USA Gets Good Results In Bad Weather

Mark Bathum takes on the snow in Sochi
Mark Bathum takes on the snow in Sochi

Written By Brian Rank

SOCHI, Russia –  In a day fraught with harsh weather on the slopes and penalties on the sled  hockey ice, team USA still managed to keep its future at the games alive. Wheelchair curling  game back with a win to keep their medal hopes alive, Alpine and nordic skiing athletes stayed in  the top ten and sled hockey put up a tough fight, despite a losing the game, and still will vie for a  medal in the playoffs.  Below are recaps from the day’s events.

Alpine Skiing

The gloomy weather that postponed the super­G portion of the super combined event could not  keep US alpine team members from placing in the top ten. Stephanie Jallen and Danelle  Umstead earned third place in the standing slalom event and Allison Jones posted the fifth place  time. Laurie Stephens came in fourth in the women’s sitting slalom The super­G runs will take  place on Friday for those who completed the slalom half of the event.

This is another link in a chain of strong runs from the alpine team which earned 6 of the 7 US  medals. Jallen entered the run fresh from winning bronze in the super­G on Monday. “Yesterday really helped my confidence if anything, because I was completely unsure how this  week was going to turn out for me, being my first Games and all,” she said. I’m trying not to put  everything that happened yesterday in my head. I just want to make it a clean slate and try to do  it again. I’m sitting in a good position right now, and I’m just glad I get the opportunity to race  again and complete the combined race.”

Biathlon

US biathletes battled fog and freezing temperatures as they aimed for top positions. Sit­skier  Andy Soule placed fifth in the 12.5 kilometer race, the best of the day from team USA. Soule has  placed in the top of of all his nordic events this week.

“Overall, I think I have had three of the best days of racing ever in these Games,” Soule said.  Dan Conossen and Sean Halsted finished 11th and 12th respectively.

Oksana Masters finished eighth in the women’s 12 km, another high finish after winning the silver  in the women’s 12 km cross­country race.

Sled Hockey

In possibly the biggest upset of the Games so far, Russia beat the defending Paralympic  champions, team USA, 2­1 in their final preliminary game. The loss, that seemed to come down  to penalty calls, still leaves team USA with a winning 2­1 record and a guaranteed medal as the  play­offs begin Thursday.

“I can’t criticize my team at all,” head coach Jeff Sauer said. “I thought we played as well as we  can play. We put a lot of pressure on. I thought we dominated play for the majority of the game  and just a couple of bad breaks went against us and that was the difference in the game.”

Wheelchair Curling

USA curling kept themselves in medal territory with a 7­6 win over Finland. The team, now 2­4,  needed to win or else lose a spot in the semi­finals on Saturday. The win means they are in a  three­way tie for seventh place.

“It’s a big boost for us. We knew we had to win and have to win the rest of them,” David Palmer  said. ” … We all knew we had the ability to do it. We just had to go out there and prove it. I think  we all pretty much executed good today – much better than in our previous games.”

The nine­game round robin ends on Thursday, but if there is a tie, the tiebreaker games will take  place on Friday.

 

 

 

 

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