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Turin Games End with Italian and Swedish Gold


Host Italy has won gold on the final day of the Turin Winter Olympics in perhaps the most demanding of all cross-country ski events.

Giorgio di Centa used an impressive sprint through the final stretch Sunday to separate himself from a big pack of skiers to win the men's Olympic 50-kilometer race in Pragelato, in 2:06:11.8.

Russian Eugeni Dementiev came from behind to take the silver medal (2:06:12.6). He edged in front of Austrian Mikhail Botwinov (2:06:12.7) to cross the line by a fraction of a second for his second medal of Turin 2006.

The Italian victory helped offset the disappointment of being shut out in the high-profile Alpine skiing events. Italy won only 11 medals overall, far off its Winter Games best of 20 in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994.

In the final event of the Olympics, Sweden defeated Finland, 3-2, to win the gold medal in men's ice hockey. It is the second Olympic gold for Sweden, which finished the tournament with a record of six wins and two losses. The Czech Republic won the bronze medal on Saturday.

Germany finished at the top of the medal standings with 11 gold medals and 29 overall. The United States placed second with 25 medals, including nine gold. Austria was third overall with nine gold and 23 total medals.

The 20th Winter Olympiad will officially end with lavish closing ceremonies. The Olympic flame, which has burned in Turin since February 10, will be extinguished. The next Olympics will be the summer games in Beijing, China in 2008. The winter games return in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.

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

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