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Sochi scene: Ho-hum gold game?

Published: Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 9:26 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Team Sweden skates back to the bench as Canada celebrates a goal during the first period of the men's gold medal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Empty seats, relatively quiet crowd — the final gold medal competition of the Sochi Games feels more like a lazy Sunday warmup to the closing ceremony.

Not the atmosphere you'd expect for what's supposed to be the main event in a country known for its love of hockey.

Perhaps that's because Russia isn't playing, having lost to bronze-winners Finland in a quarterfinal. Gone from the Bolshoy Ice Dome, besides one half-hearted attempt through the first period, are the "Ro-ssi-ya" chants that have permeated games even the host country isn't in. A few Russia flags remain, dotted throughout the Canadian and Swedish symbols in the arena.

Many spectators who did come showed up late, and remained relatively polite even as Canada took a 1-0 lead during the first period.

And the loudest cheer of the first period? When arena officials announced Russia's gold-medal win in the four-man bobsled, its second gold of the day along with a podium sweep in men's 50 kilometer biathlon.

— By Oskar Garcia — Twitter http://twitter.com/oskargarcia

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Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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