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Olympic report

Fri., Feb. 26, 2010

Women’s hockey In a showdown between the sport’s only powers, speedy 18-year-old Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice in the first period and Canada goaltender Shannon Szabados made it hold up in a 2-0 victory over the United States for the gold medal. Canada hasn’t lost an Olympic hockey game since dropping the gold-medal game at the 1998 Nagano Games. The Americans beat everyone else 40-2, but couldn’t get a single goal on 28 shots.

Earlier, Finland beat Sweden 3-2 in overtime for the bronze, Finland’s first medal since taking bronze when women’s hockey debuted at the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Nordic combined This race involved ski jumping on the large hill, then a 10-kilometer race. Americans Billy Demong and Johnny Spillane finished 1-2 in a Nordic combined race, a surprising medal haul in a sport that’s been part of the Winter Olympics since 1924 but never had an American medalist until these games. Demong’s victory is the first gold and his second of these games. Spillane became the first medalist on Sunday, and now he has three, all silver.

Figure skating Expectations were high for Kim Yu-Na, the reigning world champion known as the “Queen.” She responded with one of the greatest performances figure skating has ever seen, drawing a score that shattered her own world record. This also was South Korea’s first medal at the Winter Olympics in a sport other than speedskating. The United States failed to earn a medal for only the second time since 1952. Mirai Nagasu was fourth while U.S. champion Rachael Flatt dropped to seventh.

Aerials Canada’s Jeret “Speedy” Peterson pulled out his one-of-a-kind “Hurricane” jump and landed the highest score of the 24 jumps, but his two-jump total came up just shy of Alexei Grishin of Belarus. Peterson’s move wraps five twists into three somersaults as he vaults off the ramp and 50 feet in the air. Then, he stuck the landing. Teammate Ryan St. Onge was fourth.

Giant slalom American Julia Mancuso was third fastest in Thursday’s second run of the giant slalom, which wasn’t enough to overcome a frustrating performance in the first run a day earlier. Her Vancouver Olympics ends with a pair of silver medals. Viktoria Rebensburg won the race, giving Germany a winner in it for the first time since 1956.

Cross-country skiing Norway’s Marit Bjoergen joined the growing trend of skiers pausing on the way to the finish to grab a flag. Like the others who did it, she was well ahead. Norway won its first women’s relay gold since 1984, having settled for silver five times. Bjoergen also won the individual sprint and 15K pursuit, and took bronze in the 10K freestyle. The Americans were 12th.

Curling The Norwegian men will meet Canada in the gold-medal final after beating Switzerland. Canada is attempting to become the first Olympic curling team to go unbeaten at the games since the sport returned as a medal event in 1998. In the women’s gold-medal match, it’ll be Sweden vs. Canada.

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