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20TH WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES

Crawford Steals Spotlight

February 23, 2006|From the Associated Press

Cross-country skier Chandra Crawford upstaged two of her better-known teammates and pulled off an upset in the women's 1.1-kilometer sprint Wednesday at Pragelato, skating through the finish for Canada's first cross-country gold medal of the Turin Games.

Crawford cared only about a top-30 finish. She made Canada's Olympic team only in November. And she has competed in only six World Cup races.

Now, at 22, she's an Olympic champion.

"Grazie," Crawford said with a smile when she sat down for her news conference, her father, Glen, standing in the back of the room filming the whole thing.

Sweden's Bjoern Lind was nearly as thankful Wednesday. He easily skied to an Olympic gold medal in the men's 1.3-kilometer sprint race after rival Tor Arne Hetland's fall in the semifinals.

"It's a shame for him," Lind joked, "but things like that happen. It's only four years until the next Olympics."

Crawford has stayed out of the spotlight in favor of Beckie Scott and Sara Renner, silver medalists in the team sprint last week.

Crawford finished in 2 minutes 12.3 seconds, seven-tenths of a second ahead of silver medalist Claudia Kuenzel of Germany. Russia's Alena Sidko took the bronze, and Scott was fourth in the four-skier final.

American Kikkan Randall reached the semifinals with two great races in the qualifying round and quarterfinals, finishing ninth overall for the best Olympic result by a U.S. woman in cross-country.

Lind finished the men's race in 2:26.5 to beat silver medalist Roddy Darragon of France, who was six-tenths of a second back. Thobias Fredriksson, also from Sweden, took the bronze.

American Andy Newell came in second in the 80-man field in morning qualifying, and U.S. teammate Chris Cook also advanced to the quarterfinals. Newell placed fourth in his quarterfinal heat and didn't move on -- the top two from each quarterfinal advanced.

Another American, Torin Koos, failed to advance past the qualifying race.

WOMEN'S CURLING

Sweden, Switzerland

in Gold-Medal Game

Anette Norberg's takeout on the final shot of the game lifted Sweden over Norway, 5-4, in the semifinals of the women's competition at Pinerolo. The Swedes advanced to the gold-medal match against Switzerland, a 7-5 winner over Canada.

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