Olympic Watch

(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Russians are griping but their hockey team is expected to show up, a seventh world record falls in speedskating, a Croatian goes into Olympic history, and a Finn sweeps in Nordic combined while the U-S posts its best-ever finish in the sport.


Croatia's Janica Kostelic is the first Alpine skier to win four medals in one Olympics. She won today's women's giant slalom, and she finishes her stay in Utah with three golds and a silver. Anja Paerson of Sweden won the silver, and Sonja Nef of Switzerland won the bronze. The U-S women's alpine team did not get a single medal at the Salt Lake Games.


At Utah Olympic Oval= Dutch skater Jochem Uytdehaage has his second world record of the Olympic games. After setting a new standard in the five-thousand earlier in the Olympics, he lowered the ten-thousand world mark to 12 minutes, 58-point-92 seconds today. That's the first time a skater has broken 13 minutes, and it marks the seventh world record in nine speedskating events so far at the Games. The event continues at this hour. No American will medal.


Russian Olympic officials are protesting the women's Olympic figure skating final. They say silver medalist Irina Slutskaya should get her own gold medal because of biased judging. And they say they want the same treatment the Canadian pairs skaters received after misconduct by a pairs judge was discovered. International Skating Union president Ottavio Cinquanta says, "this is not so important." Olympic sources say I-O-C president Jacques Rogge has met with Russian Olympic officials and will meet with Russian political leaders in an effort to calm the Russians.


Two Olympic sources say South Korean I-O-C member Kim Un-yong has dropped a threat to boycott the closing ceremonies. The South Koreans had threatened to skip out over the disqualification of a South Korean short track speedskater that allowed American Apolo Anton Ohno to win a gold medal.


The anniversary hockey game is today. The U-S men face Russia on the 22nd anniversary of the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid. Like then, it is a Friday semifinal. Unlike then, this U-S team is loaded with professionals from the best league in the world. And unlike then, a U-S victory won't be considered the pinnacle moment in American Winter Olympics history. But the whole thing likely will be a lot of fun. Belarus and Canada are playing now in the day's first semifinal. Canada leads 6-to-1 in the third period. Steve Yzerman has a goal and two assists.


Samppa Lajunen of Finland completed a sweep of the three Nordic combined events by finishing first in today's cross country sprint. Ronny Ackermann of Germany won the silver and Felix Gottwald of Austria the bronze. Todd Lodwick finished fifth for the the best showing ever by an American in the sport. Bill Demong finished 14th, fellow American Johnny Spillane 32nd and Matt Dayton 36th.


The first two runs of the four-man bobsled are later today. The final two runs are tomorrow. American driver Todd Hays returns to competition after missing a medal by three-hundredths of a second in the two-man event.


Canada and Norway are about to begin in gold medal game in men's curling. Switzerland beat Sweden 7-to-3 today for the bronze medal.


Figure skating's medal winners return to the ice for their Olympic exhibition skate tonight.


Germany leads the medals count with 33, and the U-S-A has 30. No country had ever won more than 29 medals at a previous Winter Olympics, and the U-S best was 13 until this year. Norway has 20 medals and Austria has 16. Germany, Norway and the U-S each have ten golds.


It's another lovely, clear-sky day in Salt Lake City with temperatures pushing into the low 50s. Mountain temperatures are in the low 40s. Tomorrow's forecast calls for some clouds and a high of 42 in the city.

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