Russians struggle; Dutch cruising
Russia is having a tough time winning on the Olympic ice, and the Netherlands can’t seem to lose.
The Russians were forced into a second straight shootout on Sunday and now must play an extra game to reach the men’s hockey quarterfinals. The Dutch speedskaters have fared much better, earning a third sweep of the podium at the Sochi Games.
With hockey-crazed Russian crowds packing the arenas, Canada, Sweden, the United States and Finland advanced to the hockey quarterfinals. They’ll be joined by the winners of a four-game qualifying round Tuesday among the eight remaining teams.
Russia lost its chance to skip the qualifying round when it was forced into a shootout by Slovakia, winning 1-0. That allowed Finland to claim the bye on goal difference. Canada, Sweden and the U.S. all finished the qualifying round undefeated.
Dutch treat in speedskating
Jorien ter Mors earned the gold in the Dutch sweep of the women’s 1,500 speedskating race. Prerace favorite Ireen Wust settled for silver, with bronze going to Lotte van Beek. If there had been a medal for fourth place, the Dutch would have won that, too, with Marrit Leenstra finishing just after Van Beek. Ter Mors turned in a stunning time of 1 minute, 53.51 seconds, an Olympic record and the second-fastest recorded at sea level. Overall, the Dutch have won an astounding 16 of the 24 total speedskating medals in Sochi so far, smashing the Olympic record of 13 set by East Germany at the 1988 Calgary Games.
Snowboarder gets gold for Czechs
Czech snowboarder Eva Samkova won the women’s snowboardcross, the first gold of the games for the Czech Republic. Samkova led from start to finish in all three qualifying and elimination races. Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S. crashed while leading her semifinal, the third straight disappointing Olympic finish for the eight-time X Games winner. Jacobellis had gold in hand in Turin in 2006 only to fall with a big lead in the final while attempting a fancy grab. She recovered for silver. Four years ago in Vancouver, she washed out early in her semifinal run.
Sweden, Canada move on in curling
Sweden and Canada became the first men’s teams to qualify for the semifinals in men’s curling. Norway, Britain and China are battling for the other two spots. The Swedes and Canadians also advanced to the semifinals in the women’s tournament. China, Britain, Switzerland and Japan still have a chance for the remaining two semifinal spots.
Swedes victors again in relay
Sweden’s win in the men’s 4x10-kilometer cross country relay came one day after the Swedish women had won gold in the same race. No country has won both relays since the Soviet Union did it 42 years ago. Swedish anchor Marcus Hellner skied alone for the entire fourth leg and grabbed a Swedish flag to wave as he entered the stadium. Russia took silver in front of President Vladimir Putin. France finished third.
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