WRAPUP 3-Olympics-Hockey heartache for hosts, Ukraine violence shocks Games
(Adds Russian hockey loss, latest details)
* Russians out of men's hockey after defeat by Finalnd
protests at home
* Ligety wins first U.S. Alpine skiing gold in Sochi
* Norway top medals table after more golds
By Mike Collett-White
SOCHI, Russia, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Russia fell to Finland in the big men's hockey clash at the Winter Olympics on Wednesday, robbing the hosts of a shot at the gold they covet most, while athletes and officials reacted with shock to the deaths of protesters in neighbouring Ukraine.
The roar of the home fans at the futuristic Bolshoy Ice Dome was not enough to inspire the team to victory over Finland, who have been on the podium in four of the last five Olympics.
Finland won 3-1 in a result that took some of the wind out of home sails at Russia's first Winter Games. Ice hockey superpowers Canada and the United States both play their quarter finals later in the evening and are expected to advance.
At the adjacent Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi there will be similarly partisan support for 15-year-old figure skater Julia Lipnitskaya, one of the favourites in the singles competition having mesmerised the Games with her performance in the team event.
That contest concludes on Thursday, while on Wednesday there were eight gold medals up for grabs.
They included the men's giant slalom, which Ted Ligety won convincingly to claim the first U.S. Alpine skiing gold of the Games. Thick fog, rain and snow that made skiing so difficult over the last two days had lifted, and conditions were clear.
Ukraine's Olympic team were struggling to come to terms with deadly clashes at home in which at least 26 people have been killed.
Ukrainian athletes asked for permission to wear black arm bands to honour those killed, but the International Olympic Committee, which bans any sort of political or commemorative symbols during the Games, refused.
"Yes it's a distraction, everyone's talking about it - even just now at the start, at the finish, people are saying 'what's happened in your country, what's happened?'" said Dmytro Mytsak, a Ukrainian giant slalom skier from Kiev.
"We're getting support from the Russian spectators and I'm grateful for that," the 18-year-old added.
Former pole vault champion and Ukraine's Olympic chief Sergey Bubka, in Sochi for the Games, expressed bewilderment at how events in Kiev and elsewhere had spiralled out of control.
"I cannot believe it's happened and we are in such a difficult situation today," said Bubka, also an adviser to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, against whom much of the anti-government protesters' ire is directed.
"Again I appeal to both parties to stop the violence," Bubka told international news agencies. "Try to find the peace...keep us together and live in peace, because this is most important. For us, what happened in Ukraine is a big shock."