by Ralph Routon
As the final week begins at the 2010 Winter Olympics with the United States' medal count at 24 so far, there is good reason to expect at least one more podium finish on Monday despite only four events deciding medals on the schedule.
But one of those is ice dancing, and U.S. teams are in second and fourth places going into the free dance tonight at Pacific Coliseum. Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who have won the past two national titles, are in position to challenge for the gold medal along with Canadian champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the leaders after the original dance. The second American team, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, are a close fourth and did win the silver in 2006.
This afternoon will bring the women's hockey semifinals, with Team USA facing Sweden followed by Canada against Finland, the same pairings at this stage as in 2006. Actually, the Americans will be looking to avenge their nightmare of 2006, when Sweden hung a 3-2 shocker on the U.S. in a shootout. This time, almost everyone expects the finale Thursday to be Canada vs. USA, the same as in 1998 (when the U.S. won) and 2002 (when Canada prevailed).