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Loss in pursuit slows Hedrick


TURIN, Italy -- Chad Hedrick's quest for five gold medals came to a screeching stop yesterday when the U.S. men's speed skating team was eliminated in the quarterfinals of team pursuit, a new and quirky Olympic event, by an Italian squad spurred on by an enthusiastic home crowd.

Skating without Shani Davis, the world-record holder in the 1,000 meters, the U.S. turned to Hedrick, Charles Ryan Leveille and KC Boutiette.

After faltering in Saturday's 5,000-meter race, Davis had said he would skip the team pursuit.

Hedrick, gold medalist in the 5,000, skated magnificently. Leveille also skated well. Boutiette, 35, in his fourth Olympics, did not, lagging well behind the two other Americans in the three-man, 3,200-meter event -- at least 10 feet behind by the final lap.

The Italian team finished in 3 minutes 43.64 seconds, in beating the Americans. The U.S. team laid down the second-fastest qualifying time (3:44.11) in the quarterfinals, but for naught.

The U.S. women's pursuit team also was eliminated, falling in the quarterfinals to Canada.

Short-track speed skating -- Apolo Anton Ohno redeemed himself somewhat as his 5,000-meter relay team made it to the final. It made up for slipping and failing to advance to the finals in the 1,000 meters. Ohno is joined on the U.S. team by J.P. Kepka and Alex Izykowski. Things didn't go well for Ohno's girlfriend, Allison Baver, who failed to make the medal round in the 500 and finished seventh overall.

Luge -- The U.S. had hopes of duplicating or bettering its performance in Salt Lake City in the two-man, but a crash on Turn 14 ended those chances. Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin were eliminated from competition during the first run. The second U.S. sled, piloted by Preston Griffal and Dan Joyce, finished eighth.

Curling -- The U.S. continued to struggle, now on the men's side. The U.S. lost to Italy, 6-5, in a shocker that went down to the last two rocks. The U.S. is now 2-2. On the women's side, the U.S. got its first win after three losses with a victory over Denmark, 8-3. The U.S. will almost have to win out to make the medal round.

Nordic combined -- The event was postponed because of high winds after one round of jumping and will be resumed today. This event has two rounds of ski jumping, followed by a cross-country race. The U.S. team of Bill Demong, Carl van Loan, Johnny Spillane and Todd Lodwick is in eighth place.

Alan Abrahamson writes for the Los Angeles Times. John Cherwa, Tribune sports coordinator, contributed to this article.

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