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Russians on Target in Olympic Biathlon, Aim for Figure Skating Sweep


Russia has upset two-time defending Olympic champion Germany in the women's 4x6 - kilometer biathlon relay at the Winter Olympics in Italy.

The Russian team never trailed as it displayed strong skiing and precise shooting Thursday in San Sicario, winning in 1:16:12.5. Germany finished 50.7 seconds behind for the silver. France overtook Belarus for the bronze.

The Russians are hoping to add to their total with an unprecedented sweep of all of the Turin figure skating events. Two-time world champion Irina Slutskaya is the favorite. But American Sasha Cohen has a razor-thin lead going into the free program.

Earlier, Daniela Meuli of Switzerland won the Olympic snowboard women's parallel giant slalom gold medal at Bardonecchia. The reigning world champion defeated German Amelie Kober, who took the silver medal. American Rosey Fletcher captured the bronze medal.

Han Xiaopeng of China surprised the field to win the men's freestyle aerials at Sauze D'Oulx. The 22-year-old Han, who is ranked seventh in World Cup competition, posted a two-jump score of 250.77. Dmitri Dashinski of Bulgaria followed for silver (248.68). Vladimir Lebedev of Russia was the bronze medalist (246.76).

Sweden slid to gold in women's curling. Switzerland came back from a 5-2 deficit to force an extra end before Sweden emerged with the 7-6 victory in Pinerolo. Canada, the Olympic champion in 1998, beat Norway 11-5 to take the bronze medal.

Germany still leads in the medal standings with nine gold medals followed by Austria and Russia with eight each.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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