Germany is the winner of biathlon sprint at Olympics

Germany won the men's 4x7.5-kilometer biathlon relay Tuesday to give the country its eighth Olympic gold medal at the Turin Games.

And the Germans could win two more later in the day.

Georg Hettich leads the Nordic combined large hill sprint, and two women's bobsled teams qualified first and second for their event's final runs.

Ricco Gross, Michael Roesch, Sven Fischer and Michael Greis covered the San Sicario course in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 51.5 seconds for their country's fourth Olympic gold in the race. The Germans also won in 1992, '94 and '98.

Russia was 20.9 seconds back, and France edged Sweden for the bronze in a photo finish.

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen skied a brilliant final leg but could only haul his underperforming Norwegian teammates into fifth place.

Hettich, who won gold in the individual normal hill event, jumped 133.5 meters on the large hill for 125.7 points. That gave him a five-second lead to take into the 7.5-kilometer cross-country race later Tuesday.

In women's figure skating, Irina Slutskaya is favored to win gold and give Russia a sweep of all four figure skating events in one games. She starts with the short program later Tuesday.

In one of the Winter Olympics' most eagerly anticipated races, Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis were taking their intense rivalry to the place where it belongs the Olympic speedskating oval.

Hedrick, a brash Texan whose bid to win five golds faltered when Davis refused to ski in the team pursuit last week, is the 1,500 world record holder going into the race over that distance. He took the record from Davis .

Without actually naming him, Hedrick lashed out at Davis for concentrating only on his individual events. Ahead of the race, he tried to play down the rivalry.

"I'm not buying into the Chad vs. Shani situation," Hedrick said Monday. "I don't know much about him at all. We have different opinions about doing different things. At the same time, we're both fierce competitors. That's all it boils down to."

Davis has largely stayed out of the argument, preferring to make his statements on the Oval Lingotto ice.

"I don't care about beating Chad ," he said. "What if it turns out that he's not the person to beat? I'm not putting pressure on myself to beat one person. I want to beat everybody."

Also Tuesday, Germany-1, piloted by Sandra Kiriasis, and Germany-2, driven by Susi-Lisa Erdmann, were the two fastest qualifiers for the final runs of the two-man bobsled.

Germany's strong showing followed a day of triumphs for neighboring Austria with Benjamin Raich winning the giant slalom, Michaela Dorfmeister taking gold in the super-G and the country's men's ski jumping team making it a three-gold day.

But Austria 's out-of-competition woes continued with Italian investigators paying a return visit to its Nordic team that was targeted in weekend anti-doping raids, reports the AP.

D.M.

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