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Olympic Downhill King: Austria's Matthias Mayer



SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Matthias Mayer shut his eyes for a moment, his day's work over.

If he had trouble believing what had just happened as he stood before the crowd it was with good reason. The Austrian struck a big upset Sunday in one of the Olympics' marquee events, capturing the men's downhill and upending the elite of his sport.

"It's amazing to be an Olympic champion," he said.

Mayer has never finished better than fifth in a World Cup downhill. That proved no obstacle in dismissing the preordained favorites - Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway finished fourth and Bode Miller of the U.S. eighth.

Among the eight gold medalists on Day 3 were: snowboarder Jamie Anderson, the American slopestyle queen who triumphed in her sport's Olympic debut; and Irene Wust, who showed why speedskating is Dutch territory. Russia closed in on the gold in team figure skating, likewise an Olympic newcomer.

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SKIING: In a country where skiing is revered, Mayer gave Austria a jolt. A few weeks ago he was not even considered the nation's best shot for gold. But he covered the Rosa Khutor course in 2 minutes, 6.23 seconds and beat Italy's Christof Innerhofer by 0.06 seconds. Norway's Kjetil Jansrud won the bronze. Miller, who dominated the training runs, was so unnerved by the change of visibility he thought he'd have "to do something magical to win." That was left to Mayer, who enjoys good skiing bloodlines - his father, Helmut, won a super-G silver medal at the 1988 Calgary Games.

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FIGURE SKATING: Evgeni Plushenko won the men's free skate to pad Russia's lead in the team event. Canada is second, followed by the U.S. and Japan, with the women's free skate and ice dance to come. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada and short program winner Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan did not compete, resting for the individual men's event.

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SNOWBOARDING: The U.S. now has a double gold hit in slopestyle, with Anderson doing her part a day after Sage Kotsenburg. "Even though it's just another competition, the stage and the outreach that this event connects to is out of control," Anderson said. Finland's Enni Rukajarvi won the silver. The bronze went to Jenny Jones, a 33-year-old former maid at a ski resort who gave Britain its first medal in any snow sport.

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SPEEDSKATING: Another royal visit, more Dutch gold. Wust gave the Netherlands its second victory by winning the 3,000. Skating before her king and queen, Wust won in 4 minutes, 0.34 seconds. Defending champ Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic took the silver while Olga Graf won bronze for Russia's first medal of the games. Claudia Pechstein, 41 and a six-time Olympian, was fourth. Wust, her nails red, white and blue like the Dutch flag, held up three fingers, signifying her third Olympic gold medal.

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CROSS-COUNTRY: Switzerland's Dario Cologna had ankle surgery in November, but that now seems ancient. He won the 30-kilometer skiathlon, pulling away at the top of the last uphill section. The three-time overall World Cup winner claimed his second Olympic gold medal. He was timed in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 15.4 seconds. Defending champion Marcus Hellner of Sweden took silver, with the bronze to Norway's Martin Johnsrud Sundby.

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BIATHLON: Slovakia's Anastasiya Kuzmina matched her gold from Vancouver in the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint. Kuzmina shot flawlessly and finished in 21 minutes, 6.8 seconds. The silver medal went to Russia's Olga Vilukhina and the bronze to Ukraine's Vita Semerenko. Kuzmina's brother is Russian biathlete Anton Shipulin, who was fourth Saturday.

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riversrme February 09 2014 at 2:59 PM

What ego to say.........I'll skate the team event (and get my 15 min of glory) and then let the younger skaters do the rest of the skating events. Plyushenko, either you're in for it all or you are out of it all.

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2 replies
Bob riversrme February 09 2014 at 6:16 PM

The World Champion didn't even compete, so which is worse?

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VIRY riversrme February 09 2014 at 9:58 PM

he was trying to help his country, he hasn't skated in 2 years, must you hate?

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Avarua57 February 09 2014 at 3:16 PM

This is what it's all about .....personal best , over achieving , living the dream and all those other sappy things we say when were excited for someone elses triumphs !

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thosholzel February 09 2014 at 2:20 PM

Biathlon? You mean the US meida is admitting that there are events in the Olympics that involve SHOOTING??? About a decade ago the first US medal was in pistol shooting. The NY Times ignored it, but did list the event a week later under a list of medals won.

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1 reply
VIRY thosholzel February 09 2014 at 9:57 PM

well all this time, i thought that the were shooting targets not people or animals, idiot

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fwkjr4949 February 09 2014 at 7:55 PM

I still can't figure out how come NBC says that the Olypics are showing on all their channels yet it's really only showing on one channel

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brianjackson_50 February 09 2014 at 10:19 PM

Amazing Run, I wish they showed more of the down hill run.
One portion was complete Air time, very nice :)

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dorc792 February 10 2014 at 3:35 AM

imagine being locked in a bath room with-out a beer,,,,so who pays for the door??

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fjk196336 February 09 2014 at 5:34 PM

Way to go Matthias. Now if we can just defeat obamacare that would be a gold medal win.

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2 replies
popescunicolae fjk196336 February 09 2014 at 8:08 PM

Austria has universal Healthcare you know...

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robert.hall49 fjk196336 February 09 2014 at 9:59 PM

The majority of Americans have for years wanted better healthcare available to all. We elected a president that said he would get something done. Now that it is happening all you do is complain because it is costing you something. You prove your ignorance by praising Matthias and trying to defeat Obamacare in the same sentence. I am sick to death of hearing you people wine like little girls and blame Obama for everything that happens in the world. I believe in the 60's-70's Led Zeppelin supported national healthcare in America. Shouldn't the most powerful country in the world, the best place to live in the world have the best healthcare available. Shouldn't you be more worried about the legalization of marijuana.......rock on.

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1 reply
WAYNE robert.hall49 February 09 2014 at 10:32 PM

Hello robert.hall49 Kudos and Hurrah's for your comment.
The right and the T's hate Obamacare because it does too much. That is very Ironic because the problems with Obamacare all stem from the fact that it does too little, too timid.
Fee for service in the conrext of health care is a monster of greed that must be crushed. The sole called "right" utterly fails to grasp that the PRE Obama status quo was an absolute disaster, corrupt and rotten to the core. Any new law would have to be an improvement.

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kevinhh108 February 09 2014 at 6:53 PM

If it wasn't for the new x-game sports, the USA would be getting shutout.

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rchris5453 February 09 2014 at 7:49 PM

Please... can NBC show something other than Figure Skating in prime time, like speed skating, cross country, biathlon anything but figure skating.

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1 reply
VIRY rchris5453 February 09 2014 at 10:02 PM

love all those sports too, i can't figure out why we are not seeing speedskating on primetime, also cross country and the great biathlon, lets push for it, i am game for every event but curling.

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