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Olympic notebook: Still no medal for nordic skiers; a speed record for US hockey

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: February 14
  • Published February 13

Jessie Diggins led the Americans in Tuesday’s classic sprint by placing sixth, about eight seconds out of the medals. (Carlos Barria / Reuters)

After coming up empty-handed in Tuesday's classic sprint in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the U.S. women's cross-country ski team will continue its quest for an elusive Olympic medal in Wednesday night's 10K freestyle race.

Minnesota's Jessie Diggins made it to the finals but finished last in the six-skier field, about eight seconds out of the bronze-medal position. She came close to a bronze in Saturday's skiathlon too, placing fifth.

Bill Koch's silver medal from 1976 remains America's only Olympic medal in cross-country skiing.

The women have been knocking on the door for a couple of Olympic cycles — Anchorage's Kikkan Randall was a medal favorite in the freestyle sprint four years ago in Sochi but failed to make the heats — and they came to Pyeongchang with one of the strongest teams in the world.

But they are 0-for-2 so far in Pyeongchang, but they remain optimistic they can break through in one or more of the four remaining races — the 10K freestyle, the 30K classic, the team sprint and the 4x5K relay.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't think that," Diggins told reporters after the sprint race.

Three Americans, including Anchorage's Sadie Bjornsen, advanced to the sprint quarterfinals Bjornsen was eliminated in the quarterfinals and Vermont's Sophie Caldwell was eliminated in the semifinals.

Erik Bjornsen competes in the men’s classic sprint qualifications. (Rob Schumacher / USA TODAY Sports)

Bjornsen, who qualified ninth, took the lead at the start of her heat before settling into second place. She faded badly at the end to finish fourth with a time too slow to gain a lucky-loser spot in the semifinals.

"It didn't go as I dreamed," Bjornsen said in a race recap by teamusa.org.

Anchorage's Jess Yeaton and UAA's Casey Wright skied for Australia in the race. Yeaton led the Aussies by placing 48th in the qualifications, nine seconds away from making the quarterfinals, and Wright finished 63rd.

"It wasn't quite as fast as I wanted but I definitely gained a lot of experience skiing with all these amazing girls," Wright said in a race report by Australia's Olympic committee.

"It's pretty special to now be an Olympian. It's been at the top of my goal list for quite a few years now so I'm stoked. I can put a big tick next to that one."

In the men's race, Anchorage's Erik Bjornsen was one of two Americans to advance to the heats, but he and Colorado's Simi Hamilton both went out in the quarterfinals.

Logan Hanneman of Fairbanks finished 43rd in qualifying in his Olympic debut. He was 12.2 seconds off the top time of 3 minutes, 8.54 posted by Finland's Ristomatti Hakola and 3.05 seconds behind Bjornsen, who was 30th to grab the final qualifying position.

Logan Hanneman of Fairbanks competes in the men’s classic sprint Monday at the Winter Olympics. (Jeff Swinger / USA TODAY Sports)

If this names seems familiar …

A player with a name familiar to Anchorage hockey fans made Olympic history Tuesday.

In the United States' 5-0 win over Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR), forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson set an Olympic hockey record for the fastest consecutive goals. She scored twice in six seconds to break the previous record of eight seconds, set in 1960 by Sweden's Carl Goran Oberg.

Lamoureux-Davidson is the sister of J.P. Lamoureux, the goaltender for the Alaska Aces in 2008-09. J.P. was part of an Aces team that lost the seven-game Kelly Cup Finals to the South Carolina Stingrays.

Jocelyne and her twin, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, are both members of the U.S. Olympic team. Jocelyne scored the first of her record-setting goals on a rebound off a shot by Monique; on the ensuing faceoff, she got the second goal on a breakaway.

The Lamoureux siblings are from Grand Forks, North Dakota. The twins are three-time Olympians and J.P., who was the ECHL's Goalie of the Year the year he was with the Aces, plays professionally in Vienna, Austria.

Former Seawolf comes through for Canada

After winning gold at the 2014 Olympics, Canada's men's hockey team is doing without players like Sidney Crosby this year. Instead it is relying in players like former UAA player Mat Robinson.

In its final tuneup before Olympic competition begins, Canada beat defending world champion Sweden 4-1 in an exhibition game earlier this week in Incheon, South Korea.

Robinson's power-play goal tied the game 1-1 in the first period.

Men's hockey begins early Wednesday morning. In one of the first preliminary games, the United States takes on Slovenia, whose roster includes another former UAA player, Luka Vidmar.

An early version of this story didn't mention the 30K classic as one of the remaining races.

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