Netherlands, Canada, Norway Lead Medal Count in Sochi

The Netherlands swept the men's 500-m speed skating at the Winter Olympics Monday, tying for the lead in the medal count after three days of competition in Sochi.

Michel Mulder won the gold medal in the event, followed by Dutch teammates Jan Smeekens and Ronald Mulder, Michel's twin brother.

By day's end, the Netherlands, Canada and Norway were tied for the most medals with seven. Canada and the Netherlands lead in gold medals with three each.

Canada was aided by Charles Hamelin, who finished first in the 1,500-m short track speed skating. It was his third career Olympic gold medal.

Gold medalist Michel Mulder from the Netherlands jumps in celebration, flanked by Silver medalist Jan Smeekens (right) and bronze medalist Ronald Mulder during the flower ceremony for the mens 500-m speed skating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 10, 2014. /AP Gold medalist Michel Mulder from the Netherlands jumps in celebration, flanked by Silver medalist Jan Smeekens (right) and bronze medalist Ronald Mulder during the flower ceremony for the men's 500-m speed skating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi, Russia on Feb. 10, 2014. /AP

In women's Alpine skiing, Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch also won her third career Olympic gold. She took first in the super-combined, one downhill and one slalom run.

Norway's Ole Einar Bjoerndalen just missed winning a record 13th career Winter Olympic medal. He finished fourth in the men's biathlon 12.5-km pursuit. France's Martin Fourcade won that event.

In women's ice hockey, the U.S. routed Switzerland, 9-0, setting an Olympic record with three goals in a 55-second span. Canada beat Finland, 3-0.

The U.S. and Canada -- fierce rivals and the consensus favorites to win the gold medal in Sochi -- will clash on Wednesday.

Canada has won three of the four gold medals since women's ice hockey became a Winter Olympics sport at the 1998 Nagano Games, beating the Americans in the finals in 2002 and 2010. The U.S. won the gold in Nagano.

Curling began for the men and women Monday. Canada's men's team, the favorite to repeat as Olympic gold medal champion, was upset by Switzerland, 5-4. The Canadians beat Germany, 11-8, earlier in the day.

Tuesday's action includes the debut of women's ski jumping in the Winter Games, with the gold medal final scheduled for late in the day. There are 98 medal events at the Sochi Games, 12 more than in Vancouver in 2010.

VOA News / Feb. 11, 2014 07:54 KST