Another Crash Dampens U.S. Hopes

American slider Mark Grimmette, left, and partner Brian Martin walk through the finish area after they crashed and failed to finish on their first run in the Doubles Luge at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games at Cesana Pariol, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006. The crash dashed the Americans hopes for a medal win.
Austrian brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger won the gold medal in doubles luge Wednesday, while the American team of Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin crashed during their opening run to end any chances of winning a third Olympic medal.

The Lingers finished the two-run event in 1 minute, 34.497 seconds. Germany's Andre Florschuetz and Torsten Wustlich won the silver. Italy got its second luge medal of the Turin Games.

But the Americans, Grimmette and Martin — who are presumably in the Olympics for the final time, saw the same trouble that befell skier Lindsey Kildow and slider Samantha Retrosi. They were trying to become the first Olympians ever to win bronze, then silver, then gold, in that order.

Instead, they capped a medal-free Olympics for the U.S. luge program. Preston Griffal and Dan Joye, the other American team in the doubles competition, finished eighth.

"It's a shock," Martin said. "Any time you crash, it's a shock."

On Tuesday night, the men of the American figure skating team tried their best to beat an unstoppable Russian, but fell short in the short program, CBS' Manuel Gallegus reports.

Winning a gold is likely out of reach for any American skater as long as Russian Evgeni Plushenko is around.

"Realistically I don t think anybody will beat him unless he really makes mistakes," said U.S. skater Johnny Weir. Competition continues for the men Thursday.

Check the schedule of upcoming events.
Track the current medal count here.

In related developments:
  • Not that long ago, Ted Ligety was everything Bode Miller is not: unknown, unsponsored, unaccomplished. Now, thanks both to his own clean, aggressive skiing and errors by Miller and other favorites, Ligety is an Olympic champion (video). Never before a competitor at a Winter Games, never before a winner of any major race, Ligety produced two spectacular slalom runs to pull out the combined event Tuesday night, only the fourth time in Olympic history an American man has collected a gold medal in Alpine skiing.
  • Figure skater Emily Hughes is due to arrive in Turin on Thursday. The newest Olympian's departure from the New York area was delayed by a snowstorm. She'll skate in Turin for the first time on Friday and hold a news conference that day. Hughes is the younger sister of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes. She's heading to Turin to fill in for injured nine-time national champion Michelle Kwan.
  • Wayne Gretzky's link to a sports gambling ring apparently isn't affecting his marketability in Canada. Apparel company Roots announced Wednesday that the hockey great will have his name on a new clothing collection being released next week. The announcement came as the national hockey team that Gretzky oversees opened its Olympic campaign with a 7-2 win over Italy in Turin.
  • Jeremy Bloom of Loveland, Colo., finished a disappointing sixth place in the men's freestyle moguls at the Winter Olympics, in what may be the last stop in a skiing career that forced him to put football dreams on hold. American Toby Dawson turned in a more impressive run, finishing third behind silver medalist Mikko Ronkainen of Finland and champion Dale Begg-Smith of Australia.
  • NHL goalie Dominik Hasek left the Czech Republic's hockey opener at the Olympics today with an apparent leg injury. Hasek left his country's opener against Germany in the first period after grimacing in pain as he spread his pads to stop a shot during a German power play. Hasek was taken to the locker room to be examined by physicians. He returned to the bench area late in the period.
  • The American women's curling team earned its first victory of the Olympics, beating Denmark 8-3 on Wednesday to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat. In other games Wednesday afternoon, Italy beat Russia 6-4 for its first-ever Olympic victory. Sweden beat Britain 8-6 and Norway beat Japan 9-4 in nine ends.
  • The prince, the president, the prime minister's wife ... sliding sports seem to have a magical attraction for luminaries. Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga have been among the notables who have shown up this week at the luge, bobsled and skeleton track in Cesana. Blair attended women's luge events Monday and Tuesday. Surrounded by bodyguards, she posed for photos with fans.