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You know that NBC commentator Dick Button? His claim to fame is being the last man to repeat as Olympic champion, back in 1948 and '52.
Russian Evgeni Plushenko might soon wear that crown.
Plushenko won the short program and will go into the free skate Thursday night in a tight race with American world champion Evan Lysacek and Japan's Daisuke Takahashi.
No American has won the gold since Brian Boitano in 1998, and no Japanese skater has ever won the men's gold.
U.S. men curlers better start sweeping faster. Or slower. They need to do something different after losing both of their openers Tuesday: falling 7-5 to a strong German squad and then losing 6-5 to Norway in an extra end.
"It's one of those weird deals where you're very close," U.S. skip John Shuster said.
The Americans are ranked fourth in the world.
The U.S. women blew a three-point lead and lost 9-7 to Japan.
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.
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.
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.
"It is embarrassing," said Norbert Baier, the International Biathlon Union's technical delegate. "Why do we have this incompetence?"
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.
Another 20,000 folks planning to watch events on Cypress Mountain are out of luck.
Wet, warm weather has wiped out the general-admission, standing room area for watching snowboarding halfpipe, ski cross and snowboard parallel giant slalom. The tickets, which cost $48 to $62, are being refunded, along with the 8,000 tickets already refunded for watching snowboardcross from the same spot.
All told, the 28,000 tickets to be refunded will cost organizers around $1.44 million, which is a negligible portion of their $249 million ticketing revenue.
"The snow is washed way to the point where people can punch through and potentially step in a place where there's two big straw bales," said Caley Denton, vice president of ticketing and consumer marketing for VANOC. "We've had people going down to their knees."
The Winter Olympics are a big hit for NBC, drawing 15 percent more viewers through the first four nights than the 2006 Turin Games.
"We are really thrilled by the performance of the Olympics," said Alan Wurtzel, NBC Universal's top research executive.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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