More dissention for US speedskating

With the Winter Olympics winding down, there’s more dissension for US Speedskating.

Maria Lamb took aim at the organization’s leadership after her last-place showing in the women’s 5,000 meters, the latest in a string of disappointing results for the Americans.

The US team has yet to win a medal in Sochi, with much of the focus on the high-tech skinsuits that were dumped midway through the games.


Lamb said the problems run much deeper than what the skaters were wearing.

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‘‘The skinsuit issue is honestly just the tip of the iceberg,’’ she said after finishing 16th on Wednesday. ‘‘Over the last few years, a few of us have raced better in spite of the organization rather than because of it.’’

The US arrived at the Olympics with high hopes after a strong season on the World Cup circuit, further bolstered by the unveiling of a new suit developed by Under Armour with assistance from defense giant Lockheed Martin. Shani Davis, Heather Richardson, and Brittany Bowe all were considered strong medal candidates in multiple events.

It hasn’t worked out that way. The best American finish is seventh with two events remaining, the men’s and women’s team pursuit. The skaters hastily switched back to their old suits after the sixth day of competition.

‘‘The organization could have done a lot of things differently,’’ Lamb said. ‘‘We have lost a lot of staff and we’ve had to deal with a huge amount of controversy. That definitely affects you.’’


She added, ‘‘That adds up over the years, and unfortunately it came to a head that we could no longer perform well.’’

Ukrainian solidarity

A Ukrainian skier has withdrawn from the Olympics in response to the violence in her country, with her father saying she did so in ‘‘solidarity with the fighters.’’

The International Olympic Committee confirmed the decision by Bogdana Matsotska on Thursday, and the Alpine skier’s father said he and his daughter are ‘‘extremely angry at President Viktor Yanukovych.’’

It was unclear if Matsotska had already returned to Ukraine.

Oleg Matsotskyy, who also coaches his daughter, posted a message in Ukrainian on his Facebook page in which he assailed Yanukovych’s latest actions.


‘‘Instead of resolving the conflict through negotiations [which we had hoped he would when we left for Sochi], has drenched the last hopes of the nation in blood,’’ the message read.

‘‘In solidarity with the fighters on the barricades . . . and as a protest against the criminal actions made towards the protesters, the irresponsibility of the president and his lackey government, we refuse further performance at the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014.’’

Pole vault great Sergei Bubka, who heads Ukraine’s national committee, has urged Ukrainian athletes to remain in Sochi as a sign of unity. But he has also said he respects the rights of athletes to make their own decisions. There were suggestions that many more Ukrainian athletes would follow Matsotska’s lead, but a Ukrainian Olympic official said that wasn’t the case.

Two elected to IOC

Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen and Canadian women’s hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser have been elected to the IOC.

Bjorndalen and Wickenheiser were voted in by their peers for eight-year terms as representatives of the IOC athletes’ commission.

Bjorndalen has won two gold medals in Sochi to become the most decorated athlete in Winter Games history with 13 career medals, including eight gold. Wickenheiser is the captain of the gold-medal-winning Canadian women’s hockey team.

They replaced Rebecca Scott and Saku Koivu, whose terms on the IOC commission expired.

2022 bidders ready

Leaders of Almaty’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics say most of their venues are already in place and the Games would cost a fraction of what Russia spent on Sochi. Almaty, a city in Kazakhstan and one of five candidates for 2022, is bidding for a second time after failing to make the cut for the 2014 Games. Bid officials said eight of the 12 venues are ready and 10 will be completed by 2017 . . . David Poile, the GM of the US hockey team and the Nashville Predators, says the errant puck to the face two weeks ago has left him unable to see out of his right eye. Poile says the puck broke his nose in three places and cracked the orbital bone above and below his right eye. Doctors remain hopeful some vision may return . . . Alex Ovechkin’s father is recovering from heart surgery after falling ill in Sochi. The NHL star will delay his return to the US to be with his father. The Washington Capitals resume play on Tuesday.