A combination of snow, rain and lightning was enough to cancel Picabo Street's shot at a second gold medal. The elements weren't enough to stop Bjorn Dahlie's bid for more gold - that took a spectacular effort from one of his teammates.
Dahlie, vying to become the first Winter Olympian with seven gold medals, nearly pulled it off. But Norwegian teammate Thomas Algaard came on strong at the end of the 15-kilometer cross-country freestyle to deny Dahlie the victory.Dahlie did not go down easily in a rainstorm that pounded the Snow Harp course. Algaard's time of victory was a mere 1.1 seconds ahead of Dahlie after the pair skied shoulder to shoulder for the last half of the race. Vladimir Smirnov of Kazakstan took the bronze.
Dahlie's finish gives him six golds and four silvers in his career, equaling Raisa Smetanina's total (4 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze) for the most Winter Olympic medals.
The ski course in Hakuba continues to be a meteorologist's dream and a skier's nightmare. The Saturday (Friday night EDT) weather featured a little bit of everything: snow at the top of the mountain, rain at the bottom, lighting somewhere in between.
The women's downhill and the men's super-G were done in by the weather; the men's race was reset for Sunday, while the women may run on Monday.
Street, who won the women's super-G, was a favorite in the downhill but will wait for a chance at becoming the first U.S. woman's skier to win two golds in a single games since 1952. After a week of bad weather and delays for the skiers, her coach said, the delay is now routine.
"She's doing fine. There's no problem," said U.S. women's head coach Herwig Demschar. "We are used to this."
The Nagano Olympics have looked better for U.S. athletes in the last three days, when they've picked up two medals a day after a drought in the games' opening days. On Friday, the United States ended a 34-year string of Olympic futility in the luge with two medals, a silver and a bronze.
One full week into the games, Germany and Norway top the medal chart with apiece - Germany with 5 golds, 4 silvers and 4 bronze, Norway with 4 golds, 6 silvers, three bronze. Austria follows with 9 (1-2-6). The United States is fifth with its 6 medals (2-1-3).
- CURLING: The drama, the excitement - this is Olympic curling. The U.S. men's team, faced with a do-or-die last shot by captain Tim Somerville, defeated Japan to move into the Olympic semifinals against favored Canada. Somerville landed a perfectly placed tap to disappoint the host team.
- FIGURE SKATING: ZZZzzzzzzzz. The terminally dull compulsory dance competition, nearly five hours of waltzes and tangos on ice, ended with the Russian pair of Pasha Grishuk and Yevgeny Platov in first place. Fellow Russians Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsyannikov were second, followed by Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat of France. Elizabeth Punsalan and husband Jerod Swallow of Pontiac, Mich., were in seventh place.
The original dance (30 percent) is Sunday night and the free dance (50 percent) is Monday night.