If the Russians keep performing as they have in the new team figure skating competition, they're sure to dominate throughout these Sochi Games. Julia Lipnitskaia at 15 had the look of an Olympic champion, dazzling the home crowd with a near-perfect routine in the women's short program. Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov earned cheers as they routed the field in the free skate. With only the men's and women's free skate and the free dance left to contest today in the finale, Russia has 47 points and a six-point lead on Canada. World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White quick-stepped their way to victory in the team short dance, lifting the U.S. into the medals chase. The Americans are third with 34 points.
Hilary Knight scored 53 seconds into the opener of the hockey tournament and Jesse Vetter needed only 14 saves to lead the United States to a 3-1 victory against Finland. Later in the day, Hayley Wickenheiser scored for the fifth consecutive Winter Games, and three-time defending Olympic champion Canada coasted to a 5-0 victory against Switzerland. If the U.S. women beat Switzerland Monday, they will advance to play Canada in the semifinals.
Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe joined a few other sisters to win gold and silver in the same Olympic event. They did it in women's moguls, where their oldest sister Maxime made it into the finals and finished 12th. French skiers Marieele and Christine Goitschel and Austrian lugers Doris and Angelika Neuner are on the short list of sisters to also go 1-2 in an Olympic event. The Dufour-Lapointes edged American rival Hannah Kearney as Justine, the youngest of the sisters at 19, went through a technically precise final run to score 22.44 points and help Canada win its first gold of the games. Chloe, 22, followed with a solid run but came up .78 points short of the winning score. Kearney, the defending champion and top-ranked woman in the world, went last and had a big bobble after her first jump. She settled for bronze.
Marit Bjoergen won the women's 15-kilometer skiathlon, giving the Norwegian skier her fourth career gold medal. Bjoergen pulled away from Sweden's Charlotte Kalla on the final straight to win in 38 minutes, 33.6 seconds and defend her title from the 2010 Vancouver Games. Bjoergen's gold, though, was tempered by grief. The brother of teammate Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen died "suddenly and unexpectedly" a day earlier, according to Norwegian Olympic officials. Bjoergen, joined by teammates, sobbed in an embrace after the race.
Firmly establishing himself as a gold medal favorite, American Bode Miller was fastest in the final downhill training run. Miller finished in 2 minutes, 6.09 seconds, one day before the first medal race on the Alpine schedule. Miller, 36, also turned in the top time Thursday in the opening training session.
Sven Kramer of the Netherlands set an Olympic record and defended his title in the men's 5,000 meters, winning gold with a time of 6 minutes, 10.76 seconds. With the king, queen and prime minister of his country cheering him on, Kramer, 27, flew around the big oval with amazingly consistent laps, all falling within a range of eight-tenths of a second. He easily beat the Olympic mark of 6:14.60 he set while winning gold four years ago at Vancouver, and the Dutch team swept the medals.
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway won the men's 10-kilometer sprint for his seventh career gold medal. Bjoerndalen turned 40 last month, making him the oldest winner of an individual competition at any Winter Olympics. Bjoerndalen missed one target before finishing in 24 minutes, 33.5 seconds. Anton Shipulin had Russia's first gold medal all but won, heading toward victory in front of a frenzied home crowd, but as so often happens in biathlon, a wayward shot ruined his race. Shipulin finished fourth after missing a target at the final shooting station.
World Cup leader Kamil Stoch of Poland has taken his hot form into the men's normal hill gold medal final. Stoch, who already had qualified because he was among the top 10-ranked jumpers on the normal hill going into the event, nonetheless was among the top five finishers in the qualifying round.