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Sochi Olympics

Olympic day of politics and power on the slopes

  •  Bronze medalist Alex Deibold of the United States walks to a flower ceremony after the men's snowboard cross final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Bronze medalist Alex Deibold of the United States walks to a flower ceremony after the men's snowboard cross final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

  • Russian punk group Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink balaclava, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against Tolokonnikova and Alekhina along with the three others who were detained. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

    Russian punk group Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink balaclava, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against Tolokonnikova and Alekhina along with the three others who were detained. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Russian punk group Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink balaclava, run down the street with other women after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against Tolokonnikova and Alekhina along with the others who were detained. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

    Russian punk group Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink balaclava, run down the street with other women after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against Tolokonnikova and Alekhina along with the others who were detained. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Five women wearing balaclavas, two of whom are members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against the Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink, who were held along with several other people near the city's ferry terminal. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

    Five women wearing balaclavas, two of whom are members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against the Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink, who were held along with several other people near the city's ferry terminal. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • Slovenia's Tina Maze celebrates winning the gold medal in the women's giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    Slovenia's Tina Maze celebrates winning the gold medal in the women's giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Slovenia's Tina Maze makes a turn in the second run of the women's giant slalom to win the gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

    Slovenia's Tina Maze makes a turn in the second run of the women's giant slalom to win the gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

  • Russia forward Alexander Radulov is congratulated by teammates after scoring against Norway in the third period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

    Russia forward Alexander Radulov is congratulated by teammates after scoring against Norway in the third period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

  • Gold medallist Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands celebrates after the final race in the men's 10,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

    Gold medallist Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands celebrates after the final race in the men's 10,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

  •  Bronze medalist Alex Deibold of the United States walks to a flower ceremony after the men's snowboard cross final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Bronze medalist Alex Deibold of the United States walks to a flower ceremony after the men's snowboard cross final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

  •  Bronze medalist Alex Deibold of the United States walks to a flower ceremony after the men's snowboard cross final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
  • Russian punk group Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink balaclava, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against Tolokonnikova and Alekhina along with the three others who were detained. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
  • Russian punk group Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink balaclava, run down the street with other women after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against Tolokonnikova and Alekhina along with the others who were detained. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
  • Five women wearing balaclavas, two of whom are members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against the Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink, who were held along with several other people near the city's ferry terminal. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
  • Slovenia's Tina Maze celebrates winning the gold medal in the women's giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • Slovenia's Tina Maze makes a turn in the second run of the women's giant slalom to win the gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)
  • Russia forward Alexander Radulov is congratulated by teammates after scoring against Norway in the third period of a men's ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
  • Gold medallist Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands celebrates after the final race in the men's 10,000-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
  •  Bronze medalist Alex Deibold of the United States walks to a flower ceremony after the men's snowboard cross final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

SOCHI, Russia – The politics got a little hotter. The slopes got a lot slushier.

On a day when the mountain courses seemed better suited for the crawl or butterfly, the Sochi Olympics took a more overt political turn.

Two members of the punk group Pussy Riot – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina – were among nine people detained yesterday while walking in downtown Sochi. All were later released and no charges were filed.

The two group members burst from the police station wearing trademark ski masks – one pink, one blue. The police said they were questioned about a theft at the hotel where they were staying.

Pussy Riot has become an international flashpoint for those who contend Vladimir Putin’s government has exceeded its authority in dealing with an array of issues, notably human and gay rights.

“We are constantly surrounded by people ... who are shadowing us, following our every move and looking for any excuse to detain us,” Tolokonnikova said after her release.

At the Olympic Park, the Russian hockey team looked plenty vulnerable in its opening hockey game in the elimination round, defeating Norway, 4-0, in a game that – despite the scoreline – was anything but a rout.

No questions, however, about the Dutch speedskaters. Jorrit Bergsma won the men’s 10,000 meters to lead another sweep of the medals for the Netherlands.

Seven gold medals were on offer on Day 12 and among the winners were Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway in biathlon, Pierre Vaultier of France in snowboardcross, South Korea in short track relay and Joergen Graabak of Norway in Nordic combined.

Hockey

Russia is playing under immense pressure in Sochi. It did not look strong in the preliminary round, and that was the case against Norway, which hasn’t won an Olympic hockey game since its home Lillehammer Games in 1994. The game was scoreless after one period and 2-0 after two. Russia got two goals from Alexander Radulov and advanced to the quarterfinals against Finland today. Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia also advanced to the quarterfinals.

Snowboard

Vaultier held off Nikolay Olyunin of Russia to win the gold medal in men’s snowboardcross on a chopped-up course slowed by drizzle. Alex Deibold of the U.S., a wax technician for the Americans in Vancouver four years ago, took the bronze. Italy’s Omar Visintin was removed by a stretcher after crashing in the semifinals. The event was pushed back a day because of heavy fog.

Speedskating

The podium has become a second home for the Dutch, with the walls painted orange. Bergsma set an Olympic record with his time of 12 minutes, 44.45 seconds. He was followed by Sven Kramer and Bob de Jong, sending the Dutch to their fourth podium sweep at this venue and giving them a total of 19 speedskating medals. Kramer had to settle for silver after botching certain victory in this race in Vancouver four years ago with a baffling mistake in a lane change.

Biathlon

Svendsen edged Martin Fourcade of France to win gold in the men’s 15-kilometer mass start biathlon. They both finished in 42 minutes, 29.1 seconds, with Svendsen’s ski crossing the line a fraction ahead. This was Svendsen’s fourth career Olympic medal but first in Sochi. Ondrej Moravec of Czech Republic won bronze for his second medal of the games.

Short track

South Korea won the 3,000-meter relay, passing China on the last lap to take the lead. Four years ago in Vancouver, the South Koreans finished first, but were disqualified and China got the gold. Italy took the bronze, giving Arianna Fontana her third medal in Sochi.

Nordic combined

Norway delivered a one-two finish in the Nordic combined large hill. Graabak broke away from a five-man group with about 100 meters left in the cross-country race, finishing six-tenths of a second ahead of Magnus Moan. Fabian Riessle of Germany won the bronze.

Bobsled

Lauryn Williams and Elana Meyers in USA-1 lead at the halfway point of the bobsled. Williams, a two-time medalist in track at the Summer Games, and Meyers made two trips down the Sanki Sliding Center track in 1 minute, 54.89 seconds to open a 0.23-second lead over Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse. USA-2’s Jamie Greubel and Aja Evans are in third. American track star Lolo Jones is in 11th with teammate Jazmine Fenlator in USA-3.

Curling

Britain reached the semifinals in men’s curling by beating Norway 6-5 in a tiebreaker. The game came down to the final shot, and British skip David Murdoch delivered. The British will face Sweden in the semifinals Wednesday while Canada plays China.

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