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American, Czech Skiers, Dutch Skater Capture Gold at Winter Olympics


American skier Julia Mancuso has ended a long drought by capturing the gold medal in the women's giant slalom event at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Mancuso finished with a combined time of 2:09.19 seconds, .67 ahead of Finland's Tanja Poutianen. Anna Otosson of Sweden finished with the bronze medal, 1.14 seconds back. Defending champion Janica Kostelic of Croatia did not race.

Mancuso's win was the first Olympic Alpine skiing medal by an American woman since Picabo Street earned gold in the super-G at the 1998 Nagano Games. The last American woman to win the giant slalom gold medal was Debbie Armstrong in 1984.

Earlier, Katerina Nuemannova of the Czech Republic won the women's 30-kilometer mass start cross-country skiing event (in 1:22:25.4). Julija Tchepalova of Russia won the silver, 1.4 seconds back. Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk took the bronze.

Dutch skater Bob de Jong beat American Chad Hedrick to take the men's 10,000-meters long track speed skating gold. De Jong finished with a winning time of 13:01.57. Hedrick was nearly four seconds slower (3.83) with another Dutchman, Carl Verheijen taking the bronze medal.

The last gold medal of the day is in men's curling, where Canada faces Finland. The United States won the bronze medal earlier Friday with an 8-6 win over Britain.

Germany leads the medals standings with nine gold medals and 24 total. The United States is second with eight gold medals and 22 overall.

The men's ice hockey semifinals are also Friday, with the Czech Republic taking on Sweden and Finland facing Russia. The Games end Sunday.

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