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U.S. figure skater Flatt wants to 'kick some butt'

Rachael Flatt wants to kick some butt and Mirai Nagasu is threatening to bust out a quad. Not even the presence of the "Queen" scares them.

The American figure skaters know nobody's picking them to win anything at the Vancouver Games, let alone Olympic gold. They know all the attention is on South Korea's Kim Yu-na. They know they don't have a lot of ice cred when it comes to the big stage.

And you know what? They don't much care.

"Coming in as an underdog certainly helps," said Flatt, the U.S. champion. "Mirai and I are both incredibly excited to go out there and kick some butt."

"We're 16 and 17, which has its advantages and disadvantages," said Nagasu, who is, for the record, the 16-year-old. "[Kim] does have more international experience and she has more experience in her skating because she's been skating longer. Because we don't know what she knows yet, we can just go in there with a blank mind and attack out there and have fun."

There's been a seismic shift in skating's balance of power since Sasha Cohen won the silver medal at the Turin Games. No U.S. woman has medaled at worlds since 2006. For only the second time since 1924, the United States has only two women in the field.

Biathlon to SlovakianSlovakia's Anastazia Kuzmina won her first Olympic gold medal, capturing the 7.5-kilometer biathlon sprint. Kuzmina missed one of 10 shots and finished in 19 minutes, 55.6 seconds on a course sprinkled with fertilizer to harden snow that had been pelted for days with rain and sleet at Whistler Olympic Park.

Germany's Magdalena Neuner took the silver, 1.5 seconds behind Kuzmina. Marie Dorin of France won the bronze with a clean shoot that put her 10.9. The top American was Sara Studebacker, of Boise, Idaho. She finished in 45th, more than two minutes off the pace.

Swedish women win

Kim Martin made 16 saves in a strong start to her second Olympics, as Sweden beat Switzerland, 3-0, in the first match of the women's hockey tournament. Sweden won the silver medal in Turin with a semifinal upset of the United States.

Protests get rowdierPolice in riot gear confronted more than 200 masked protesters who hurled newspaper boxes through the display windows of a popular department store selling Olympic souvenirs. Seven people were arrested after officers carrying clubs and shields quashed the downtown protest on the opening day of competition at the Vancouver Olympics. There were no immediate reports of injuries. At least one could be charged with weapons possession for wrapping a bicycle chain around his fist. Chu said police decided to move in once they knew "criminals" were involved.

- AP

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