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American skaters, skiiers take three golds while defending champions retain titles

2010-02-18 16:16:00 Xinhuanet

VANCOUVER, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- American skiiers and skaters displayed an overwhelming performance by winning three gold medals from seven on offer at the 21st Olympic Winter Games on Wednesday.

And at the same time, defending champions also proved their strength on skating rink and skiing piste, retaining titles in respective events.

In the men's 1,000m speed skating, Shani Davis of the United States became the first skater to win the event in two consecutive Olympic Games.

The 27-year-old Davis, who became the first black Olympic champion in an individual event when he stormed to take 1,000m gold at Turin Olympic Games, blitzed in one minute 08.94 seconds to retain his title.

Mo Tae-Bum, who brought South Korea its first gold medal in an event outside short track on Monday, came to second in 1:09.12, beating Chad Hedrick of the United States into third in 1:09.32.

Davis said: "I'm tired. Tough race but I was able to do it. Just to be out there and defend the title was truly amazing."

Americans' other two golds were from men's snowboard halfpipe and women's Alpine skiing downhill event. In men's halfpipe, which was the last final of the day, Shaun White repeated his thrilling tricks to defend his title at Cypress Mountain.

Just as he did four years ago, White confirmed his lead with an amazing score of 46.8 points in the first run, making the other 11 finalists got vague hope to surpass him in the second run. The 23-year-old rider gave an even more astonishing performance in the second run, collected his second Olympic gold with 48.4 points.

Peetu Piiroinen from Finland finished second with a result of 45 points in his second try and White's teammate Scott Lago grabbed the bronze medal in 42.8 points, which he earned from a fabulous first attempt.

In women's downhill, hot favorite Lindsey Vonn, 25, overcame a shin injury to capture the gold. She was timed one minute, 44.19 seconds, and would go down in history as the first American woman to earn gold in an Olympic downhill.

Vonn shocked fans worldwide two days before the start of the Olympic Games when she announced that she had suffered a shin injury.

Thanks to bad weather which had forced cancellation and delays, Vonn got the precious days to heal in time to race.

The women's downhill witnessed six crashes in the day's race and Edith Miklos of Romania hurt knee in crash.

Miklos fell in an upper mid section called Frog Leg, and was the only one to be airlifted off the course.

In short track speed skating, Wang Meng, defending champion four years ago, continued her form and China's Olympic winning streak in women's 500m since Salt Lake City, clocking 43.048 seconds.

With the well-deserved victory, the Chinese delegation has tied its best finish of two gold medals at previous two Winter Olympics.

Marianne St-Gelais of Canada settled for the silver with 43.707 while the bronze medal went to Italian Arianna Fontana in 43.804.

In luge, defending champions Andreas and Wolfgang Linger prevented a clean sweep of German luge golds with victory in the doubles.

The Linger brothers won both runs at the Whistler Sliding Center, timing a combined one minute 22.705 seconds from two runs, 0.264 seconds ahead of Latvia's Andris and Juris Sics (1:22.969). Germany's Patric Leitner and Alexander Resch took bronze with a time of 1:23.404.

In cross country skiing, Nikita Kriukov led his teammate Alexander Panzhinskiy to make it 1-2 for Russia in men's individual sprint classic while Marit Bjoergen of Norway won the women's individual sprint classic.

Kriukov finished in three minutes 36.3 seconds. His countryman Alexander Panzhinskiy had led for much of the race, but Kriukov pushed hard down the final straight and won by the toe of his boot.

In women's curling, world champion China had one win and one, beating Switzerland 8-6 in session 3 after losing to Britain 4-5 in session 2.

In men's culing, China beat Denmark 8-1 to make its win-loss at 1-1.

After five day competitions, the United States led the medal standings with five golds, three silvers and six bronzes.

On Thursday, there will be six gold medals from biathlon, Alping skiing, figure skating, skeleton and snowboard.

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