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Smetanina's 10th medal is record for Olympics

LES SAISIES, France -- She struggled up the steep Olympic course on her nearly 40-year-old legs, slowly falling behind on the high-altitude cross-country trail.

But with a little help from her friends, Raisa Smetanina got her place in history as the winner of the most medals all-time in the Winter Olympics.

She also was believed to be the oldest woman to win a gold in the Winter Games.

Smetanina won her 10th medal yesterday, a gold in the women's 4x 5-kilometer cross country relay, and her Unified Team teammates celebrated by tossing her in the air. Norway took the silver and Italy won the bronze.

"It's hard to battle for an Olympic medal and you all saw how hard it was for me today," she said.

She got her gold with the help of Lyubov Egorova, who skied the anchor leg of the race and became the Games' first triple gold medalist. Egorova also has a silver and has won a medal in every women's cross country event.

In her five Olympics, Smetanina has won four golds, five silvers and one bronze, and she says there will be no more. She's not planning to return to the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

/# "Maybe as a tourist," she said. MERIBEL, France -- The weather was the only winner in the women's super-giant slalom, with heavy overnight snow forcing a one-day delay, the first major postponement of these Olympics.

Fifteen inches of snow fell Sunday night and yesterday morning, landing on a course already softened by rain. There was snow at other venues and gusting winds up to 78 mph, but no other major disruptions.

The women now will have races on three consecutive days: the super-G has been rescheduled for today, with the giant slalom tomorrow and the slalom Thursday.


Germany advances to face tough Canada

MERIBEL, France -- Dogged defense got Germany to the Olympic hockey medal round. It will need plenty more of the same to avoid getting crushed by Canada in the quarterfinals.

The Germans themselves seem to doubt they'll get enough.

"We don't compare ourselves with Sweden, Canada or Russia. We're not in their class," Ron Fischer said after Germany earned the fourth and final playoff berth from Pool B by beating Poland, 4-0.

In yesterday's second game, Finland, which already had qualified for the medal round, took a 5-3 decision from Italy (1-4), which was eliminated when Germany won.


Niemann wins 2nd gold;flu knocks out three

ALBERTVILLE, France -- Gunda Niemann dodged the flu and sped away from the competition to pick up her second speed skating gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

With the flu knocking three skaters out, she led a German sweep of the women's 5,000 meters at 7 minutes, 31.57 seconds -- more than six seconds better than the runner-up.

Heike Warnicke was second at 7:37.59 and Claudia Pechstein skated past Carla Zijlstra of the Netherlands in 7:39.80 for the bronze.



Surprising Japan takes huge lead after jumps

COURCHEVEL, France -- Japan took a huge lead over Austria and Germany in the Nordic combined team event and appears headed for its first gold medal of the Games.

"Our jumps were just incredible," said top jumper Reiichi Mikata, after he and teammates Takanori Kono and Kenji Ogiwara surprised everyone in the ski jumping portion.

France, the favorite, is already out of the gold medal chase after a disappointing fifth place.

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