Dan Wetzel

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Dan Wetzel is an award-winning sportswriter, author and screenwriter. He has covered all levels of basketball as well as college football, the NFL, MLB and NHL. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • U.S. continues to be haunted by Canada and ghosts of hockey miracles past

    SOCHI, Russia — For four years, the U.S. men's hockey team had waited for another crack at the Canadians, another shot at gold, another chance to break through and show it can be the best in the world and, with all due respect, get people to stop talking about Miracles and Lake Placid and all of that.

    Four long years and…

    "We didn't show up to play," defenseman Ryan Suter said.

    The U.S. lost 1-0 to Canada on Friday, but the game wasn't as close as the score. If not for the brilliance of goaltender Jonathan Quick, who was beat only by Jamie Benn on a brilliantly redirected pass in the second period, the scoreboard would've been more representative.

    Canada absolutely snuffed out the Americans, forced them to the perimeter, limited their opportunities, silenced their snipers and seemingly stripped them of their personality. It was dispiriting to watch. For the final 50 minutes, it was clear which team was superior, even if the goals didn't come for Canada, which has struggled to score

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  • Adelina Sotnikova, Olympic figure skating champ: No apology necessary

    SOCHI, Russia — Adelina Sotnikova put her hands over her face, emotion spreading across it as about the closest thing to pandemonium in a figure skating crowd was unleashed on the Iceberg Skating Palace.

    Her performance — equal parts artistic and athletic — in the ladies' free skate would have been electrifying in any competition, but it came here in Russia, at the Russian Olympics, in front of the Russian fans so desperate for gold. This was suddenly a hockey crowd.

    Adelina Sotnikova celebrates her gold medal in ladies' figure skating. (AP)Sotnikova was overcome. She scooped up some ice shavings and placed them in her mouth, literally drinking in the Olympics. She skated off as flowers and teddy bears rained down, and in that moment, the 17-year-old from Moscow said she knew, if nothing else, that she was going to win a medal of some kind.

    Then her score flashed across the screen — 149.95, a moonshot of a mark, more than 18 points higher than her season's best, more than eight points higher than anyone's best this season at that moment, and so here came the

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  • Adelina Sotnikova upsets Yuna Kim to win ladies' figure skating gold

    SOCHI, Russia – When she was done electrifying the Iceberg Skating Palace, 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova reached down onto the Olympic ice, grabbed some ice shavings, lifted them to her mouth and drank them in.

    The Russian who looked to be a nervous wreck delivered a brilliant free skate to win ladies figure skating gold here Thursday – the first ever for Russia in ladies' figure skating – stunning reigning Olympic champion Yuna Kim of South Korea and the brilliant Carolina Kostner of Italy in the process. They finished second and third, respectively.

    Sotnikova delivered an astounding score of 149.95 – 18.32 points higher than her season best and 8.44 points better than anyone in the field had scored this year – amidst the roaring noise and stomping feet of the pro-Russian crowd, the reward for a performance that was equal parts artistic and athletic. She finished with a score of 224.59.

    [Photos: Ladies' figure skating individual competition]

    The score was through the roof, 5.76

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  • Kaetlyn Osmond stunned by stumble in short program

    SOCHI, Russia – After falling when trying to land a double axel at Skate Canada competition last year, Kaetlyn Osmond made a concerted effort to rebuild her technique on the jump. It worked. She hadn't stumbled in over six weeks of training or competition, she said.

    Then, out of nowhere, at the worst possible time, trouble returned. She stumbled while trying to land the double axel during her short program here Wednesday on the opening night of the Sochi Games' ladies figure skating competition.

    [Photos: Ladies' figure skating individual competition]

    "It was really a shocker to me," Osmond said. "I was going in like it was just another jump and then it wasn't there. So that shocked me."

    She recovered enough to deliver a satisfying, albeit not spectacular, program rallying with excellent spins and compulsory techniques. She was given a score of 56.18, which she was pleased enough with even though it was well below the 62.54 she earned last week doing the same program cleanly during the

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  • Gracie Gold: Budding starstruck superstar

    SOCHI, Russia – On the eve of skating her Olympic short program here on Wednesday, Gracie Gold sits at the crossroads of international megastar and months-ago anonymous, small-town-kid who still appears a bit in awe of her present station in life.

    Just last week Taylor Swift tweeted to her 39.1 million followers how she was searching to see when Gold was skating next, while asking "How adorable and lovely is she?"

    Yet days later Gold was so in awe of sharing a practice rink with reigning Olympic champion Yuna Kim of South Korea that she posted on Instagram a selfie with Kim skating unaware in the background – like a reverse photo bomb. Later when Kim actually posed for a pic, Gold celebrated by posting it with four exclamation points.

    [Photos: Gracie Gold: Budding superstar]

    So what is she? Cool enough to be Swift's sporting infatuation or starstruck fan who can't completely believe she's here?

    Try both. And that's the beauty of Gracie Gold.

    She carries herself with confidence and

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  • U.S., Canada ice dance duos end career rivalry with touching moment

    SOCHI, Russia — Just prior to the ice dance flower ceremony, they all ran into each other, just off the Iceberg Skating Palace rink.

    The Americans, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, were about to be introduced as gold medal winners. The Canadians, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, had won silver. This was an exact reversal of four years prior at the Vancouver Games.

    Here the four were, at the end of a remarkable journey. For a dozen years they’d been competing against each other. For nine, they trained together in suburban Detroit, under the same coach, no less. Through the years, the golds and silvers had gone back and forth; so too had all of them grown up from teenagers to now, all in their mid-20s, all seemingly ready to call it quits to elite competition.

    Through the years, there’d been rivalry and jealousy and arguments and every other emotion, rather natural, especially when each was competing in a pursuit like this, so maddeningly subjective. They were different people, different

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  • Meryl Davis and Charlie White capture first Olympic ice dance gold medal for U.S.

    SOCHI, Russia – Meryl Davis and Charlie White delivered the United States its first gold medal ever in ice dance, besting their rivals and training partners, Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, here on Monday.

    Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada compete in the ice dance free dance figure skating finals at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)White and Davis, both originally from Royal Oak, Mich., posted a combined score of 195.52, well enough to hold off Virtue and Moir who finished at 190.99.

    The Americans' free dance was brilliant, garnering a world-record score of 116.63, just one day after a world-record short program of 78.89 gave them a solid 2.56-point lead heading into the free dance.

    Davis and White held off a strong effort by Virtue and Moir, who posted a season-best 114.66 in the free dance and left the Games – they've said they will retire after these Olympics – to roaring crowds and big smiles.

    [Video: Watch Virtue and Moir's silver-medal free dance]

    The result is a reversal of the Vancouver Games when Virtue and Moir won gold and Davis and White took home silver. The two teams have trained in the same

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  • Meryl and Charlie vs. Tessa and Scott: The friendliest, fiercest rivalry in all of sports

    SOCHI, Russia – At the end of the press conference they all hugged – Meryl and Tessa, Charlie and Scott, Charlie and Tessa, Meryl and Scott. It was dizzying.

    So if you were hoping the hype sessions promoting Monday's ice dance free skate would descend into some boxing mayhem – and most of the media would've been fine with this – there was no such luck. They put them all up on a stage and put a microphone in front of each one, just like the big Vegas promotions, but the fireworks were fairly tame.

    "We want it bad," Scott Moir said. "We want that gold medal."

    That was about it. Most everything else was polite and supportive and seemingly genuine, apparently there are limits to how heated one of the most peculiar and enduring "rivalries" in sports can get.

    Here's a brief recap on this one.

    [Photos: Olympic crush - Team USA ice dancer Madison Chock]

    Four years ago, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, the Canadians, won gold in Vancouver. Charlie Davis and Meryl White, the Americans, finished with

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  • T.J. Oshie: The new American hero

    SOCHI, Russia This here was overwrought. This Bolshoy Ice Dome from the stands to the bench, from the Russian president high above to the stadium workers who had left their posts and flooded the aisles to watch had fallen into a collective madhouse of edginess.

    Nearly 12,000 had secured precious tickets, yet here with the game on the line, with USA vs. Russia going deeper and deeper into penalty shots, harder and harder into history, back and forth and back again, some fans covered their eyes because to see was almost too much. Others simply screamed like they were about to witness a car wreck.

    T.J. Oshie scores on a shootout against Sergei Bobrovski. (Getty Images)

    On the U.S. bench, coach Dan Bylsma felt every bit of the pressure "I aged a couple years," he'd say later. Forward Max Pacioretty said watching was so intense that "I almost had a heart attack." These games, these opportunities are overwhelming and rare. Here was a chance to beat Russia in Russia with the whole world watching.

    [Photos: U.S. beats Russia in hockey shootout]

    So Bylsma

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  • Jeremy Abbott gains redemption after fall, seeks revenge for being called a choker

    SOCHI, Russia – Jeremy Abbott has long tried to hide the hurt behind his forever-sunny personality. He's an optimist. He looks for the good. The 28-year-old clearly craves being liked.

    Abbott went down in spectacular fashion here Thursday in the men's figure skating short program. You probably saw it. He took the kind of header that didn't just bruise his body from hip to ribs and also his elbow but became one of those instant jokes across social media.

    [Video: Watch Abbott's tough fall during the men's short program]

    Let's laugh at the male figure skater slamming into the boards.

    It also reignited the old story about Abbott. He's great in U.S. championships only to fall apart in world and Olympic championships. In short, the critics say, he chokes. And that was on the Internet plenty, too.

    He responded Friday in two ways. First, he skated through pain, putting together a beautiful free skate for a score of 160.12, a personal best in international competition. He pulled some bigger

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