Winter Olympics: Women lead the way on ice

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The Independent Online
The British men's curling team failed to emulate their female team-mates as they bowed out of the Winter Olympics in Karuizawa, Japan, yesterday.

Dougie Dryburgh's rink, tipped as a medal hope before the Nagano Games, needed to beat the United States and then hope that other results went their way to reach the semi-finals. They failed at the first hurdle, going down 6-3 to Tim Sommerville's rink, who now play off with Sweden for the right to face Japan in the knock-out stage tomorrow.

Earlier, Britain's women's team were landed with a daunting semi-final against the favourites, Canada, after losing 8-5 to Sweden in their final round-robin match. Kirsty Hay's side led 5-4 at one point, but lost four points on one end to hand the Swedes victory.

Pasha Grishuk and her partner, Evgeny Platov, are still on target to become the first couple to retain the Olympic ice dance gold, despite Grishuk slipping at one point. They are unbeaten in more than 20 events since winning in Lillehammer four years ago but Platov has fallen on the ice three times this year.

Tae Satoya became one of Japan's heroines with a gold medal in the freestyle skiing moguls, but upset fans by wearing her baseball cap at the awards ceremony. Bowing to hundreds of complaints from Japanese fans, the Japanese Olympic Committee has now told its athletes to mind their manners at medal ceremonies.

Japan's Education Minister, Nobutaka Machimura, who oversees the nation's sports, half-heartedly defended her, by saying she may have been over- excited. "But it is common sense for anyone to take off his or her hat during that sort of ceremony," he said.

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