TURIN, Italy—Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria may have won the women's downhill on Wednesday but it was American Lindsey Kildow who got all the attention. Kildow finished eighth in a courageous performance just two days after taking a horrible fall on this course.
Kildow crashed during a training run two days ago and had to be airlifted to a trauma hospital. Despite the power of the fall, she was diagnosed as only having severe bruises. The decision to ski was hers.
The silver medal went to Martina Schild of Switzerland and Sweden's Anja Paerson got the bronze.
Julia Mancuso was the highest finishing U.S. skier in seventh place, one spot above Kildow. Other U.S. skiers were Stacey Cook (19th) and Kirsten Clark (21st).
Kildow is likely to skip the combined on Friday and race next in Sunday's Super G.
Short Track Speedskating: Apolo Anton Ohno redeemed himself somewhat as his 5000-meter relay team advanced to the final. It made up for slipping and failing to advance to the finals in the 1000 meters. Ohno is joined on the team by J.P. Kepka and Alex Izykowski. Things didn't so well for Ohno's girlfriend, Allison Baver, who failed to make the medal round in the 500 and finished seventh overall. The only other U.S. skater, Kim Hyo-jung was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 500. In the only medals awarded, Wang Men gave China a gold in the women's 500 meters. Bulgaria's Evgenia Radanova won the silver and Anouk LeBlanc-Bucher of Canada took the bronze.
Hockey: The U.S. men's team was certainly hoping for something better than a 3-3 tie against Latvia but that was all they could do. It seemed like a win for the Latvians. In other first-day games, it was Canada over Italy, 7-2; Slovakia over Russia, 5-3; Finland beating Switzerland, 5-0; Sweden stopping Kazakhstan, 7-2 and the Czech Republic beating Germany, 4-1. The U.S. women were off.
Freestyle Skiing: Jeremy Bloom was supposed to dominate the men's moguls competition. But, as has happened to other U.S. favorites, the opportunity was lost. Dale Begg-Smith of Australia won the gold followed by Mikko Ronkainen of Finland. Bloom had been hot on the World Cup circuit going into the competition but in the end could only manage a sixth-place finish. The highest finishing American was Toby Dawson, who won the bronze medal. Other U.S. competitors were Travis Mayer (7th) and Travis Cabral (9th).
Speedskating: Chad Hedrick's dreams of equaling Eric Heiden's five gold medals ended when the U.S. was eliminated in the team pursuit. This is the first time this event has been in the Games. The U.S. team of Hedrick, KC Boutiette and Charles Ryan Leveille lost in the quarterfinals to Italy. The women were no more successful as the team of Jennifer Rodriguez, Maria Lamb and Catherine Raney lost in the quarterfinals to Canada. The finals will be held Thursday. Both teams will compete in consolation brackets.
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 took them out of it. Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin were eliminated from competition during the first run. Andreas and Wolfgang Linger won the gold, followed by Andre Florschuetz and Torsten Wustlich of Germany and Gerhard Plankensteiner and Oswald Haselrieder of Italy. 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. In other men's matches, Finland beat New Zealand, 7-5; Germany over Finland, 5-2; Norway beat Sweden, 9-4; Britain over Norway, 6-3, Canada over Britain, 9-5 and Canada over Switzerland, 7-5. Canada, Britain and Sweden at 3-1. On the women's side, the U.S. got its first win after three losses with a victory over Denmark, 8-3. In other matches, Sweden over Britain, 8-6; Italy over Russia, 6-4 and Norway beat Japan, 9-4. 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 Thursday. This event has two rounds of ski jumping, followed by a cross-country race. Bill Demong, from the U.S., had his jump altered by a 2.8 meter-per-second wind, which is above the allowable limit. The Germans were leading after one round. The U.S. team of Demong, Carl van Loan, Johnny Spillane and Todd Lodwick are in eighth place.
John Cherwa is the Tribune Sports Coordinator.