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Five sets of medals to meet winners today at Sochi Olympics

10 February 2014 [13:55] - TODAY.AZ
Athletes to compete for five sets of medals in biathlon, freestyle, short track, mountain skiing and speed skating. Monday will also see a curling and female luge competition, as well as the resumption of women’s hockey tournament. Russian athletes have good chances of winning medals in biathlon, speed skating and short track.

The highlight is Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, the Michael Phelps of the Winter Games in the biathlon.

He could become the outright record-holder if he wins a 13th medal Monday in the men's12.5-km pursuit.

Dominik Landertinger of Austria and Jaroslav Soukup of Czech Republic have the second and
third starting positions behind Bjoerndalen. Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway has won world titles in all the biathlon events.

For people who don't know anything about winter sports, curling is a hoot. It's a lot like shuffleboard on ice, relying on strategy more than strength or quickness. Two teams of four players each slide heavy polished stones across the ice toward a circular target. Points are scored by placing stones closest to the center of the target.

The U.S. men will compete against Norway. The United States won bronze at the 2006 games but finished poorly in 2010. Team members John Shuster and Jeff Isaacson competed in the 2006 and 2010 Winter Games for the United States.

The U.S. women will face Switzerland on Monday. One of the United States' top players is Ericka Brown, 41, who comes from a curling family. Her husband, father, mother and brother have all competed on the Olympic or national level.

Canada has dominated men's curling for the past decade and won gold at the 2010 games in Vancouver. Sweden won gold for the women at the last Olympics.

Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein hopes to follow in her mother's ski tracks. Mom Hanni Wenzel
won gold in the alpine skiing slalom at Lake Placid in 1980, making her the only woman from Liechtenstein to ever win an Olympic gold medal.

Two of the five alpine skiing events will take place Monday. In the downhill, the athletes will cover the longest distance of any event and hit the highest speeds, sometimes close to 75 mph (120 kph). In the slalom, athletes ski through a course marked with tightly placed flags and gates.

Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany won gold in two events at the 2010 games. Teenager Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States is a favorite in the slalom.

Charles Hamelin of Canada is the favorite to win the 1,500 meters. In the 2010 games at Vancouver, he won gold in the 500-meter event as well as the 5,000-meter relay.

Viktor Ahn of Russia could also win the event. J.R. Celski of the United States won bronze in 2010 and is a threat.

The Olympic races include 500m, 1000m, and 1500m races (for both men and women), and relay races at 3000m (women) and 5000m (men).

Some other contenders in the 1,500 include Lee Han-Bin and Sin Da Woon, both of Korea.
On Monday, a new king of the mounds will be crowned. Canada's Mikael Kingsbury is a favorite to win the gold. The 21-year-old has been skiing moguls since he was 8 years old.

Another Canadian, Alex Bilodeau, and American Patrick Deneen are also strong contenders.


/AzerTAc/

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