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Norwegian Skier Wins Fifth Olympic Gold

Norwegian cross country superstar Marit Bjoergen won the fifth Olympic gold medal of her career on Wednesday at the Sochi Games.

She and teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg finished first in the women's relay race, where teams of two women each perform three alternate sprints. Finland won silver and Sweden bronze.

Bjoergen had already won the skiathlon in Sochi to go with her three golds from Vancouver in 2010.

In the men's team cross country sprint, Finland took advantage of a fall by Germany on the final descent to take gold. The Finnish duo of Sami Jauhojaervi and Iivo Niskanen posted the winning time. Russia won silver and Sweden bronze.

Also Wednesday, American skier Ted Ligety won gold in the men's giant slalom. His two-run time edged out France's Steve Missillier, who took the silver, and another Frenchman, Alexis Pinturault, who won bronze.

Switzerland's Patrizia Kummer won the first-ever women's parallel giant slalom snowboarding event, and Russia's Vic Wild won the men's competition.

In women's 5,000-meter speedskating, Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic defended her Olympic title with a record time of six minutes, 51.54 seconds. The Dutch won silver and bronze.



Athletes are also competing for medals Wednesday in women's bobsled and the mixed biathlon relay.

Women's figure skating begins with the short program, as South Korea's Yuna Kim tries to become the first back-to-back champion in the event since 1988. Her competition includes 2010 silver medalist Mao Asada from Japan, and 15-year-old Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia, who emerged as a star last week helping host Russia win gold in the first-ever team competition

At the futuristic Bolshoi Ice Dome, Finland eliminated Russia from the men's hockey tournament with a 3-1 win in the quarterfinals, putting a stunning end to the Russians' hopes of winning gold on their turf. Finland's Teemu Selanne and Mikael Granlund each had a goal and an assist, and teammate Tuukka Rask made 37 saves.

Russian teams have won eight gold medals in hockey but none since 1992.

In the semifinals Friday, Finland will face top-seeded Sweden, which crushed Slovenia, 5-0.

In women's curling, Canada and Sweden will play for the gold medal for the second straight Olympic Games after winning semifinals that each went to the final shot on Wednesday. Britain will play Switzerland for the bronze medal. The men's semifinals are also on Wednesday.

Russia and the Netherlands lead in the overall medal count with 22 apiece. The United States has 21, Norway 19, Canada 17 and Germany 15. In gold medals, Germany and Norway are tied with eight each.

In other news, Cossack paramilitaries attacked members of the Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot as the band tried to perform in Sochi under a sign promoting the 2014 Games.

Footage shot by A-P Television shows Cossacks using horsewhips and spray against band members and violently pulling ski masks from their heads.

Police arrived and questioned witnesses, but there were no arrests.

Two members of the group, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were detained by police in Sochi Tuesday. They were later released after being questioned about an alleged theft from a hotel.

Both women are outspoken critics of Russia's government. At least six other people arrested with them Tuesday were allowed to go free.
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