February 22, 2014
Russia Leads in Medals Entering Final Day in Sochi
Russia won two gold medals and a bronze Saturday at the Sochi Olympics, as the host nation took the lead in total medals heading into the last day of competition.
The United States led, 27-26, before Saturday's events.
In the men's 4-by-7.5-kilometer biathlon relay, Alexey Volkov, Yevgeny Ustyugov and Dmitry Malyshko kept Russia in third for most of the race, before anchor Anton Shipulin beat Germany's Simon Schempp on the final lap.
Russia, now a record seven-time Olympic relay champion, was 3.5 seconds in front of Germany. Austria won bronze.
In the relay, Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen missed out on a chance for a historic ninth Winter Olympics gold medal. The 40-year-old Bjoerndalen set a record at the Sochi Games by winning his 13th medal, but he is tied with Norwegian cross country skier Bjoern Daehlie for the most golds with eight.
American-born Vic Wild took the gold -- for Russia -- in the men's snowboard parallel slalom, the first time the event has been held in the Olympics. Snowboarders from Slovenia and Austria came in second and third, respectively.
The women's title in that event went to Austrian Julia Dujmovits, with Germans taking the silver and bronze.
Russia has 29 medals to 27 for the United States, which failed to reach the medals podium Saturday. Norway has 26, and Canada and the Netherlands have 24 apiece. Russia is tied with Norway for the most gold medals with 11.
In other competition Saturday, the Dutch added to their unparalleled medal totals in speedskating. They won the men's and women's team pursuit races, giving them a record eight gold medals in Sochi and a record of 23 overall at the 2014 Games.
In the men's slalom, Austria's Mario Matt became the oldest Olympic skiing champion. The 34-year-old Matt finished with a combined time of 1 minute, 41.84 seconds over two runs. His Austrian teammate, Marcel Hirscher, won silver and Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen took bronze. At 19 years old, Kristoffersen became the youngest Olympic medalist in men's alpine skiing.
The Norwegian women swept the women's 30-kilometer mass start freestyle skiing race. Marit Bjoergen won her sixth career gold medal, tying the record for the most gold medals by a woman at the Winter Olympics. She also tied the record of 10 medals overall.
Norway has dominated the skiing competition in Sochi, posting four medal sweeps in the 10 individual events.
In men's ice hockey, 43-year-old Teemu Selanne scored two goals and Tuukka Rask had a 27-save shutout in Finland's 5-0 rout of the United States in the bronze medal game. On Sunday, Canada will face Sweden for the gold medal at the Bolshoi Ice Dome.
Canada, which beat the United States in the finals at the 2010 Vancouver Games, is seeking to become the first team since 1988 to win back-to-back gold medals in men's hockey.
Medals are also at stake Sunday in the four-man bobsleigh and the men's 50-kilometer mass start freestyle skiing race, before closing ceremonies.
In other news Saturday, Olympic officials said Ukrainian cross country skier Marina Lisogor and Latvian ice hockey player Vitalijs Pavlovs tested positive for banned substances. The cases came a day after German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle and Italian bobsleigh athlete William Frullani tested positive in the first announced doping cases of the Sochi Olympics.