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Day 14: No Aussies in action for first time

24 February 2006

For the first time at the Torino 2006 Games, no Australian name will appear on the start lists for the day’s competition.

Australia’s cross-country skier Clare-Louise Brumley, who is an asthmatic, was to have contested the 30km freestyle mass start event at Pragelato Plan on 24 February (Day 14).

But 28-year-old Brumley is suffering from bronchitis and has been unable to shake off a persistent virus that has affected her ability to perform.

“Clare-Louise suffers from asthma and she knew her participation in the cross-country would make it worse,” Australian Team Medical Director, Dr Peter Braun said.

“She just doesn’t have the exercise capacity at the moment.

“It is a matter of timing. If the event was in a few weeks time she probably would be OK.”

Brumley finished 42nd in the 15km cross-country pursuit on 12 February (Day 2).

With the absence of Norway’s Marit Bjorgen, the duel for the gold medal in the gruelling 30km freestyle mass start is an open race.

Among the main challengers are Russia’s Julija Tchepalova, a member of their victorious 4 x 5 km relay and Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic who won silver in the 15km pursuit. Estonia’s Kristina Smigun is also a medal chance. She has already won gold medals in the 15km pursuit and 10km classical race.

Competitors start simultaneously in the mass start, lined up in rows, with the top ranked athletes (red group) in the front row. The first athlete across the finish line wins the gold medal.

Ladies’ Giant Slalom
Anja Paerson of Sweden is on track to win her second gold medal of the Games – in the giant slalom at Sestriere Colle.

Paerson, who won the slalom on February 22 (Day 12), was the silver medallist in the giant slalom at Salt Lake City (2002) and currently leads the World Cup standings with two victories this season.

Defending Olympic giant slalom champion, Janica Kostelic of Croatia is in doubt to compete after complaining of a lingering illness. Despite her sickness, Kostelic has scooped two medals from three events so far at these Games.

Making her fourth Olympic Games appearance, Spain’s Maria Jose Rienda is hoping to improve on her personal best of 6th place in the giant slalom at Salt Lake 2002.

Men's Curling gold medal decided
Canada will take on Finland in the battle for gold in the men’s curling competition from 17:30 on the Pinerolo ice, after the Finns pulled off a thrilling final-stone victory over Great Britain in a semi-final.

Canada outclassed the USA with a five-point ninth end to close out their 11-5 victory in the other semi.

“We’ll treat it like another game. We just want to go out and play our game,” Canadian lead, Jamie Korab said. 

“A lot of people say that the pressure is off now, but there is a lot of pressure on us to win gold.”

The USA will take on Great Britain for the bronze medal from 13:00.

“If you had asked us at the start of the week about a bronze, we’d have been happy,” USA lead John Shuster said.

Speed skating
World record holder Chad Hedrick of the USA and Dutch duo, Carl Verheijen and Sven Kramer will once again be the favourites for the men’s 10,000m at Oval Lingotto in Torino.

In their recent duels, Hedrick and Verheijen have battled each other for the world record supremacy, each breaking the record for this event in the Netherlands last December. But Hedrick then established 12:55.11 as the record at the end of December in Salt Lake City.

Hedrick won gold in the 5000m at Torino 2006 on the opening day of competition, with Verheijen finishing 4th. His Dutch team mate Sven Kramer took the silver medal.

Tracy Parish/AOC

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