Tuesday Olympic Roundup

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 1:50am

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Lindsey Jacobellis had to do
it. Flying through the air toward the finish line, she reached down
and grabbed her snowboard, a stunt similar to the showoff move that
cost her a gold medal four years ago.
This time, it was all she could do to salvage something
following another Olympic flub.
Jacobellis wobbled after landing a jump early in a
snowboardcross semifinal, couldn't regain control and clipped a
gate, ending her medal chances.
She threw up her arms helplessly, then dropped her hands onto
her helmet in anguish. Once she regained control of her emotions,
she charged down the run and finished with a flourish.
In Turin, she got a silver medal as a consolation prize. This
time, it'll only be a picture of her two-handed "truck driver
grab."
"I mean, it's a bummer," Jacobellis said. "But ... I was
like, 'Still can have some fun in some way."'
The United States ended up getting shut out of medals Tuesday,
falling into second place in the overall chase, stuck at eight
while Germany reached nine.
There was some good news for the red, white and blue: the men's
hockey team won its opener, the women's hockey team dominated again
and there's a lot to look forward to Wednesday, when headliners
Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White, Shani Davis and Apolo Anton Ohno all
will be in action.
Vonn's shin still hurts, but she got another day off Tuesday as
a heavy snowfall closed the course, forcing the men's
super-combined event to be pushed back to Sunday.
Canadians were excited Tuesday because their two favorite sports
cranked up: hockey and curling.
Excitement filled the arena when Sidney Crosby and the boys took
the ice, but things turned tense when Canada and Norway played to a
scoreless tie after one period. Jarome Iginla got the scoring
started early in the second, and it was like a dam bursting. Iginla
and Dany Heatley scored twice, and Crosby had three assists on the
way to an 8-0 victory over a club lacking a single NHL player.
Canada's love of hockey is well known. And curling, too, is
beloved.
Yep. The atmosphere in the 5,000-seat arena was reminiscent of a
Duke-North Carolina basketball game. There were even scalpers.
(Seriously.)
"It's just so much fun to be a part of," Canada's skip Kevin
Martin said, following a 7-6 victory sealed on the final throw.
Yet it wasn't a great day for Vancouver organizers. They had to
deal with lots more weather issues, timing blunders in biathlon, a
spigot going off and spraying water onto the luge track just before
the eventual bronze medalist went down and the realization they
goofed by putting up a chain-link fence to keep everyone away from
the outdoor cauldron.
Well, at least the ice-cleaning machines worked Tuesday, leaving
no need for the extra Zamboni that was trucked in from Calgary just
in case.
---
U.S. MEN'S HOCKEY
Bobby Ryan scored late in the first period, and David Backes and
Ryan Malone added goals in the second period. Ryan Miller was solid
in the net, although he was forced to put tape over the words
"Miller Time" painted on his mask. (However, he was allowed to
keep a tribute to a late cousin.)
"This is a fairly quiet team, which kind of surprises me. But
quietly confident," U.S. coach Ron Wilson said. "We are a
chemistry experiment that's going to take some time."
Despite the lack of NHL talent and household names outside of
Switzerland, the Swiss club is considered dangerous - largely
because of goalie Jonas Hiller.
---
WOMEN'S HOCKEY
Jenny Potter came to Vancouver with five goals over three
previous trips to the Olympics.
After just two games in Vancouver, she's already scored six
times. She's averaging a hat trick, although that probably is more
of a reflection on the competition.
Her latest three-goal-game came in a 13-0 rout of Russia,
clinching a spot in next week's playoffs. The Americans took just
two shots in the final period to avoid making this any more
humiliating for a young Russian team missing its starting goalie.
---
SNOWBOARDCROSS
With Jacobellis out of the finals, Maelle Ricker easily won
Canada's second gold of the Vancouver Olympics.
Jacobellis won the consolation race to go down as the
fifth-place finisher.
---
ALPINE DELAYS
The snowstorm left Vonn as happy as a kid getting a snow day
from school. She needed the time off after a bumpy training run
Monday. She could've skipped another training session, but this
avoided a decision and meant her foes couldn't get any work in,
either.
"I'm definitely getting antsy," Vonn said.
Dry weather is forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Of
the four Alpine races scheduled so far, only the men's downhill has
been held.
"The situation is challenging," race director Guenter Hujara
said. "But we are quite optimistic. We still have quite a few days
in reserve. We will use them if necessary."
---
FIGURE SKATING
You know that NBC commentator Dick Button? His claim to fame is
being the last man to repeat as Olympic champion, back in 1948 and
'52.
Russian Evgeni Plushenko might soon wear that crown.
Plushenko won the short program and will go into the free skate
Thursday night in a tight race with American world champion Evan
Lysacek and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi.
No American has won the gold since Brian Boitano in 1998, and no
Japanese skater has ever won the men's gold.
---
CURLING
U.S. men curlers better start sweeping faster. Or slower. They
need to do something different after a 7-5 loss to a strong German
squad.
"It's one of those weird deals where you're very close," U.S.
skip John Shuster said.
The Americans, ranked fourth in the world, get another chance
Tuesday night against Norway.
The U.S. women blew a three-point lead and lost 9-7 to Japan.
---
SPEEDSKATING
The ice-cleaners worked!
The South Koreans keep cleaning up, too, with Lee Sang-hwa
winning the women's 500 meters. That makes two gold and a silver in
four events at the big oval for a nation that had never won a
Winter Olympic gold in any sport except short track
"All my friends won medals, so I had a little bit of
pressure," Lee said. "I was a little bit worried."
How big of an upset was this? Well, either German
world-record-holder Jenny Wolf or China's Wang Beixing had won the
eight World Cup races this season. In the biggest race, though,
Wolf got silver, Wang bronze.
---
LUGE
Tatjana Huefner gave Germany its ninth women's singles luge gold
in 13 Olympic competitions. With Felix Loch's winning the men's
event, Germany has swept gold for the sixth time, something no
other nation has ever done.
Top U.S. hopeful Erin Hamlin, the 2009 world champion, was 16th.
---
BIATHLON
Both events were marred by problems with the officials who were
in charge of timing. Three women were sent out late and two men
went out too early, including American Jeremy Teela.
"It is embarrassing," said Norbert Baier, the International
Biathlon Union's technical delegate. "Why do we have this
incompetence?"
Bjorn Ferry won the men's 12.5-kilometer pursuit, giving Sweden
its first gold medal in biathlon in 50 years. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen
had a chance to add to his record medal collection, but missed his
last two shots and wound up seventh. Teela was the top U.S.
finisher at 24th.
Magdalena Neuner of Germany and Anastazia Kuzmina of Slovakia
finished 1-2 in the women's 10-kilometer pursuit, a reversal of
their finish in the 7.5-kilometer sprint. Sara Studebaker was the
top American, finishing 46th.
---
VENUE WIPEOUT
Another 20,000 folks planning to watch events on Cypress
Mountain are out of luck.
Wet, warm weather has wiped out the general-admission, standing
room area for watching snowboarding halfpipe, ski cross and
snowboard parallel giant slalom. The tickets, which cost $48 to
$62, are being refunded, along with the 8,000 tickets already
refunded for watching snowboardcross from the same spot.
All told, the 28,000 tickets to be refunded will cost organizers
around $1.44 million, which is a negligible portion of their $249
million ticketing revenue.
"The snow is washed way to the point where people can punch
through and potentially step in a place where there's two big straw
bales," said Caley Denton, vice president of ticketing and
consumer marketing for VANOC. "We've had people going down to
their knees."
---
TV RATINGS
The Winter Olympics are a big hit for NBC, drawing 15 percent
more viewers through the first four nights than the 2006 Turin
Games.
"We are really thrilled by the performance of the Olympics,"
said Alan Wurtzel, NBC Universal's top research executive.

 

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