RICHMOND, British Columbia – The Canadian men finally won gold at the Olympic speedskating oval, leaving American Chad Hedrick with a silver in the final race of his career.

The Germans repeated as champions of the women’s team pursuit by less than the length of a skate blade.

Hedrick had hoped to head into retirement with a gold, but the 32-year-old Texan was bothered by a sore right hip Saturday and trailed a pair of 19-year-old teammates, finishing 21-hundredths of a second behind the last of the Canadians to cross in the men’s team pursuit.

Still, Hedrick leaves behind quite a career: five medals in five different events, joining Eric Heiden as the only American men to win that many long-track medals.

Heiden, now a doctor for the U.S. team, led the cheers for Hedrick, Jonathan Kuck and Brian Hansen from behind the pads heading into the first turn as they saluted the crowd, holding up an American flag.

”This is my fifth medal, all at different distances, a major accomplishment for me,” Hedrick said. ”It’s definitely been a great ride.”

The Americans might have pulled it out with Shani Davis in the mix, but the two-time gold medalist decided not to take part in the team event for the second straight Olympics.

Canada’s women captured four individual medals at the Richmond Olympic Oval, but the men were a disappointment until their final race.

Denny Morrison, Lucas Makowsky and Mathieu Giroux ensured that ”O Canada” played at least once for the men during the 15-day competition, winning with a time of 3 minutes, 41.37 seconds. The Americans finished the eight-lap race in 3:41.58.

No one cut it closer than the German women.

Matched against the Americans in the semifinals, they appeared to have lost when Anni Friesinger-Postma stumbled a couple of times on the final lap and fell coming down the last straightaway. Sliding along on her belly, she waved her arms furiously, like a swimmer, then stuck out her skate to trigger the timer.

Katrin Mattscherodt swapped out for Friesinger-Postma in the final against Japan, teaming with Stephanie Beckert and Daniela Anschutz Thoms to overcome a deficit of nearly two seconds midway through the race.

The Japanese team of Masako Hozumi, Nao Kodaira and Maki Tabata couldn’t hold off the Germans, who defended the inaugural women’s pursuit title they won four years ago at Turin by a mere two-hundredths of a second.

Poland claimed the bronze, overcoming the U.S. when Catherine Raney-Norman failed to keep pace with teammates Jennifer Rodriguez and Jilleanne Rookard. The first two crossed ahead of the Poles, but the time only counts when all three skaters finish. Raney-Norman labored across 1.57 behind the bronze medalists.

Sven Kramer and the Netherlands won bronze in men’s pursuit, beating Norway by 0.55 in the third-place race with an Olympic-record time that was faster than either of the finalists.


SNOWBOARDING: Jasey-Jay Anderson of Canada won the gold medal in parallel giant slalom, overcoming Austria’s Benjamin Karl for the victory.

Anderson began the second of the two-race final with a .76-second deficit, but kept carving away at the lead and crossed .35 seconds ahead of the world’s top-ranked rider.

Mathieu Bozzetto of France won bronze.


WOMEN’S NORDIC SKIING: Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland denied Marit Bjoergen a fourth gold medal at the Vancouver Games, beating the Norwegian in a frantic final sprint to win the 30-kilometer classical cross country race.


MEN’S CURLING: Switzerland won the bronze medal by beating Sweden 5-4 when Ralph Stoeckli scored two points with his final rock.

The Swiss were fourth at the 2009 world championships, and Stoeckli placed fifth in the 2006 Winter Olympics.


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