(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Americans Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers have broken the 46-year U.S. drought in bobsled with a gold medal in two-woman bobsled. The United States has surpassed the USOC goal of 20 medals, and the U.S.and Canadian women's hockey teams are in the gold medal game. Here's what's happening today at the Winter Olympics.
At Salt Lake Ice Center= Michelle Kwan sparkled. The six-time U-S national champion and four-time world champion drew five-nines across the board for presentation, and she leads the women's figure skating competition after Tuesday's short program. Americans Sasha Cohen and Sarah Hughes are third and fourth, with Russian Irina Slutskaya in the second spot. Another Russian, Maria Butyrskaya is fifth.
How long and loud can you yell "WHOOO" while punching your hands in the air? If there were an Olympic gold medal for that, it would probably go to American Jill Bakken and the fans at the women's bobsled course. Then again, Bakken has her gold. There was a wild celebration wrapped in hugs after Bakken and Vonetta Flowers won the first-ever women's bobsled gold medal at the Olympics. They upset the favored German teams and broke a 46-year American medal drought in the sport. Flowers is the first black athlete to win a Winter Olympic gold medal The German sleds were second and third. Americans Jean Racine and Gea Johnson finished fifth, about a half-second out of a medal berth.
The anticipated gold medal showdown in women's hockey between the United States and Canada is set. In Tuesday's semifinals, the Americans shut out Sweden 4-to-0 and Canada skated past Finland 7-to-3. Cammi Granato had two goals and an assist for the U-S. Canada and the United States have played for every Olympic gold medal and world championship that have been held in the sport. China today beat Kazakstan 2-to-1 in overtime in the seventh place game. Russia shut out Germany 5-to-0 for fifth place.
At Utah Olympic Oval Speedskater Derek Parra warmed up on the opening day of competition at the Olympics with a silver medal in the men's five-thousand. Tuesday he topped that with gold and a world record in the 15-hundred. Parra won in a time of one minute, 43-point-95 seconds to become the first American double-medalist of the Games. His time was one and a-quarter seconds under the record that stood before today's session. Silver medalist Jochem Uytdehagge of the Netherlands, who won the five-thousand in world record time, also beat the old 15-hundred record. Defending champion Adne Sondral of Norway took the bronze, edging American Joey Cheek by eight-hundredths of a second. Nick Pearson of the U-S was sixth.
At Deer Valley Resort The men's aerials competition went down to the final landing, and as American Eric Bergoust went down, so did the American gold medal hopes. But Joe Pack made sure the U-S got a medal and threw in an air guitar solo after his first jump as well. Competing in front of some of his Park City neighbors, Pack took the silver, behind Ales Valenta, who used a revolutionary quintuple-twist to give the Czech Republic its first gold of the games. The bronze medalist was Alexei Grichin of Belarus. Bergoust, the Nagano gold medalist, was leading after the first of the final two jumps but he fell on his landing in the last jump of the event and finished 12th. He went for broke, saying he wanted to get the gold or finish last, and he finished last. That's just the third time in the last two and a-half years he has finished outside the top ten. Brian Currutt of Utah finished sixth and Idaho's Jeret Peterson was ninth.
Germany leads the medal count with 28, and the United States now has 21 -- eight more than the country has ever garnered before at the Winter Olympics, and one more than the goal set by the U-S Olympic Committee. And the U-S is guaranteed at least one more, either gold or silver, in women's hockey. Six of the U-S medals are gold.
A short-track speedskater from Belarus has left the Olympics after a drug test found a steroid level nearly 400 times the legal limit in his body. The test result was voided because the seal on his sample was apparently accidentally broken in transit. The speedskater vanished from Olympic Village yesterday and failed to show for a second test. The Belarus Olympic committee has been punished for allegedly helping the athlete avoid another exam. The Belarus committee says the skater is innocent and the victim of an unfortunate misunderstanding.
Great Britain won a three-way women's curling playoff to claim the final spot in the medals round. The British beat Sweden 6-to-4 in today's first game, then topped Germany 9-to-5 to earn a spot in the semifinals across from Canada. The U-S will play Switzerland in tomorrow's other semifinal.
At Soldier Hollow Julija Tchepalova of Russia has won her second medal of the Salt Lake Olympics. She finished first in the women's one and a-half kilometer cross-country sprint. Evi Sachenbacher of Germany won the silver and Anita Moen of Norway took the bronze in the event's Olympic debut. The medals in the men's division went to Tor Arne Hetland of Norway, Peter Schlickenrieder of Germany and Cristian Zorzi of Italy.
ICE DANCE PROTEST
There are more questions being raised about figure skating judges. The Lithuanians who finished fifth in ice dancing have filed a protest over the judging of their event. Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas say they don't expect to win their appeal but say they want publicity to expose judging inconsistencies. The protest with the International Skating Union questions the voting that placed the couple lower than Italian and Canadian couples who fell during Monday's free dance.
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