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Published: Thursday, 2/18/2010

American speedskater Davis wins 1000-meter gold

ASSOCIATED PRESS

RICHMOND, B.C. — This time all that mattered was the color of the medal, not the color of his skin.

With a furious kick on the final lap Wednesday, Shani Davis stuck his skate across the line and won his second straight gold medal in 1,000-meter Olympic speedskating.

Four years ago at Turin, he became the first African-American athlete to win an individual gold at the Winter Games. This time, he simply wanted to be known for his skating. Period.

“It's always nice to go out there and do it again,” Davis said.

The Americans broke their medal drought at the Richmond Olympic Oval with a flourish, claiming not just one but two spots on the podium. Chad Hedrick claimed a surprising bronze.

Davis swung both arms twice on the final backstretch, knowing he needed a little more speed to catch South Korea's Mo Tae-bum. The American found just enough, posting a time of 1 minute, 8.94 seconds.

Mo, who won gold in the 500 two days ago, settled for silver this time, 18-hundreths behind Davis. Hedrick was third in 1:09.32.

Davis pumped his fist in the air and slapped hands with the U.S. coaches on the backstretch. Then, as he coasted around near the finish line, Hedrick skated over to shake his hand firmly and pat him on the back several times.

Four years ago, their accomplishments in Italy — Davis won a gold and silver; Hedrick a medal of each color — were overshadowed by a nasty feud stemming from the team pursuit.

Wang Meng of China has easily won her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in women's 500 meter short track.

Wang, who defended the title she won four years ago at the Turin Games, led all the way after surviving a restart and a false start in the four-woman final at Pacific Coliseum.

Wang cruised home well ahead of Canada's Marianne St-Gelais, who took silver. Arianna Fontana of Italy earned the bronze.

Austrian brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger have won their second consecutive Olympic gold medal in doubles luge.

The Lingers completed their two runs in 1 minute, 22.705 seconds. Andris and Juris Sics of Latvia finished in 1:22.969 and won silver, and Germany's Patric Leitner took bronze with a time of 1:23.404.

Christian Niccum and Dan Joye of the United States were sixth. Americans Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin, doomed by a bad start on their first run, finished 13th.

With an assist on Finland's opening goal in a 5-1 victory over Belarus, Teemu Selanne matched the record for most career points in the Olympics.

Selanne has 20 goals and 16 assists in five Olympics. Also with 36: Valeri Kharlamov of Russia, Vlastimil Bubnik of the former Czechoslovakia and Harry Watson of Canada.

So much for Canada's first real test.

Meghan Agosta had three goals and two assists, Hayley Wickenheiser became the leading goal-scorer in Olympic history, and Canada routed the toughest opponent in its preliminary-round group, beating Sweden 13-1.

A milelong sprint came down to a few inches, with Russia's Nikita Kriukov getting the front of his ski across the finish line just ahead of countryman Alexander Panzhinskiy in the men's individual classic cross-country sprint race.

In the women's individual sprint, Norway's Marit Bjoergen pulled away at the end for the gold. Pre-race favorite Petra Majdic of Slovenia hurt her ribs in a training crash early yesterday, but managed to salvage a bronze.

The U.S. women fell to 0-2, losing to Germany when skip Debbie McCormick's squad couldn't make up a two-point deficit in the final end.

The men fell to 0-3 with a 7-6 loss to Switzerland.



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