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Hedrick no match for Heiden Speedskater fails in bid for five golds

One teammate didn't show up, another couldn't keep up. And not even Chad Hedrick could do it alone.

Already the owner of one gold medal, Hedrick was hoping to get started on another Wednesday in the two-day team pursuit. But the Americans were eliminated in the quarterfinals, dashing Hedrick's hope of matching Eric Heiden's record five gold medals in a Winter Olympics.

"The five medals isn't a big thing," Hedrick said. "The most important thing for me right now is to go out and have fun. Things could be a lot worse right now."

Hedrick, KC Boutiette and Charles Ryan Leveille lost to the Italian team of Matteo Anesi, Stefano Donagrandi and Enrico Fabris by nearly a half-second after leading through the first four laps.

Boutiette couldn't keep up with his younger teammates, lagging about 10 feet behind when Leveille and Hedrick were first across the finish line. The Italians crossed together, giving them the victory on home ice.

Shani Davis skipped the pursuit to concentrate on his individual races, leaving Hedrick as the strongest skater on the three-man team.

The American women didn't fare much better. Jennifer Rodriguez, Maria Lamb and Catherine Raney were eliminated in the quarterfinals.


Crash landing for lugers

CESANA, Italy -- Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin crashed, ending their run for the gold in an unexpected tangle of arms, legs and tears.

Seeking the one medal that has eluded them, Grimmette and Martin wrecked on their first run, ending perhaps the final chase for the most decorated doubles luge team in U.S. history.

Austrian brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger won the gold, finishing two runs in 1 minute, 34.497 seconds.

Grimmette's and Martin's 10-year partnership has produced 61 international medals -- most ever for USA Luge.


Uhlaender to swing for fences

CESANA, Italy -- Ted Uhlaender is no skeleton racer, but he can relate to what his daughter is about to experience.

He played eight major-league seasons with Minnesota, Cleveland and Cincinnati, capping his career in 1972 by playing in the World Series with the Reds.

Now Katie Uhlaender is competing on her sport's biggest stage -- the Olympics. Only three years after taking up the sport, the 21-year-old from Breckenridge, Colo., will be the lone American in today's women's skeleton competition.

"Like baseball, it's a team sport, but really not," said Ted Uhlaender, a scout with the San Francisco Giants. "You can get in that batter's box, cross yourself and all that, but you're on your own. Same thing with skeleton. When you get on that sled, that team ain't helping you."

"It's my race to throw down," Uhlaender said. "It's the race I've been waiting for."


Russian DQ'd

France capped a surprising day in the women's biathlon when Florence Baverel-Robert won the 7.5km sprint today after Russian superstar Olga Pyleva was suspended for failing a doping test.

In another shocker, Ukraine's Lilia Efremova took the bronze. The only favorite to reach the podium was Anna Carin Oloffson [silver] of Sweden.

Pyleva became the first athlete to test positive at the Turin Games. She has been thrown out of the Games and stripped of the silver medal in the 15km event she won Monday. Pyleva was scratched from the field just before the start of the sprint race.


Around the Games

Italy shocked the United States, earning a 6-5 victory in men's curling. Italy is only in the tournament as host country.

Overwhelming favorite Wang Meng gave China its first gold medal of the Olympics, holding off Bulgaria's Evgenia Radanova by the length of a skate in the women's 500-meter short track final.

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