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September 20, 2014

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Olympics Roundup: Maze, Gisin win gold in women’s Olympic downhill

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Christophe Ena / AP

Women’s downhill gold medalists Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin, left, and Slovenia’s Tina Maze, right, hold hands during a flower ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.

Sochi Olympics: Feb. 12, 2014

Canada's Jill Officer, left, and Dawn McEwen, right, wait on the sidelines of the ice sheet during the women's curling competition against Britain at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Launch slideshow »

SOCHI, Russia — The gold market enjoyed big gains at the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday, getting an unexpected boost from the women's downhill.

Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland were declared co-gold medalists, the first time in Olympic Alpine history a race was won in a tie.

On a day that had little to do with winter — temperatures hit 63 degrees (17 C) — the two friends covered the 1.69-mile (2.7-kilometer) Rosa Khutor course in 1 minute, 41.57 seconds. A tearful Lara Gut of Switzerland won the bronze, 0.10 seconds back.

"I'm sure glad I'm going to share this gold with Tina," Gisin said.

The favorites, Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany and Julia Mancuso of the U.S., were afterthoughts. Hoefl-Riesch, eyeing a record-equaling fourth Olympic Alpine gold, finished 13th while Mancuso was eighth.

"It's actually crazy that it comes down to one-hundredths (of a second) and there is not one-thousandths as a tiebreaker," Mancsuo said.

Five other sports were awarding gold medals on Day 6 of the Olympics: figure skating pairs, luge, Nordic combined, snowboarding and speedskating.

Among the other gold medalists were speedskater Stefan Groothuis, who added to the mighty haul of the Dutch at the oval; and Eric Frenzel of Germany, who has been the steadiest in Nordic combined the last two years.

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ALPINE SKIING: Gisin is becoming an old hand at these kinds of outcomes — two of her three downhill victories have been ties. She also is having a far better Olympics than the one in Vancouver, where she went tumbling and airborne in the downhill. This was Gisin's first major medal. Maze won two silvers in Vancouver, and was hardly troubled about splitting the pot of gold. "It's even more interesting because it's not a usual thing," said Maze, who started 30 minutes after Gisin. "It's something special." There have been four ties in Olympic skiing — none of them for gold. The last was among silver medalists in the men's super-G at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

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FIGURE SKATING: There's a long Olympic tradition of champion Russian pairs — Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov could well add to it, and in their home country no less. They have a solid but not insurmountable lead going into the free skate over four-time world winners Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany. "We want to win the Olympics in Russia and we want to be the next gold medal winners in pairs for Russia," Trankov said through a translator. "We have the strong history."

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SPEEDSKATING: The Dutch ruled at the oval again, with Groothuis taking the gold in the 1,000 meters and upsetting two-time Olympic champion Shani Davis of the U.S. Groothuis won in 1 minute, 8.39 seconds and was followed by Denny Morrison of Canada and 500 champion Michel Mulder of the Netherlands. The Dutch have won 10 of 15 medals through the first five events. Davis was eighth, denied in his bid to become the first man to win the same speedskating event at three straight Olympics.

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HOCKEY: Canada defeated the U.S. in women's hockey 3-2 in a preview of the expected gold medal match. Meghan Agosta scored twice for Canada and assisted on Hayley Wickenheiser's goal. This was the fifth time these teams have met in the Olympics, but the first since women's hockey was added to the Winter Games in 1998 that they have played in the preliminary round. In the day's other game, Finland beat Switzerland 4-3.

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NORDIC COMBINED: Frenzel, who served two years in the German army, won the individual normal hill. He led after ski jumping and powered home on the cross-country course. "I can't describe this feeling, it's so perfect," he said. Frenzel, the runaway World Cup leader, was followed by Akito Watabe of Japan and Magnus Krog of Norway. Billy Demong of the U.S., the defending gold medalist on the large hill, finished 24th overall.

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CURLING: Norway and China remained unbeaten and the U.S. finally won in men's curling. The Norwegians, the fashionistas of curling, beat Germany 8-5 for a third consecutive victory. China defeated Switzerland 5-4. John Shuster's U.S. team defeated Denmark 9-5, and the skip said a text from his wife provided a boost. "She just told me to remember to enjoy this and be a curler." On the women's side, undefeated Canada downed Britain 9-6 in a game that went down to the final stone and sent the U.S. to the edge of elimination. The Canadians joined Switzerland in first place at 3-0.

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