Day 11 Olympics roundup
The United States won only one medal at the Vancouver Olympics on Monday, a silver in ice dancing. Yet there was some significance to it.
With 25 medals, Americans have won as many as they have at any Winter Games not held in the United States, matching their haul from Turin in 2006.
The record is all-but-broken, too, because the women’s hockey team has advanced to the gold-medal game, meaning they can get no worse than silver. They will face Canada on Thursday.
The next big number for the Americans: 34, their record for medals won at any Winter Olympics, set at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
There are six days and 35 events left to try piling them up.
Otherwise, the big news Monday was the fallout from the U.S. men’s hockey victory over Canada the day before, including Canada deciding to change goaltenders.
Robert Luongo will be in goal Tuesday against Germany, with Martin Brodeur watching from the bench.
"We’re in the winning business and to win in any game, at any level, you need big saves," Canada coach Mike Babcock said. "We’re looking for Lu to do that."
The ongoing reverberations started with the head of Canada’s Olympic committee conceding that his country wasn’t going to win the medals race, a huge proclamation considering they spent $117 million over five years to "Own the Podium." The white flag wasn’t raised directly because of the hockey game, but the timing makes you wonder.
"We’d be living in a fool’s paradise if we said we were going to catch the Americans and win," COC head Chris Rudge said.
Other events fed off the U.S.-Canada hockey game. For instance, Canada’s men’s curling team beat the Americans 5-3, eliminating them from the tournament, then one of the Canadian curlers called it "some redemption for the hockey team."
Oh, don’t forget the other connection Monday: Happy 30th anniversary to Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig and the "Miracle on Ice" club.
"It was more than a hockey game to a lot of people," Craig said. "As you get older … it becomes more and more important to us."
Also Monday, Germany made a big move to try catching the United States in the medals race, tying the Americans for the most gold (seven) and getting to 21 overall.
The Germans won the women’s cross-country team sprint and got silver in the men’s team sprint and in ski jumping.
No North American couple had ever won the event. This time, they were 1-2, with Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir outskating their Michigan training partners, Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
"There is so much to be proud of right now," Davis said.
World champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia won the bronze.
Turin Olympics silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the United States were fourth.
What a day to remember for U.S. coach Mark Johnson: He celebrated the anniversary of the "Miracle on Ice," in which he scored two goals, and saw his team avenge their 2006 Olympic shootout loss to Sweden with a 9-1 victory.
The Americans jumped ahead 4-0, then put the game away with four goals early in the third period, all against Kim Martin, the same goalie who stunned them in Turin. Monique Lamoureux scored three goals. Angela Ruggiero, a four-time Olympian playing in her record 250th game, also scored.
Canada advanced with a 4-0 win over Finland. Meghan Agosta set an Olympics record with her ninth goal, and Canada upped its margin of victory for the tournament to 46-2.
Skip John Shuster’s team got an early lead over Canada, but wound up losing 7-2 in a shortened match. Then the Americans fell 11-5 to China, ending their Olympics with a 2-7 record.
Shuster won bronze four years ago, helping bring more attention to this sport. It was the first U.S. curling medal at the Olympics and the first in a major men’s competition since 1978. They couldn’t build on it, though, losing three straight matches in extra ends (which are like innings in baseball).
"We’ve played good and just haven’t quite gotten there," Shuster said.
Ryan St. Onge and Jeret "Speedy" Peterson are headed to the finals in the men’s freestyle aerials — and defending Olympic champion Han Xiaopeng of China and this year’s top jumper, Anton Kushnir of Belarus, aren’t.
St. Onge was second in qualifying, Peterson fifth. Han and Kushnir fell on their second jumps.
"I have had a lot of trouble landing this year," St. Onge said. "To come out today and land two jumps the way I wanted to is unbelievable."
Both team sprints — a freestyle event with two skiers taking turns going three laps
— were decided in dashes to the finish.
Norway’s Petter Northug did it in the men’s event, pulling away from Germany’s Axel Teichmann. Norway’s Ola Vigen Hattestad -the reigning world champion in the individual and team sprints, and winner of the last two World Cup sprint titles — pulled out because of a sore throat.
Americans Torin Koos and Andy Newell were ninth.
Germany won the women’s team sprint when Claudia Nystad beat Sweden’s Anna Haag across the line by 0.6 seconds. Americans Caitlin Compton and Kikkan Randall were sixth.
Russia took bronze in both events.
On his final jump in the team event, 20-year-old Gregor Schlierenzauer soared farther than anyone else in these Winter Games to wrap up the gold for Austria. This was his third medal; he won bronze in both individual events.
Switzerland’s Simon Ammann, who won both individual events, didn’t compete in the team event because his country didn’t have the four jumpers needed for a team.
More changes are coming to the Whistler Sliding Center, this time to shave the ice in several tricky curves in hopes of making the track easier for bobsledders to navigate.
"It’s still going to be the toughest track in the world. No doubt," U.S. coach Brian Shimer told The Associated Press.
Changes came after a two sleds crashed during supplemental training, which many nations chose to skip, opting for rest instead.
The women’s event is Tuesday and Wednesday, with the men’s four-man event Friday and Saturday.
Magdalena Neuner of Germany won’t go for a third gold medal, pulling out of the relay on Tuesday because of exhaustion.
Neuner said she is "happy and satisfied" with having won gold in the pursuit and mass start races, and silver in the sprint, but that her Olympics have been "incredibly stressful."
BUS DRIVER DIES
Police say a 71-year-old bus driver working at the Olympics died on duty while driving other drivers to their depot. He’s believed to have had a heart attack.
Another driver grabbed the wheel and safely stopped the bus, said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.