Davis, White Win Gold Medal, Olympic Roundup
Published on February 18 2014 6:15 am
Last Updated on February 18 2014 6:15 am
Written by Millie Lange
Royal Oak Natives Davis, White Win Gold Medal
(Bloomfield Hills, MI) -- Suburban Detroit natives Meryl Davis and Charlie White have added to their two world championships with a gold medal in the ice dance competition at the Winter Olympics. Charlie White Sr. stayed home because of nervousness watching his son and Davis perform and says their dedication is hard to imagine.
The two have been on the ice together for nearly 20 years. They out distanced the Canadian duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. The top two teams train at Arctic Edge of Canton, while Madison Chock of Novi and Evan Bates of Ann Arbor came in eighth and siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani of Ann Arbor finished ninth.
Deibold Adds To U.S. Medal Count
(Krasnaya Polyana, Russia) -- Alex Deibold has added to Team USA's medal count this morning. The American took bronze in the men's snowboard cross event. Deibold finished behind France's Pierre Vaultier and Russia's Nikolay Olyunin.
Women's Hockey Gets Olympic Boost
(Sochi, Russia) -- Despite the dominance of the U.S. and Canada in the sport, women's hockey is getting a boost from officials. International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel says the sport will "never" be taken out of the Olympics. Since entering the Games in 1998, Canada has won three gold while the USA has one.
U.S. Men Turn Attention To Qualifiers
(Sochi, Russia) -- The U.S. men's hockey team will have eyes focused on today's qualifying game between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The winner of that contest will face Team USA in the quarterfinals Wednesday. The game gets underway at noon Eastern today. Slovenia advanced past Austria in this morning's game.
U.S. Women's Bobsled Starts Today
(Krasnaya Polyana, Russia) -- A trio of U.S. women's two-man bobsled teams take the track at the Sanki Sliding Center today in the first pair of four heats. Former track and field athletes Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams will push on two of the U.S. sleds. The American men won bronze Monday.
Russia, USA Have Medals Lead
(Sochi, Russia) -- Host nation Russia and the U.S. share the lead atop the medals table in Sochi, each having won 19 so far. The Netherlands is next with 17 medals while Canada owns 16 to this point. Germany owns the most gold medals with eight.
Sochi downhill co-champion Tina Maze of Slovenia took a big lead in the women's giant slalom on Tuesday after the first run. Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18- year-old American slalom specialist, was fifth going into the final run and was .26 seconds out of medal contention but former Olympic champion Julia Mancuso missed a gate and was eliminated in her last race of the Sochi Games. Shiffrin has three World Cup titles this season in slalom and is the reigning world champion. That event is scheduled for Friday. She has finished on the World Cup podium twice this season in giant slalom. Maze, who earned the silver in the giant slalom at the 2010 Olympics, posted a time of 1 minute, 17.88 seconds -- .52 seconds ahead of Sweden's Jessica Lindell-Vikarby. Italy's Nadia Fanchini was third, .65 seconds back of Maze. Austria's Anna Fenninger, looking to build on the gold she won in the super-G at these Olympics, was fourth ahead of Shiffrin. Reigning Olympic giant slalom champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany stood sixth going into the second run, which was coming up Tuesday.
American Nate Holland didn't make it out of the first round of the men's snowboard cross competition on Tuesday. Holland, who won his seventh Winter X Games gold medal in the event last month, was running second in his 1/8 final to teammate Trevor Jacob but lost momentum at the end of a jump near the bottom of the course and finished fourth in the heat. Only the top three riders in each heat moved on to the quarterfinals. Jacob and U.S. teammate Alex Deibold moved on. Another American, Nick Baumgartner, was eliminated. Holland had medal hopes after finishing fourth at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. American Seth Wescott, who won the first two Olympic men's snowboard cross gold medals, isn't competing, so there will be a first-time winning this year. The competition was postponed on Monday because of fog and it was raining during Tuesday's runs. The seeding round was canceled, so riders were ranked according to FIS points. Canadians Kevin Hill and Christopher Robanske moved on.
The men's biathlon 15-kilometer mass start should finally award medals after the event was postponed two days in a row because of fog. When it finally starts, Frenchman Martin Fourcade will be aiming for his third gold medal in Sochi. Fourcade, a silver medalist in the mass start at the Vancouver Games, has won gold in both the individual and pursuit at these Olympics. Another win on Monday would allow Fourcade to tie a 46-year-old French record for gold medals in a single Olympics. The U.S. has never won an Olympic biathlon medal, but Tim Burke has been the team's best performer in this event.
The U.S. will have three sleds in competition in the first two runs of women's bobsled, including one piloted by Jazmine Fenlator, who will have American hurdler Lolo Jones as her brakeman. Jones is not the only track and field star in competition for the U.S. team in Sochi. Lauryn Williams, a two-time Olympic medalist at the Summer Games, will also serve as brakeman for Elana Meyers. A third U.S. sled will be piloted by Jamie Greubel. Kaillie Humphries piloted a Canadian sled to gold four years ago in Vancouver and also won last year's world championships. Humphries and brakeman Heather Moyse figure to have a solid chance to repeat as Olympic champions in Sochi. Medals will be awarded Wednesday after the completion of the third and fourth runs.
The Olympic debut of the freestyle skiing halfpipe event is set for today with the men battling for gold at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. The Americans figure to have a good shot at gold, as the U.S. claimed the top two steps at the podium at the most recent world championships in Voss, Norway. David Wise won gold for the U.S. at worlds and Torin Yater-Wallace was second. Aaron Blunck also will compete for the Americans in Sochi after finishing sixth at the 2013 World Championships. Lyman Currier gives the U.S. a fourth competitor in Tuesday's field. Canada also has four skiers in the event and is led by Mike Riddle, who finished fourth at the last worlds. France's Thomas Krief was the bronze medalist at the worlds and also is in the field in Sochi.
A quartet of elimination games are on Tuesday's schedule in men's hockey and the host team may have the most pressure. Russia was hoping to avoid this round, but came up short of a bye into the quarterfinals with a second-place finish in Group A and will take on Group B cellar-dweller Norway. The Russians hope history repeats itself, as the Canadians had to win a qualification round game four years ago in Vancouver before going on to win the gold medal. Tuesday's winner will meet Finland in Wednesday's quarterfinals. The Czec Republic and Slovakia will renew hostilities. The Czechs have dominated since the break up of Czechoslovakia in 1993, winning a gold medal in 1998 and a bronze in 2006. This will mark the third straight Olympic meeting and the Slovaks are still looking for a win, having dropped a 3-1 decision four years ago in the preliminary round and a 3-1 triumph in the 2006 quarterfinals to their neighbors. The United States awaits the winner on Wednesday. In the other games, Slovenia will battle Austria and Switzerland will meet Latvia. Top-seeded Sweden will face the Slovenia-Austria winner, while Canada will take on the Switzerland-Latvia victor.
The U.S. will try to recapture some of its Nordic combined magic from the Vancouver Games when medals are handed out for the large hill event. Bill Demong and Johnny Spillane claimed gold and silver in this event four years ago. Demong, who owns the only gold ever won by the U.S. in Nordic combined, will be back to defend his Olympic title but Spillane is now retired. Demong will be joined in the event by fellow Americans Todd Lodwick and brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher. Along with Demong, Spillane and Brett Camerota, Lodwick helped the U.S. win silver in the Nordic combined team event in Vancouver. The Americans did not have a good showing in the normal hill event earlier in Sochi, with Demong leading the country with a 24th-place finish. Bryan Fletcher was 26th and his brother ended in 33rd place. Lodwick, the flag bearer for the U.S. at the opening ceremony in Sochi, is competing at his sixth Winter Games. He did not start the cross country portion of the normal hill event after placing 34th in the ski jumping segment. Lodwick has been bothered by a shoulder injury, but he will be ready to go on Tuesday. Germany's Eric Frenzel, Japan's Akito Watabe and Magnus Krog of Norway won gold, silver and bronze, respectively, in the normal hill event in Sochi and expect to challenge for gold in Tuesday's competition.
SHORT TRACK SPEEDSKATING
The final race of the women's 3,000-meter relay is scheduled in short track speedskating and South Korea will try to win gold in the event for the fifth time in six Winter Games. The Koreans had won four straight Olympic titles in the relay before failing to medal four years ago in Vancouver. They actually crossed the finish line first in Vancouver, but were later disqualified for impeding with the Chinese team. The infraction awarded China the gold, with Canada and the United States taking silver and bronze in that order. Four teams made Tuesday's medal race, including the Koreans and Chinese, who will be joined by Italy and Canada in a battle for gold. There also will be heats for the women's 1,000 and men's 500 on Tuesday at Iceberg Skating Palace.
Sven Kramer of the Netherlands tries for another speedskating gold medal on Tuesday. Kramer, already a gold medalist in the 5,000 meters, will be the last of 14 skaters in the 10,000 on Tuesday. He would have entered the event as the defending Olympic champion at the distance, but was disqualified four years ago in Vancouver after an incorrect lane change. That mistake helped South Korea's Seung Hoon Lee win gold four years ago. Lee will be in the final pairing Tuesday with Kramer and is coming off a disappointing 12th-place finish in the 5,000. The Dutch have dominated the men's speedskating events in Sochi, winning nine of the 12 total medals -- three gold, three silver and three bronze. Emery Lehman and Patrick Meek will take the ice for the Americans.
The curling tournament has reached its elimination stage and Tuesday's action features just one tiebreaker, as Norway and Great Britain will square off on the men's side to determine the last of four semifinalists. Both finished round-robin play at 5-4 after losses on Monday and Tuesday's winner will advance to a semifinal matchup with top-seeded Sweden.