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US Athletes Advance in Sochi Olympics

Maria Hoefl-Riesch won her second straight Olympic super-combined title Monday, with downhill leader Julia Mancuso settling for bronze.

 Bronze medalist Julia Mancuso of the United States celebrates during the flower ceremony for the Alpine Skiing Women's Super Combined
Bronze medalist Julia Mancuso of the United States celebrates during the flower ceremony for the Alpine Skiing Women’s Super Combined

Mancuso, 0.53 behind Hoefl-Riesch, punched the air with her right fist after seeing she had won her fourth career Olympic medal. No other American woman has won more than two.

Viktor Ahn advanced to the 1,500-meter short track final on Monday, giving him a chance to win his adopted Russia its first medal in the chaotic sport.

U.S. skater J.R. Celski the 2010 bronze medalist, benefited from a shocking crash to win his tough semifinal.

In women’s hockey, the U.S. smashed Switzerland 9-0 for its second win.

Team U.S.A. has five medals so far, two gold and three bronze.

From the weekend:

Jamie Anderson of the U.S. soared her way to gold medal in a near flawless run Sunday, a day after Sage Kotsenburg captured in the men’s gold medal.

American Bode Miller, one of the pre-race favorites in today’s men’s Olympic downhill, lost speed on the lower half of the course and faded to a disappointing eighth as Matthias Mayer of Austria won the gold medal.

Italy took silver and Norway earned bronze. Another pre-race favorite, Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, also struggled and finished fourth.

Mayer’s Gold was a big upset Sunday in one of the Olympics’ marquee events. “It’s amazing to be an Olympic champion,” he said.

Irene Wust took gold as she showed why speedskating is Dutch territory; and Russia scored gold in team figure skating.

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SKIING: In a country where skiing is revered, Mayer gave Austria a jolt. A few weeks ago he was not even considered the nation’s best shot for gold. But he covered the Rosa Khutor course in 2 minutes, 6.23 seconds and beat Italy’s Christof Innerhofer by 0.06 seconds. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud won the bronze. Miller, who dominated the training runs, was so unnerved by the change of visibility he thought he’d have “to do something magical to win.” That was left to Mayer, who enjoys good skiing bloodlines — his father, Helmut, won a super-G silver medal at the 1988 Calgary Games.

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FIGURE SKATING: With Evgeni Plushenko and a captivating Julia Lipnitskaia winning the free skates, Russia took the team event without needing to worry about the concluding ice dance. President Vladimir Putin was among those in a crowd relishing this victory as the Russians drew away from the U.S. and Canada. Plushenko’s body has been battered by 12 operations and he had to convince his federation he merited a spot in Sochi. “All the fans are cheering so hard that you literally cannot do badly because they do everything with you,” Plushenko said. “You get goose bumps.”

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SNOWBOARDING: The U.S. now has a double gold hit in slopestyle, with Anderson doing her part a day after Sage Kotsenburg. “Even though it’s just another competition, the stage and the outreach that this event connects to is out of control,” Anderson said. Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi won the silver. The bronze went to Jenny Jones, a 33-year-old former maid at a ski resort who gave Britain its first medal in any snow sport.

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SPEEDSKATING: Another royal visit, more Dutch gold. Wust gave the Netherlands its second victory by winning the 3,000. Skating before her king and queen, Wust won in 4 minutes, 0.34 seconds. Defending champ Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic took the silver while Olga Graf won bronze for Russia’s first medal of the games. Claudia Pechstein, 41 and a six-time Olympian, was fourth. Wust, her nails red, white and blue like the Dutch flag, held up three fingers, signifying her third Olympic gold medal.

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CROSS-COUNTRY: Switzerland’s Dario Cologna had ankle surgery in November, but that now seems ancient. He won the 30-kilometer skiathlon, pulling away at the top of the last uphill section. The three-time overall World Cup winner claimed his second Olympic gold medal. He was timed in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 15.4 seconds. Defending champion Marcus Hellner of Sweden took silver, with the bronze to Norway’s Martin Johnsrud Sundby.

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BIATHLON: Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kuzmina matched her gold from Vancouver in the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint. Kuzmina shot flawlessly and finished in 21 minutes, 6.8 seconds. The silver medal went to Russia’s Olga Vilukhina and the bronze to Ukraine’s Vita Semerenko. Kuzmina’s brother is Russian biathlete Anton Shipulin, who was fourth Saturday.

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LUGE: Felix Loch, still only 24, did it again. The German luger won his second straight Olympic gold medal, leaving the rest of the field in his icy wake. Loch completed four runs down the Sanki Sliding Center track in 3 minutes, 27.562 seconds — 0.476 seconds ahead of Russia’s Albert Demchenko, who won the silver in his seventh Olympics. Italy’s Armin Zoeggeler won the bronze, giving him a record six medals in six games.

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SKI JUMPING: In control from the start, Kamil Stoch of Poland won the Olympic gold in the men’s normal hill individual ski jump. Stoch had the best jump in each round, putting first ahead of the silver medalist Peter Prevc of Slovenia and bronze medalist Anders Bardal of Norway. Thomas Morgenstern of Austria, returning from serious injuries from a fall during training a month ago, was 14th. Simon Amman of Switzerland, the defending champion from Vancouver who was seeking a record fifth Olympic gold medal, finished 17th.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)


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