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Olympic Daily News - Saturday, February 22nd

FINLAND BLANKS U.S. TO WIN BRONZE MEDAL

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Teemu Selanne and Jussi Jokinen tallied in an 11-second span early in the second period and Tuukka Rask stopped 27 shots, as Finland claimed yet another bronze medal thanks to a 5-0 decision over the United States on Saturday.

Selanne scored twice -- presumably ending his Olympic career with 24 total markers -- for the Finns, who claimed bronze for the fourth time since 1994.

Jussi Jokinen, Olli Maatta and Juuso Hietanen added a goal each, with Lauri Korpikoski and Mikael Granlund adding two assists apiece.

Rask's shutout, his first of the tournament, was aided by stopping a pair of Patrick Kane penalty shots.

Jonathan Quick was left in for all five goals on 29 shots for the Americans, who saw the promise of another shot at a gold medal dissipate thanks to back- to-back scoreless outings.

It was a similar finish as the surprising 1992 Team USA squad, which shocked the world by reaching the semifinals, only to finish fourth after consecutive losses to the Unified Team and Czechoslovakia.

Selanne put his country ahead with a backhander from the left side at 1:27 of the second period, then Jokinen flipped home a rebound from the high slot shortly into the following shift to provide Finland a commanding 2-0 edge.

Kane's stick was shattered by a Leo Komarov slash on a breakaway, and provided yet another chance in alone on Rask with 6:24 played. The dynamic Chicago forward came up empty once more, clanging that chance high off the right post.

It was 3-0 for the Finns at the end of a Kane tripping minor, when Hietanen beat Quick on a shot through a screen with 6:10 elapsed in the third period.

Selanne struck once more, on a subsequent Finnish advantage, to make it a four-goal margin just after the nine-minute mark. He stood in the slot and one-timed a Granlund feed inside the left post.

Maatta added a power-play marker with 6:51 to play that accounted for the final margin.

The best chance to snap the deadlock in a scoreless opening period came when the USA was awarded a penalty shot with 6:20 remaining. Veteran Finnish defenseman Kimmo Timonen flipped a broken stick towards Ryan Kesler during a scoring chance.

Rask had the right post sealed off, but Kane, who was tabbed to take the uncontested chance, lost control of the puck and slid his opportunity wide.

BJOERGEN LEADS NORWAY'S SWEEP OF 30K

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Marit Bjoergen won gold to lead Norway to a sweep of the medals in the women's 30-kilomter mass start event Saturday at the Sochi Olympics.

Bjoergen finished the race with a time of 1 hour, 11 minutes, 5.2 seconds, beating Therese Johaug by 2.6 seconds for gold in the final women's cross- country skiing event at the Sochi Games.

Kristin Stoermer Steira crossed the finish line 23.6 seconds behind Bjoergen to complete the Norwegian podium sweep. Finland's Kerttu Niskanen was 1:21.7 in back of Bjoergen for fourth place.

With her performance on Saturday, Bjoergen tied the Winter Games record for most career medals (10) and golds (6) by a female Olympian. She earned three gold medals in Sochi, winning an individual title in the skiathlon while also helping Norway take the team sprint event.

Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk, a five-time Olympic medalist, won gold on a broken foot in the 10-kilmoter classic event earlier in Sochi, but she couldn't fight through the injury on Saturday. The 2010 gold medalist in the 30-kilometer event, Kowalczyk dropped out of the race before the halfway point.

Elizabeth Stephen had the best finish for the United States, finishing 24th.

Canada's Brittany Webster came in 46th place.

WILD, DUJMOVITS WIN GOLD IN SNOWBOARDING PS

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - American-born snowboarder Vic Wild earned his second gold medal of the Sochi Games for Russia, winning the men's parallel slalom Saturday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Austria's Julia Dujmovits won gold in the women's competition on Saturday at the Sochi Games, rallying to defeat Germany's Anke Karstens

Wild, who won gold at the parallel giant slalom event on Wednesday, beat Slovenia's Zan Kosir by a total .11 seconds after two runs in the big final. Kosir, bronze medalist in the PGS, was .12 seconds behind Wild after the first run.

The 27-year-old Wild was born in White Salmon, Wash., and married Russian snowboarder Alena Zavarzina in 2011. He was granted Russian citizenship two years ago. Zavarzina won bronze in the women's PGS in Sochi, but she placed 13th in Saturday's parallel slalom.

Austria's Benjamin Karl picked up the bronze in the men's event, defeating Italy's Aaron March in the small final.

Dujmovits was .72 seconds behind Karstens after the first of two runs during the women's big final, but she crossed the finish line .12 seconds ahead of Karstens for gold.

Amelie Kober picked up the bronze medal for Germany, defeating Italy's Corinna Boccacini by .13 seconds in the small final.

None of the medalists from Sochi's PGS competition were able to make it past the women's 1/8 finals on Sunday. Gold medalist Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland lost to Kober, while PGS runner-up Tomoka Takeuchi of Japan couldn't get past Kummer's compatriot Julie Zogg. Zavarzina lost in the 1/8 finals to Dujmovits.

Saturday's competition marked the Olympic debut of this event for both the men and women. It is similar to the snowboarding event of parallel giant slalom, with the main difference being the gates are placed closer together for the PS.

American Justin Reiter crashed out of the qualification round after missing a gate on his first run. He was the only U.S. snowboarder -- male or female -- in Saturday's competition.

Canada's Jasey Jay Anderson and Michael Lambert both bowed out of the competition in the 1/8 finals, losing to Kosir and Wild, respectively.

Ariane Lavigne, Caroline Calve and Marianne Leeson of Canada all failed to move past the first round in the women's event.

MATT BECOMES OLDEST ALPINE SKIER TO WIN GOLD IN MEN'S SLALOM

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Austria's Mario Matt became the oldest Alpine champion in Olympic history on Saturday when he captured the gold medal in the men's slalom at the Sochi Games.

Of course, 18-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest woman to win this event on Friday.

Matt, who will be 35 in April, led all skiers after the first run and was the last competitor with a medal chance to brave what proved to be a very difficult course at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center his second time through.

With his teammate and heavily favored Marcel Hirscher ahead of him, Matt flawlessly glided his way down to the finish with a total time of 1 minute, 41.84 seconds, .28 seconds ahead of his compatriot, who is the current World Cup leader and the 2013 world champion.

Before Matt, Norway's Kjetil Andre Aamodt had been the oldest Alpine skier to win gold. Aamodt was 34 years, 170 days when he captured the super-G at the 2006 Turin Games.

Norwegian teenager Henrik Kristoffersen claimed the bronze with a time of 1:42.67.

Although Matt is a two-time world champion, this was his first Olympic medal of any kind in what will likely be his final Winter Games.

American Ted Ligety, who gave the U.S. alpine skiing team its first gold in Sochi with his win in the giant slalom on Wednesday, was sixth after his first run, but stumbled his second time out and did not finish the run.

Fellow American Bode Miller was expected to compete against his countrymate in the slalom, but tweaked his surgically repaired left knee in Wednesday's giant slalom, leaving the 36-year-old six-time Olympic medalist unable to ski.

Team USA's Nolan Kasper did finish 13th, though.

The U.S. hasn't medaled in this event since the 1984 Sarajevo Games, when twin brothers Phillip and Steven Mahre won gold and silver, respectively.

WOMEN GIVE DUTCH SWEEP OF PURSUIT GOLD, 23 SPEEDSKATING MEDALS

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Another race, another gold and another Olympic record for the women speedskaters from the Netherlands.

The trio of Marrit Leenstra, Jorien ter Mors and Ireen Wust were never threatened by Poland on Saturday, winning the women's team pursuit going away at the Sochi Olympics.

The Netherlands set an Olympic record on Friday in the quarterfinals of this event, finishing in 2 minutes and 58.61 seconds. The Dutch women then bettered that mark on Saturday in the semifinals with a time of 2:58.43 to beat Japan and advance.

Still with plenty left in the tank, the Netherlands raced out to a 1.64-second lead over Poland in the first lap of the final and continued to stretch that advantage throughout. When all was said and done, the Dutch finished the 12th and final lap 7.50 seconds ahead of Poland for another record time of 2:58.05.

The victory by the women came shortly after the men defeated South Korea in the pursuit race, also setting an Olympic record.

The combined effort by the men and women's speedskating teams in Sochi netted their country 23 of its current 24 medals, with the other a short track bronze. The Dutch speedskaters claimed eight golds, seven silvers and eight bronze in these Games.

The women were a key part, taking three golds, three silvers and four bronze medals. Wust also won the 3,000 meters while claiming silver in the 1,000-, 1,500- and 5,000-meter races, and ter Mors won her second gold after having also claimed the 1,500m.

Poland won its third Sochi medal in speedskating and first from its women. It had bested Russia by less than two seconds to advance to the final.

Russia delighted the home crowd with a bronze medal, roaring past Japan with a time of 2:59.73. That was 2.84 seconds better than the Japanese trio.

Russian Olga Graf netted her second bronze of these Games, having placed third in the women's 3,000m.

Japan was the early leader in the race, pacing .41 seconds ahead of Russia after six laps. However, the Russian group cut it to .22 seconds the following go around and then pulled ahead for good in the eighth lap.

DUTCH POST OLYMPIC RECORD, GRAB GOLD IN MEN'S PURSUIT

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - The Netherlands continued to rack up speed skating medals at the Sochi Olympics, grabbing gold on Saturday in the men's team pursuit behind a record effort.

The decorated Dutch trio of Jan Blokhuijsen, Sven Kramer and Koen Verweij finished the 16-lap race with an Olympic record time of 3 minutes and 37.71 seconds.

It was a back-and-forth race early on before the Netherlands made its move in the seventh lap and never trailed again. The Dutch continued to build their lead, going up by more than a second by the 11th lap and eventually crossing the finish line 3.14 seconds ahead of South Korea for the gold.

Kramer won his second gold of the Sochi Olympics, winning the men's 5,000 meters while also taking silver in the 10,000m.

The Netherlands have won five of the six gold medals awarded in men's speedskating here in Sochi.

South Korea claimed its spot in the gold medal race by edging defending Olympic champion Canada in the first semifinal.

Poland defeated Canada by 2.33 seconds to claim the bronze medal, trailing through the first 13 laps before the trio of Zbigniew Brodka, Konrad Niedzwiedzki and Jan Szymanski pulled ahead to win comfortably.

RUSSIA WINS BIATHLON RELAY GOLD; BJOERNDALEN DENIED RECORD

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Russia closed out the biathlon with a gold medal in the men's 4x7.5-kilometer relay, denying Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen a Winter Olympics record ninth gold medal.

Bjoerndalen, the third of Norway's four racers, was dominant during his run, going 5-for-5 through both of his shooting stations and handed Emil Hegle Svendsen a two-second lead after the final exchange.

Svendsen, though, misfired from both the prone and standing positions, forcing him to take a penalty lap, while allowing Russia and Germany to move in front.

With Bjoerndalen's chance at history gone, it became a neck-and-neck race down the stretch, but Russian Anton Shipulin pulled away from Germany's Simon Schempp over the final 100 yards to help Russia claim the gold with a time of 1 hour, 12 minutes and 15.9 seconds, 3.5 seconds ahead of the Germans.

Russia was a bronze medal winner in this event in Vancouver.

Austria, meanwhile, claimed the bronze, finishing in 1:12:45.7. It had been a silver medal winner four years ago.

The 40-year-old Bjoerndalen, participating in his sixth and likely final Olympic Games, had moved past cross-country skiing compatriot Bjorn Daehlie for the most medals all-time in the Winter Olympics with a gold medal win in the mixed relay on Wednesday.

Another win on Saturday would have vaulted him past Daehlie for most golds all-time in the Winter Olympics.

RUSSIA FASTEST AFTER TWO FOUR-MAN BOBSLED HEATS; U.S. IN 4TH

Rzhanaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Russia had the fastest four-man bobsled team on Saturday following the first two of four scheduled heats to determine medals at the Sochi Olympics.

The Russian-1 sled had the quickest time in the first heat at 54.82 seconds before finishing fourth in the second run with a time of 55.37. That gave the group a total time of 1 minute, 50.19 seconds.

That is just 0.04 seconds ahead of Latvia, which used the fastest second-heat time of 55.13 to jump into second place.

The first sleds by both Germany and the U.S. were 2-3, respectively, after the first heat, but were bumped down a slot by Latvia after the second run. Germany is 0.16 seconds behind Russia, with the U.S. another 0.01 ticks back.

The final two heats to determine medals will take place on Sunday.

A second four-man team by the U.S. was 11th with a total time of 1:51.09.

The second heat featured a scary crash by the Canada-3 sled, which went into the run in eighth place. The bobsled spent a good portion of its run going down the track on its side, but all four racers were able to walk away from the crash seemingly unharmed.

The USA-1 sled is piloted by Steven Holcomb, who helped his four-man group win gold four years ago in the Vancouver Games. Holcomb picked up his second Olympic medal on Monday, a bronze with Steven Langton in the two-man.

Germany had won four straight Olympic gold medals in four-man bobsled before Holcomb's sled ended the streak in 2010. The current Germany-1 sled features the same four-man group that took first place in the 2013 World Championships.

UKRAINE CROSS-COUNTRY SKIER FAILS DOPING TEST

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - The Ukrainian Olympic Committee announced on Saturday that cross-country skier Marina Lisogor has failed a doping test, the third positive result of the Sochi Games.

Lisogor tested positive for trimetazidine, although, she says she did not knowingly take the banned substance. She admitted to taking the drug preductal, but said she was unaware that it contained the forbidden ingredient.

The 30-year-old Lisogor competed in two cross country events, but was nowhere near medal contention, as she finished 58th in both the women's free sprint qualification and the 10km classic.

Lisogor's positive result comes on the heels of German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian bobsledder William Frullani both receiving positive tests for banned substances.

CANADA, SLOVENIA CHALLENGE MEN'S SKI CROSS FINAL RESULTS

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Both the Canadian and Slovenian Olympic committees filed applications with the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Saturday protesting the final of the men's ski cross.

Thursday's event was swept by the French, led by Jean Frederic Chapuis' gold medal. Arnaud Bovolenta won silver and Jonathan Midol took bronze, an order decided after Canada's Brady Leman fell on the final turn in the big final.

However, both Olympic committees, along with the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association have asked for the disqualification of the winning skiers, alleging that the French support staff changed the shaping of its racers lower leg suits for an illegal aerodynamic effect.

The applications request a correction of the final rankings.

While Leman came in fourth place, Russia's Egor Korotkov won the small final to place fifth ahead of Slovenia's Filip Flisar, who finished sixth.

02/22 20:33:37 ET


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