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2010 Winter Olympics roundup: Chinese speedskater's a sure thing on short track

VANCOUVER — In a sport full of surprises, Wang Meng of China is the surest thing in short track speedskating.

Wang easily won her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the women's 500 meters on Wednesday night, defending the title she won four years ago at the Turin Games.

She led all the way after surviving a restart and a false start in the four-woman final at Pacific Coliseum.

Apolo Anton Ohno, considered the face of short track, easily advanced through preliminaries of the men's 1,000, and helped the United States move on to the 5,000 relay final. Both finals are Saturday, when Ohno can add to his cache of six Olympic medals and become the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian. He already won a silver in the 1,500 last weekend.

"I just don't want to leave any room for error. I don't want to leave any microsecond of time that I feel like could make a difference toward a medal," Ohno said. "For me, I'm doing the best I can for every single day. That's how I am. I'm here to do a job. I'm here to represent the U.S. the best that I can."

In the women's 500, Wang cruised home well ahead of Canada's Marianne St-Gelais, who took silver. Arianna Fontana of Italy earned the bronze.

The final was restarted after Canadian Jessica Gregg went down and her teammate St-Gelais followed in the first turn. After some ice repair, the women returned to the starting line.

Then there was a false start. But Wang stayed calm throughout the delays.

She darted to the lead on the inside lane and stayed there the entire way, making it a race for the lesser medals among the other three women.

Wang crossed the finish line well ahead, sticking both her arms out. She quickly grabbed a Chinese flag and skated around the rink, shouting, "Woo!"

Wang was the gold-medal favorite, and she lived up to her billing starting in the preliminary heats Saturday. She was by far the fastest skater and was never challenged on her way to the final.

MEN'S HOCKEY: With an assist on Finland's opening goal in a 5-1 victory over Belarus, Teemu Selanne matched the record for most career points in the Olympics with 36. Selanne has 20 goals and 16 assists in five Olympics.

WOMEN'S HOCKEY: So much for Canada's first real test.

Meghan Agosta had three goals and two assists, Hayley Wickenheiser became the leading goal-scorer in Olympic history, and Canada routed the toughest opponent in its preliminary-round group, beating Sweden 13-1.

Wickenheiser got her 16th Olympic goal among her five points as the Canadians cruised into the semifinals with three victories by a combined 41-2.

CROSS-COUNTRY: A milelong sprint came down to a few inches, with Russia's Nikita Kriukov getting the front of his ski across the finish line just ahead of countryman Alexander Panzhinskiy in the men's individual classic cross-country sprint race. A photo finish was needed to determine the winner.

In the women's individual sprint, Norway's Marit Bjoergen pulled away at the end for her first gold medal after winning two silvers at previous Olympics and a bronze in the 10K race Monday.

CURLING: The U.S. women fell to 0-2, losing to Germany when skip Debbie McCormick's squad couldn't make up a two-point deficit in the final end.

The U.S. men fell to 0-3 with a 7-6 loss to Switzerland.

LUGER TO BE BURIED: The body of the Georgian luger killed during a practice run was flown Wednesday to his hometown, where his grief-stricken mother threw herself on his coffin and cried: "Why have I survived you?"

Nodar Kumaritashvili's body arrived in a flag-draped coffin at the Georgian capital's airport before dawn, met by relatives and onlookers. The 21-year-old is to be buried Saturday.

The luger's mother, Dodo Kharazishvili, became so upset an ambulance team was called to help her. The casket was taken to the family home, located on a street that local authorities have renamed in the athlete's honor.