SOCHI, Russia — Denton native Jordan Malone’s hopes of earning an Olympic medal now rest totally on the 5,000-meter short track speed skating relay following Tuesday’s 500-meter heat races at the Sochi Olympics.
Malone failed to qualify for the quarterfinals in the event after finishing fourth in his heat race. Russia’s Viktor Ahn won the heat with a time of 41.450, while Jon Eley of Great Britain finished second with a time of 41.554. Malone’s fourth place time was 42.533.
Malone will now turn all of his attention to the 5,000-meter relay final on Friday, when he and his USA teammates Eddy Alvarez, J.R. Celeski and Chris Creveling compete against teams from Russia, China, Nederlands and Kazakhstan.
The South Korea-born Ahn made it safely through his heat, cheered loudly by the mostly Russian crowd at Iceberg Skating Palace. He won his adopted country’s first gold in the capricious sport in the 1,000, and earned a bronze in the 1,500. Ahn became a Russian citizen in 2011, after winning three gold medals for South Korea at the 2006 Winter Games.
In the biggest surprise, Charles Hamelin of Canada was leading on the last lap of his heat when he crashed and smashed into the pads. It appeared he caught a blade in the turn and went down. He won gold in the 1,500 on the first day of short track in Sochi.
Hamelin’s crash cleared the way for Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands to win the heat. Kneght won his country’s first short track when he took bronze in the 1,000 last weekend.
Celski, of Federal Way, Wash., was the lone American to advance in his last individual event. Celski, who was fourth in the 1,500, finished second to Olivier Jean of Canada in his heat.
Among other skaters moving on to Friday’s quarterfinals were Park Se-yeong and Lee Han-bin of South Korea, Wu Dajing, Liang Wenhao and 1,500 silver medalist Han Tianyu of China, and Vladimir Grigorev of Russia, the silver medalist in the 1,000.
In hockey, Russia looked plenty vulnerable in its opening 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.
Neither rain nor snow could keep Tina Maze from her appointed rounds. The Slovenian skier captured her second gold medal of these games by winning the giant slalom.
Maze was in full command, leading all the way and finishing 0.07 seconds ahead of Anna Fenninger of Austria. Defending champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany was the bronze medalist and teen sensation Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. was fifth in her Olympic debut.
Last week, Maze tied for the gold medal in the downhill in glorious sunshine. On Tuesday, the sun seemed lost in the hills. Maze marked the moment in the spirit of Michael Phelps, simulating a breaststroke in the icy slop.
“We are all wet, so I said, ‘Why not?’” Maze said. “It’s been a great day for me.”
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 today’s quarterfinals against Finland. Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia also advanced to the quarterfinals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Skiing through sleet and snow, David Wise ended up with gold in men’s ski halfpipe. The American scored a 92 on his first run, which held up as the weather worsened. Mike Riddle won silver for Canada, and Kevin Rolland took bronze for France.
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.
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.
Staff Writer Larry McBride contributed to this report.