Pavel Kubina's face was bloodied in the second period and his head was still foggy when the Olympic medal was placed around his neck.
The injured defenseman was dressed in his Czech Republic jersey and street clothes, and the medal that accompanied his makeshift outfit was bronze.
Two images he surely never envisioned, not after a shutout victory over Russia.
"Playing for the bronze medal is hard, very hard," goalie Tomas Vokoun said after the Czech Republic beat Russia 3-0 Saturday.
Vokoun made 12 of his 28 saves in the third period and the Czechs denied the Russians a men's hockey medal for just the second time since they joined the competition as the Soviet Union in 1956.
Both teams had first-place hopes but had to settle for something less exciting after dropping semifinals a night earlier to Nordic countries. Sweden beat the Czechs, and Finland topped Russia -- which was shut out for the second straight game.
"We're still disappointed with what happened with Sweden," said Vokoun, who shared goaltending duties with Martin Hnilicka after Dominik Hasek was injured early in the tournament, "but we won and I'm happy for that medal."
After the final horn, Vokoun's teammates skated to him and exchanged head bumps in the crease -- an area the Russians couldn't penetrate.
Dressed in white, the Czechs smiled warmly as they ducked down to receive their medals alone on the ice. It was probably just as well that they didn't have to look over and see Finland and Sweden take higher steps on the podium.
Those teams face off for gold on the final day of Olympic competition.
"For me, personally, bronze is a great result even if I'm sure that if we played better with Sweden, we would've been on the ice [Sunday]," Vokoun said.
Even with a roster filled with NHL offensive superstars, Russia -- which scored a preliminary-round high 23 goals -- found more disappointment in a tournament it is used to dominating.
The bronze medalists from four years ago in Salt Lake City, the Russians took home gold six times in seven tries but are now dealing with a four-Games losing streak. They didn't win a medal in the 1994 Lillehammer Games.
Things were looking up for them after a convincing 2-0 win over gold-medal favorite Canada, the defending champs, before play turned sour during a lost weekend.
"It is frustrating, especially after the great quarterfinal," goalie Evgeni Nabokov said. "I thought we played well, and to come out that flat is frustrating."
Russia, which lost 4-0 on Friday after winning five straight, had its offense bolstered by the return of teenager Evgeni Malkin, who sat out against Finland as punishment for an infraction against Canada in the quarters.
But the Russians lost Ilya Kovalchuk -- their second-leading goal scorer -- after he was ejected for an elbow that bloodied Kubina's face and knocked him from the game.
Kubina was assisted from the ice and expects to see a doctor on Sunday. He said afterward that he felt tired but was still well enough to walk out to get his medal.
Marek Zidlicky made Russia pay during the 5-minute power play when he ripped a shot from the blue line off a pass from NHL-leading scorer Jaromir Jagr at 6:36. His New York Rangers teammate Martin Straka sealed it with 8 seconds left with an empty-net goal on the Czech's 15th and final shot.
"We just ran out of energy," Russian captain Alex Kovalev said. "When you take so many penalties, it's going to cost you eventually."
Jagr injured a groin in the second period and went to the locker room. He returned to the bench in the third but didn't play. He said it doesn't appear serious and he hopes to be in the Rangers lineup in their first game after the Olympic break Thursday at Philadelphia.
With one day left in the Winter Olympics and only two medal events set for Sunday, a few things are certain: Germany will leave Turin with the most gold medals, and Bode Miller will drive his motorhome out of the Italian Alps with none.
Michael Greis won his third biathlon gold medal of these games and Andre Lange piloted the Germany 1 entry to victory in the four-man bobsled Saturday, putting Germany's gold medal count at 11 -- a leading 29 overall.
The US was sitting in second place with nine gold -- 25 overall -- a total that could have been much better if Miller had won any of the five Alpine ski medals he was chasing. His last chance evaporated Saturday on the slalom course at Sestriere when he was disqualified for straddling a gate just seconds into his first run.
"The expectations were other people's," said Miller, who admitted he liked the nightlife in the mountains more than the racing.
"I'm comfortable with what I've accomplished, including at the Olympics. I came in here to race as hard as I could. I wanted to have fun here, to enjoy the Olympic experience -- not be holed up in a closet and not ever leave your room."
Austria's skiers were enjoying themselves Saturday on the slopes, with Benjamin Raich leading an Austrian sweep of the medals in the slalom -- only the fifth time a country has taken all three medals in an Olympic Alpine event. Italian favorite Giorgio Rocca crashed out on the first run to join Miller on the sidelines.
Elsewhere Saturday, when eight golds were presented, Clara Hughes of Canada ended the Olympic reign of Germany's Claudia Pechstein in 5,000m speedskating, edging the three-time defending champion into second place by just over a second.
Apolo Anton Ohno of the US won the men's 500m on the short track, Jin Sun-yu of South Korea won the women's 1,000m and South Korea, which won six of eight short-track events, took the men's 5,000m relay.
Anna Carin Olofsson of Sweden joined Greis on the biathlon gold medal platform, winning the 12.5km mass start, while Canadian speedskater Cindy Klassen's bronze in the 5,000m was her leading fifth in Turin -- a gold, two silver and two bronze.
Austria's sweep of the medals in the slalom gave the country its ninth gold and 22 overall -- including an Olympic record 14 in Apline events.
"This is the greatest Olympics ever for us," Austrian Alpine director Hans Pum said of his team.
Other members of the Austrian team, however, remained in the doping spotlight. The IOC said Saturday it had formed a special panel to investigate the doping scandal surrounding Austria's cross-country and biathlon teams.
President Jacques Rogge appointed a three-man disciplinary commission to look into all the elements of banned coach Walter Mayer's involvement with the team.
Mayer's presence in Italy triggered a police raid on the Austrians' private lodgings and no-notice doping tests by the IOC on six cross-country skiers and four biathletes. The tests came back negative Friday, but the IOC and Italian police are pressing ahead with the case.
Leading from start to finish in the 500m, Ohno upset favored South Korean Ahn Hyun-soo to win the gold medal.
"I've never been a 500m specialist. I've never shined consistently in this race," he said. "To lead from start to finish doesn't happen very often. For me, it was the perfect race."
Before the final night was done, he skated to his third medal of the games. With a burst at the end, Ohno passed an Italian skater to grab bronze for the Americans in the 5,000 relay.
Ahn helped the Koreans win the relay, earning him a third gold medal at these Games. His teammate Jin won three gold medals on the women's side.
The last two golds of the 20th Winter Games will come in the men's 50km race in cross-country, and Finland against Nordic neighbor Sweden in the men's hockey final.
Then it's to the closing ceremony, and there's no telling whether Miller will join the other American athletes in the stadium.
"It's been an awesome two weeks," Miller told AP on Saturday. "I got to party and socialize at an Olympic level."
A sudden shortage of locks in Australian rugby union has opened the door for Matt Philip to reclaim his Wallabies jersey, but the Melbourne Rebels player says that the uncertainties wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic have left him with a difficult choice. The Australian yesterday named Philip among 16 Rebels players either set to leave the Super Rugby club or seriously considering it, underscoring the challenge Rugby Australia faces to retain talent. Linked with a move to Section Paloise Bearn Pyrenees, commonly referred to as Pau, in France’s Top 14, Philip said that he had yet to settle his playing future, and
As professional soccer returned to Denmark, fans used Zoom to be part of the action. Thousands of Danish soccer fans on Thursday logged on to the conferencing software and were transported to Ceres Park for a league match between AGF and Randers that heralded the resumption of the nation’s pandemic-affected soccer season. While the stadium itself was without fans, the faces of thousands of supporters who joined the Zoom call were shown on giant screens that ran along one side of the pitch. Families wearing club shirts and scarves cheered inside their living rooms. Some were seen clenching their fists in joy after
DRIVING AMBITION: ‘I was excited by playing at the Olympics ... Who knows what’s going to happen? Hopefully, I could have a chance to win a medal,’ Tiffany Chan said After just three tournaments this year, a chance of Olympic glory postponed and two weeks alone in quarantine, golfer Tiffany Chan could be forgiven for feeling sorry for herself. Instead, Hong Kong’s first LPGA Tour player is sporting a broad grin and taking the positives from the game’s COVID-19 shutdown, determined to establish herself in the fiercely competitive world of women’s golf. The talented 26-year-old kept herself fit physically and mentally during the lockdown, and is happy to be back on the fairways since the easing of coronavirus restrictions last month. “When I came back to Hong Kong [in March], I actually did
It is the land of the world champions, but is it really a soccer country? That is the question that some in France have been asking this week while its European neighbors work to bring the sport back after the COVID-19 shutdown. Debate has raged ever since Ligue 1 decided in late April to bring a premature end to the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed. By contrast, two weeks have passed since the Bundesliga restarted, while Italian Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora on Thursday confirmed that Serie A would return on June 20, and La Liga and the English Premier