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U.S. men, women curlers drop opener

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Germany’s Andy Kapp never even had to release his final rock. He took out two U.S. stones with his second-to-last throw to secure a win for the Germans in their Olympic curling opener.

The Americans’ shot-making wasn’t nearly as spot on in their 7-5 defeat Tuesday.

“We played really well,” Kapp said. “It took a little bit of time to get the right shots, but at the end I made all the shots. It’s always nice to win the first game. That’s one point nobody can take away from us.”

n Japan rallied back from an early three-point deficit to spoil the Olympic opener of U.S. skip Debbie McCormick’s team, beating the Americans 9-7 in a dramatic finish that brought out an official measurement.

McCormick threw her final stone with a chance to tie, and both teams wound up with one rock on the edge of the button. They were so close that an official measurement was done, and Japan’s rock was a hair closer in the innermost scoring circle. If the U.S. stone had won, the teams would have played an extra end.

Japan scored one point in the ninth end to take the lead.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY — Jenny Potter came to Vancouver with five goals over three previous trips to the Olympics.

After just two games in Vancouver, she’s already scored six times. She’s averaging a hat trick, although that probably is more of a reflection on the competition.

Her latest three-goal-game came in a 13-0 rout of Russia, clinching a spot in next week’s playoffs. The Americans took just two shots in the final period to avoid making this any more humiliating for a young Russian team missing its starting goalie.

SPEEDSKATING — The ice-cleaners worked!

The South Koreans keep cleaning up, too, with Lee Sang-hwa winning the women’s 500 meters. That makes two gold and a silver in four events at the big oval for a nation that had never won a Winter Olympic gold in any sport except short track

“All my friends won medals, so I had a little bit of pressure,” Lee said. “I was a little bit worried.”

How big of an upset was this? Well, either German world-record-holder Jenny Wolf or China’s Wang Beixing had won the eight World Cup races this season. In the biggest race, though, Wolf got silver, Wang bronze.

LUGE — Tatjana Huefner gave Germany its ninth women’s singles luge gold in 13 Olympic competitions. With Felix Loch’s winning the men’s event, Germany has swept gold for the sixth time, something no other nation has ever done.

Top U.S. hopeful Erin Hamlin, the 2009 world champion, was 16th.

BIATHLON — Both events were marred by problems with the officials who were in charge of timing. Three women were sent out late and two men went out too early, including American Jeremy Teela.

Bjorn Ferry won the men’s 12.5-kilometer pursuit, giving Sweden its first gold medal in biathlon in 50 years. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen had a chance to add to his record medal collection, but missed his last two shots and wound up seventh. Teela was the top U.S. finisher at 24th.

Magdalena Neuner of Germany and Anastazia Kuzmina of Slovakia finished 1-2 in the women’s 10-kilometer pursuit, a reversal of their finish in the 7.5-kilometer sprint. Sara Studebaker was the top American, finishing 46th.

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