POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Feb 20, 2014
SOCHI, Russia >> A Russian hockey team with immense expectations lost its shot at an Olympic title Wednesday at a Winter Games tempered by violence both in the host city and in nearby Ukraine.
Finland beat the Russians 3-1, knocking them out of the quarterfinals and ending their chances of winning a hockey gold medal in front of their own fans.
Defending Olympic champion Canada had a scare from upstart Latvia before a late goal sealed a 2-1 win. The U.S. advanced easily with a 5-2 win over the Czech Republic. The U.S. will meet Canada, and Sweden will take on Finland in Friday's semifinals.
Another Russian with great expectations, 15-year-old figure skater Julia Lipnitskaia, fell during the women's short program and finished fifth. Defending gold medalist Yuna Kim of South Korea led the competition, which finishes Thursday.
Ted Ligety of the U.S. won gold in men's giant slalom, the first American man to win two Olympic medals in Alpine skiing. American-turned-Russian snowboarder Vic Wild won the men's parallel giant slalom, minutes after his Russian wife, Alexa Zavarzina, won bronze in the women's competition.
In downtown Sochi, Cossack militia attacked the punk band Pussy Riot with horsewhips and removed members' trademark ski masks. The confrontation lasted less than three minutes and no one was arrested.
Earlier, Sergei Bubka, the pole vault great who heads the Ukrainian Olympic Committee, urged both sides in Ukraine's political crisis to halt the violence that left at least 25 people dead and 240 injured in Kiev on Tuesday. The crisis centers on divided loyalties in Ukraine between Russia and the West.
On Day 13 of the Sochi Olympics, Norway won the first Olympic mixed relay in biathlon, making Ole Einar Bjoerndalen the most decorated Winter Olympian ever with 13 medals; Norway also won the women's cross-country team sprint, with Finland taking the men's title; Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic denied the Netherlands another speedskating podium sweep; and the Canadian women won the gold in bobsled.
Kim scored 74.92 points, ahead of Adelina Sotnikova of Russia by 0.28. Carolina Kostner of Italy is third with 74.12. American champion Gracie Gold was fourth.
Ligety was 21 when he won his first gold medal in the combined at the 2006 Turin Games. The only other American to win two Olympic golds in Alpine skiing was Andrea Mead Lawrence, who took the women's slalom and giant slalom at the 1952 Oslo Games. On Wednesday, Steve Missillier of France took the silver and teammate Alexis Pinturault the bronze.
Marit Bjoergen captured her fifth career Olympic gold medal when Norway won the women's team sprint. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg was the other Norwegian skier. Finland took silver and Sweden bronze. In the men's race, Finland took advantage of a fall that slowed its two closest rivals. Russia grabbed the silver, Sweden the bronze.
Wild grew up in White Salmon, Wash., and applied for Russian citizenship after marrying Zavarzina in 2011. He then joined the Russian snowboarding team. Nevin Galmarini of Switzerland finished second for silver, and Zan Kosir of Slovenia took the bronze. In the women's race, Patrizia Kummer cruised to victory -- and Switzerland's sixth gold medal of the games -- when Japan's Tomoka Takeuchi missed a gate midway through the second run of the finals.
Sablikova won her second consecutive gold in the women's 5,000 meters. The Dutch still added two more medals, with Ireen Wust winning silver and Carien Kleibeuker the bronze. Wust now has won four medals at the Sochi Games, including gold in the 3,000 and silvers in the 1,000 and 1,500. Dutch speedskaters have 21 medals overall.
Bjoerndalen broke the record for overall medals that he had shared with cross-country skiing great Bjoern Daehlie. He also matched his fellow Norwegian's record of eight gold medals. He can win another medal in the final men's biathlon event of the Sochi Games, the 4x7.5-kilometer relay on Saturday.
Canada and Sweden will play for the gold medal in women's curling after winning semifinal games that went to the final shot. In the men's tournament, Canada will meet Britain for the gold.