albert demtschenko

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More Russian medalists stripped, banned from Olympics


Eleven more Sochi Olympians from Russia were disqualified by the IOC and banned from the Games for life, including two Sochi medalists, bringing the total to 43 athletes and 13 medals gone.

The athletes banned in Friday’s announcement relating to Russia’s doping violations:

– Lugers Albert Demtschenko and Tatyana Ivanova (Sochi silver medalists)
– Speed skaters Ivan Skobrev and Artem Kuznetcov
– Cross-country skiers Nikita Kryukov, Alexander Bessmertnykh and Natalia Matveeva
– Bobsledders Lyudmila Udobkina and Maxim Belugin
– Hockey players Tatyana Burina and Anna Shchukina

More from the IOC on the decisions is here.

In Sochi, Demtschenko became the oldest Winter Olympic medalist in an individual event when he took luge silver at age 42 in his record seventh Winter Games (Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai also competed in his seventh Winter Olympics in Sochi and hopes for his eighth in PyeongChang).

Italian Armin Zoeggeler, who took bronze in Sochi for his record sixth straight Olympic medal in one individual event, is in line to be upgraded.

As is the Sochi fourth-place finisher, Andi Langenhan of Germany (another German, Felix Loch, won gold).

Demtschenko and Ivanova made up half the Russian team for the first Olympic luge relay.

The Russians have been stripped of their silver medal from that event, with Latvia in line to go from bronze to silver and Canada potentially going from fourth to bronze. The Americans were sixth.

Demtschenko is retired.

Ivanova is Russia’s top female luger ranking third in the world last season and 10th this season. She won the World Cup race at the PyeongChang Olympic track in February.

The cross-country skier Kryukov was one of two individual Olympic champions for Russia at the 2010 Olympics, a title he will not lose for his Sochi DQ.

Kryukov and Bessmertnykh already had Sochi relay silver medals stripped due to teammates’ doping.

Kryukov, 32, last finished in the top 10 of World Cup standings in 2014.

The speed skater Skobrev won two individual Olympic medals in Vancouver but did not make a Sochi podium.

Skobrev is retired.

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MORE: List of Russia Olympic medals stripped; new Sochi medal standings

The (g)olden Olympians stealing show in Sochi

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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – The spirit of the ‘70s is alive and skiing, shooting, sliding, skating and jumping at the Sochi Olympics.

Albert Demtschenko, 42, and Armin Zoeggeler, 40, won luge medals Sunday, one day after Norway’s Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, 40, tied the record for most career Winter Olympic medals with a gold of his own. It marked the first time two 40-somethings won individual event medals on the same day at a Winter Olympics.

VIDEO: Demtschenko makes Olympic history

Also Sunday, speed skater Claudia Pechtein and ski jumper Noriaki Kasai, both 41, finished fourth and eighth, respectively, in their first events of these Games. Suddenly, Bode Miller skiing at 36 and Yevgeny Plushenko skating at 31 doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary.

The Olympics call upon the youth of the world to assemble every four years. The Sochi Games give new meaning to that.

Start with Zoeggeler, who won luge bronze to become the first athlete to win medals at six Winter Olympics.

The Italian is nicknamed the “Cannibal” for his ability to eat up the competition the last two decades. His medal collection now includes two gold, one silver and three bronze. He could add to it by entering the new luge team relay event Thursday.

Zoeggeler showed the vigor of a man half his age upon crossing the finish at Sanki Sliding Center on a chilly Sunday night. He slid into first place with two lugers to go and pumped his fists and raised his arms, knowing he had clinched a medal.

VIDEO: Watch Zoeggeler win 6th straight medal

Then Demtschenko came storming down the icy chute, bettering Zoeggeler in not only time but also post-race exuberance. Fireworks accompanied his final run, lighting up the Caucasus Mountains.

Demtschenko would win silver, his second Olympic medal. He also took silver in 2006, that time behind Zoeggeler. He’s now the oldest individual event Winter Olympic medalist ever (unless you count figure skating from the 1908 and 1920 Summer Games).

Zoeggeler and Demtschenko both watched the final slider, whippersnapper German Felix Loch, cruise to his second straight Olympic gold. Loch is 24, so look for him again in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030. The spry silver and bronze medalists had enough vigor after four runs over two days to lift Loch onto their shoulders at the post-race flower ceremony.

“The old guys can have a little back problem,” Zoeggeler joked.

MORE: Loch, 24, wins men’s luge singles

Surely, that must have inspired a Sanki crowd that included International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, 60, soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, 68, and retired five-time Olympic medalist Georg Hackl, who at 47 should really give a thought to compete again.

Their feats impressed their competition, that’s for sure.

“Well if I was getting medals, I’d definitely stick around as long as possible as they are,” said American Aidan Kelly, who was born seven months after Zoeggeler’s first Olympic medal and finished 24th in his Olympic debut.

The first ski jumping final of the Sochi Olympics took place simultaneous to luge. Japan’s Kasai, 41, came in as a medal contender having his best World Cup season since the turn of the millennium. So maybe eighth wasn’t what he wanted, but it matched his best individual Olympic event finish since 1998.

Kasai and Demtschenko are the first athletes to compete in seven Winter Olympics.

Earlier Sunday, German Claudia Pechstein came up just short in her bid for a 10th medal, finishing fourth in speed skating’s 3000m.

Pechstein is in her sixth Olympics. She won her first medal when Olympic speed skating was on an outdoor oval in 1992 in Albertville, France, and missed the 2010 Games due to a doping ban.

There are always 40-somethings in team sports, such as curling. The four oldest members of the U.S. athlete delegation are women’s curlers in their 40s, including skip Erika Brown, who competed at the 1988 Olympics at age 15. Curling was a demonstration sport then.

Two of the coolest old man in Sochi stories come from the men’s hockey tournament. Czech forward Petr Nedved is 42 and last competed at the Olympics in 1994. For Canada. He’s teammates with Jaromir Jagr, 41.

Latvian defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, also 41, is old enough to have competed internationally for the Unified Team and the Soviet Union.

Then there are the more odd tales, such as Jamaican bobsledder Winston Watts, 46, Mexican Alpine skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, 55, and the Dominica husband and wife cross-country skiers ages 47 and 48.

“I guess maybe we’re lucky, or good, or what,” Nedved said of being a 40-something athlete last week. “But we’re here.”

What to watch on Day 2 of Sochi Olympics


Here’s a look at the compelling events, athletes and storylines of the Sochi Olympics on Sunday, Feb. 9. A complete list of every Sunday event can be found here.


Men’s downhill, 2 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE EVENT LIVE

The medal picture for the marquee skiing event of the Olympics has shaken up over the last few weeks. American Bode Miller, a five-time Olympian with five Olympic medals, is now a legitimate pick for gold despite missing all of the 2012-13 season following knee surgery.

Miller, 36, was the fastest man in two of the three training runs at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort. He would be the oldest Alpine skier to win an Olympic medal.

He’s been the best skier on the mountain,” Aksel Lund Svindal, the reigning world champion and World Cup champion, said of Miller. “So now he looks like the favorite.”

Miller, the 2010 Olympic downhill bronze medalist, has not won a World Cup race in three years but took third in the final pre-Olympic downhill race Jan. 25. A sixth Olympic medal would put him solo second all time among men behind retired Norwegian Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who earned eight.

Svindal, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist, has won 11 World Cup races in the same three-year span. He’s been eighth, third and second in this week’s training runs.

Before the training runs, Svindal was a consensus gold-medal favorite, a status cemented when top Austrian hope Hannes Reichelt withdrew from the Olympics with a herniated disk. Italian Dominik Paris, the 2013 world silver medalist, has yet to return to form from a December crash.

Snowboarding, women’s slopestyle, 4:15 a.m. ET — CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

Four-time Winter X Games champion Jamie Anderson could make it a U.S. sweep in snowboard slopestyle following Sage Kotsenburg’s surprise gold Saturday.

Anderson qualified second into the final, passing on her second run after posting a 93.50 in her opener Thursday. Anderson is a slight favorite over 2013 world champion Spencer O’Brien of Canada and top qualifier Anna Gasser of Austria. American Karly Shorr and Australian 2010 Olympic halfpipe champion Torah Bright also qualified straight into the 12-woman final.

Reigning X Games champion Silje Norendal will join the favorites mix if she is one of four to advance out of the 15-woman semifinals, which begin at 1:30 a.m. ET. Americans Ty Walker and Jessika Jenson are also in the semis.


Speed skating, women’s 3000m, 6:30 a.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The first women’s speed skating event of the Olympics is likely to come down to three veteran Olympic champions.

Czech Martina Sablikova is the defending Olympic champion and World Cup leader. German Claudia Pechstein, 41 and a nine-time Olympic medalist, is the only woman to beat Sablikova in a World Cup 3000m this season. The Netherlands’ Ireen Wuest is the 2006 Olympic champion and reigning world champion in the distance.

The U.S. women’s team is likely to end its medal drought since 2002 in Sochi, but it probably won’t come here. Jilleanne Rookard and Anna Ringsred represent the red, white and blue.


Luge, men’s singles, 9:30 a.m. ETCLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The third and fourth runs will determine the medals at the Sanki Sliding Center. The first two runs saw the same accomplished men in the top three — defending Olympic champion German Felix Loch, seven-time Olympian Russian Albert Demtschenko and 2002 and 2006 Olympic champion Italian Armin Zoeggeler.

Loch leads by .294 over Demtschenko and .744 over Zoeggeler. He’s trying to become the third man to win back-to-back Olympic luge titles, joining Zoeggeler and German Georg Hackl.

Zoeggeler would be the first athlete to win a Winter Olympic medal in six straight Games. Demtschenko, 42, can take the title of oldest Winter Olympic champion in an individual event from Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who set the mark Saturday.

Chris Mazdzer is the top American in 13th, the same place he finished at the 2010 Olympics. The U.S. has never won an Olympic singles luge medal, and that drought will continue.

Figure skating, team event, 10 a.m. ET (Live on NBCSN) CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The first figure skating medals will be awarded following three sets of free skates (men, women and ice dance) from five nations at the Iceberg Palace. The U.S. improved from a tie for fifth to third place Saturday, but it can’t finish higher than second as Russia is well ahead.

The U.S. is expected to send first-time Olympians Jason Brown and Gracie Gold and world ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White up on Sunday, in that order. They must average a little over two spots better than Canada per event to win silver. That is very unlikely.

Really, the Americans should be more concerned with being caught by Italy and Japan, which are three and four points back. The key will be Brown and Gold handling the pressure of their Olympic debuts. The U.S. could even trail Italy and Japan by a point or two going into the free dance finale, since those nations don’t have the firepower to match Davis and White.

Canada needs to finish at least two spots better than Russia per event to overtake the host nation for gold. That is very unlikely. Russia is guaranteed no worse than silver, meaning Yevgeny Plushenko will become the second figure skater to win four Olympic medals.

Ski Jumping, men’s normal hill, 12:30 p.m. ET CLICK HERE TO WATCH EVENT LIVE

The second day of competition will conclude with ski jumping under the lights at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Center. Ski jumping has been a daytime affair at all recent Winter Olympics save 2006.

Gold is up for grabs. Four-time Olympic champion Swiss Simon Ammann is among the contenders, as are decorated Austrians Gregor Schlierenzauer, Thomas Morgenstern and Thomas Diethart. Poland, Slovenia, Norway and Germany send top jumpers as well.

And then there’s Japan’s Noriaki Kasai, at 41, in his seventh Olympics and still looking for his first individual medal. He’s got a shot.

The U.S. qualified three men into Sunday’s competition — Nick Alexander, Anders Johnson and Peter Frenette — but neither is expected to contend for medals.