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Irina Slutskaya Strives for Unprecedented Russian Sweep of Olympic Figure Skating


Irina Slutskaya strives for unprecedented Russian sweep of Olympic figure skating

Russian skater will have to earn a higher score than American Sasha Cohen, who edged slightly in front after short program

Two-time world champion Irina Slutskaya will try to make an unprecedented Russian sweep of Olympic figure skating. She competes in the free program, one of five medal events Thursday at the Turin Winter Olympics in Italy.

But she will have to earn a higher score than American Sasha Cohen, who edged slightly in front after the short program on Tuesday. Former world champion Shizuka Arakawa of Japan is less than a point behind.

Russia will also have a chance for a gold medal in the women's 4x6 - kilometer biathlon relay at Cesana San Sicario. Russia is currently at the top of the World Cup relay standings ahead of Germany.

Han Xiaopeng of China was the surprise top qualifier for the men's freestyle aerials at Sauze D'Oulx. The 22-year-old Han has a World Cup ranking of seventh. The final is expected to be a wide open competition with many of the favorites failing to make the 12-man field.

In the women's snowboard parallel giant slalom final at Bardonecchia, reigning world champion Daniela Meuli and two-time world champion Ursula Bruhin lead the favored Swiss against Isabelle Blanc and Julie Pomagalski of France.

The women's curling final is between Sweden and Switzerland in Pinerolo.

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