Canada relief after hockey team beat Russia

Canada's dream of men's ice hockey gold stayed alive thanks to an impressive 7-3 quarter-final win over Olympic title rivals Russia.

The Canadians and Russians had been tipped to meet in the final but the host nation's loss to the USA last Sunday meant they were in the same half of the draw as their rivals.

Under pressure to live up to high expectations from a hockey-mad country, the Canadians had got back to winning ways with an 8-2 play-off win over Germany on Tuesday to set up a last-eight meeting with Russia at Canada Hockey Place.

Any fears of an early exit were quickly dispelled as Canada jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first 20-minute period and then rammed home their advantage with two quick goals early in the second period before sealing victory over a lacklustre Russian side.

The USA also reached the last four with an earlier 2-0 win over Switzerland and they await Finland while either Sweden or Slovakia will meet Canada in Friday's semi-finals.

There was more joy for Canada at the Whistler Sliding Centre as their women's two-man bobsleigh crews took gold and silver.

Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyes took gold ahead of team-mates Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown, who nicked silver on their final run at the expense of USA2 pair Erin Pac and Elana Meyers.

Germany 2 pilot Cathleen Martini had been in fourth place but crashed out after losing brake-woman Romy Logsch out of the back of the sled and over-turning midway down the course. Both walked away unharmed as did leading British pair Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke and Russia 2 team Olga Federova and Yulia Timofeeva.

There was also a Canadian medal at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver as their quartet won silver behind China in the women's 3000 metres short track speed skating relay final.

The Chinese team, featuring 500m gold medallist Meng Wang and 1500m Olympic champion Yang Zhou, set a world record time of four minutes 6.610 seconds in skating to victory. Canada finished three seconds further back with the USA in third.

The men's 500m got under way with an Olympic record 41.397 seconds from Canada's Francois-Louis Tremblay leading the heat times.

Tremblay's compatriot Charles Hamelin, defending champion Apolo Anton Ohno of the USA, China's Jialiang Han, Thibault Fauconnet and Korean trio Si-Bak Sung, Yoon-Gy Kwak and Ho-Suk Lee were the other heat winners.

Katherine Reutter of the USA notched an Olympic record time of 1:30.508 to lead the heat winners in the women's 1000m, with both that event and the men's 500m being concluded on Friday.

Austrian Elisabeth Goergl led after the first run of the Olympic giant slalom during which downhill gold medallist Lindsey Vonn broke a finger in a heavy fall.

Goergl was the first starter in wet and foggy conditions on the Franz course and got down in one minute 15.2 seconds.

Frenchwoman Taina Barioz was 0.02 seconds adrift while Kathrin Zettel of Austria was third, 0.16 seconds back.

The second run was delayed by the fog and eventually postponed for the day.

Vonn, the 17th starter, lost control in the middle section of the course and landed hard on her left hip before sliding into the safety netting at the side of the course.

Medical staff attended to her and when she groggily got to her feet she was wringing her right hand. It was later revealed that she had a broken right little finger.

Vonn has been troubled by a bruised right shin throughout the Games and, after her latest injury problem, it remains to be seen whether the American will opt to ski in her final event, Friday's slalom.

American team-mate and defending champion Julia Mancuso was the next starter but, after beginning her run, was flagged to stop because of Vonn's fall and had to restart her run further down the field.

That affected her time as she could only clock 1:16.42, 1.30 seconds adrift of Georgl.

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won the gold in the ladies 5000m speed skating at the Richmond Olympic Oval to become the most successful female skater of the Games with two golds and a bronze.

Sablikova, 22, who won gold in the 3000m and a bronze in the 1500m, said: "Everything is hurting right now. I'm exhausted. I had to give it my all. I pushed my limits."

Germany's Stephanie Beckert took the silver, 0.48 seconds adrift, while the bronze went to Canada's 37-year-old defending champion Clara Hughes, who was 4.82 seconds back.

Elsewhere, in the cross country skiing, there was a gold medal for Swedish quartet Daniel Richardson, Anders Soedergren, Marcus Hellner and Johan Olsson. Their winning time was one hour 45 minutes and 5.4 seconds.

The silver medal went to Norway with bronze going to the Czech Republic.

The men's curling tiebreaker saw European champions Sweden advance to the semi-finals with an extra ends win over world champions Britain.

Sweden won the game 7-6 in the 11th end to set up a last-four encounter with Canada on Thursday, with Norway playing Switzerland in the other semi-final at the Vancouver Olympic Centre.

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