USA-1 leads the way in women's bobsled
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — An American track star is two runs from Olympic history.
No, not her.
Lauryn Williams, who had never pushed a bobsled or even sat inside one until just six months ago, and teammate Elana Meyers lead in USA-1 at the halfway point of women's Olympic bobsled.
They completed two drives down the Sanki Sliding Center track in 1 minute, 54.89 seconds on Tuesday to lead Canada's Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse. The Canadians, trying to win their second straight Olympic title, trail by 0.23 seconds heading into today's final two runs.
USA-3's Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans are in third, 0.56 back.
Williams, a two-time sprint medalist in the Summer Olympics, is attempting to become just the second athlete to win gold medals in both the Winter and Summer Games.
Lolo Jones, on the other hand, wants just one.
The former hurdler is 11th with teammate Jazmine Fenlator in USA-3, 1.84 seconds behind Meyers and Williams. It's not the result Jones had hoped for after switching to bobsled to pursue her dream of winning a medal after ballyhooed failures on the track in Beijing and London.
So far, this Olympic competition has been no different than most during this past World Cup season, with Meyers and Humphries duking it out for first.
Humphries edged Myers for the overall championship by one point. But the stakes are much higher in Sochi, and although the two are close friends after training and even roomed together last summer, Meyers and Humphries are going hard for gold.
Humphries celebrated her triumph in 2010 on her home track in Whistler by adding a tattoo of her gold medal to the many on her chiseled body. She's considered her artistic options if she wins again, but Humphries has to catch Meyers first.
Humphries and Moyse were first on the track Tuesday and made a clean trip, staying in the middle and keeping away from any bumps that might slow them down. They finished in 57.39 seconds, but the pair barely had time to acknowledge they had set a track record when Meyers and Williams lowered it.
USA-1's first heat wasn't pretty, but it was fast: a 57.26-second descent that moved them ahead of the Canadians. The Americans stretched their lead by one-tenth of a second on their second run.
Neither rain nor snow could keep Tina Maze from her appointed rounds. The Slovenian skier captured her second gold medal of these games by winning the giant slalom. Maze was in full command, leading all the way and finishing 0.07 seconds ahead of Anna Fenninger of Austria. Defending champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany was the bronze medalist and teen sensation Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. was fifth in her Olympic debut.
Russia is playing under immense pressure in Sochi. It did not look strong in the preliminary round, and that was the case against Norway, which hasn't won an Olympic hockey game since its home Lillehammer Games in 1994. The game was scoreless after one period and 2-0 after two. Russia got two goals from Alexander Radulov and advanced to the quarterfinals against Finland today. Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia also advanced to the quarterfinals.
The podium has become a second home for the Dutch, with the walls painted orange. Jorrit Bergsma set an Olympic record with his time of 12 minutes, 44.45 seconds. He was followed by Sven Kramer and Bob de Jong, sending the Dutch to their fourth podium sweep at this venue and giving them a total of 19 speedskating medals.
Emil Hegle Svendsen edged Martin Fourcade of France to win gold in the men's 15-kilometer mass start biathlon. They both finished in 42 minutes, 29.1 seconds, with Svendsen's ski crossing the line a fraction ahead. This was Svendsen's fourth career Olympic medal but first in Sochi. Ondrej Moravec of Czech Republic won bronze for his second medal of the games.
Pierre Vaultier held off Nikolay Olyunin of Russia to win the gold medal in men's snowboardcross on a chopped-up course slowed by drizzle. Alex Deibold of the U.S., a wax technician for the Americans in Vancouver four years ago, took the bronze. Italy's Omar Visintin was removed by a stretcher after crashing in the semifinals. The event was pushed back a day because of heavy fog.
South Korea won the 3,000-meter relay, passing China on the last lap to take the lead. Four years ago in Vancouver, the South Koreans finished first, but were disqualified and China got the gold. Italy took the bronze, giving Arianna Fontana her third medal in Sochi.
Norway delivered a one-two finish in the Nordic combined large hill. Joergen Graabak broke away from a five-man group with about 100 meters left in the cross-country race, finishing six-tenths of a second ahead of Magnus Moan. Fabian Riessle of Germany won the bronze.
Britain reached the semifinals in men's curling by beating Norway 6-5 in a tiebreaker. The game came down to the final shot, and British skip David Murdoch delivered. The British will face Sweden in the semifinals today while Canada plays China.