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Japanese Figure Skater Wins Olympic Gold

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan poses with the national flag after he placed first in the men's free skate figure skating final following the flower ceremony at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan poses with the national flag after he placed first in the men's free skate figure skating final following the flower ceremony at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
Mike Richman
Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu became the first Asian to win the men's Olympic figure skating title, in the final medals event Friday at the Sochi Winter Games.

With a point total of 280.09, the 19-year-old Hanyu topped three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada and world silver medalist Denis Ten of Kazakhstan.

All three medalists had flawed performances that included crash landings.  But Hanyu held on largely because of his 3.93-point lead after Thursday's short program.  The competition took place without Russian skating star Yevgeny Plushenko, who withdrew after injuring his back in warmups Thursday.  

Big Day for Belarus, Switzerland

Belarus and Switzerland also had big days in Sochi Friday, each winning two gold medals.

Belarusian Darya Domracheva dominated the women's individual 15-kilometer biathlon, and teammate Alla Tsuper soared high to win the women's freestyle skiing aerials.

Earlier this week, Domracheva won the 10-kilometer biathlon pursuit, becoming the first female Belarusian to capture a Winter Olympic gold.

Winner Switzerland's Dario Cologna celebrates during a flower ceremony for the men's 15 km cross-country classic event at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, Feb. 14, 2014.Winner Switzerland's Dario Cologna celebrates during a flower ceremony for the men's 15 km cross-country classic event at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, Feb. 14, 2014.
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Winner Switzerland's Dario Cologna celebrates during a flower ceremony for the men's 15 km cross-country classic event at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, Feb. 14, 2014.
Winner Switzerland's Dario Cologna celebrates during a flower ceremony for the men's 15 km cross-country classic event at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Rosa Khutor, Feb. 14, 2014.
Switzerland's Dario Cologna also won his second gold medal of the 2014 Olympics.  Skiing in short sleeves on another warm and sunny day in Sochi, he was outstanding in the cross-country 15-kilometer classic.  Cologna also captured the 30-kilometer skiathlon in Sochi.

Another Swiss skier, Sandro Viletta, pulled off a surprise first-place finish in the highly anticipated men's supercombined, which consists of one downhill run and one slalom run.

The Swiss now have five gold medals in Sochi, second to Germany with seven.

Britain won its first gold in the other medal event Friday, as Elizabeth Yarnold took first in women's skeleton.

In curling, China and Britain won close games to create a three-way tie with Sweden at the top of the men's standings.  The British women beat Japan, 12-3, to improve to 3-2 and remain in sight of their big rivals.  Undefeated Canada and 4-1 Sweden were not in action Friday.

In men's hockey, shorthanded Sweden defeated Switzerland, 1-0, to remain undefeated at 2-0.  Sweden's Daniel Alfredsson scored with 7:21 left and goalie Henrik Lundqvist had a 26-save shutout.

Sweden said before the game that captain Henrik Zetterberg will miss the rest of the tournament because of a herniated disk, taking a third key player off its roster.

Canada, Finland and the Czech Republic also won in men's hockey.

US, Russia to Clash on Ice

The United States and Russia meet on Saturday in a game featuring two of the men's hockey powers in Sochi.  The U.S. is aiming for a gold medal after a silver in 2010, and Russia is seeking its first gold since 1992.

Russian center Evegni Malkin, a star on the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, is not taking the U.S. team lightly.

"In the case of the Americans, it will be a good test for us, and we of course understand how strong the American team is," Malkin said.  "If we go out united in a good mood, then we have every chance of winning."

  • Shani Davis of the U.S. skates in the prototype of the official US Speedskating suit during a training session at the Adler Arena Skating Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Latvia goaltender Edgars Masalskis reaches to block a shot on goal by the Czech Republic in the third period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • The two-man team from Monaco MON-1, piloted by Patrice Servelle, start a run during a training session for the men's two-man bobsled at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • This multiple exposure photo shows the Sweden curling team throwing during a round robin session against China in the Ice Cube Curling Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Norway’s Haavard Vad Petersson and Torger Nergaard sweep ahead of the rock during men's curling competition against Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Workers groom the women's downhill course at the Rosa Khutor Alpine center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Evgenii Itbaev leaps as a friend takes her picture near the Olympic Cauldron at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Norway's Chris Andre Jespersen wears a cut suit as he gets to the finish area after completing the men's 15K classical-style cross-country race at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.
  • Swiss fans wear cow costumes and national flags at the Alpine ski venue for the men's supercombined at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 14, 2014.

Meanwhile, Olympic officials said they have sold more than one million tickets for the Sochi games.  The announcement came a day after the Russian men's hockey team debuted in Sochi, helping push the number over the top.  
 
A record 106,000 fans packed into Olympic Park on Thursday, as Russia beat Slovenia 5-2 in hockey.  
 
The head of the Sochi Olympic Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, praised Russian fans for their hospitality.

"The Russian fans are taking every nation into their hearts, not only for the Russian team but also cheering and greeting athletes from all around the world," Chernyshenko said.  "And in turn, we are having an electric atmosphere in the stadium."

The executive director of the International Olympic Committee, Gilbert Felli, echoed Chernyshenko's thoughts.

"For me, the atmosphere's great," Felli said.  "I was so surprised the first day I went to the competition venue in slopestyle.  Russia, where they knew they had no chance to make a medal, that medals are going to made by the Americans, and you could see the Russians applauding, and the kids there and yelling and everything, you said, 'Here we are, the magic of the games are at play.' "

After seven days of competition in Sochi, Norway and the United States are tied in the medal count with 13, followed by Russia and the Netherlands with 12 each.  Canada has 11, and Germany has 10.

There are 98 medal events at the Sochi Games, 12 more than in Vancouver in 2010.

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