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US Medal Haul Is Well Below Expectations

But US Curling 'rejects' have a shot at gold
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2018 7:02 AM CST
Second Russian Athlete Flunks Doping Test
This chart obtained by the AP shows the US Olympic Committee's medal projections for the 2018 Winter Games in a slide presented last year to the USOC board. The USOC targeted 37 medals for Team USA in Pyeongchang, South Korea.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Bad news for Russian hopes of marching under their own flag: The BBC reports that the Russian Bobsleigh Federation says Nadezhda Sergeeva, 30, has tested positive for a banned heart drug. Sergeeva, the second Russian to test positive for a banned substance, placed 12th in the two-woman bobsleigh event on Wednesday. The positive test comes as the International Olympic Committee debates reinstating Russia in time for Sunday's closing ceremony. The country was banned for doping in the Sochi 2014 Olympics but it has 168 athletes competing under the Olympic flag. Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky was stripped of his bronze medal after a positive test this week. In other Pyeongchang news:

  • US medal haul below expectations. The US Olympic Committee had a target of 37 American medals for Pyeongchang, according to medal projections obtained by the AP, but the US has only 21, with 48 hours of action to go. But Alan Ashley, USOC's chief of sport performance, says there's more to the Olympics than medals. "I look at it and I go, 'OK, medals are one story, but if you look at the depth of everything that's going on, and the number of people who are fourth and fifth place, and the commitment level and intensity of the athletes, you can't ask for more than that," he says.

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  • Triumph for "The Rejects." The US men's curling team will play Sweden, the top-ranked team in the world, for gold Saturday after defeating Canada. After being cut from what the New York Times calls the "national high-performance program" following a poor showing at Sochi 2014, team skip John Shuster, now a four-time Olympian, got together with other dropped athletes to form the current team, which was initially known as The Rejects.
  • Ivanka arrives. Ivanka Trump and the White House press secretary have arrived in South Korea for the final days of the Games, the Guardian reports. "We are very excited to attend the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to cheer for Team USA," said the president's daughter, who is expected to dine with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in Friday evening.
  • Frozen Bananas. The Washington Post profiles the Brazilian bobsled team, nicknamed the "Frozen Bananas." Captain Edson Bindilatti says he learned about the sport from the movie Cool Runnings, about the Jamaican bobsled team. The team, which races Saturday, has partnered with Team USA since 2014 and trained in Lake Placid. "We are no longer the ugly ducklings," Bindilatti says. "We want to introduce bobsled to Brazil and show the world that a winter sport can be practiced in a tropical country."
  • Russian shutout. The AP reports that Russian goalie Vasily Koshechkin stopped 31 shots as his team defeated the Czech Republic 3-0, setting up a gold medal men's hockey game with either Canada or Germany.
(A 15-year-old figure skater has become the first Russian to win gold.)

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