Kaitlyn Farrington watches the scoring in the halfpipe on Wednesday. (Javier Soriano / Getty Images)
Kaitlyn Farrington restored a little bit of luster to Team USA’s Winter Olympics on Wednesday, taking back U.S. supremacy on the halfpipe that Shaun White and friends lost the night before.
Farrington edged Australia’s Torah Bright (defending champion) and teammate Kelly Clark to win gold with a score of 91.75 (Bright had 91.50).
During the flower ceremony, it occurred to Clark she, Bright and Farrington have more than just their love of snowboarding in common.
“We’re the gold medal club,” Clark said. “We’ve all got one of these now.”
The world’s sliding superpower won its third straight gold medal in luge, as Germans Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt captured the doubles competition.
Known as “The two Tobis,” Wendl and Arlt completed their two trips down the Sanki Sliding center track in 1 minute, 38.933 seconds, 0.522 ahead of Austria’s Andreas and Wolfgang Linger, who were trying to become the first doubles team to win gold three times in a row.
The Germans have won gold in all three races.
Russia or the Soviet Union had won gold in 12 straight Olympics in pairs figure skating before the streak ended four years ago, when the Russians failed to take home any pairs medal from Vancouver.
With the pair who started it all — Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov (1964 and 1968) — in the stands, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov brought the gold home, scoring 236.86 points.
To drive home the point Russia is back, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov had a near-flawless free skate to win silver.
“I think tonight all of the country will celebrate this beautiful victory,” Trankov said.
Finland’s Jenni Hiirikoski scored her second goal of the game with 2:22 left in overtime to help the 2010 bronze medalists escape with a 4-3 victory over Switzerland.
The Finns earned the No. 3 seed in the playoffs and play the loser of the round-robin finale between Russia and Sweden.
... IOC spokesman Mark Adams says organizers are “very pleased” with the quality of play in the tournament.
Because of a format change that separated the top and bottom teams, there have been fewer blowouts than in past Olympics.
Then-IOC president Jacques Rogge said after the Vancouver Games, “We cannot continue without improvement.”
China’s curlers kept up their surprise run by beating Switzerland and Germany, leaving the team atop the standings at 4-0. With Sweden losing to Denmark, Norway (3-0) is the only other unbeaten team in the competition.
On the women’s side, undefeated Canada downed Britain in a game that went down to the final stone and sent the U.S. to the edge of elimination. The Americans must win their final five matches to advance.
Forget the parkas and stocking hats. Sunscreen and shades are the must-have items at the Sochi “Winter” Games.
The temperature soared to 63 degrees, prompting visitors to grab a nap on a bench outside a venue or hit the nearby beach for some impromptu sunbathing, and even a dip in the Black Sea.
Forecasts call for the warm temperatures to remain for the next couple days.
... An eye infection will keep Bob Costas off NBC’s prime-time broadcast a second straight night. Matt Lauer will replace him.
Wednesday's podium points
Gold: Brian Williams dropped the whole idea of “spoiler alerts” on NBC’s “Nightly News” by straightforwardly reporting American snowboarder Shaun White’s loss in the snowboard (halfpipe) Tuesday, pleasing news purists while no doubt disappointing some people who wanted to be surprised in prime time.
Silver: Memo to supermodel Kate Moss: Switzerland’s new gold medalist halfpipe snowboarder likes you. “The original story of the YOLO trick was that I was trying to impress a girl,” Iouri Podladtchikov said Wednesday. “She asked me, why didn’t I call the trick after her. … If she was Kate Moss, I would have named it after her.”
Bronze: Luge officials held a moment of silence on the fourth anniversary of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death. Kumaritashvili died Feb. 12, 2010, during a training crash just before the start of the Vancouver Games. Olympic officials say they are working with the Georgian government to build “a lasting memorial” in his honor.