Dominique Gisin, Tina Maza share downhill gold; Americans well behind in Nordic combined

This was not a morning to get up with the roosters, certainly. The best event — the women’s downhill — was not televised, although it was a good one. (You’ll see it tonight in prime time.) The Nordic combined began, but won’t finish until later this morning. The best events of the day — the Canada-U.S. women’s hockey game and the men’s 1,000-meter speedskating — are later. If you hit that snooze bar a few times this morning, good for you.

It seems every morning we’ve woken to a U.S. medal, but not today. Julia Mancuso, a pre-race favorite following a dominating performance in the downhill portion of the super combined on Monday, finished eighth.

The event was historic, however, because for the first time in Alpine skiing Olympic history, skiers from two countries shared the gold medal.

Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin and Slovenia’s Tina Maze both covered the 1.69-mile course at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center here in 1 minute, 41.57 seconds, a tenth of a second ahead of Switzerland’s Lara Gut, who was awarded bronze.

Nordic combined finally got underway with the individual normal hill competition. After the first stage — ski jumping — gold medal favorite Eric Frenzel of Germany is in the lead.

The Americans — unexpected heroes of the Vancouver  Games — did not fare as well. Bill Demong is tied for 31st, Todd Lodwick is 34th, Brian Fletcher was 41st and Taylor Fletcher was last among the 46 competitors.

The second portion of the competition, a 10-kilometer cross-country race — begins at 7:30. Participants start the race in order of finish in the jumping event, meaning Frenzel goes off first.

Both Finland and winless Switzerland advance to the playoffs because Group A was made up of the four best teams in the tournament. The best teams — Canada and the United States — play this morning at 7 a.m. (NBCSN), but both will advance automatically to the semifinals as the top two teams in Group A. While there is  little at stake in today’s game, these two teams plain don’t like each other, so expect some very physical hockey.

Any good news for Team USA? Well, the U.S. men defeated Denmark in a curling round-robin match, 9-5.

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Rick Maese · February 12