WHISTLER OLYMPIC PARK, BC (Feb. 22) – Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) and Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) wound up ninth in Monday's team sprint competition, a promising result in which the duo was second in the semifinals and ranked as high as third halfway through the final round.
"It's an improvement for sure considering the way the Games have been going," Newell said. "This was a big step forward. It felt great in the semifinals. We slowed down a bit for the final, but we both hung in there up until the last lap, so that's all you can do. We gave it our best shot."
Norway's Petter Northug sprinted past Germany's Axel Teichmann in the stadium for gold, with the Russian team taking third on the 1.6-kilometer course.
The U.S. fought from seventh to third by the third of the six alternating laps.
"It was a really solid day and that was all I could do today," said Koos, in his third Olympics. "All in all we were really close.
"I just tried to get out to a good start. I was trying to be a little crafty out there. I found my way in the front. I wasn't pushing the pace or anything I was slowing it down and then the other people were pushing it."
Koos said it's a "new day" for the U.S. Team, even if they might have expected more from themselves individually.
"It's like you're the Olympic champion or you finish last," he said. "I would love to say that we just won the first medal since 1976, but it's the closest we've ever been in my era of skiing, so it's close."
The men's 4x10K relay is Wednesday at 11:15 p.m. PT
2010 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
Whistler Olympic Park, BC (Feb. 22)
Men's Team Sprint
Gold – Norway
Silver – Germany
Bronze – Russia
9. United States