Sochi Day 9: U.S. Men End Ski Racing Dry Spell

Shut out for half of the Olympics, the American men ski racers won two medals on Sunday, while the U.S. hockey team notched an important win

One American losing streak came to an end, but another one continued on Sunday, day 9 of the Winter Olympics.

The men's Alpine ski team won two podium positions. But the U.S. speedskating team remains mired in a terrible rut.

At the same time, the U.S. men's hockey hopes are looking bright, and an American ice dancing pair moved within striking distance of gold. 

Here are Sunday's key developments.

Redemption for Alpine men

The U.S. men’s drought in Alpine skiing ended on Sunday, when Andrew Weibrecht and Bode Miller finished second and third in the super-G.

Miller’s sixth career medal broke his own record as the most decorated American skier, and made him, at 36, the oldest Olympic Alpine medal winner.

Miller, who struggled with nerves in the downhill last week, seemed relaxed and confident on Sunday. After finishing with the best-yet time, he watched from the bottom of the hill for the last skiers to complete their runs.

Weibrecht and Norway's Kjetil Jansrud came in faster, and Canada's Jan Hudec tied him for bronze.

Weibrecht, who has been plagued by injuries since winning bronze in the super-G in 2010, was a surprise contender.

The Americans celebrated together, then Miller crouched and wept.

Until that moment, the U.S. had won only one of 15 possible medals in Alpine ski events.

A key hockey victory

A day after its thrilling shootout win over the Russians, the U.S. men’s hockey team creamed Slovenia, 5-1, on Sunday.

That made the Americans’ record 3-0, tops in their group, earning them a bye and an automatic berth in the quarterfinals.

It also bought the U.S. a rest after playing three games in four days.

The men play next on Wednesday.

More speedskating struggles

Two major stories have emerged in the Olympic speedskating competition: Dutch dominance, and American failure.

The Dutch are on an unprecedented winning streak in Sochi, with 17 speedskating medals — the country’s entire overall medal count.

On Sunday, the onslaught included a sweep of the women’s 1,500m, in which the top four finishers were from the Netherlands. That’s never happened in the sport at the Olympics before.

On the losing end are the Americans. They haven’t won any medals, and there is now a distinct possibility that they will fail to reach the speedskating podium for the first time since 1984, according to the Associated Press.

That’s despite switching from newly designed suits that some blamed for their subpar performances.

Dutch on top

Those 17 speedskating medals have put the Netherlands on top of the Sochi medal race.

Russia, the Games’ host, is now in second, with 16 medals, include four golds and seven silvers.

The U.S. is third with 16 medals, including four golds and four silvers.

U.S. on brink of ice dancing gold

For two years, the American ice dancing pair of Meryl Davis and Charlie White have dominated their sport, consistently edging out their closest rivals and friends, Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

On Sunday, Davis and White came within one step of becoming the first Americans to win gold in the event. They broke their own world record in the short program.

Just behind them are Virtue and Moir, who won gold in Vancouver four years ago.

The medals will be decided Monday in the long program.

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