Scenes around Sochi

• Australian bobsleders show how happy they are getting to compete in Sochi Games

From wire reports /

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia —

Australian bobsledders Heath Spence and Duncan Harvey knew they had no medal chance in the two-man competition at the Sochi Games.

That didn’t stop them from getting a message out to the world.

After finishing their third run of the competition on Monday night, Spence and Harvey emerged from their sled with a small cardboard sign bearing some simple yet powerful messages.

“Live your dream,” read one side of the sign.

“Thank you,” was on the other, in several languages, including Russian. The Australians held it up for cameras in the finish area to see once they finished their run in 26th place, nearly five seconds behind Russian leader Alexander Zubkov.

Puck focus

SOCHI, Russia — Hockey goalies have to have incredibly sharp focus. And you can’t get more focused than Canadan women’s goalkeeper Shannon Szabados (top photo) was during one sequence against Switzerland on Monday night.

Associated Press photographer Matt Slocum captures Szabados locked in on a puck rebounding from a blocked shot.

Disallowed goal heats up Russians

MOSCOW — After a heated U.S.-Russia hockey match at the Sochi Olympics on Saturday, many Russian spectators have decided the Cold War is back — and not just on the ice.

Demonstrators gathered near the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on Monday to protest a referee’s call disallowing a Russian goal in the match that Russia ultimately lost in a penalty shootout.

The protesters, organized by the Kremlin party’s youth group, donned Russian hockey jerseys and shouted, “Make soap out of the ref!” — a common expression among Russian soccer fans.

Wielding a banner with a photograph of the American referee, Brad Meier, the protesters used a cheese grater to grate soap into buckets.

The goal, which would have given Russia to a 3-2 lead with less than five minutes on the clock, was disallowed after officials ruled that the net had come loose from the ice before the goal was scored. Russian fans, who had leapt to their feet in celebration, howled with rage as the call was announced.

The referee supervisor for the International Ice Hockey Federation, Konstantin Komissarov, confirmed that the ruling made by the referees was correct and that video review had been properly used to make the call. But that hasn’t mollified Russian spectators who, in a rare unifying moment, have come together from both ends of the political spectrum to air their grievances — and their conspiracy theories.

Moir’s celebration

SOCHI, Russia — Scott Moir sure knows how to celebrate medals, whether they are gold or silver.

The Canadian ice dancer and partner Tessa Virtue added the silver Monday night to the gold they won in Vancouver four years ago. About 90 minutes after finishing behind training partners Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States, Moir returned to the ice in sweats and tennis shoes.

He waddled to center ice on the west rink, bent over and kissed the surface, then polished the Olympic rings with his hand.

Moir then joked with several reporters seated in the media section before leaving the Iceberg Arena.

It was a similar display to what he did in Vancouver. Back then, he even passed around his gold medal for the cleaning crew to touch and take photos with. He climbed into the stands, at one point nearly toppling over a barrier, all the while wearing a smile.

Four years ago, Virtue actually joined him for a few moments and photos with coaches and volunteers. This time, Moir went solo.

Repairing the ring

SOCHI, Russia — The Olympic rings will be whole again for the closing ceremony. That’s a promise.

Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak tells R-Sport that fans will not see a repeat of the glitch that marred the opening ceremony when one of the five rings did not form from a snowflake floating in the sky.

“We will correct this mistake at the closing ceremony,” Kozak told the news agency.

The glitch happened early in the opening ceremony, when snowflakes expanded to form the interlocking rings, which is one of the most anticipated moments of any Olympic opener. Four of the rings unfolded perfectly, but the fifth remained a snowflake before show organizers sent them out of sight.

The mistake was a shaky start to an otherwise well-received show that ended with hockey great Vladimir Tretiak and figure skating icon Irina Rodnina lighting the Olympic flame.

The closing ceremony is Sunday night.

Quick return

SOCHI, Russia — Japan figure skaters Mao Asada and Akiko Suzuki headed to Armenia to train after the team event at the Sochi Olympics.

It was a quick trip. The place was too cold.

These are the Winter Olympics. It’s supposed to be chilly. But it has seemed more like the Spring Games most of the way as temperatures soared in Sochi.

The Japanese left on Feb. 10 and returned on the 15th, before previous plans to come back. They chose Armenia because there is a direct flight from Sochi and the Japanese federation held a camp last September there. Suzuki and some other skaters visited and practiced there.

Because the rink was so cold, however, they were back in Sochi pretty soon.

The skaters didn’t comment on the conditions in Armenia, but five-time world champion Michelle Kwan, a double Olympic medalist, noted that cold conditions definitely affect skaters.

“You can’t get your work done,” Kwan said. “It makes it really hard to train.”

What if a rink is too warm? Kwan smiled. “Never happens.”

Stanley in Sochi

SOCHI, Russia — Lord Stanley is receiving a warm welcome in Sochi.

The Stanley Cup made an appearance at the Olympics on Monday, making several stops around Olympic Park, including the USA House and Canada House.

“It’s yours — for an hour,” Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut told the packed house.

Dozens of people lined up to pose for pictures with it. Some put their arms around the cup,, which is awarded to the NHL’s champion each year and is one of the most revered trophies in all of professional sports, as if it was a friend.

Some stood off to the side, perhaps in awe, as their picture was taken next to it.

Jade Agosta, whose sister, Meghan, is a star for the Canadian Olympic hockey team, was one of the many people who kissed the cup.

“That was pretty cool,” she said.