Ukraine biathlon team wins gold in midst of violence back home

By David Pace | Associated Press Published:

By David Pace | Associated Press

SOCHI, Russia -- Four Ukrainian women gave their politically torn country some good news at the Sochi Games on Friday, and Canada delivered more bad news to the United States -- yet another Olympic hockey defeat.

As government and opposition leaders worked to end the months-long Ukrainian crisis that erupted in deadly violence this week, the Ukraine women's 4x6-kilometer biathlon relay team won the nation's first gold medal in two decades.

The four women celebrated with a Ukrainian flag as lawmakers back home paused to mark the occasion.

"Great proof of how sport can unite the nation," Sergei Bubka, the pole vault great and leader of the Ukraine Olympic Committee, wrote on Twitter.

There were no celebrations for the U.S. hockey team, with Canada winning 1-0 and dashing the American hopes for men's gold for the third time since 2002. And it happened just one night after the Canadian women had ousted their American counterparts for the third straight Olympics.

Canada and Sweden will play for the men's gold on Sunday. The Swedes beat Finland 2-1.

The first doping cases also hit the Winter Games on Friday. Italian bobsledder William Frullani and German biathlete Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle were kicked out of the games after positive doping tests. Frullani was in the four-man bobsled race, which begins Saturday. Sachenbacher-Stehle, a five-time Olympic medalist, participated in five events in Sochi but did not win any medals.

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