Russia forced into must-win hockey game
SOCHI, Russia — Russia is having a tough time winning on the Olympic ice, and the Netherlands can't seem to lose.
The Russians were forced into a second straight shootout on Sunday and now must play an extra game to reach the men's hockey quarterfinals. The Dutch speedskaters have fared much better, earning a third sweep of the podium at the Sochi Games.
With hockey-crazed Russian crowds packing the arenas, Canada, Sweden, the United States and Finland advanced to the hockey quarterfinals. They'll be joined by the winners of a four-game qualifying round next Tuesday among the eight remaining teams.
Russia lost its chance to skip the qualifying round when it was forced into a shootout by Slovakia, winning 1-0. That allowed Finland to claim the bye on goal difference. Canada, Sweden and the U.S. all finished the qualifying round undefeated.
At the Adler Arena, Dutch skaters swept the podium in the women's 1,500 meters. Overall, the Dutch have won an astounding 16 speedskating medals in Sochi out of 24 awarded so far, smashing the Olympic record of 13 set by East Germany at the 1988 Calgary Games.
Two snowboarders were taken off the slope on stretchers Sunday following crashes during qualifying rounds for the snowboardcross finals. One suffered a concussion, the other an injured knee. It was the same slope where Russian skicross racer Maria Komissarova fractured a vertebra in her back during a training crash Saturday. She was airlifted to a German hospital Sunday for further treatment.
Elsewhere on Day 10 of the Sochi Olympics, Norwegian skier Kjetil Jansrud earned his country's fourth consecutive Olympic title in men's super-G; Czech snowboarder Eva Samkova won her country's first gold medal of the games; and Sweden took gold in the men's 4x10-kilometer cross-country relay.
Jansrud continued Norway's dominance in super-G, outracing two Americans and a Canadian for the Scandinavian country's fifth gold in the event in the past seven games. Andrew Weibrecht earned the silver medal, while American teammate Bode Miller and Jan Hudec of Canada tied for bronze. It was Miller's sixth Olympic medal, moving him two behind all-time Alpine leader Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway. At 36, Miller is the oldest Alpine skier to medal.
Samkova won the women's snowboardcross, the first gold of the games for the Czech Republic. Samkova led from start to finish in all three qualifying and elimination races. Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S. crashed while leading her semifinal, the third straight disappointing Olympic finish for the eight-time X Games winner. Jacobellis had gold in hand in Turin in 2006 only to fall with a big lead in the final while attempting a fancy grab. She recovered for silver. Four years ago in Vancouver, she washed out early in her semifinal run.
Sweden's win in the 4x10-kilometer relay came one day after the Swedish women had won gold in the same race. No country has won both relays since the old Soviet Union did it 42 years ago. Swedish anchor Marcus Hellner skied alone for the entire fourth leg and grabbed a Swedish flag to wave as he entered the stadium. Russia took silver in front of President Vladimir Putin. France finished third.
Jorien ter Mors earned the gold in the Dutch sweep of the women's 1,500. Pre-race favorite Ireen Wust settled for silver, with bronze going to Lotte van Beek. If there had been a medal for fourth place, the Dutch would have won that, too, with Marrit Leenstra finishing just after Van Beek. Ter Mors turned in a stunning time of 1 minute, 53.51 seconds, an Olympic record and the second-fastest ever at sea level.
Sweden and Canada became the first men's teams to qualify for the semifinals. Norway, Britain and China are battling for the other two spots. The Swedes and Canadians also advanced to the semifinals in the women's tournament. China, Britain, Switzerland and Japan still have a chance for the remaining two semifinal spots.
Phil Kessel became the first American player in 12 years to score an Olympic hat trick in the 5-1 U.S. win over Slovenia. Canada defeated Finland 2-1 in overtime, while Austria won its first men's Olympic hockey game in a dozen years, defeating Norway 3-1. In the women's preliminaries, Finland topped Germany 2-1 and Russia beat Japan 6-2. All four had already been eliminated from medal contention.