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U.S. improves to 8th in biathlon

The United States finished eighth out of the 17 4x7.5K relay teams Friday, 10:16.4 behind the winning Russians. It was a significant improvement over its 15th place in 1992 and the best team or individual showing for the Americans in Nordic events at these Games. Beth Coats of Breckenridge, Colo., normally the best shooter on the team, missed three targets from the standing position at the second range, meaning three 150-meter penalty loops. The three other Americans shot clean. Joan Smith of Honeoye Falls, N.Y., had the fastest ski time, followed by Laura Tavares of Lake Placid, N.Y., and Joan Guetschow of Minnetonka, Minn. "I'm definitely not done in biathlon," Smith said. "I'm excited to do better in the future." Smith finished 14th in the 15K individual race a week ago, tying the best performance by an American in Olympic biathlon history. Jane Isakson, Myriam Bedard, Kristin Berg, Lise Meloche of Canada were 15th in 2:02:22.7 (3).

Ski jump

In the 90 meters: John Langlois, Newport, N.H., 33rd, 87.5 (287-0), 78.0 (255-10), 197.0; Bob Holme, Littleton, Colo., 35th, 83.0 (272-3), 82.0 (269-0), 195.0; Randy Weber, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 44th, 77.0 (252-7), 78.0 (255-10), 170.5; Jim Holland, Kingsford, Mich., 48th, 77.5 (254-3), 71.0 (232-11), 158.0.

Men's combined slalom

Tommy Moe, Palmer, Alaska, was fifth with a slalom time of 1:37.14 and a downhill time of 1:42.27 (52.93, 49.34) for a 3:19.41 total. "It's been kind of a dream-come-true Olympics for me," said Moe, winner of gold in the downhill and silver in the super G. "I've been kind of savoring the whole experience. Today was just icing on the cake. I was "cheesing out' the whole day, having fun, enjoying the whole atmosphere. I was just a few hundredths away from getting a medal, but I've had luck here and this is just another great finish for me. I've surprised myself again." Kyle Rasmussen, Angels Camp, Calif., was 31st, 1:36.96, 2:00.58 (1:08.24, 52.34), 3:37.54. Canadians Cary Mullen and Ed Podivinsky, a pair of speed racers who were fourth and fifth after the downhill, both fell in the first slalom run. Mullen fell about 10 gates into the race after he snapped off his right ski pole, and Podivinsky lasted only a little longer.

Women's speed skating

In the 5,000, Canada's Ingrid Liepa was 16th in 7:49.39.

_ TIMES WIRES

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