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Dispatches from Sochi: An egg for Gracie Gold

Austrian snowboarder Benjamin Karl is hoping for a consolation prize after his bronze medal in parallel giant slalom. A trip to Egypt wouldn’t be bad.

eric gaillard/reuters

Austrian snowboarder Benjamin Karl is hoping for a consolation prize after his bronze medal in parallel giant slalom. A trip to Egypt wouldn’t be bad.

Aside from her bronze medal for the team competition, Gracie Gold is taking away another special prize from the Sochi Games.

She proudly has in her possession a Faberge egg pin, a hot item at the Olympics.

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The US champion figure skater who finished fourth in the individual event said Saturday she traded several pins during her stay in Sochi. But the only one that was untouchable was the hard-to-get Faberge pin.

When told how difficult that item is to find, the 18-year-old Gold smiled and said, ‘‘Yeah, I know. And I have got one of them.’’

Gold said she’s made the rounds of events since the women’s free skate Saturday. She went to the US-Canada men’s hockey game and was planning a short trip to the mountains before the Olympics end Sunday.

‘‘It’s a matter of what to do with some down time,’’ she said. ‘‘Just trying to enjoy the last couple of days and have some fun.’’

Another ‘loss’ for US

Looks like the United States gets Justin Bieber. At least, one Chicago-area company thinks so.

Command Transportation this past week put up an electronic sign along one of the area’s major expressways that featured pictures of US and Canadian hockey players with the headline, ‘‘Loser Keeps Bieber.’’ The pop star is a Canada native but lives in the United States.

The Americans lost to the Canadians, 1-0, Friday.

The sign had a picture of Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kane plays for the US and Toews plays for Canada. A picture of Bieber was in between the hockey players.

Command Transportation owner Danny Zamost says he often puts sports-themed messages on his sign. ‘‘Good, clean fun,’’ he calls it.

Backup (vacation) plan

Austria’s Benjamin Karl is hoping for a consolation prize for bringing home the bronze in men’s snowboard parallel giant slalom.

‘‘The president of the Austrian ski federation said to me, ‘If you win the Olympics, I will pay for you to go on holiday to Hawaii,’ ’’ Karl said after winning the small final race against Italy’s Aaron March.

‘‘I didn’t make it, but maybe he will give me a trip to Egypt.’’

Fitting tribute

Before the Olympics started, the Canadian freestyle team spread Sarah Burke’s ashes in the halfpipe and around other areas in the Sochi mountains.

Another tribute they paid to the fallen freeskiing star: all those medals they’re bringing home.

Canada led with nine medals at the freestyle events, including four gold.

‘‘Although it was a sad moment, it has created a significant inspiration for us,’’ said Peter Judge, chief executive of the Canada Freestyle Association.

It’s the culmination of a project that started with Canada’s ‘‘Own the Podium’’ program that pumped more than $110 million into developing winter sports in advance of the Vancouver Games.

Burke was a big part of the next phase. She pushed hard to get halfpipe and slopestyle skiing into the Olympics. In 2012, less than a year after the sports were added, she died after a training accident.

Nearly everyone competing in the freestyle events dedicated their medals and their moments to her. They were well aware they might not be spending this time in Russia had she not advanced the sport the way she did. Then, the Canadians took it a step further: They went out and won.

Parting gift

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams and Sochi 2014 spokeswoman Aleksandra Kosterina have been through the grind of 15 daily briefings during the Games.

The hot-button issues raised by the media ran the gamut from complaints about hotels to questions about stray dogs, gay rights, political corruption, and Pussy Riot. It’s been long. It’s been grueling at times. And on Saturday, one day before the Closing Ceremony, Adams presented Kosterina with a parting gift for teaming up with him every day for more than two weeks.

Shortly before the daily briefing concluded, Adams stopped the proceedings and pulled a large bouquet of red roses out from under his seat and presented them to Kosterina.

‘‘I would like to say thank you to Aleksandra,’’ Adams said.

Kosterina was clearly caught off guard and very appreciative.

‘‘Thank you. I have a few statistics but I don’t have a present for you,’’ she said before giving her update on spectators in Olympic Park.

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