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First U.S. Gold To Mogul Skier Kearney; Ohno Gets A Silver To Tie Record

Hannah Kearney of the USA, Olympic champion in women's moguls is congratulated by third placed Shann i

American Hannah Kearney, at left, took the gold in women's freestyle moguls. American Shannon Bahrke, at right, took the bronze. Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jae C. Hong/AP
Hannah Kearney of the USA, Olympic champion in women's moguls is congratulated by third placed Shann

American Hannah Kearney, at left, took the gold in women's freestyle moguls. American Shannon Bahrke, at right, took the bronze.

Jae C. Hong/AP

From Vancouver, NPR's Howard Berkes reports that freestyle moguls skier Hannah Kearney has won the first American gold medal of the Vancouver Olympics. She beat out home country favorite Jennifer Heil of Canada, which has never won a gold medal in an Olympics held in Canada.

Howard filed this report for NPR's newscast:

Canadians throughout Vancouver and the rest of the country were crowded in bars and around TV screens looking for that first gold medal on Canadian soil and it appeared Heil had won it. But then Kearney, the last skier in the event, took to the moguls course at Cypress Mountain.

Kearney's knee-jarring path through the snowy was fast and her jumps seemed flawless. The judges' scores put her ahead of Canadian Heil, who won Silver. American Shannon Bahrke took the bronze medal and celebrated with Kearney with American flags draped around them.

Earlier, Apolo Ohno tied the record for the most American medals in a winter Olympics with a silver in the 1500 meter short track speedskating competition. Team-mate JR Celski finsihed third for the bronze.

Ohno and long-track speedskater Bonnie Blair (now retired) each have six Winter Olympics medals. He competes in three more events in Vancouver, so he has a chance to pass Blair's record.

Also from Vancouver, NPR's Dianna Douglas reports that the first medals in luge will be awarded today. That competition goes in even though a competitor from the nation of Georgia died in a training accident on Friday. Dianna says that:

Officials were so rattled by the accidental death of the luger who slid off the track, that they moved the men's start lower down on the course to where the women were going to start. It has slowed the lugers down from 95 miles per hour at the last turn of the course, to about 90. The athletes have expressed mixed feelings about the change. Many hadn't trained to launch at the women's start, which is on a flatter section of the track. Germany goes into the race in the top spots from yesterday's qualifiers, with American Tony Benshoof in the top 10.

Other events today include competition in speedskating, freestyle skiing and biathlon.

TV coverage of the Games is on NBC and its sister networks.

NPR's coverage, begins here.

There's also the nprolympics Twitter feed. You can see the updates as they come in right on our main page.

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