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Winter Games: Hockey stars shine for Canada

Last updated on: February 25, 2010 13:46 IST

Canada make stunning comeback

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The Canadian men restored order in their Olympic ice hockey house and headed to the semi-finals after a 7-3 rout of Russia on Wednesday, a day of redemption and medal manna from heaven for the host nation.

In country where hockey is religion, Canadians rejoiced to be back on the medal track in Winter Games venue Vancouver where maple leaf-clad fans poured into the streets three days after a demoralising loss to the Americans.

"We actually had doubts, about the game with Russia, but they won, and how," said Mindy Mahil, a fan perched on a fountain waving a large red-and-white flag.


Image: Canada hockey fans react in the stands during the ice hockey play-offs quarter-finals between Russia and Canada
Photographs: Reuters
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Zach Parise puts US in semis

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Forced to play an extra match to qualify for the quarter-finals, Canada dispatched Germany 8-2 on Tuesday. Twenty four hours later, they lined up for a mouthwatering clash with Russia and dominated from start to finish.

The US was the first team to reach the semi-finals when they beat Switzerland 2-0 on Wednesday, both goals coming from Zach Parise.

The United States will face the winners of the Finland-Czech Republic quarter-final, while Canada will meet either Slovakia or Sweden, the defending gold medallists.


Image: Zach Parise (left) of the US celebrates his goal with Jamie Langenbrunner during their ice-hockey quarter-finals against Switzerland

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Wednesday was Canada's day

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Canada's happiness was compounded minutes later as two of the women's bobsleigh teams took the top two medals, the gold going to Kaillie Humphries in a thrilling final that saw a highly rated German team flip over on the fast ice track.

With a gold that takes Canada to the top of the medal table alongside the United States and Germany, two silvers, a bronze and the big hockey win, Wednesday was Canada's day.

After a public outcry over a low medal count and the hockey defeat, Canada stood confidently atop the gold medals table with seven, alongside the United States and Germany.


Image: Canada's Kaillie Humphries (left) and Heather Moyse celebrate after winning gold in the women's bobsleigh event

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Korean short trackers disqualified

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Day 12 of the Winter Games had its notable losers too.

South Korea were disqualified while they were celebrating what they thought was their victory in women's short track 3,000 metres relay.

The gold went to China, while the Koreans' cheers turned to tears and they rushed past reporters without stopping to explain what referees deemed a push in the relay exchange.


Image: South Korea's Cho Ha-ri (left), Kim Min-jung (centre) and Lee Eun-byul react after their disqualification in the women's 3000 metres relay short track speed skating final

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Vonn crashes out after injury

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It was also a disappointing day for top American skier Lindsey Vonn, the downhill gold medallist who crashed out on a fog-enveloped giant slalom and broke her little finger.

The giant slalom second leg fell prey to poor weather and will run instead on Thursday morning, with no Vonn and little hope for team-mate and defending champion Julia Mancuso.

Heavy fog at Whistler mountain forced the postponement of the women's giant slalom until Thursday morning. Austrian Elisabeth Goergl was leading France's Taina Barioz by 0.02 seconds.

Vonn's fall wreaked havoc on Mancuso, who was forced to stop her run with Vonn still on the course and make a new run later in worse snow conditions.

The two-time silver medallist at these Games finished back in 18th place and left the course in tears.

Despite the broken pinkie, Vonn is expected to race in the final women's Alpine event, the slalom scheduled for Friday.


Image: Lindsey Vonn of the US goes down the piste after crashing out during the first run of the women's alpine skiing Giant Slalom event

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'I always wanted to jump like a man'

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In a different type of skiing, Australia's Lydia Lassila flew and spun her way to Olympic gold in women's freestyle aerials, cleanly landing two of the hardest jumps of the day.

"Ever since I started this sport, I wanted to jump like a man," said Lassila, when asked why she tried such a difficult jump on her first effort.

As the Games enter the final stretch, two athletes accumulated their second gold medal. Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won the women's 5,000 metres speedskating gold while Marcus Hellner led Sweden to a surprise victory in the men's cross country relay.


Image: Australia's Lydia Lassila competes in her second jump during the women's aerials freestyle skiing final on Cypress Mountain

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