Thompson in the women's ski cross, the silver in the same race for Kelsey Serwa and the bronze won by Charle Cournover in the 500-meter short-track event.

The Canadians had to settle for a seventh-place finish, however, in the women's biathlon relay.

That race was won by Ukraine, which picked up its first gold medal of the Olympics. Ukraine became the 21st nation to claim a victory in the 2014 Games, two more than the previous record that had been established in Vancouver four years ago.

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