— The Associated Press

WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Jeret ”Speedy” Peterson always insisted the moment was as important as the medal.

This time, he gets both.

Peterson took his high-risk, high-reward career and life to a satisfying new level Thursday night, throwing his one-of-a-kind ”Hurricane” jump at the Olympics and walking away with the silver medal.

It was a victory for an athlete who has faced a life of addiction and pain, triumph and tragedy, and stayed in his sport so he might have a moment like this.

”I know that a lot of people go through a lot of things in their life, and I just want them to realize they can overcome anything,” Peterson said, tears streaming down his face. ”There’s light at the end of the tunnel and mine was silver and I love it.”

He took a chance nobody else in this dangerous sport will take — wrapping five twists into three somersaults as he vaults off the ramp and 50 feet into the air. He stuck his landing and was rewarded by the judges.

Peterson’s score — 128.62 — was the highest awarded for any of the 24 jumps on a clear, cold night at Cypress Mountain, but his total of 247.21 was 1.2 short of Belarussian Alexei Grishin, who was judged to be a bit more technically precise, if not quite as daring.

Grishin added the gold to the bronze he won in 2002. Liu Zhongqing of China took bronze.

Peterson got to prove, finally, that you can put on the best show and have something to show for it at the Olympics.

After Peterson landed his jump, American coach Matt Christensen shouted from the top, ”You did it! You did it!” Peterson started pumping his fists in celebration and skied over to an American cheering section that included U.S. teammate Emily Cook, whose injury in 2002 gave Peterson the first of his three Olympic spots.

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY RELAY: Marit Bjoergen quickly decided the race on the final leg as Norway won the gold medal — Bjoergen’s third of the Vancouver Olympics.

Bjoergen and Italy’s Sabina Valbusa went out together at the final exchange, but the Norwegian immediately pulled away from her only remaining rival and skied alone the rest of the way.

Entering the ski stadium with a massive lead, she had enough time to veer to the side to pick up a Norwegian flag and then ski down the final straight using just one pole.

The team of Vibeke Skofterud, Therese Johaug, Kristin Stoermer Steira and Bjoergen finished the 4×5-kilometer race in 55 minutes, 19.5 seconds as Norway won its first women’s relay gold since 1984.

”Three of us have been around for a long time,” said Bjoergen, referring to herself, Skofterud and Steira. ”We deserve this.”

Germany was second after Claudia Nystad beat Finland’s Aino-Kaisa Saarinen in a two-way race for the silver. Italy was fourth after Valbusa faded.

Bjoergen became the first triple gold winner in Vancouver after also winning the individual sprint and 30K pursuit. She’s also the first to earn four medals overall.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Karoliina Rantamaki scored when her pass was kicked into Sweden’s net 2:33 into overtime, and Finland won the bronze medal with a 3-2 victory.

Heidi Pelttari and Michelle Karvinen also scored for Finland, which hadn’t won a medal since women’s hockey’s first joined the Olympics in 1998.

MEN’S CURLING: Norway will meet Canada in the gold-medal match after beating Switzerland 7-5 in the semifinals.

Canada, trying to become the first Olympic curling team to go unbeaten at the games since the sport returned as a medal event in 1998, earned its spot in the final by beating Sweden 6-3.

WOMEN’S CURLING: Anette Norberg and defending gold medalist Sweden easily handled reigning world champion China in a shortened nine-end victory in the semifinals, advancing to today’s championship game against top-seeded Canada.

The Canadians advanced with a 6-5 victory over Switzerland that was in doubt until the end. Needing two points to tie, the Swiss had one stone near the center of the scoring area with a Canadian stone nearby. Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott managed to knock the Canadian rock out with the last shot, but her own stone slid too far away for her team to score the two points it needed.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.