SOCHI, Russia (AP) ― A Russian hockey team with immense expectations lost its shot at an Olympic title Wednesday at a Winter Games tempered by violence both in the host city and in nearby Ukraine.
Finland beat the Russians 3-1, knocking them out of the quarterfinals and ending their chances of winning a hockey gold medal in front of their own fans.
Defending Olympic champion Canada had a scare from upstart Latvia before a late goal sealed a 2-1 win.
The U.S. advanced easily with a 5-2 win over the Czech Republic. The U.S. will meet Canada and Sweden will take on Finland in Friday’s semifinals.
Another Russian with great expectations, 15-year-old figure skater Julia Lipnitskaya, fell during the women’s short program and finished fifth.
Ted Ligety of the U.S. won gold in men’s giant slalom, the first American man to win two Olympic medals in Alpine skiing.
American-turned Russian snowboarder Vic Wild won the men’s parallel giant slalom, minutes after his Russian wife, Alexa Zavarzina, won bronze in the women’s competition.
In downtown Sochi, Cossack militia attacked the Pussy Riot punk group with horsewhips and removed members’ trademark ski masks. The confrontation lasted less than three minutes and no one was arrested.
Bjoerndalen sets record with win
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) ― Ole Einar Bjoerndalen couldn’t avoid being in the spotlight, certainly not after becoming the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time and receiving personal congratulations from the king.
The softly spoken Norwegian tends to keep his thoughts and his emotions in check rather than in the public domain, so it was fitting that his 13th Winter Games medal was a gold in a team event.
The 40-year-old Bjoerndalen helped Norway win the first Olympic mixed relay in biathlon on Wednesday, surging back to form after a couple years of apparent decline.
He broke the total medals record he previously shared with retired cross-country skiing great Bjoern Daehlie at the Winter Games, and also matched fellow Norwegian’s record mark of eight golds. It was his second victory in Sochi, coming after his gold in the men’s sprint biathlon.
Canada rallies for bobsled gold
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) ― They called it the Battle Royale. Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers spent part of the summer training alongside one another, getting ready to spend this winter battling each other.
They shared a coach. They shared philosophies. They shared knowledge.
They could not share the Olympic gold medal.
It belongs to Humphries.
Canada’s team of Humphries and Heather Moyse are again queens of Olympic women’s bobsledding, rallying past the U.S. duo of Meyers and Lauryn Williams on Wednesday night to win gold at the Sochi Games.
It’s the second straight Olympic title for Humphries and Moyse.