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Olympic Daily News - Sunday, February 9th

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - American snowboarder Jamie Anderson gave the United States a gold medal sweep in slopestyle at the Sochi Olympics, winning the women's competition Sunday at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Anderson posted a winning score of 95.25 in her second of two runs in the final round.

"It just feels out of control," she said. "I can't even explain what I'm processing now."

Her gold medal performance came one day after Sage Kotsenburg won the men's slopestyle on Saturday to claim the first gold medal of the Sochi Games for the U.S.

Anderson, 23, said seeing Kotsenburg win gold made her "extra inspired."

The four-time X Games champion in slopestyle won her first Olympic medal. She had the second-best score after the first run of the medal round before turning in the winning score on her second try.

"I don't know how it happened. I was so impressed with all the girls' riding," Anderson said. "I really was just trying to focus on the run I chose to do, really visualizing that and seeing it to the end and knowing that I was going to land everything perfect and try to do it with as much style as possible.

"The rest was out of my hands. I just wanted to do what I was capable of doing."

Finland's Enni Rukajarvi claimed silver with a score of 92.50 and Jenny Jones was third to capture Great Britain's first-ever Olympic medal in a snow sport.

Canada's Spencer O'Brien, the reigning world champion in slopestyle, failed to medal. She finished 12th with a score of 35.00.

AUSTRIA'S MAYER WINS DOWNHILL; MILLER FAILS TO MEDAL

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Austria's Matthias Mayer won gold in the men's downhill Sunday at the Sochi Games, while Bode Miller of the United States came up empty in his bid for a sixth Olympic medal.

Mayer, who finished 13th in the downhill at the 2013 World Championships, won the first alpine skiing event of the Sochi Olympics with a time of 2 minutes, 6.23 seconds.

It's the first Olympic medal for Mayer and the second for his family. Mayer's father, Helmut, won a silver medal in the super-G at the 1988 Calgary Games.

"This is unbelieveable. I thought maybe in a few years I could dream of this sort of achievement," Mayer said.

Italy's Christof Innerhofer finished just .06 seconds behind Mayer for silver, while Norway's Kjetil Jansrud, a silver medalist in giant slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Games, picked up the bronze.

Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won silver in the downhill at the 2010 Olympics but he finished fourth on Sunday.

At 36 years of age, Miller is a five-time Olympic medalist, but he failed to pick up hardware in Sunday's downhill after taking bronze in the event four years ago in Vancouver.

Miller was the fastest skier through his first two split times before clipping a gate in the middle of the course and finishing eighth with a time of 2:06.72. He was attempting to become the oldest man ever to win Olympic gold in alpine skiing.

"I would've loved to win. This is the premier event," said Miller. "I thought I had a good chance at it. I was well- prepared."

Miller's next chance at a medal will come in Friday's super combined, an event he won gold in at the Vancouver Games.

"I have four races left," Miller added. "It's time to move on from this and start thinking about those."

Travis Ganong had the best showing for an American on Sunday, finishing fifth with a time of 2:06.64.

Erik Guay was the top Canadian finisher, completing the run at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center in 2:07.04 to place 10th.

RUSSIA WINS GOLD, U.S. BRONZE IN TEAM FIGURE SKATING

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Russia won the gold medal in team figure skating at the 2014 Olympics after a dominant night by Yevgeny Plushenko and Yulia Lipnitskaya.

Plushenko won the men's free skate and the 15-year-old Lipnitskaya captured the women's free skate on Sunday to give the host nation an insurmountable lead before the ice dancing segment concluded the evening.

Canada finished second for the silver medal and the United States earned the bronze.

"Russia has such talented skaters. Hats off to them," said American Charlie White. "We're very proud of our bronze medal."

Russia carried the lead into the last night of the three-day competition and Plushenko virtually sealed gold for the host nation with his performance in front of the home crowd. He was awarded a top score of 168.20 on Sunday to earn the 10 points for first place.

It gave Russia a seven-point cushion over Canada, and Lipnitskaya clinched the Russians' first gold of the Sochi Games with her effort in the women's free skate. She also claimed first place with a score of 141.51 for the 10 points.

"She's only 15. She's completely unfazed," said American Gracie Gold, 18, who was a distant second to Lipnitskaya. "She's got no spine, but she's got iron in her bones."

The Russians then concluded the event with a total of 75 points after the ice dance team of Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov finished third for eight points.

Russian skaters won five of the eight segments during the competition, which made its Olympic debut.

Plushenko has now earned medals in four different Olympics. The 31-year-old veteran won men's gold in the 2006 Turin Games and claimed silver at both the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake and 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Canada, meanwhile, received a stellar effort from Kevin Reynolds in the men's free skate, finishing just behind Plushenko on Sunday. Reynolds skated in place of three-time world champion Patrick Chan, who opted out to rest for the individual men's event later this week.

Gold was second in the women's segment and Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond was fifth. The results sealed the medals for each country.

Only the ice dancing remained and the U.S. team of Meryl Davis and White solidified their status as favorites for gold later in the Games by winning the free dance portion.

Davis and White won the short dance on Saturday and earned a score of 114.34 in the free dance to edge their expected top rivals from Canada -- Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who placed second in both portions of the team event.

Canada finished with 65 total points and the United States compiled 60.

Italy was fourth overall, edging Japan by one point.

WUST TAKES GOLD IN 3,000

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Dutch speed skater Ireen Wust won her third Olympic gold medal on Sunday, taking the women's 3,000 meters at the Sochi Games.

Wust finished the race in 4 minutes, 0.34 seconds to claim her second gold in the 3,000. She won this event at the 2006 Turin Olympics, but finished seventh four years ago in Vancouver.

It was the fourth overall medal for Wust, who won the 1,500 meters in Vancouver and claimed bronze at that distance in 2006.

Wust finished 1.61 seconds ahead of Czech skater Martina Sablikova, who was trying to repeat as the Olympic champion in the 3,000.

Sablikova also picked up her fourth medal. She won gold in the 5,000 and bronze in the 1,500 at the Vancouver Olympics.

Russia's Olga Graf earned the first medal for the host nation at the Sochi Games, taking bronze with a time of 4:03.47.

Germany's Claudia Pechstein just missed winning her 10th Olympic medal. The 41-year-old placed fourth and was 1.79 seconds behind Graf.

Jilleanne Rookard of the United States was 10th and fellow American Anna Ringsred finished 26th.

Canadians Brittany Schussler and Ivanie Blondin finished 19th and 24th, respectively.

LOCH REPEATS AS OLYMPIC LUGE CHAMPION

Rzhanaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Felix Loch crossed the finish line and pumped his fists. He screamed. He held the German flag over his head.

Four years ago, at the age of 20, Loch became the youngest Olympic men's luge champion ever. Having that in his pocket didn't dull his latest celebration.

Loch repeated as Olympic champion in the men's singles event, keeping his lead over Russia's Albert Demtschenko after two more runs on Sunday at the Sanki Sliding Center.

Fireworks went off after Demtschenko's last run, which guaranteed him at least a silver in his record seventh Winter Olympics.

But Loch was still to come, and his last run of 51.764 kept him ahead of the Russian, where he'd been since taking the lead from Demtschenko after the second run Saturday.

Italy's Armin Zoeggeler, a two-time Olympic champion, finished third to medal in his sixth straight Winter Games.

Loch's overall time after four runs was 3 minutes, 27.526 seconds -- .476 seconds faster than the 42-year-old Demtschenko. It was Germany's first medal of the Sochi Games.

Zoeggeler, 40, was .795 seconds slower. It was his third Olympic bronze to go with one silver and two golds. He won gold the 2002 and 2006 events.

Demtschenko, who has competed in every Winter Olympics since Albertville in 1992, won just his second medal. His other was also a silver in 2006. Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai, 41, is also competing in his seventh Winter Games.

Samuel Edney was 11th for Canada's best finish. Teammates Mitchel Malyk and John Fennell finished 26th and 27th.

Christopher Mazdzer ended 13th for the top U.S. finish. Tucker West was 22nd and Aidan Kelly 24th for the American team.

POLAND'S STOCH WINS NORMAL HILL

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Polish ski jumper Kamil Stoch easily won the men's normal hill event at the Sochi Olympics after posting the longest jump and highest score in both rounds Sunday.

Stoch, 26, scored 136 points on his last jump, which went 103.5 meters. He had 278 points overall on the two jumps -- 12.7 points ahead of silver medalist Peter Prevc of Slovenia.

By comparison, 12.5 points separated Prevc and the 12th-place finisher.

Norway's Anders Bardal finished third for the bronze, 1.2 points behind Prevc.

Austria's Thomas Diethart was fourth and teammate Michael Hayboeck, who had the top score in qualifying Saturday, finished fifth.

Some of the sport's heavy hitters finished well back.

Austria's Thomas Morgenstern, who is competing despite suffering head and lung injuries in a crash last month, placed 14th. He is a three-time Olympic gold medalist in ski jumping.

Simon Ammann, the Swiss star who won double golds in the individual events at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics, ended 17th.

Americans Nicholas Alexander, Peter Frenette and Anders Johnson each qualified to jump Sunday but none of them made the final round. Canada's Mackenzie Boyd- Clowes and Dusty Korek also were eliminated after their first jumps Sunday.

Women's ski jumping will make its Olympic debut on Tuesday with a normal hill event.

COLOGNA HOLDS ON FOR GOLD IN MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY SKIATHLON

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Switzerland's Dario Cologna pulled away late and then held on in a tight finish to capture gold in the men's 30-kilometer skiathlon on Sunday.

Sitting 13th after the first leg of the event, the 15-kilomter classical style, Cologna posted the second-fastest time in the freestyle that covered the final stage and was part of a four-man group that emerged down the stretch.

The reigning gold medal winner at the 2013 World Championships, Cologna managed to grab the lead on the final uphill climb of the race and held on to finish with a time of 1 hour, 8 minutes and 15.4 seconds.

Cologna, who took gold in the 15-km freestyle at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, finished just 0.4 seconds ahead of Sweden's Marcus Hellner, showing a return to form following ankle surgery in November to repair a torn ligament.

Hellner's silver gave him his third career Olympic medal, having captured gold in the 30-km pursuit and the 4x10-km relay in Vancouver.

Host Russia nearly medalled in the event, but Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby edged out Maxim Vylegzhanin by a mere 0.1 seconds for the bronze with a time of 1:08.16.8.

Norway's Petter Northug, a four-time medalist in Vancouver, came in at 17th, one spot ahead of Canada's top finisher in Alex Harvey.

Noah Hoffman was the first American to finish, posting a time of 1:11:28.1 to sit 35th.

KUZMINA GOLDEN AGAIN IN WOMEN'S BIATHLON

Krasnaya Polyana, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Before Anastasiya Kuzmina came along, Slovakia had never before won a Winter Olympics gold medal.

Thanks to Kuzmina, it now has two.

Kuzmina successfully defended her Olympic gold medal in the 7.5-kilometer biathlon sprint on Sunday at the Sochi Winter Games, doing so by a comfortable margin over Russian Olga Vilukhina.

The 29-year-old Kuzmina used a time of 19 minutes and 55.6 seconds to capture gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Though she was a tad slower in Sochi, Kuzmina's time of 21:06.8 without a penalty in the shooting stage was not bested.

Vilukhina, who placed fifth at the 2013 World Championships, finished 19.9 seconds behind Kuzmina to grab silver for the host country, while Ukraine's Vita Semerenko earned bronze with a time of 21:28.5.

Semerenko had bronzed as well at the recent World Championships, won by fellow Ukrainian Olena Pidhrushna, who finished 26th in Sochi.

Norway's Tora Berger also was considered a favorite in this event, but came in 10th with a time of 21:40.6.

Though the U.S. failed to earn its first-ever woman's Olympic medal in the biathlon, Susan Dunklee had the top showing by an American in Sochi at 14th with a time of 21:48.3. The previous best showing by an American woman was Joan Smith's 21st-place finish at the 1992 Games.

Rosanna Crawford had the best showing by a Canadian athlete, finishing 25th and 1:04.0 off the gold medal-winning pace.

RUSSIA RALLIES, SWEDEN BLANKS JAPAN IN WOMEN'S HOCKEY

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Russia used a late surge to win its women's hockey opener on Sunday and Sweden posted a shutout to earn a victory in Group B play.

After coming up empty on early chances and finding itself down a goal, Russia dominated the third period to rally past Germany 4-1. Olga Sosina scored twice in the four-goal final frame, while Yulia Leskina shook off a tough early goal to record 14 saves.

Germany went ahead 1-0 in the second frame despite having been outshot 17-5 before Franziska Busch whipped a shot from the top of the right circle that hit off Leskina's glove and went in.

However, Russia evened the match on Iya Gavrilova's wrap-around tally just over five minutes into the third period and Sosina's first goal of the contest put her club ahead for good.

Sosina's power-play tally came on a shot from the left circle that was going wide, but hit off the chest of Germany's Andrea Lanzl and in.

Captain Yekaterina Smolentseva whipped home a goal 38 seconds later and Sosina fired home a rebound with 7:45 to play to cap the scoring.

Russia outshot Germany 17-1 in the third period and Viona Harrer made 33 saves in defeat.

While the Russians found their offense late, fellow Group B member Sweden held off Japan by a 1-0 margin earlier in the day.

The lone goal of the game came in the first period, with Jenni Asserholt converting on a power play 12:38 in just 10 seconds after Japan's Ayaka Toko took a tripping penalty.

Valentina Wallner took it from there, stopping all 19 shots fired her way.

Erika Grahm and Emma Eliasson assisted on Asserholt's tally, which came on a tipped shot from the right point.

Nana Fujimoto made 22 saves in the setback for Japan.

The U.S. and Canada, which both picked up victories Saturday, will take on Switzerland and Finland, respectively, on Monday.