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Germany passes U.S. in medals

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Associated Press
February 17, 2010
— Lindsey Jacobellis had to do it. Flying through the air toward the finish line, she reached down and grabbed her snowboard, the same 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.


“I mean, it’s a bummer,” Jacobellis said. “But then (the fancy finish) came off, and 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 today, 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. “I’m definitely getting antsy,” Vonn said. Dry weather is forecast for today, Thursday and Friday. Of the four Alpine races scheduled so far, only the men’s downhill has been held. Canadians were excited Tuesday because their two favorite sports cranked up—hockey and curling. Yet it wasn’t a great day for Vancouver organizers. They had to deal with more weather issues and timing blunders in biathlon. Well, at least the ice-cleaning machines worked Tuesday.


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.) Despite the lack of NHL talent and household names outside of Switzerland, the Swiss club is considered dangerous—largely because of goalie Jonas Hiller.


U.S. 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.


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 in their first match of the Games. 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. 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.


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. “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. Magdalena Neuner of Germany and Anastazia Kuzmina of Slovakia finished 1-2 in the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit.



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