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Winter Olympics: White falters in attempt for halfpipe gold

APTOPIX Sochi Olympics Snowboard

American Shaun White gets air during a snowboard half pipe training session at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on Monday at the 2014 Winter Olympics. White finished fourth in the event on Tuesday. AP photo

By
From page B8 | February 12, 2014 |

SOCHI, Russia — The most decorated country in Winter Olympic history earned four more medals Tuesday, and the most famous snowboarder in the world had his hopes for a third straight gold in the halfpipe dashed.

Norway won double gold in the cross-country freestyle sprints while picking up silver medals in the women’s sprint and in the women’s 10-kilometer biathlon pursuit. That gave the Norwegians the medal lead as the games concluded their fifth day, and it pushed their overall total to 317 since the Winter Olympics began in 1924.

The United States saw several of its best hopes evaporate, including Shaun White, the flamboyant snowboarder who was dethroned by Iouri Podladtchikov.

Known as I-Pod, the Russian-born Swiss snowboarder was flawless while White failed to master his rival’s best trick.

Another U.S. gold medal prospect, cross-country skier Kikkan Randall, was eliminated in the qualifying rounds of the women’s freestyle sprint. Maiken Caspersen Falla of Norway took the gold in that race, with teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg earning silver.

Ola Vigen Hattestad captured the men’s sprint title in a race marred by a three-skier collision. Emil Joensson of Sweden, who had all but given up earlier in the race, grabbed the bronze after Sergey Ustiugov of Russia, Marcus Hellner of Sweden and Anders Gloeersen of Norway were involved in a crash that left them sprawled across the course. Soft snow caused a number of spills throughout the day.

Snowboarding

The trick that White couldn’t master is called YOLO — You Only Live Once. Podladtchikov created it and landed it successfully. White tried it twice, but couldn’t match I-Pod, settling for fourth and no medal.

Cross-country skiing

Hattestad took the early lead, avoided the crash behind him and then held off Teodor Peterson of Sweden for the gold. Peterson finished 1.2 seconds behind for silver. Vesna Fabjan of Slovenia won the bronze in the women’s sprint. Besides Randall, Marit Bjoergen of Norway was also eliminated early.

Biathlon

Darya Domracheva of Belarus led for most of the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit race, missing only the last target before finishing in 29 minutes, 30.7 seconds. Tora Berger of Norway took silver, and Teja Gregorin of Slovenia claimed the bronze.

Slopestyle skiing

Dara Howell won gold with a score of 94.20, trouncing the rest of the field, and Kim Lamarre earned bronze to give the Canadians seven medals in four days of snowboarding and freestyle skiing, including three events in which they took two of the top three spots.

“We’re over the moon right now,” said Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association.

Devin Logan of the United States took silver. Canada’s big day was tempered by teammate Yuki Tsubota’s crash on the slushy snow. She was carried off the mountain on a stretcher with a possible fractured jaw.

Speedskating

Lee Sang-hwa won the women’s 500 meters and set an Olympic record of 37.28 seconds in her second race, beating the mark of 37.30 set by Catriona Le May Doan at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Her combined time of 1 minute, 14.70 seconds also was an Olympic record, beating Le May Doan’s mark of 1:14.75. Olga Fatkulina of Russia won the silver, and Margot Boer of the Netherlands got the bronze.

Luge

Natalie Geisenberger’s victory was Germany’s fifth straight in women’s luge. Teammate Tatjana Huefner won the silver and Erin Hamlin picked up the bronze, the first singles luge medal ever for the United States.

Ski jumping

Carina Vogt won the first gold medal in women’s ski jumping. The 22-year-old German overcame heavy favorite Sara Takanashi, the World Cup leader in the sport who ended up a disappointing fourth. Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria took silver and Colin Mattell of France earned bronze.

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