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Published: 2/17/2010

U.S. shut out in medals; Germany leads

ASSOCIATED PRESS

VANCOUVER — Lindsey Jacobellis had to do it. Flying through the air toward the finish line, she reached down and grabbed her snowboard, the same showoff move that cost her a gold medal four years ago.

This time, it was all she could do to salvage something following another Olympic flub.

The American wobbled after landing a jump early in a snowboard cross semifinal, couldn't regain control and clipped a gate, ending her medal chances.

She threw up her arms helplessly, then dropped her hands onto her helmet in anguish. Once she regained control of her emotions, she charged down the run and finished with a flourish.

In Turin, she got a silver medal as a consolation prize. This time, it'll only be a picture.

“I mean, it's a bummer,” Jacobellis said. “But then [the fancy finish] came off, and I was like, ‘Still can have some fun in some way.' ”

The United States ended up getting shut out of medals yesterday, falling into second place in the overall chase, stuck at eight while Germany reached nine.

There's a lot to look forward to today, when headliners Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White, Shani Davis, and Apolo Anton Ohno will be in action.

Vonn's shin still hurts, but she got another day off yesterday as a heavy snowfall closed the course, forcing the men's super-combined to be pushed back to Sunday.

With Jacobellis out of the finals, Maelle Ricker easily won Canada's second gold of the Vancouver Olympics. Jacobellis won the consolation race to go down as the fifth-place finisher.

Figure skating

Evgeni Plushenko of Russia won the short program last night, the first step toward defending his title. Plushenko's 90.85 points beats world champion Evan Lysacek of the United States by .55, with Japan's Daisuke Takahashi .60 behind the leader heading into the free skate.

The three-man breakaway last night sets up a compelling free skate tomorrow night.

Alpine delays

The snowstorm left Vonn as happy as a kid getting a snow day from school. She needed the time off after a bumpy training run Monday.

“I'm definitely getting antsy,” Vonn said.

Vonn will start in an ideal position — 16th. The top-ranked racers start between 16 and 22, meaning she will ski before top rivals Anja Paerson and Maria Riesch.

Dry weather is forecast for today, tomorrow, and Friday. Of the four Alpine races scheduled so far, only the men's downhill has been held.

Hockey

Jarome Iginla and Dany Heatley scored twice and heavily favored Canada overcame a scoreless first period to roll over Norway 8-0 in its hockey opener yesterday.

Curling

U.S. men curlers better start sweeping faster. Or slower. They need to do something different after a 7-5 loss to a strong German squad.

The U.S. women blew a three-point lead and lost 9-7 to Japan.

Speedskating

The ice-cleaners worked!

The South Koreans keep cleaning up, too, with Lee Sang-hwa winning the women's 500 meters. That makes two gold and a silver in four events at the big oval for a nation that had never won a Winter Olympic gold in any sport except short track.

German world-record-holder Jenny Wolf got silver and China's Wang Beixing bronze.

Luge

Tatjana Huefner gave Germany its ninth women's singles luge gold in 13 Olympic competitions. With Felix Loch's winning the men's event, Germany has swept gold for the sixth time, something no other nation has ever done. Top U.S. hopeful Erin Hamlin, the 2009 world champion, was 16th.

Biathlon

Both events were marred by problems with the officials who were in charge of timing. Three women were sent out late and two men went out too early, including American Jeremy Teela.

“It is embarrassing,” said Norbert Baier, the International Biathlon Union's technical delegate. “Why do we have this incompetence?”

Bjorn Ferry won the men's 12.5-kilometer pursuit, giving Sweden its first gold medal in biathlon in 50 years. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen had a chance to add to his record medal collection, but missed his last two shots and wound up seventh. Teela was the top U.S. finisher at 24th.

Magdalena Neuner of Germany and Anastazia Kuzmina of Slovakia finished 1-2 in the women's 10-kilometer pursuit, a reversal of their finish in the 7.5-kilometer sprint. Sara Studebaker was the top American, finishing 46th.

TV ratings

The Winter Olympics are a big hit for NBC, drawing 15 percent more viewers through the first four nights than the 2006 Turin Games.



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